In another thread I posted a link to a series of shots I took on some lathe
and mill work:
These were all taken with a Pentax Optio S50, (5Mp), which is in your
ballpark for price.
Most were flash, some were not.
Most in macro mode.
Auto exposure - and very satisfactory at that.
Your points on autofocus noted, and agreed.
Ditto the multiple shots
I reckon the results are pretty passable.
I have all the SLR stuff, but choose to use this little Pentax in the
I can hold it with one hand, while I feed the tool with the other.
The flash works remarkably well at 12-24" range.
This isn't a "Pentax rocks" post - I use many brands (loved the Mavica, but
time marches on), but this little point&shoot is a beauty. The S50 has been
superceded by a 6Mp model, which I believe is similar in price.
Whoa. That would be the _maximum_ aperture on most digitals. Minimum would
be down around F/8 or F/16. That might be part of your problem.
Good close up work needs careful lighting--doesn't necessarily mean
_expensive_ lighting--when you're working down around the dimensions of a
quarter for example a good LED flashlight properly placed can be quite
adequate, and a little larger than that a halogen desk lamp or two can be
plenty--the big problem is holding them in position and positioning them so
the camera doesn't cast a shadow. The lighting does two things--by
positioning carefully you put shadows where you need them to show whatever
you're trying to show and with enough light you can use short exposures.
Does it have a manual focus setting? If so, then set the focus to give you
the field-size you need and then move the camera to get the focus and that
problem goes away.
Always if circumstances permit.
I've been using a Nikon Coolpix 990 for years--it's good for anything down
to about the size of a dime. Set for aperture-preferred and stop it down
to F/9, set for manual focus and set the focus to give me the field size I
need (with macro photography standard practice is to set the focus and then
move the camera instead of the other way around). With enough light and a
good brace I can get decent handheld shots, otherwise it needs a tripod and
either the remote release (wired and expensive, not infrared) or the self
timer. A while back I picked up a neat little Manfrotto clamp mount that
lets me position it just about anywhere I want that's very handy for
getting into odd places.
No longer being made, but you can find them for around $250.
The maximum aperture is when the lens is all of the way open (lowest F
number) and provides the minimum depth of field. When the lens is at the
minimum aperture (highest F number) you get the maximum depth of field.
Typical full f-stops are numbered:
1.4 2.0 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22
and for every F-stop increase you halve the light reaching the film/sensor.
That means that you need to increase either the flash power or the exposure.
You probably don't want to increase the exposure as you can introduce camera
shake which will blur your photos.
You cannot go wrong with the Nikon Coolpix 9xx series. they can go
from .8" to anything else with no trouble. I have owned a "raft" of
cameras and overall, for macros these are the most versitile in your
stated price range. Spend a little more and you can get a 995 or 4500
on e-bay with 4x nikor zoom and battery life that will surprise you.
Metalworking content: The cases are (mostly) pressed Mg.! I have a 950
that has been dropped, twice, badly, still works, although there are
I recently asked pretty much the same question on a couple of metalworking
and camera sites, right down to the under $200 limit. Although I had
specified that it use cf memory cards as that's what my other gear uses.
I was expecting quite a variation in suggestions, but interestingly enough
there was one camera that came up much more often than others. That would be
the Nikon model 5400. Unfortunately, while I am "an owner" of the camera, I
have not had a chance to use it yet as it is wrapped up under the tree. But
I thought I would pass on the info none the less.
One other consistent piece of input that came back was that a foldout lcd
screen was often very handy for close up work were you may not be able to
get square with the camera to clearly see the screen. I was also told that
this camera had a good quality wide angle lens adapter available if needed
as well. Anyway, this is the one I ended up purchasing off of ebay.
On Tue, 20 Dec 2005 17:06:09 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm,
Best of luck to you, Wayne. Let's hope this is NOT a gray-box special
from another country which will never be warrantied/worked on by Nikon
US camera techs. That was one of the things I was made aware of when I
bought my Nikon 995 about 5 years ago and I stayed away from eBay as a
result. I adore the camera, BTW.
Every day above ground is a Good Day(tm).
http://diversify.com Website Application Programming
I bought a Reconditioned Nikon 5400 from Adorama recently for $250 and I'm
thoroughly satisfied with it. Other than having a fixed limited range lens
rather than taking interchangeable lenses, there's almost nothing I can do
with my Nikon D70 DSLR that I can't do with the 5400.
It's controls are much more than most people would ever want in a camera,
but it's an excellent performer and takes extraordinarily good
That's good to hear Norm. I've got a Canon rebel with a boatload of lens if
I need to reach out and touch someone. The 5400 will live in the shop, as
I'm way to lazy to walk back to the house, pull the rebel out, install the
right lens etc for those quick snapshots.
Olympus C-740, 3.2 megapixel, 10x optical and 3x digital zoom. At 3",
a business card fills the screen with no zoom. Uses XD card. Downloads
with USB cable. Uses AA batteries. New on eBay in June; $204. Here is
a BIN for $149 item# 7574432259 factory refurb
Everything was okay until you put the $200 limit. I've very happy with my
Olympus 740. It has a 10:1 optical zoom and a great macro. Meets all of
your other criteria, but does include a flash. You can select either
aperature control or speed control and also set the ASA rating. The only
limitation is that it doesn't have a sufficiently wide angle lens and
there's no simple way to change that. At the time, this cost me about $750,
but the same or equivalent camera can be had for about $350 today. The next
step up with good macro capability is a digital SLR with interchangeable
lenses. They're all over $1000.
Still happy as a pig in shit with my Olympus for taking close-up photos
of models and such. It replaced about 50 pounds of various camera bodies, a
dozen lenses, flashes, etc. The olny thing that irks me about the camera is
that it makes better decisions than I do.
Boris Beizer Ph.D. Seminars and Consulting
I have a 2MP Fuji Finepix A203 point and shoot that serves me pretty
well. Paid $150 CDN for it last year, no regrets. Not exactly the
connoisseurs choice but functional enough.
Just how small are the details you need to see anyway? From about 6
inches, I can get a pretty good screen sized blowup of my fingerprint by
simply aiming and pressing down the button to get it the focus indicator
to close up.
I bought it for it's simplicity, and the fact that I don't give a damn
if the pictures can be blown up to poster size or not. I can ram it into
my pocket and have it with me on auction day.:-)
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