I think everybody on the boards that knows me know that I am a hike first, photograph second kind of guy. They also know that I am big into the macro (Actually, to a retired chemist macro means large and micro means small. To a photog macro is small!) aspects of hiking ... flowers, mushrooms, insects ...... If it's small and doesn't move (at least not fast) I'll take its photo and put it on my Flora and Fauna pages. While I'm happy with my little point-and-shot for landscape and forest shots trying to take photos of small objects with it can be a real pain in the a**, "Intelligent Auto-Focus" and all, excuse my French. With my Smurthday and Christmas around the corner I'm considering upgrading to a camera that better fits my needs. Realizing that we are on a fixed income I need to consider economy as part of the selection process. Also, since I'm a hiker first the unit has to be relatively rugged. I think all of the shots I would be considering would be "hand held" and literally taken on the fly, so to speak... not a lot of time for set up as my hiking companions easily out-pace me anyway.
Any suggestions as to what I should be looking at in the way of gear? Costs?
Let me begin by saying that I've never owned a dedicated macro equipment, though I have taken macro shots. Secondly, this might not be what you want to hear, but you can either take snapshots, or photographs. The former is quick/possibly-documentary/not-always-of-top-quality, while the latter is more time-consuming/better-though-not-always-of-top-quality.
Moving on...here are some tips: - Most good quality macro photographs throw the background out of focus, to make the subject more prominent. You do this by getting really close to the subject, and selecting a background that's uncluttered and as far from the subject as possible. - The "getting really close to the subject" I mention above can be achieved by 1) physically getting close to your subject, or 2) using a telephoto lens to virtually get really close to your subject. - Now, the problem with the above is that the closer you get to a subject the harder it gets to maintain focus, because 1) every lens has a minimum close focusing point, 2) the depth of field (i.e. the area in which things are in focus) is quite shallow, 3) even a slight movement of the camera while taking the photo will move the subject quite rapidly, and 4) swaying back and forth, even a little bit, will throw the focus point outside the depth of field. - To fix the above problems, you need to do the following: Use a tripod (I know this is a no-no for you, but maybe you can invest in one of those "gorilla pods") or try and prop your hands/elbows against something (e.g. a tree, the ground) for extra stability. Use a macro lens, which has a really small near-focus distance, with a camera that can mount one, though in this particular case you'll probably want to use a tripod or you'll get motion blur.
Last Edit: Oct 9, 2014 11:25:32 GMT -5 by GaliWalker
One site that lets you do multiple comparisons of equipment is Snapsort. Maybe that will help you.
"Wild country has the power to remind civilized people that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men." - Edward Abbey
Rule number one for traditional flower photography is to take it with the lens parallel to the stem of the flower. To achieve that, I would suggest buying a camera with the articulated screen. This way you don't have to lay down on the ground to see what you are taking a picture of. Buy fully articulated screen, as opposed to only one angle of rotation.
For small camera I would go with the Nikon P7800, which has a little larger sensor than the smallest possible. I call it the Cargo Pants camera. For Shirt Pocket Camera (no articulated screen) S120 from Canon is the best.
For the most versatile camera in terms of focal range, nothing beats Canon SX 60HS. You do sacrifice on quality as the sensor is the smallest one. Not pocketable.
Next step up would be Panasonic DMC-FZ1000. Still larger sensor, closeup capability, wide zoom range. Not pocketable.
Next step up would be to go with the Nikon D5300 or similar Canon plus a Sigma new 18-300 lens, which has macro capability.
After that we are entering the heavy bulky expensive category of prosumer and professional photography...
Also wanted to mention Coolpix AW120 - Waterproof (not in salt water and not deep), shock and cold/heat proof camera. Don't expect great quality there, but a lot of times it makes a difference between a decent shot and no shot at all...
I use micro 4/3 exclusively. For years I have used diopter filters on my main lens with great results (IF you get a good filter) but recently invested in a true macro lens that I'm just starting to fool with. It's an interesting view of the world for sure!