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Author Topic: What is the best P&S camera for macro ?  (Read 5563 times)
luong
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« on: October 31, 2007, 07:28:42 PM »
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I have been on the look for a P&S camera with excellent macro capabilities for my wife to photograph miniature orchids.

I was told about the "super-macro" capability of the Canon S5, whose lens can focus to a minimum distance of 0. Unfortunately, focusing distance and magnification are not the same thing. Upon opening the box, I shot a transparent ruler againt the lens. It turned out that the frame is filled-up with an area which is about 1.5 inch wide, with awful distortion. I promptly repackaged the camera.

This is a big disappointment, considering that some of the Canon A and G series camera can fill the frame with an area 1 inch wide. The venerable Nikon coolpix 995 does several times better (smaller), but it is a 3MP camera.

So what the current P&S camera with the best macro mode, best being defined as the highest magnification ratio, or the ability to fill the frame with the smallest object ?

By the way, I have noticed that the P&S camera achieve their highest magnification at the wide-angle zoom setting, while the zoom lenses for SLR do so at the tele setting. Any explanation ?
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 07:30:08 PM by luong » Logged

luong
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2007, 12:43:32 PM »
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For the record, found that the Ricoh GX100 goes down to 2cm.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 01:47:37 PM »
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Macro focus on the Canon Powershot G9 (from the Dpreview review):

Macro performance is, unsurprisingly, identical to the G7, with the minimum focus distance at the wide (35mm equiv.) end of the zoom a very impressive 1cm, allowing you to capture an area around an inch across. Of course it's not always practical or desirable to get that close, which is why macro performance at the long end of the zoom is also important. At the 210mm equiv. end of the zoom the G9 can focus down to 50cm, capturing an area just over 10cm across. There is some corner softness at the long end, but distortion is very low.
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Gerald J Skrocki
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luong
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007, 03:09:10 PM »
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The GX100 appears to be better than the G9.   It goes down to 2cm (instead of 2.6cm) at a minimum focusing distance of 4cm (instead of 1cm), and according to DPR has much less distortion.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2007, 06:50:25 PM »
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I guess it's about personal preference. Here are the numbers:

DPreview Ratings: GX100

Detail   Rating (out of 10)
Build quality   8.0
Ergonomics & handling   9.0
Features   8.0
Image quality   7.0
Optics   8.0
Performance (speed)   7.5
Value   5.5
Recommended (just)

DPreview Ratings: G9

Detail   Rating (out of 10)
Build quality   9.5
Ergonomics & handling   8.0
Features   9.5
Image quality   8.0
Optics   8.5
Performance (speed)   8.0
Value   7.5
Highly Recommended (but only just)
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Gerald J Skrocki
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2007, 05:54:06 AM »
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There's the LX-2 with its Leica lens. Not sure of the specs for closeness but it does have a macro lens setting.
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panoak
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2007, 08:23:02 PM »
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First off,  I am decidedly Canon biased, but only because Canon is by far and away the best thing out there.  Looking over the GX-100 specs, DPR doesn't say whether or not it accepts accessory attachments.  We know the Canon G-9 does.  Just add the snap-in threaded barrel, and you can attach Hoya close-up lenses.  I've had good experiences with these.  The G-9 also accepts any Canon speedlight.
     The GX-100 is unique, in that the lens goes down to 24mm, and is relatively fast.  The G-9 is F/2.8~4.8, compared to F/2.5~4.4 for the Ricoh.  DPR says that there is some corner softness with the G-9 at the long end in macro, but distortion is very low.  This tells me that all things considered, the G-9 is the better, and maybe the best camera in class for macro, esp. with the accessory lenses.
     If you do buy a Canon flash, it is compatible with any Canon DSLR, and it shares the same battery with the XTi.  The G-9 is certainly the most complex compact cam, and fully able to back up your DSLR, if you ever opt to get one.
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