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Beginners thoughts  a little help needed.
HelloI am totally new, in the digitally photo world..

I have been fascinated by macro photographing for a while, and now I want to experiment with it myself..

I considered buying a new compact cam, because the idea of a huge dslr doesnt really appeal to me, and I dont want to spend a lot of money, if I come to the conclusion that photographing isnt really me..

My demands to a camera, or, my primary usage, will be macro photographing, bugs, flowers etc. And holiday pictures, parties etc. Again, a compact camera is the good solution, because it fits in a pocket..

I looked at some different cameras, mostly Canon Ixus 950 IS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3. My dad has knowledge of the canon, and they are generally easy to go to. But think that the Panasonic is slightly better; because of the 10x optical zoom (I guess this is useful for macro?)..

But after a bit of thinking, I think that it will be a total waste of money. My girlfriend has a Canon Ixus I Zoom, http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_sd30.aspSo I guess that this camera will be my experimenting and learning camera, where I can get some experience, both in photographing and digital editing. And then, if I get caught by this hobby, I can buy some better equipment. Maybe a dslr, (if I get caught, and want to take this to a higher level, I will be more likely to live with the bigger cam, to get the perfect photo. The perfect photo isnt essential in the beginning; it is more a learning phase.)..

How does this plan sound? Is it total ridiculous, and should be reconsidered, or does it make sense?.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it is s whole new world for me. So are there some tutorials or guides on the internet, where I can get into this world? To get experience, in both photographing and editing..

Which programs is essential for editing? What do I need? Photoshop or Gimp? And anything else?.

And finally, anything I have forgotten, that I should consider?.

Thanks in advance,Christian Hyldager..

Comments (12)

Yes, start and learn on your girlfriend's camera..

Yes, get Photoshop Elements 6.0 (PSE6)..

Small cameras, like the one your girlfriend has have advantages where macrophotography is concerned. Small sensors => short focal length (FL) => big depth of field (DOF). With a dSLR, you will struggle to get everything in focus. They do GREAT on 2-dimensional (2D) objects, but an insect is a difficult subject for a dSLR. You end up with very small apertures, long exposure times, and high light levels..

Another issue is "working distance"...this is the distance from the front lens element to the subject. In many small cameras, this distance is miniscule. I have seen a few cameras where the subject was actually touching the lens! Needless to say, this is NOT a good location for the subject, as getting light on it is basically impossible!.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #1

I am totally new, in the digitally photo world.I have been fascinated by macro photographing for a while, and now Iwant to experiment with it myself.I looked at some different cameras, mostly Canon Ixus 950 IS andPanasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3. My dad has knowledge of the canon, and theyare generally easy to go to. But think that the Panasonic is slightlybetter; because of the 10x optical zoom (I guess this is useful formacro?)..

Most compact cameras more or less force you to use full wide angle in macro mode, so the 10x zoom may be the opposite of useful for macro..

Canon Ixus I Zoom... will be my experimenting and learning camera,where I can get some experience, both in photographing and digital.

Editing. And then, if I get caught by this hobby... How does this plan sound? Is >it total ridiculous, and should bereconsidered, or does it make sense?.

Well, try it and see what happens. The problem is that if your camera is only so-so at macro, you'll soon tire of it because it doesn't get you what you want..

You could have a look at an inexpensive camera like a Canon A570IS, which gets in very close and has manual exposure so you can play around with depth of field and so on. Some of the Canon A Series cams let you add extra lenses, like close up lenses, so check those out. Not sure if the A570 has this..

Which programs is essential for editing? What do I need? Photoshop orGimp? And anything else?.

Photoshop Elements until you're really serious or can get the full Photoshop without the full price..

The main thing you need for macro work is lots of patience and to not mind lying on the ground!.

Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #2

Andrew Butterfield wrote:.

I am totally new, in the digitally photo world.I have been fascinated by macro photographing for a while, and now Iwant to experiment with it myself.I looked at some different cameras, mostly Canon Ixus 950 IS andPanasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3. My dad has knowledge of the canon, and theyare generally easy to go to. But think that the Panasonic is slightlybetter; because of the 10x optical zoom (I guess this is useful formacro?)..

Most compact cameras more or less force you to use full wide angle inmacro mode, so the 10x zoom may be the opposite of useful for macro..

Canon Ixus I Zoom... will be my experimenting and learning camera,where I can get some experience, both in photographing and digital.

Editing. And then, if I get caught by this hobby... How does this plan sound? Is >it total ridiculous, and should bereconsidered, or does it make sense?.

Well, try it and see what happens. The problem is that if your camerais only so-so at macro, you'll soon tire of it because it doesn't getyou what you want..

I think you ought to just start with what you have too..

You could have a look at an inexpensive camera like a Canon A570IS,which gets in very close and has manual exposure so you can playaround with depth of field and so on. Some of the Canon A Series camslet you add extra lenses, like close up lenses, so check those out.Not sure if the A570 has this..

I have the a570 and really like it but I think if I were purchasing today I'd choose the slightly more expensive a720 for the better lens. Take a look at the camera database section of this website. The specs for each camera include the macro focus range which might be of interest to you.http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_a720is.asp.

Which programs is essential for editing? What do I need? Photoshop orGimp? And anything else?.

I was recently looking for processing/editing software and found in searching this topic in the forums there is no consensus on what is best or essential. Everyone seems to have a favorite or software that works best for their needs. I did find general agreement on Photoshop (CS2 or 3) being overkill for a beginner besides being expsensive and a steep learning curve. I'd recommend you start with freeware first such as Picasa, GIMP or others. If you want to purchase software many of them allow a 30 day free trial..

Photoshop Elements until you're really serious or can get the fullPhotoshop without the full price..

You can't go wrong with Elements unless your not willing to invest the time the learning curve takes..

The main thing you need for macro work is lots of patience and to notmind lying on the ground!.

Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #3

Thanks for the help, everyone..

I do not understand all the technical terms, but I think I got the essence. .

I don't think I am going to buy a new camera. If I get caught by the hobby, I think I want to buy a dslr, instead of something in between. I will use my girlfriends, for everyday use, and sometimes I will be able to borrow my dads, he has the 720IS..

Regarding software, I already have Photoshop CS2, but I never really got into it. Anyone has any guides, to using photoshop cs2 for photo editing?.

How about some guides to beginning with the digital photography, and the technical terms, manual settings instead of auto, etc..

I am really starting from scratch guys, never photographed anything on another mode than auto, and never edited a photograph. ..

Comment #4

Btw, andrew, really like some of your shots. Your macros are really cool, but I would like to be able to get even closer. But I guess that requires a dslr?.

Like this:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #5

This thread has a few recommendations that will get you started.http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=26429807..

Comment #6

Point and Shoots aren't true macro, if you want into the world of macro, you can do it "right" and do it on somewhat of a budget. If you don't get into macro properly, it will be easy to be discouraged as your photos won't hold up to some of the macro photos you have seen and loved - and yes you can take those with the equipment below I have listed. You will need three things minimally and I would recommend a fourth:.

1) Camera2) Lens3) Tripod4) reflector ring (for flower macro).

You don't need the latest whizz bang items to get you into the game and if your are willing to compromise, you'll be able to take great shots on a budget..

First you want a SLR (noticed I left the D off), so get a used film Canon Rebel, watch eBay until you see a reasonable used one that you can pick up relatively cheaply, lets say $150. You can shoot film and have your film put onto a CD which you then can move to your computer..

Next you need a good macro lens. For the budget minded guy, there is good news - there are no bad macros. Why? Well a macro will show up any flaws very quickly especially when taken down to a 1:1 magnification. The following lens recommendation will give you great image quality and what is perceived as a lousy plastic build. Don't pay attention to the lousy plastic build critique, these lenses keep motoring on even when dropped in the field (but I must confess they do feel cheap). You should be able to pick this lens up for $50 on eBay..

Here is a link to two critiques of the lens:.

Http://www.photographyreview.com/...5mm-primes/vivitar/PRD_84631_3111crx.aspx.

Http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/327/cat/48.

For some macro work (flowers in particular), you will want a quality tripod. Again keep your eyes out for a used Manfrotto (Bogen) 055 model with a Manfrotto 168 head (the head is built like a tank) for around $125. You can get away without the tripod for a while. The Manfrotto model is the cheapest of the best. There's an old saying, "buy the cheapest of the best, not the best of the cheapest;" this really applies to tripods..

You may not be into flower macro right away, but eventually most people find themselves drifting in that direction. In fact, flower macro is the best way to get started, getting a feel for the equipment, depth of field issues, wind issues, light issues including shadow problems, etc. Then when you move to shooting insects you have some experience to back you up..

And lastly I use a collapsible ring reflector a lot in flower macro shots, you can use a remote infra red thing ma bobby, to fire the camera while directing the reflector, or you can use a self timer to fire the camera (sitting on a tripod) while directing light with the reflector. I find I use the gold reflector almost exclusively..

Below is a link to one type of ring reflector, I don't use this brand, but wish I had because you can change out the colours of the reflectors:.

Http://www.shopping.com/...Collapsible-Disc-Reflector-Translucent-Silver-Gold.

Good luck..

Comment #7

Why do you want a slr, instead of a dslr?.

The slr is expensive in film, and cost again to get it on a cd. I would really prefer a digital..

But I can understand your point, when you say that I get tired of it, when I can't do it proberly from the beginning. Was one of my concerns also. But then again, I don't want to use so may money, if I don't really get into it..

So I guess my solution will be playing around with my girlfriends camera, to learn the settings, editing, get some experience, etc..

But I am still missing some good tutorials and guides. Anyone got any links? Can't really find anything usefull in google, or in here. :/..

Comment #8

Sorry, I haven't looked at that thread in a while. Its on aperature. The TheronFamily does a lot of macro so if you check their threads you'll see a lot of macro discussion...

Comment #9

The purpose of my recommendation was to get some one with not a lot of money into macro photography, not the optimal approach, but a budget approach that will yield very good to excellent photographs..

If you don't get prints of your film, but have them developed (taking two or three rolls in at once) and have them scanned to a CD, the cost really won't be that great at any one time. Granted over the years the cost will go up, but by then you will know if macro and (d)slr's are for you. At that point, two pieces of your equipment you can keep using, your tripod and reflector; purchasing a DSLR and a "better" macro lens...

Comment #10

Hyldager wrote:.

Why do you want a slr, instead of a dslr?The slr is expensive in film, and cost again to get it on a cd. Iwould really prefer a digital..

I'd go digital. If you decide it's not for you you can sell it. Much easier to learn with digital because of the instant feedback - you know right away whether what you're doing works or not..

Some cool cats that can use your helphttp://www.wildlife-sanctuary.org.

Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #11

Hyldager wrote:.

Btw, andrew, really like some of your shots..

Thanks..

Your macros are reallycool, but I would like to be able to get even closer. But I guessthat requires a dslr?.

Usually, though some people add close up lenses to point and shoot cameras and get good results..

I don't own a true macro lens, but have extension tubes for my SLR that get me a bit closer..

Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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