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Recommend me a DSLR with decent macro OOTB
I'll admit I'm a complete amateur when it comes to SLR's. I understand all the terms and how to use one, but I don't have any serious time using one. Saying that, I'm looking to get one because I've gotten back into scale-modelling, and high-quality photos are a staple of this hobby for those looking to display their work online and possibly in magazines..

The main use for the camera will be some normal photography of models, and a lot of macro photography for details on the models. A typical model I'll be shooting is around 5 to 8 inches long, 3 to 5 inches wide. That's the whole model though, so I'll also be needing to photograph very small details on the model as well. Most models I work on are 1/35th scale, so a clamp used to hold a tool on say a full sized tank will be the size of a grain of rice on the model..

Right now I'm thinking out getting the Olympus E-410 or 510, mainly because of it's economical price which includes two different lenses, and the good reviews it's received here. What I need to know is if this camera is what I should be looking at, and if not, some recommendations as to what else would be good. I'm looking to stay in the $600 or less price range right now...

Comments (21)

For the work described you need a decent macro lens; you'll only end up buying cheap and buying twice if you try to use kit lens macros OOTB. And if using the tele end then a tripod is virtually essential when not using flash..

See if you can get a 90mm f2.8 Tamron lens (even a used one) and fit it onto any entry level DSLR with an APS-C sized sensor. Pentax or Sony would both be good as they offer image stabilisation. Specialist Olympus lenses are still quite expensive..

You can get some nice detail with that Tamron lens:.

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Note that this is at ISO 800 and obvioulsy it would be even better with the protective film removed.

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #1

The Oly 35mm macro lens can be had from B&H for $200..

Very nice lens!.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/...47-REG/Olympus_261053_35mm_f_3_5_Macro_ED.html.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

From Oly E-510:.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #2

So the kit lenses won't help with this type of photography..

Either of the Olys would be a good choice as they a have more DOF than larger sensor APS cameras..

The Oly 35 macro is good and inexpensive. The only problem with it is you ahve to get really close, so lighting is more difficult..

A good choice would be one of the Olys and the Sigma 105 macro or a Canon rebel of some sort with the same lens or Canon's 100 macro or the mentioned Tamron 90..

For Nikon you have to go to the D80 to get AF ( not really needed in macro) but useful if you want to use the camera for anything else with the macro lens. Most of the macro lenses make excellent portrait or landscape shots..

Also, with macro the Live View of the Oly's (or one of the others with LC) will come in handy for manual focus..

Gene..

Comment #3

Good info guys!.

After taking a look at some Tamron lenses and just camera bodies, would you guys recommend the aforementioned Tamron 90mm f2.8 DI lens and something like a Nikon D40 body?..

Comment #4

Is lighting. For shooting models you need nice even lighting and non-distracting backgounds. Tripods, polarizers, and remote releases are helpful too. A light tent is a good start for getting even lighting over your models. The polarizer will help shift reflections around to give you the effect you desire most..

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And here's the setup I used to take the above images:http://www.indycals.net/images/WIP/IMG_2279.jpg..

Comment #5

I already use a similar setup for taking pictures, albeit on a smaller scale. Right now though I'm just interested in upgrading my camera...

Comment #6

The 14-42 ED kit lens will focus as close as 1/4 meter and the 40-150 ED lens will focus as close as 0.9 meters. Both are pretty decent lenses. Camera Labs compared the 14-42 favorably against the Leica 14-50 that comes on the Panasonic L1. ht.tp://www.cameralabs.com/features/OlympusE400_Leica1450mm/ (take the dot out of the http) One of them should do what you're looking for..

The 35mm macro is very good for the price and will do 1:1 which is probably too much for the size model you are talking about unless you want to do a detail of a headlight or something. The 50mm f/2 macro is weather sealed and runs about $400. It is very sharp, has a neutral bokeh and doubles as a nice portrait lens... check out some of the portraits Alison makes with it on an E-1 http://forums.dpreview.com/...ms/readflat.asp?forum=1022&message=26538112 ) I really like this lens. It has half the maxiumum magnification of the 35mm macro, but then you aren't talking about photographing the eyes of a dragonfly..

Sigma makes a decently priced 105 and 150mm macro (and Oly will come out with a 100mm macro later this year). I've seen some nice "bug on a flower" shots done with them but they might be more than you'd need for an 8" car model...

Comment #7

Here's one example of the size of some details I may need to photograph at some point. Obviously macro images of stuff this small won't be all that often, but it may be needed from time to time..

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Comment #8

In that case you might want to pick up the EX-25 extension tube. http://www.olympusamerica.com/...ction/lens/dea/products/lens/ex-25/index.asp..

Comment #9

With a 6mp D40 body you will find it easy to get quality detail photos with a macro lens. The annoying problems with macro are shallow Depth of Field and camera shake, but unlike with some bridge cameras you can stand back far enough to keep the tripod and lens out of the directional lighting. It will also help to have some kind of light tent / mini-studio backdrop arrangement..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #10

An interesting idea, but after reading some of the above posts, I may go with the Tamron lens and Nikon body. With the Tamron 90mm f2.8 DI, a compatible extension tube would probably be overkill too, from what I understand (although I could certainly be wrong)...

Comment #11

Those problems are certainly something I'll watch for, but not something I haven't dealt with before. Tripod use will of course be mandatory, and I'll more than likely get a remote exposure control. I also have a mini light tent, with a few fill and bounce lights to get everything bright and even (kind of overkill with my current P&S, but that's me), and will expand to a larger setup now that I'm getting more into the hobby..

The shallow depth of field does concern me, especially since I really haven't had any decent hands on time with an SLR in a macro capacity to see what it's like, but digital doesn't cost anything to mess around with hundreds of test shots. Even if I had to pull way in to take a pic of headlight or even welding beads, just getting that particular subject in focus is fine. I wouldn't expect to get that in focus as well as the whole length of the model I'm photographing..

Anyways, this is definitely cool now that I have some good recommendations for a camera body and macro lens. They both fit within my budget as well, so now I just need to troll around the various sites to find some decent prices. I guess it wouldn't hurt to pick up a book or two to brush up on my SLR skills as well!..

Comment #12

Don't know if you're set on DSLR, but I gotta add that I love my Panasonic FZ-50 with a Raynox 250 lens. Considered a bridge camera - small sensor, which is less than ideal for some situations, but really good for macro (much less DOF issue)- with the Raynox lens add-on, throw in a mini-pod, and the kit is easily under $500 - has great (fixed) glass ...here's a few results from it...also check out the panasonic forum for better examples than mine....good luck any way you go....

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Bill G.FZ*50 Ray*nox *250 Oly FL*36 TCON*17..

Comment #13

Very interesting. I wasn't really familiar with bridge cameras at all up until a few days ago, so I'll have to explore this option more. Thanks for the alternative recommendation!..

Comment #14

I don't believe the D40 has a depth of field preview (I could be wrong, though), which would be a very handy feature for what you are shooting..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

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Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #15

Yea - at least check it out - features include live view, swivel LCD, 12x zoom, Leica lens, hot shoe and much more...all great for improving macros shots.....

Bill.

Kevin_M wrote:.

Very interesting. I wasn't really familiar with bridge cameras at allup until a few days ago, so I'll have to explore this option more.Thanks for the alternative recommendation!.

Bill G.FZ*50 Ray*nox *250 Oly FL*36 TCON*17..

Comment #16

I just did some preliminary investigative work on this camera and it is very tempting. The rock bottom prices of those Raynox lenses as well is also very tempting!.

Damn, once you get your mind set one one thing, someone comes along and shows you something else just as nice!..

Comment #17

The Panasonic FZ50 is one sweet camera:.

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I have one, and an FZ10 (the orange rose maco above was taken with the FZ10)..

The FZ10 does better macros than the FZ50 when using the camera without add-on macro lenses..

The FZ50, without add-on macro lenses, does best at around 120mm..

I have no add-on lenses for either of my FZ's..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Macro from FZ50:.

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Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #18

RE>I'm looking to stay in the $600 or less price range right now.<.

Can't do it..

If you want to fil the frame with original subjects the size of the little circles on the watch face in one of the early responses someone sent you, where the numbers on this little circle are bigger than grainins of rice, you pretty much have to buy a Canon camera model does not matter and the Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens, which coasts a bit over $800..

The laternative is a systems of bellows and reverse mounted lenses and other complicated serious close-up stuff..

BAK..

Comment #19

I don't want to fill the frame with objects of that size, just be able to take photos where they're a decent enough size to show some detail, and at much higher IQ than the typical P&S..

Hopeless! Pshaw, your defeatist attitude has earned my derision. ..

Comment #20

Particularly when doing macro shots..

However, since you are shooting things that aren't moving you can stop WAAAAY down and just the the shutter stay open as long as needed. (Assuming continuous lighting. If using flash, you'll need a powerful one.).

As an example, here is a shot with the Tamron 90mm macro at f40. That's right, f40. And this isn't as tight a shot as you are talking about and you can still see things starting to get out of focus pretty quick..

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You might consider shorter focal length macro lenses for what you are doing. 60mm or lower will improve DOF a little, but at macro distances, there just isn't much DOF to be had.Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

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Comment #21

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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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