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Thread: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Hey,

    I've been frustrated for a long while over not being able to take any decent macro shots of pens. My older Canon PowerShot SD600 can't seem to shoot macros to save it's life, and I thought maybe one of the camera apps on my Galaxy S4 phone might have a trick up their sleeve, but not satisfactory.

    Is it possible that someone could recommend a modest-priced camera that, above all else, can do decent macros? I've got most photo needs covered already, as the phone takes remarkably good pics for just everyday documentation. But if I could get by with a camera costing, I dunno, less than $100? I would seriously think about it just to be able to take close-ups of nibs, etc.

    Thanks for any ideas, in advance.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    FPG Donor ♕ KrazyIvan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Jon, you already have it. The SD600 just needs something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Magnetic-Wid...-/290485392784

    I have a set for my Canon P&S and they work very good. In a pinch, you can hand hold a loupe in front of a cell camera or iPad camera too.

    This was a very quick shot hand held the pen and the loupe so the image was not that great. If i really try I get much better images.


    My first time seeing a nib point cut in this fashion. It has been beveled on the left and right sides. Effectively making a broad nib much less broad. This is from the factory. by IvanRomero, on Flickr
    Last edited by KrazyIvan; January 3rd, 2014 at 12:31 PM.
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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Wow. I may just give that a shot! Thanks, Ivan.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    KrazyIvan (January 22nd, 2014)

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    Member CS388's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    You can also mess about with your phone cam, until you find your preferred macro solution.

    You may know of this already, but, you can use 'lenses' from old CD and DVD players (including DVD-rom players from old computers).
    Find one that is being junked, smash it open (or take it apart nicely) and you will see a small lens inside, which reads the disc. Stick this lens over your phone camera lens (bit of blu-tac etc) and you can get some useful macro shots from your phone.
    Experimentation is the key. I've found some excellent lenses and some duds.
    The results vary, I tend to use them to explain technical issues, rather than to make great art.
    Here's a broken feed, taken with my (old) iphone and a lens from a CD player.



    Enjoy.

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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Wow - some good tips here! Thanks folks.

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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    The problem with using loupes/lenses not meant for photography is poor image quality. You'll notice the chromatic aberrations on the images above.

    The best option for someone who otherwise wouldn't need a macro camera is to simply buy a camera with decent amount of MPs. Most P&S are around 16 nowadays which is perfectly acceptable. I think the CoolPix (cool pics?) has 20 MP and is under $100. The mistake people make when trying to take macro images is focusing closer than your lens is capable. Instead focus at your minimum focusing distance and crop down. Your image will be plenty large enough for internet purposes.

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    FPG Donor ♕ KrazyIvan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    I do the crop down method too, it just depends on the situation. An example done with my iPad Mini.


    Untitled by IvanRomero, on Flickr


    Untitled by IvanRomero, on Flickr

    But here is another one, hand held loupe in front of a cell phone cam. I took a little more time to compose the shot.


    IMG_20121029_215747-1.jpg by IvanRomero, on Flickr
    Last edited by KrazyIvan; January 22nd, 2014 at 05:09 PM.
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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Jon, here's a couple of things I do with my iPhone to get macro-like shots. The camera on your Galaxy S4 is easily as good (most likely better) than on my iPhone 4S, so you shouldn't have a problem.

    For nib shots, you first need half way decent lighting. Then, I zoom in, touch to focus, then take the shot. On my iPhone, zooming in and refusing produces a sharper image than taking a full res image and cropping after the fact. Here's an example:

    Photo Jan 23, 10 17 20 AM.jpg

    I would avoid the attachable macro lenses for your phone. I have one for my iPhone but it doesn't work well for nibs. You have to get so close to the subject, that I actually couldn't get all of that Vac in the frame. The depth of field is nearly nonexistent, which means you'll have a hard time getting the entire nib in focus, and the images are pretty soft around the edges.

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    Jon Szanto (January 23rd, 2014), klpeabody (January 23rd, 2014)

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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Here is a pic of the capband on my Parker Vac reticular:


    DSCF1075.JPG


    I took it back in 2010 using a Fuji 100 camera.


    This is a pic of my watch using my Exhibit 4G 003.jpg



    John

    Last edited by pengeezer; January 23rd, 2014 at 03:34 PM.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Thanks again for the good ideas. TBH, one of the reasons I'm leaning towards a camera solution, and I think I'll try that macro lens idea, is the ability to mount the camera on a tripod for a steady shot. I'd love to think that age isn't having an effect on my neuro-muscular systems, but that would be wrong. That said, I am also going to cobble a phone-mount setup for a small tripod and experiment with the phone cam as well. My intention, also, is to build an inexpensive light box this spring.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Don't get me started on light boxes...
    Fountain Pen Sith Lord | Daakusaido | inktronics blog | Twitter | Instagram

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Don't get me started on light boxes...
    Don't dare me!
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member cwent2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Don't get me started on light boxes...
    Don't dare me!
    He didn't - Can I?
    Cw



    “Life is short, Break the Rules.
    Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
    Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
    And never regret ANYTHING
    That makes you smile.”
    ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Quote Originally Posted by cwent2 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Don't get me started on light boxes...
    Don't dare me!
    He didn't - Can I?
    Any time someone tells me not to do something, I consider the gauntlet thrown down. And, yes, you may.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member AndyT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Jon, if you go for a camera the good news is that the small sensors in compacts often excel at macro photography. Add a tripod and the results can be very good indeed. The cowrie shell below is a little less that 3/4" long, and the picture is uncropped.

    cowrie.jpg

    I took that with a Panasonic TZ10, and the original resolution was 4000x3000 - this is the low quality version for upload purposes, of course. You shouldn't have much trouble picking up a camera like that for under $100 secondhand now, and even very modest compacts can work well provided you get the lighting right and don't skimp on the tripod.

    Lightboxes? Loathe them, but it's a straightforward matter to lash one together.

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    Senior Member cwent2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Thank You - sort of explains why when my father told me not to join the Air Force or buy the house I live in - I ended up retired from the Air Force and own this house.

    Oh please Mr don't get Krazy Ivan started on light boxes.
    Cw



    “Life is short, Break the Rules.
    Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
    Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
    And never regret ANYTHING
    That makes you smile.”
    ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
    Ok, that scared the living shit out of me when it scrolled up! Thanks for the tips, Andy.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member jde's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Quote Originally Posted by CS388 View Post

    You may know of this already, but, you can use 'lenses' from old CD and DVD players (including DVD-rom players from old computers).
    What a scathingly, brilliant idea! Wow... gonna go see what's in the basement waiting to go to the electronic recycling place.

    Jon, I was going to suggest checking out PhotoJoJo for a macro lens for your Android device. I've got the macro lens band but there are better options as well (even though Dan doesn't recommend 'em).

    Then again, you should all be skeptical that I've posted in this thread. I have no business discussing photography!
    Last edited by jde; January 25th, 2014 at 06:16 PM.

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    Junior Member Massaya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Hi, Reading all this, maybe a light box is my answer!!! I have a great camera with micro, but I am having a problem with lighting. Is a light box the answer or is there another.?
    " To hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour" Blake

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    Default Re: Camera Recommendations - Macro Use

    Quote Originally Posted by Massaya View Post
    Hi, Reading all this, maybe a light box is my answer!!! I have a great camera with micro, but I am having a problem with lighting. Is a light box the answer or is there another.?
    Generous window light + a reflector is my recommendation. I don't understand the internet obsession with light boxes. I've had more than a few students ask about them but in all my years have never come across any legitimate source recommending them. I have no idea where it came from. For a reflector anything white (or silver) will do, like poster board or foam core. Or you can do what we pros do and pick up some collapsable sunshades (used for car windows) for a couple bucks at a drugstore.

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