Macro Photography - camera advice

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mikeshep, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. mikeshep

    mikeshep TPF Noob!

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    Hi from Mike in Michigan USA.

    I appreciate that i'm jumping into a complex world of options here so i'm hoping you can point me down the shortest path to a simple solution.....

    Here's the deal. Am trying to do finish a rather big project i started last Spring. Have very little time to work on it but it's basically shooting a huge collection of vintage diecast model cars, Macro shots - of each individual model. Started it with a friends Kodak Easy Share - just happened to be what was here and handy. Got a couple hundred done. Camera was cumbersome for me. I am an admitted total amateur on this - but got some good shots with proper lighting, placement with whiteboard backdrop etc. I had to give the camera back as my friend needed the camera back and I just don't have anything else right now.

    What i need is to learn what would be the EASIEST, least complex, and economical - Camera - for this task...one that a non-photographer can very easily understand and use pretty much outta-the-box (point & click simplicity with the simplest learning curve). I can't spend big bucks - and these don't have to be works of art - more a utilitarian task of inventory-taking for this collection - which has hundreds of individual pieces to shoot. I just need good macro detail and something that will get the job done with minimal time investment required.

    I know this is an art form unto itself but again, this is more of an inventory job - photos need to be clean and sufficient for showing the collection in an archive for evaluation etc. I don't know if i'm doing this right but, to give an idea of what i'm shooting, here's a link to some of what i started - posted to Photobucket.
    Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket

    Many thanks for your time reading through all this, and i appreciate any
    help and recommendations!

    Best Regards

    Mike
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would head down to your nearest bicks and mortar camera store and tell them what you want. Pretty much every P&S camera has at least some macro capability, and I think most would be sufficient for what you're doing, BUT there are so many options it's really difficult to suggest a particular one. You might also want to look into an "eBay Studio"; one those inexpensive tents with a couple of lights which are meant for this exact sort of thing.
     
  3. mfer

    mfer TPF Noob!

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    I hope some more experienced photographers can confirm what I'm about to say.

    For a studio like environment you are talking about, lighting is going to be VERY important to get those perfect macro shots. So, you'll need a good camera to control all that lighting.

    I don't know what this is on the canon side, but for Nikon, the D90. Has the commander mode for lighting and a huge sensor to make some really good shots and plenty of room to crop. I also love the
    AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

    Get some sb-600's (yes, more than one, at least 2) and some good light boxes/umbrellas and you'll be on a good start. Really read "The strobist" (just google it).

    This is what I would buy today if I had the money!

    Good luck.
     
  4. vtf

    vtf No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. Stormchase

    Stormchase No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I saw your Photobucket link. Not sure if you are really wanting to step up the game or not. If you go point and shoot there are some pretty impressive setups you can get to pull of good macros. They have small adapters you can put on the front of them and add a little macro lens. At the scale you are looking at already. Nikon and canon both have nice compacts that are real easy to use just by turning the dial to macro and shooting away. you mentioned EASY! Not sure on the size of the cars but they look about 2.5 3.0 inches? P&S should do ok for that. If you want to step up the game a bit you could look into DSLR setups and a small studio for this project. You will also be looking at 400 bucks for a P&S up to thousands to get top quality. For DSLR you could get an entry level camera body from canon or nikon as well as others but.. for maybe $300 (body) and invest in a cheap used macro lens. that might be running you 200+ (used) as well so you could get into a DSLR setup for around 500-600. That would be my suggestion. Then you can expand if you like photography wich a P&S will only ever be a P&S. If your happy with the lighting you have now, good, but if not thats a whole new price tag to get proper lighting. Im sure for what you are doing right now with lamps a DSLR will give you more consistant resaults. I see your exposures are all over the place right now and a DSLR even a cheap one should look about the same every time if you dont change the settings on it. They do take a little bit to get used to but well worth a couple days to figure it out and start takeing your shots again. Either way weather you go with a point and shoot or DSLR get a tripod. You will not need anyhting pricey but atleast get a cheapy one for your clearity.
    Hope it helps.
     
  6. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Go to google or whatever search engine you use. Type in "point and shoot", "macro".

    Sift through the results and based on your input above, choose one of the cameras you find. The only reason I see this as being somewhat difficult will be the large number of cameras you will see that match your needs.
    The $$ amount is relative to what you consider your range to spend.


    You may want to consider a bean bag (or an inexpensive tabletop tripod - there are many to choose from) to steady the camera and keep consistant angles.
     
  7. mikeshep

    mikeshep TPF Noob!

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    Hi Stormchase, yep, no doubt if you look at the Pbucket gallery you'll see i'm definitely just stumbling through this process without much consistency and, little to no background for this project. Honestly, i'd farm it out to somebody who knows what they're doing but i don't have the budget for it and again, it doesn't have to be perfection, by any means...
    What's on the gallery is literally my first experimentation with this and not all the shots would by any means necessarily be final choices -- really just a reflection of amateur experimenting around with different settings and a make-shift lighting/backdrop. Appreciate your giving them a look. Pricewise, what you describe is kinda out of my league so i think i'll be making some compromises in the end but in any event, again, thanks to you and others for giving me a better idea of what all is involved to try to do it right!
     
  8. mikeshep

    mikeshep TPF Noob!

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