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doch
08-27-2011, 06:01 PM
I'm in the market for a new camera, and I want something that I can take good pics, very close up. I want to be able to take the kind of pics that really show off the colors of corals right up close. Can this be done with a point and shoot, or do I need something with replacable lenses?

doch
08-28-2011, 05:09 PM
Anybody?

mike31154
08-28-2011, 05:17 PM
Point & shoot are limited in their ability to provide good quality macro shots. For the best close ups you'll want a camera that can be fitted with a specialized macro lens, so yes, one with interchangeable lenses. This type of camera/lens will also allow you more options to limit the field of view and focus on the subject, keeping the background & surroundings more subdued. You're looking at minimum $600 for something decent, or look for a used one to save some bucks. Often there are folks with plenty of disposable income that are looking to sell a very good quality SLR in order to upgrade to the latest/greatest. If money is no object, then there's no point in even considering a point & click.

sphelps
08-28-2011, 07:52 PM
Depends on your budget, many people do have success with P&S but the DSLR route really is better but it does come with a price. How much are you looking to spend?

doch
08-28-2011, 08:24 PM
Yeah, I kind of figured that would be the case, but I was hoping that somebody out there was having success with a good point and shoot... ideally one that can go under water.

I haven't set a budget yet... I just want to get some ideas first and go from there. $600 doesn't scare me... but I don't know if I'd want to go much higher than that.

Here's the next question: Being that I know nothing about the tech behind photography, will I be OK to start with a DSLR? They seem pretty advanced from the few times that I've played with them. Would I be smart to take a photography class?

Starry
08-29-2011, 07:03 AM
Ive found my sony cybershot dsc-tx10 to take pretty good macros, and its submersable. also takes HD video. pretty sure i have some pics i took with it in my gallery

Blom
08-29-2011, 02:04 PM
doch, Ive had my DSLR for close to 2 years now and to be honest I still dont know all that much about using it. To be fair I dont use it as much as I should, nor have I spent to much time reading up on it. That being said the picture quality is unreal and I wouldn't want to snap pictures with anything else.

Blom
08-29-2011, 02:40 PM
Sorry forgot to mention the camera lol. It is an Olympus E-620. I know a few years ago it was over $1000 but I have noticed that the price of DSLR cameras has come way down. You can pick up a Canon EOS Rebel T3 for just over 500 bucks now from bestbuy.

StirCrazy
08-29-2011, 03:22 PM
take a look at the cannon EOS series, I have the 12.something MP one and an very impressed with it but I did spend close to 8 to 900.00 but it came with two lense and such. doe 750 costco has the 15.something mp with a external flash bag ect but no extra lense, which you would have to look at buying anyways with any DLSR for good macro stuff.

some people like the nikon also I don't know much about it though...

Steve

sphelps
08-29-2011, 03:29 PM
It'll almost be easier to use a DSLR these days compared to a P&S. Take a look at the entry level nikons, the D3100 for example sells for $600 with a lens and this camera can take great pictures on it's own with all it's auto features. Plus it has a built in guide to teach you more advanced features. Just keep in mind that this camera will need AF-I and AF-S lenses unless you want to focus manually, probably not a big deal as all new lenses are but if you're looking to save a few bucks by using the older style then that's something to consider.

syncro
08-29-2011, 05:16 PM
Some random ideas:

I haven't done much aquarium photography but I've found the point and shoots get great pictures when lots of light is available. They are usually pretty good with close up macro shots. I suspect with aquarium glass you will want manual focus controls though which almost all point and shoots are terrible at.

- the Canon Gxxx "pro" point-and-shoot line might have the manual controls you want but doesn't have the large sensor of the DSLRs wiith interchangable lenses

- the micro 4/3s system from Panasonic / Olympus gets you interchangable lenses (some really nice ones too) in a small package

- The Camera Store in Calgary will rent out cameras and lenses so you can try them

- Try the Camera Finder on Flickr to see what is possible. Pick a camera then search for aquarium-type keywords. For example, here are some decent pics from an iPhone: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=clownfish&cm=apple%2Fiphone_4

Some good sites for research:
www.cameralabs.com (more practical, good comparisons)
www.dpreview.com (more technical)

Slick Fork
08-29-2011, 05:18 PM
Take a look at all the various DSLR options out there. Try them all out and see which one has the most features for the money and feels the best in your hands. If you're comparing in the same price points the image quality betweek a Sony, Nikkon, and Canon will be negligible. Especially between Sony and Nikkon as Sony makes the image sensors for all the Nikkon cameras. You will find that lens selection impacts image quality more then camera brand.

I would recommend getting something in the 12-16mp range. I shoot with a Sony a55 and am thrilled with it.

www.dpreview.com is full of camera reviews.

sphelps
08-29-2011, 06:57 PM
While sony does make nikon sensors keep in mind that doesn't mean sony and nikon sensors are the same. Sony makes sensors for many other companies but they make them based on the other manufactures designs and specifications. You'll notice from reveiws and tests Nikon sensors will usually score higher than Sony.
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings
In addition a sensor makes little difference between comparable cameras, it's the lens and the software within that really make the image.

For DSLR I would go either Nikon or Canon, your lens quality, selection, new and used availability will be far superior over other brands.

Slick Fork
08-29-2011, 07:19 PM
While sony does make nikon sensors keep in mind that doesn't mean sony and nikon sensors are the same. Sony makes sensors for many other companies but they make them based on the other manufactures designs and specifications. In addition a sensor makes little difference between comparable cameras, it's the lens and the software within that really make the image.

For DSLR I would go either Nikon or Canon, your lens quality, selection, new and used availability will be far superior over other brands.

Actually, it does mean the sensors are the same. The software is different, and if you shoot raw even that's a bit of a moot point, but the sensor in my a55 is the exact same sensor that goes into the comparable Nikon (model is escaping me atm). The sensor that went into my a100 was the exact sensor Nikon used in the d80.

As far as brand new lens selection, sony has just as much high-quality glass as anybody else in their Zeiss and "g" series lenses. I would put any of the high end Sony lenses against anything Canon and Nikon put out. An added bonus is the Sony anti-shake technology is built into the camera and not the lens meaning that I can take any old Minolta AF lens and get the benefit of the anti-shake technology. It also means I'm not paying for anti-shake technology every time I buy a new lens. I will concede that used Sony/Minolta lenses are tough to find in Alberta, but seem to be plentiful in Ontario and the U.S.

Anyways, I don't want to derail this with a camera brand ****ing contest but I hate the snobbery that seems to ooze from Canon/Nikon owners any time you mention Sony.

Take the advice mentioned above, go to a site like flickr and search for the various cameras you are interested in to get a feel for what's possible with these cameras as far as image quality goes. Check out a site like DPreview.com to get reviews. Don't discount Sony because Nikon and Canon owners don't like it, and don't discount the others because I have a Sony and feel that it's the best value for my dollar out there. Finally, come up with your top camera in each brand and go to The Camera Store in Calgary or a similar place and TRY each camera out. See how it feels in your hands and compare the feature set. Make sure you're comparing apples to apples though... it's not a valid comparison if you are looking at a $4000 Canon, a $2000 Sony, and a $600 Nikon!

sphelps
08-29-2011, 07:43 PM
While some might be the same I said it doesn't mean they are the same, some are are and some are not.... And again this is typical in a large selection of brands.

Regardless my points are valid and I have no problem with Sony products but you simply won't find the same quality and selection in Sony DSLR products. For example the nikkor 105 is rated higher than the sony 85. The sony 85 is a good lens no doubt but the sigma 85 is the same and available for nikon and canon. A matching 105 is not available for sony. The same could be said for many nikon, sony and canon lenses when compared (http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Ratings). You'll notice a limited selection of Sony lenses in the top of the charts.
Then look at the used availability for lenses, you'll have much more luck finding decent deals on used nikon or canon compared to sony.

This was my only point, any "snobbery" definitely didn't come from me... However I will add there's a reason why the two highest rated SLR companies use lens stabilizers.

Slick Fork
08-29-2011, 07:56 PM
While some might be the same I said it doesn't mean they are the same, some are are and some are not.... And again this is typical in a large selection of brands.

Regardless my points are valid and I have no problem with Sony products but you simply won't find the same quality and selection in Sony DSLR products. For example the nikkor 105 is rated higher than the sony 85. The sony 85 is a good lens no doubt but the sigma 85 is the same and available for nikon and canon. A matching 105 is not available for sony. The same could be said for many nikon and canon lenses. Then look at the used availability for lenses, you'll have much more luck finding decent deals on used nikon or canon compared to sony.

This was my only point, any "snobbery" definitely didn't come from me...

They both score in "excellent range". The sony lens is faster and I would guess that you wouldn't notice a difference unless you were pixel peeping. Also, the Nikon camera body tested on retails at over double the cost of the Sony body they tested their lens on. (D3X -$7500, A900 ~$3000). I would hope the Nikkor scored better

I feel, in my biased Sony owning opinion that if you compare the value you get for spending X amount of dollars on Sony products with anybody else you get the best bang for your buck.

Anyways, we're derailing this thread. My big issue was with your recommendation to ignore the Sony line-up. I feel the OP should pick the most appealing camera from each brand and see how the feature list adds up and how they feel in his/her hands. I liked the Canons as well, but hated the way they felt in my hands and that's something only the purchaser can decide.

doch
08-29-2011, 08:19 PM
What about something like this...

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0035LBRJO/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_d0_g23_i1?pf_rd_m=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQ B&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0Z4RNBJBA46XQFYWF35G&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=463383511&pf_rd_i=915398

Slick Fork
08-29-2011, 09:18 PM
Don't know much about the olympus cameras. I would see what they have available as far as a lens selection goes before buying it.

sphelps
08-29-2011, 10:57 PM
What about something like this...

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0035LBRJO/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_d0_g23_i1?pf_rd_m=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQ B&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0Z4RNBJBA46XQFYWF35G&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=463383511&pf_rd_i=915398

Honestly if your budget is $600 then use your budget, if it's $350 just being up front about it will allow people to actually make recommendations you can use. A P&S with interchangeable lenses in no way compares to an actual DSLR, IMO it's more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. If you're looking a simple point and shoot the canon g series are nice and if you're looking for something cheaper the S95 or something along those lines is suppose to be similar or the same, so I've been told anyway.

If you're looking for very close up quality get an actual DSLR which will allow you at least to upgrade to nice lenses in the future. You can't do this with a P&S, with or without "interchangeable lenses"
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a174/sphelps/Tort.jpg

Lampshade
08-29-2011, 11:11 PM
I have an Olympus E520 DSLR, with the 4/3 mount. the camera above has the micro 4/3. lots of lenses around, and 4/3's is adaptable to almost anthing with a cheap adapter. $50+ in stores, $10 on ebay. It's adaptable because of something with the focal point being shorter than most camera's. I love my DSLR, but have a kodak point and shoot that's seen more picture due to ease of use(More so the pocket size), and because of that, has seen some better pictures.

doch
08-29-2011, 11:40 PM
I've had a little bit of time to look at a few cameras on line today, and to be honest, the main reason that I lean towards something that is point and shoot is for simplicity. My wife has a good point and shoot, and I have one that is kind of hit and miss (which makes me question my camera using skills - it's a sony, btw). We already have cameras, and I don't know a whole lot about photography (most of what I read today sounds like german). As such, I worry that if I spent $600+ on a DSLR, and then lenses on top of that, I wouldn't understand how to properly use it, and I'd end up with a dust collector. Even with my ~$400 Sony, I don't know what most of the settings in the camera mean. I end up getting crappy pictues quite often and question if I should be mad at the camera, or take a class.

One thing that I know for sure, is that neither of the cameras that we have take very good close up pictures. I prefer to use my cell phone over my sony... this to me is pretty sad.

I do want an SLR, but as stated, I worry about understanding it. I wonder if I could request a photography class for my birthday...? Would that be a good approach?

doch
08-29-2011, 11:42 PM
Oh, and BTW, I'm in the preliminary thinking/planning/budgeting phase, so I have not set a budget yet. Like I had said earlier, $600 doesn't bother me all too much, but I'd prefer to stay around that mark all included (lenses, case, etc). A little bit more than that is not so bad... but I want to know how to use it.

sphelps
08-30-2011, 12:55 AM
Like I said before take a good look at the Nikon D3100, in your budget with a basic lens that will still take better macros than a standard P&S but this will allow you to later get a nice macro lens to take real macros. It shoots in auto just like a P&S and has a built in guide, you don't need a class to use this camera.

doch
08-30-2011, 02:54 AM
How much is a good macro lens worth? I was looking on kijiji today and there were used lenses for $900!!!!

Slick Fork
08-30-2011, 03:13 AM
If your P&S confuses you... take a photography class. Dropping $600+ on a DSLR and then lenses makes zero sense if you are not interested enough to enjoy learning how to use it properly. Like you said, it would be a dust collector. I know lots of people that have high end DSLR's of all makes that just sit around collecting dust because they would rather slip a P&S in their pocket and go.

If you do decide to look at DSLR's more seriously, the Sony I would recommend is the a35 or the a55. A reasonable macro lense will probably put you back around $500. As Sphelps said, most of the DSLR's out there will let you do everything from extreme manual control to full auto brainless snapping.

mike31154
08-30-2011, 05:52 AM
I've been on the fence for buying a DSLR. Used to be a little more interested in photography back in the 'film' days so I have some background knowledge regarding focus, field of view, shutter settings, etc. Many moons ago I inherited an old Agfa from my dad which had some really cool extra lenses and took very good pictures even though it wasn't an SLR. A lot more care & planning generally went into each shot since you were paying not only for film, but also development. That has since gone to a collector who I'm sure is taking good care of it.

I now have a couple of P&S jobs, already dated by today's standards. The newer one has a macro setting on the dial but it's still a challenge to get a decent close up shot of anything inside my tank. The glass seems to play havoc with the auto focus and shutter speed settings. It's also too slow to capture any kind of movement, so many of my photos are blurry. I really think this is where a DSLR can shine if you take a little time to get to know it and have the proper lens. On the other hand, a submersible P&S may work very well also, since you're not trying to focus on the subject through the glass, but I have no experience with submersible cameras, so I'm just ruminating.

I reckon if you're going to shell out the bucks for a DSLR, there will be some incentive to learn how to use it. If you do find it might become a dust collector, put up for sale online and I might take it off your hands....

One more thing. A friend of mine has both DSLR and P&S which he brings on the backcountry ski trips we go on. The P&S sees much more use than the DSLR on these trips due to ease of use, compact size. Needless to say, when you're out in the boonies & it's cold, it's a lot easier to pull out the P&S and click away. But when Glenn does pull out the DSLR, the results have no comparison with any of the P&S shots. We had a professional photographer on one of our trips and she climbed & skied all day with a DSLR hanging around her neck, very impressive, but that's what she does for a living. Another ski buddy still brings along an SLR film camera. Anyhow, these are somewhat extreme conditions and I still think that if you want great macro shots of your livestock, a DSLR with macro lens is the way to go. Learn how to use it and you will be rewarded.

doch
08-31-2011, 03:00 AM
Well, I have unofficially decided against an SLR. I did a little research and looking at what can be done with the bigger p&s, and I'm thinking that for what I want to do, they'll work just fine. There are some fairly decent p&s that have respectable macro. I also borrowed my wife's Panasonic Lumix FH20, went into the basement and took a few shots. Not bad, and it's just a regular pocket sized point and shoot.

I'll have to go in and check them out in person, but I'm confident that I'll find something that I like in the range of $300-$500. Without actually looking in store, I'm looking at something like these:

http://estore.canon.ca/eStore/product?pid=4812&

https://panasonic.ca/english/audiovideo/camerascamcorders/digitalstill/DMCFZ47.asp

http://store.sony.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=20153&catalogId=100803&langId=200&productId=8198552921666297852

http://en.nikon.ca/Nikon-Products/Product/Compact-Digital-Cameras/26257/COOLPIX-P500.html

From the reading that I've done, the Nikon sounds the best, and is at the top of the list, but we'll see.

The main reason for this decision is the $500 price tag on a macro lens. Add that to the price of the camera, and it's more than I want to spend... for something that may not end up being used to it's full potential.