View Full Version : close-up digital camera

2009-10-05, 09:40

i am looking for a camera that will take very nice close-up pictures.
mostly i will be shooting belts, wallets, cufflinks and details on these small items on a white background.
ive been reading that nikon cameras take good macro shots but i cannot find the model numbers.
can anyone suggest a camera thats under $400? are "superzoom" cameras good for my purpose or are they the opposite to what i need?
i am guessing i need a camera with a big lens?


2009-10-05, 11:13
Many super zoom compacts have decent macro (Nikon calls it Micro on their cameras) modes. I had a high end Canon Powershot and it had a good Macro setting, which was okay, although I haven't seen any compacts with a true 1:1 macro lens, most are 1:2, but the higher end ones are 1:1. Just from looking at specs, the Nikon P90 can focus as close as 1cm, one of the closest from my searching. The Canon Gx series compacts also get the same 1cm close focusing distance.

2009-10-05, 11:31
It's not so much Nikon cameras specifically that are good at macro, rather, you're probably going to want to get a DSLR (as in, not a point-and-shoot, but a camera with interchangeable lenses). You'll be hard pressed to find one for $400, though. It pretty much limits you to buying used. For $400, you also won't be able to get a dedicated macro lens, you'll have to make do with whatever lens the camera comes with.

It will help if we know what the purpose is and a bit more about the objects you want to photograph.

Are you planning on making large prints, or will these just be several-hundred pixels wide on a webpage? If it's just a webpage, a point and shoot probably will be good enough, actually.
About what size object do you want to be able to fill a photo with?
How good is the lighting? Is it like a studio, or just ambient light?

EDIT: I didn't realize any compacts went anywhere near 1:2. In that case, they would probably work (you wouldn't be able to beat that with a DSLR for under $400 anyway). Still, at 1 cm the flash won't actually do anything anymore, so you will need to be in a very well lit area, and even then, the shadow of you or the camera might get in the way.

Dorian Gray
2009-10-05, 14:05
Hi tannenhauser. To do what you want well would require no small investment in time (to learn about lighting and shooting macro) and money (to buy a tripod, basic lights if you want to do this quickly and efficiently, and a camera and lens).

However, you might be able to get satisfactory results with a simple point-and-shoot camera, depending on what you consider satisfactory. It won't look like an ad in a glossy magazine, but rather something like this (http://www.preciousmonkeyjewellery.co.uk/cms_media/images/800x720_exact-pn_bo_pl_01_macro_cropped_800x720.jpg). Would that work for your purposes?

If so, buy a Canon PowerShot, make or buy a "light tent" (Google that term for ideas), buy a $25 tripod, and get shooting! There's not much to it that you can't learn by practice.

Light tents are anathema to pro photographers, because they sap all the creativity out of lighting and create cookie-cutter results that rarely stir the imagination. But if you're shooting loads of images for a catalogue or something, it might work okay. If you answer Kyros' questions we might have opinions on your best course of action. :p

By the way, compact cameras don't go anywhere near 1:1 magnification (but you wouldn't need that anyway because the sensors are so small). One compact that's considered to have a good macro capability is the Canon G10. It focuses to 1 cm (this is from the first lens element rather than the conventional measurement from the image plane, as used on SLR cameras), but does so only at the wide end of the zoom. The results look like this (http://a.img-dpreview.com/reviews/CanonG10/Samples/Macro/G10_wide.JPG), which is obviously a far cry from an SLR with a macro lens. It does better at further distances and using a longer focal length, though at reduced magnification.

DPReview say the coverage is about 31 x 23 mm at this extreme macro setting, which works out to about 1:4 (one-quarter life-size) due to the small sensor size (about 7.6 x 5.7 mm).