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Looking for a good macro-capable digital

 

New member
Username: Suhaila

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-05
I'm looking for a digital camera in the 5-8mp range that can take good macro photos. The photos will primary be of silver on a very dark background (velvet), but may sometimes include other colors (gemstones). I'm most interested in clean, sharp pics with excellent color saturation and reproduction. I'd also like a nice quality telephoto...3x optical and up (prefer 5x and up). Image stabilization would be nice, but is not a deal-breaker. Size and weight of the camera aren't that important to me. My husband will be using it, too, for general photography - probably mostly outdoor scenes in daylight. His hands are big, but he didn't seem to have any real problems with the controls on the models we've looked at so far. I'm looking for something in the under $500 range.

As far as experience with cameras, I'd consider myself an advanced amateur with 35mm. I'm pretty new to the digital world, with experience with an old Polaroid ditigal only. I'm pretty computer savvy - not a technophobe. My husband's experience is the same or better.

I've seen cameras from Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony that I liked, for the most part. I've started delving into reviews, but that hasn't narrowed things down for me. Some models that interest me on paper are:

Nikon Coolpix 8400
Olympus C-5500 Sport Zoom
Olympus C-770 Ultra Zoom
Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W7
Kodak EasyShare Z7590
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2

So far, I've looked at the Sony (didn't like the controls), some Nikons (not the 8400 - really liked the intuitiveness of the controls), an Olympus or two without batteries, and a few Kodaks. Any suggestions on which of these would work best for my needs? Some of the reviews I've seen tend to contradict one-another, so I'm in need of guidance. If I've missed listing some good choices, please feel free to make suggestions! Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 4251
Registered: Dec-03
Ah, macro photography for jewelers:-)
For those I'll narrow down the field to the Nikon, Olympus.
I haven't done a lot of macro photography using Point and shoot cameras, but the ones I've used are using add-on lenses. Frankly these add-on lenses really add more to the price of the camera and has an intolerable amount of chromatic aberrations and vignetting. Not good if you are planning on using shots for commercial use.

The 8400 can do some decent macros with the existing lens and the advantage will be the external speed light capability. Excellent focus range and a great wide angle lens if needed. You need this for macro to get some good light on your subject. The built in flash will cast some strange shadows on your subject. But isn't this over your alloted budget?

The Olympus 770 has very decent lens and an impressive focusing distance. It also capable of an external flash.

I'd narrow it down to those 2 and forget the others.
 

New member
Username: Suhaila

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-05
Ritz has the 8400 for $399.99, which is listed as $500 off the original retail. Their live help says it's new - not a refurb. Their dramatically lower price makes me a bit nervous. Has anyone on the board had dealings with them? I'd greatly appreciate feedback on that!

After visiting a local camera shop, I added a couple more to my list:
Olympus SP-350
Olympus C-5060

Also, my husband found a camera that he loves "on paper":
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30K
Haven't seen that one at a local store yet.

I realize that the Panasonic is in a different price range, but we may end up spending a little more than we'd planned, if it means that we'll both be completely happy with the pick. Any ideas on these new choices? I personally loved the way the Olympus cameras handled, but the Panasonic does look nice...
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 4252
Registered: Dec-03
Personally, I was very disappointed with the Panasonic FZ20, the predecessor to the FZ30K, due to its slowness. I have not seen the FZ30K but they claim to be a major improvement. Be aware though that Panasonic does not have a proven track record, but they seem to be coming out with great new products.

I have dealt with Ritz and they are pretty good. The price drop is because the Nikons have been out for a while and they are clearing way for new stock. Cameras are being improved almost every 6 months and getting cheaper.
 

Silver Member
Username: Claudermilk

Post Number: 231
Registered: Sep-04
That's too bad to hear about the FZ20, because looking at the specs the FZ30 it looks pretty impressive (BTW, dpreview shows the two side-by-side & the FZ30 looks much improved). It looks like a decent option to the two Berny mentioned. I'd be torn between it & the Nikon; though the Nikons are proven performers.

You mention yourself as an advanced amateur in 35mm. I assume you have a film SLR rig? Looking into a digital body is an option.
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 4266
Registered: Dec-03
You could also look at this set-up
Upload
 

New member
Username: Suhaila

Post Number: 3
Registered: Nov-05
I think we've decided on the Olympus C-7070. It did well on some test shots that we made at the camera shop today, and my husband likes it, too. I think he'll eventually get an SLR, though...probably a Nikon.

Thanks for the help!

 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 4301
Registered: Dec-03
An SLR or a Digital SLR? The pic I posted above is a Nikon D200 Digital SLR. Place your order now and you should have it delivered in time for the holidays:-)
 

New member
Username: Suhaila

Post Number: 4
Registered: Nov-05
Digital. We have several non-digital SLRs already. He's particularly interested in the Nikon digital SLRs since he has a nice selection of Nikon lenses. I'll take a look at the D200. Thanks for the suggestion! :-) I'm afraid to take a look at the price...
 

Silver Member
Username: Claudermilk

Post Number: 234
Registered: Sep-04
Definitely stick with the Nikon line. You should be able to use your current lenses on the DSLR & reduce the inital cost quite a bit.
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 4306
Registered: Dec-03
$1699 body only. If you already have Nikon glass, the transition will be a cinch.

Chris,
Are you going to finally get a speedlight for your 20D, would make a nice holiday gift for your self:-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Claudermilk

Post Number: 235
Registered: Sep-04
:-) It's on my list. First I need to complete my speaker set for the HT system--that's been waiting a long time. I also have an Alienbees setup on the list. Please, Santa be nice...
 

New member
Username: Suhaila

Post Number: 5
Registered: Nov-05
Just checking back in. The 7070 is great! It does exactly what I wanted, and more. :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 4386
Registered: Dec-03
So, what's your next camera purchase?
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