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Monday, 14 January 2013

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Easy. Fujifilm X10. Has an outstanding super macro capability of as close as 1 cm, and an excellent, sharp, fast, lens.

Panasonic LX-(3,5,7,etc)

Mike,

My other hobby is woodworking - especially speaker building. I use an Olympus XZ-1 with its custom function set to macro for most of my shop work. My lights are the fluorescents in the shop corners plus a few clamp-on reflectors with CFL bulbs of dubious color temperature.

I'm obviously not trying for anything of commercial quality on the photos, but this little Olympus does a remarkable job with close ups and medium shots on that setting.

Here's one close-up that shows the shallow DOF performance...

http://www.ohio.edu/people/schneidw/audio/images/lx521_800px/lx521_biscuits_woofbox-45-800px.jpg

A recent build log (ongoing) with many different pictures taken with the Olympus XZ-1 are here:

http://www.ohio.edu/people/schneidw/audio/lx521.html

It has a hot shoe that should work with the Nikon adapter. I have also seen them within the past month on closeout at $200.

Bill Schneider

I have been using a Canon G9 for ebay auctions. It works well. Has close focus and manual focus, and used it should be affordable. I do believe it has a slightly larger sensor though.

I use the Canon G10 with my Nikon flashes when I'm shooting on location for live blogging events and I need a macro function. I even use the flashes, dare I say it, in auto mode. There, I said it.

Have you played with the macro mode on the Fuji X10? It's surprisingly good.

All small-sensor compacts have tremendous macro capabilities, at least at the wide end of their zoom range, so what you're looking for is a compact with a hotshoe. There are many choices, my personal favorite is the Canon G11 (or the near-identical G12), which, on top of fulfilling all your requirements, offers a very useful tilt/swivel screen and great ergonomics (to my taste at least...)

Pentax Q!

With a suitable lens can do very nice macro, see examples here:

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-q/194467-pentax-q-real-world-user-review.html

Get the kit with the normal (47 equiv) prime lens and K mount adapter, and you are set. You will love this little cam!

For 2013 Pentax also promised to release dedicate tele macro prime:

http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/Q10-4797/highres/pentax-q-lens-roadmap-photokina-2012_1348211462.jpg

They also have just released a f/2.8 constant tele zoom with quite long reach (and it is still tiny!)

Hi Mike,

you might want to check out the Canon G12 which has a hotshoe, I got one for my better half last christmas as it focuses down to 1 cm.
some examples of hers;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35905801@N03/

Hi Mike,

I have used a Panasonic Lumix LX3 for a few years for this type of work, and if that were to fail I'd look at its successor the LX7. With these cameras you can get very nice close-up-in-context style pictures. This does mean that you have to work at the wide angle end of the zoom range, which is the equivalent of 24mm in 35mm film terms. I love this because it 'bignifies' small objects, but might not be you cup of tea. The LX cameras have a hotshoe and you can get several compatible flash units or use the AS15 unit.

Here are a couple of examples -

http://www.grahamdew.com/photo_7731198.html#photos_id=7731225

http://www.grahamdew.com/photo_7727046.html#photos_id=7727106

I'll third the recommendation for the X10 and throw in a reminder about the new X20.

I'll also second the recommendation for the LX7, which has just replaced the X10 in my purse and makes absolutely gorgeous files.

I have Canon S95 and XZ-1. For most things, XZ-1 takes the cake, specially in macro. It is also very cheap now a days.

My Panasonic LX-3 is a wonderful macro maker. And it has photographers' controls!

If you are trying to use a flash for small object photography, most small sensor digicams will be difficult to work with - they require you to work so close to the object that they shade the object with the lens - look for one that offers macro at the long end of the zoom.
I used to use a Minolta Dimage 7i for macro photography, and the macro was at the 200mm-equivalent end of the zoom - it's nice to be able to fill the frame with a stamp with the lens 8 inches from the stamp - plenty of room for using a flash.

fuji x10/20 with closeup filters.

is it the only small sensor digicam with a filter thread? why do camera companies make it so hard?

I used to have a Canon G9 that I sometimes used for macro work, either without flash or using off-camera flash via a flash cable. It was rather imprecise because I found it difficult to focus the camera using the rear screen (and the 60% viewfinder was hopeless). When I got the focus right the results were good, but achieving critical focus was largely a matter of luck. If I wanted to use a small camera for macro these days I'd look for one with an electronic viewfinder.

On the other hand, I was usually working outdoors in bright daylight. If you are planning indoor use under better-controlled conditions perhaps that style of camera would be OK.

Just curious, but why specify the sensor's size? You still have an m43 body, and a macro lens can be had for less than the cost of a high end P&S and then sold on to recoup most of the investment.

I'm assuming you want to use the AS-15 to fire your studio strobes. Any camera with a hot shoe should work. On the Canon G9, I've taped over one of the contacts, leaving the big central one to fire my Nikon flashes, so that should work with your strobes. Done in manual; after a while it becomes very quick to adjust the camera and lights. Don't need no steenkin auto flash.

Strobist tricks, by the way.

You may need the Way Back machine to find one but the Coolpix 4500 twisty body has a great macro lens, and a light ring for the lens can be had as well. For web work you can't beat it. Also has a power adapter and even a slide copier! I'd sell you mine but, you know, I'm using it. There's even a hack available to make it spit out RAW files!

Has a PC plug... no hot shoe.

If you'd consider a different flash shoe adapter, a used Minolta A2 would do a nice job - often available on Ebay. The built in zoom lens is very good and has a macro setting. I've taken many many pictures with mine, including macro shots, and was always very happy with it.

Nikon 990, yea, really. 3 megapixels is more than enough, about 5 times more than you need for the web, has a flash connector. Easy to use format with the swivel format. Only problem is good luck finding one in even decent condition. I had 5 of these at one point, all eventually had the same failure, the main control dial became erratic. But hea, given what you noted as your requirements, this would work extremely well and if you could, you could probably buy one for about $25. :)

On second thought, why not just use your phone? Most smart phones have great macro capabilities, and you can even get crazy and buy macro adapters for phones. Only issue is the flash, but if the Nikon 15 has a slave mode, and you have a iPhone 4s or other model with a led flash, it should trigger the big flash. Might take quite a bit of trail and error to get a good setting, but, it might be a solution that will cost you even less that $25 :)

> fuji x10/20 with closeup filters. is it the only small sensor digicam with a filter thread?

no, it isn't. the Pentax Q lenses have filter threads of size 40.5mm (much more standard than the 40mm of the x10)

Pentax Q also has focus peaking, which could be critical with macro/tele.

And image stabilization for all lenses, as sensor based shake reduction is built into the body! For K-mount lenses you can even specify the actual focal length to opimize shake reduction.

The sensor size is a whisker larger than 2/3", but the G12 is very good for this purpose (depending on the size of your "small" objects).

The flippy screen and level are a great help for macro jobs, and you can get a cheap cable release on Ebay.

Add CHDK and you'll get a live histogram with overexposure flag which is much better than Canon's live histogram. CHDK can also display the zoom setting in mm-e, which is good for repeatability and for the sanity of the lovers of primes.

The Canon SX10 has image quality much inferior to that of the G12 but it can focus on objects that are touching the lens. Naturally IQ takes a hit and there's plenty of barrel distortion.

I've owned a Ricoh GRD 2 and 4 and they're both great for macro, with the caveat that there's no zoom so you're always at 28mm. The GR has a hot shoe and Ricoh sells a remote shutter release too, if you need one. There's a Ricoh GR Digital Macro group on Flickr which may or may not help with your decision.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/grd-macro/

I use a Canon G11, with the wireless remote flash adapter and two Speedlites. (not sure about Nikon compatibility) I shoot the objects in a small light tent, and the size of the Canon and articulated screen makes manouevering the camera really easy.

The LX3 did macro very well as I recall, and it and successors are pretty cheap now.

Having actually answered your question, I do wonder if a macro lens for your m43 might be cheaper. Even the LX3 would need processing and downsizing before web use, so it's not like a "lesser" camera would eliminate that step. But my idea of your need is more in my head than details you provided, so this may make no sense at all.

One more vote for the Fuji X10.
It'll do the job, and you'll like the way it feels.

Mike, I agree with the comments about the LX3. I have had one since I started getting into photography as a serious hobby. I recently got my self an OM-D (loving it :P) so if you are interested, I'd be happy to send you my old LX3 - rather have you using it than have it wasted sitting in a drawer.

Not long ago I sold a duplicate copy of the OM Zuiko 50/3.5 macro to a friend (Gene Wilburn on flickr) and has found that lens to do really well on the OM-D. Not fast, but that hasn't been an issue AFAIK. Might work for you, seeing as you already have the OM-D.

That Pany G3 and an old Canikon macro.....

What about the Pentax Q/Q10? With an adapter and a macro lens I don't think you can get better macro than that...

@ Graham: 'bignifies'

Surely you means 'embiggens"? : ]

FWIW, LED lights are really nice to use for macro/close-up work

It seem people measure the focusing distance from the from end of the lens these days.

Very strange habit, if I may say so.Earlier, when everything was much better, we measured form the film plane

Hello Mike:
As detailed above (in the reply stream) there are many cameras that fit your requirements.

I have the Panasonic LX7. The close-up capability is quite good and there are Many other features that I like about this camera.

I don't have any Nikon flashes, but, the LX7 hot-shoe works with my Pocket Wizards, Sunpaks and Vivitars (without modifying my LX7 hot-shoe).

The LX7 also uses the same, external electronic, viewfinder as the DMC GX-1. Of course, the viewfinder and the flash cannot be used at the same time, but, since you have the DMC GX-1 with that viewfinder, that is something to think about.

On the downside, the the LX7 batteries and filtre adapter are still "out of stock" at B&H. A spare battery is essential for prolonged shooting with this camera.

Cheers! Jay

I'm perfectly happy with my old Canon G10 and Panasonic LX5 and I guess either or both would work for your purposes. Both have good macro ability and hot shoes.

Although I don't own one, a better choice might be the Nikon P7100 at about $300 new. That would likely be fully compatible with Nikon flash equipment.

As several others have, I'd say the Fuji X10; I use it and it does the trick; the piece is a joy to use, too.
Or, if you prefer to look backwards with an open mind, free from MP-race strains, what about the Oly 5050-Z? It should be going reasonably cheap on the net now, and it ain't easy to beat that lens, man, I asure you.

Really, the D800 is all you need. I use my D300 plenty for product shots too; DOF isn't really an issue unless I'm taking details of a product.

The short answer is that a G12 or FZ150 would be plenty adequate for blog photography. That's what I use all the time for my weekly blog. As you know, small sensors generally mean big DOF.

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