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Best Digital Camera With Manual Focus Macro?


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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 08 2004 - 11:44 AM

Do any of the non-SLR digital cameras have a decent manual focus macro capability?

I’m looking for a smaller digital camera with manual macro focus to be used in a health clinic to photograph the iris of people’s eyes. The iris will be illuminated from the side by a fiberoptic light source. I already have a Canon 10D SLR with a 100mm f2.8 macro that works great but I’m not willing to give it up for this purpose.

A problem I’m having with the non-SLR digital cameras that I’ve tried is that the autofocus will lock onto the eyelashes instead of the iris. For this reason I need the macro function to have a decent manual focus feature.

A price around $500.00 or less would be nice but if necessary up to $1,000.00 would be okay.
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#2 of 27 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted October 08 2004 - 04:27 PM

Don't believe it exists. MF is generally barely useable at all on most non-SLR digicams, and it gets worse for macro use.

I would suggest trying out a Nikon one w/ its AF to see if that works for you. Nikon generally excels at macro close-up shooting w/ their compact digicams. They usually let you get the closest of the various brands.

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#3 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 09 2004 - 03:41 AM

Don't believe it exists.
This is my fear. I’m hoping that with so many new digital cameras being developed that one of them may have a decent manual focus macro capability.

I would suggest trying out a Nikon one w/ its AF to see if that works for you.
I don’t have one of the high-end Nikons but I have a Nikon Coolpix 3700 that occasionally will produce a decent photo of the iris. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to manipulate the autofocus to reliably get proper focus on the iris and that’s what I need. It’s a continual battle to keep the autofocus from locking onto the eyelashes.

The people that will be taking the photos are not in the advanced amateur photographer category so I need camera that will not require Houdini’s dexterity or elaborate manipulations to produce the results they need.

Maybe one of the new Nikon Coolpix 8400 or 8800 cameras would do what we need.

Have any of you tried manual focus macro on one of these cameras?
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#4 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 09 2004 - 06:22 AM

the macro is amazing on my sony dsc-f717..problem with the macro is the distance to subject is so close that the barrel is the major obsacle (it is literaly 1 cm to touching the subject)..not a big deal because I have 2 close up lensesto overcome this..1 lens allows me to be 11 inches away and still get the same close up..this camera also has a manual focus..it really isn't useable though because of the EVF and LCD..you can use a 2X digital zoom when using manual focus to try and clarify things, but as said previously manual focus on no slr's is a pain..I do recommend this camera though, because it really is an awesome camera with a spectacular macro ability..I would add a macro lens though to add distance to subject..i have a nikon 6t lens and olympus mcon-35..you can get the f717 at sears in the US right now for 499$..for the price it's a no brainer..

cheers..

just re-read your post..if you want to focus on a particular spot on the eye you can use autofocus..using macro and a lens I always have to rock the camera back and forth to choose where I want the DOF to be..this is a given when doing macro work..the f717 would have no problems doing an eye..I can take a shot of an eye for you if you want to show you its performance? have to wait until the wife gets home though, but if you need it just say the word..

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 09 2004 - 06:43 AM

Dave, thanks for the info & tips.

A demo of an eye shot with the Sony would be greatly appreciated. Side lighting brings out the details in the iris that we are looking for but I can get an idea of its' usability with front lighting. The picture could be cropped to show just the iris to limit the size of the photo if you'd like. Thanks in advance.
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#6 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 09 2004 - 06:48 AM

jay..i'll do my best..I have a sunpak 383 external flash that has a swivel and tilt ability..i'll bounce the light off a wall to try and recreate the type of lighting you are describing..should have the picture uploaded around 6-7 pm tonight...that's when my wife gets home..I would do it on my daughter, but she's only 11 months old and thinks the camera is a toy for her to play with.. Posted Image

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 09 2004 - 07:30 AM

well here is a shot of my daughter's eye..I will get a better shot of my wife's eye though..just managed to get a quick one off when she was having her bottle..this pic is resized in photoshop and I underexposed the shot, so I did a 1 stop fix in photoshop..I will post a better shot later, but for now here ya go..

edit: forgot to add that this was taken with the nikon 6t lens attached..this lens costs about 70$ US and is 2.9 dioptre..auto focus was used..

Posted Image

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 09 2004 - 07:54 AM

Thanks Dave. Your wife might wonder what a picture of her eye has to do with Home Theater. At least you're not out chasing wild women! Posted Image
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#9 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 09 2004 - 07:58 AM

Posted Image my wife has learn to stop asking questions about the forums I go to..especially the teamxbox forum..alot of weird things arise over there..

#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 09 2004 - 08:42 AM

To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, here's a link to an iris photo that would be ideal:

Iris Photo

And here's an iris photo that would be overkill:

Click on image to enlarge
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#11 of 27 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted October 09 2004 - 01:32 PM

Jay,

Given the application and requirements, sounds like you really need something designed specifically for the task. I'd have to believe there is no way for your non-photog staff to get reliable results otherwise.

Afterall, there is a reason that people also use a tripod w/ sliding rail specifically for shooting macros too.

Hmmm... If you think your 10D + macro lens would work even for your staff, then maybe you should go get a D-Rebel (maybe used) and a cheaper macro lens for the task. I'm not sure offhand what's available on Canon side for macro lenses, but you might be able to do it for the $1K max that you mentioned.

Just checked quickly, and you can probably get similar results as your 10D + 100mm f/2.8 macro w/ D-Rebel + Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro or maybe even Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro. Both those Sigma lenses get good reviews from what I hear, and they are quite affordable.

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#12 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 09 2004 - 02:46 PM

jay..

my wife got really impatient when I was shooting here eye so i could only manage one good shot..hard with a flash though, because the eye is so sensitive to light..I took one of my eye by hooking up my camera to my TV and doing it that way, so my eye is a little off-centre..I used both macro lenses to take these shots (olympus mcon-35 and nikon 6t stacked)..I didn't have time to test the stock macro ability, but with light being an issue it would have been hard..hopefully this gives you an idea..

here's my wife's eye..

Posted Image

and my eye (sorry about the eye gunkPosted Image

Posted Image

you can actually see my flash with diffuser perfectly in my eye..that's really cool..

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 10 2004 - 06:01 AM

_Man_ wrote:

Afterall, there is a reason that people also use a tripod w/ sliding rail specifically for shooting macros too.
I didn’t elaborate on the setup these technicians are using. The camera will be mounted on a rail system that may be adjusted on the x,y & z axis.

They will have the client place their chin on a chin rest and their forehead against the headrest. The fiberoptic light source will illuminate the iris at about an 85-degree angle to the side so it won’t be uncomfortably bright in their eyes and it will add contrast to the iris.

This is similar to looking at craters on the moon when it is full vs. when it is a quarter moon. The craters are much more visible in a quarter moon due to the sunlight hitting the craters from the side.

_Man_ wrote:
maybe you should go get a D-Rebel (maybe used) and a cheaper macro lens for the task.
I’ve been considering this also but would prefer a less expensive solution. Whatever system we decide upon we have numerous technicians that will adopt our plan and many of them will not be able to afford the more expensive setup.

Most of them are currently using a Polaroid Macro 5 SLR Camera or an older version of it:

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR

They want to get away from using Polaroid film and the problems of the flash into the eyes. They want to switch to a digital camera and a less irritating fiberoptic light source.

Thanks for all of your inputs Man. I greatly appreciate your expertise.

Jay
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#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 10 2004 - 06:07 AM

Dave,

Thank you for going above and beyond the call with the eye photos with your Sony DSC-F717. The iris photos of your wife and yourself are definitely useable. You just saved me a lot of time at the local camera shop. Thanks!

I hope your wife didn’t beat you up too badly when the flash went off.

The photo of your daughter’s eye is like looking into the soul of an angel. Or is that only when she’s about to fall asleep? Posted Image

I’m going to try to get some comparison photos from the new Nikon Coolpix 8400 & 8800 and then go from there.

I’m sending you a PM from one of the health nuts at my shop concerning the iris photos.

Thanks for risking your life and your camera getting the photos.

Jay
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#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 10 2004 - 09:03 AM

jay anytime..the major problem, as I stated before, was the lighting..I was using a cheap 1 dollar flashlight and then the flash to get the shots..it would seem the results would be alot better if I had that lighting machine that you posted..

anyway glad I could be of help and I appreciate the kind word about my daughter..she is definitly a little angel...at times Posted Image

#16 of 27 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 11 2004 - 06:25 AM

Dave_vega's eye looks out of focus to me, like the focus was on the cheeks and not the iris.

I think that a digicam is way way too unreliable for this. At a minimum, you might get away with the $1k Canon S1 IS or the Sony 8, but you would definitly have much more "luck" with a Rebel 300 and a dedicated macro lens.

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#17 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 11 2004 - 06:53 AM

well it doesn't look out of focus to me..I think you may be confused with DOF (depth of field)..cus the way I was taking it there was bound to be some part of the eye out of focus due to DOF limitations..with 2 lenses on the camera DOF is very shallow..you can see the left side of the picture is in focus, but the upper part is out of focus..this is DOF..I had to look into my TV to take the picture..not that easy when trying to get a macro in focus..DOF is the same effect when shooting insects..as you can see in the next pic..the mouth of the bug is in focus while the body is not..the only way to overcome this is to stack many pictures together..all the pictures would focus on different spots of the insects body..

Posted Image

#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 11 2004 - 07:47 AM

Dave was able to get pretty good results with a flashlight and flash using the Sony DSC-F717 but I know from previous experience that using the flashlight technique makes it difficult to get reliable results.

Most of the images from other non-SLRs that I tried were not anywhere near as good as the Sony although most of the tests were without the fiberoptic light source. The results should be much better, more in focus and more reliable when used with the fiberoptic light source, rail system & headrest.

I’m pretty sure the Sony would meet our needs. But I still want to check out the new Nikon Coolpix 8400 & 8800 and possibly other cameras before deciding.
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#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 15 2004 - 02:38 AM

I'm pretty familiar with the concept of DOF. =)

The skin section below the eye looks sharper than the whites of the eye. Even wide open I've seen pictures where they have been able to get both the white and colored sections of a human eye both in focus. This is not something I've personally tried tho...

BTW, I was talking about the daughters eye, not the wifes eye/your eye. The wife eye picture looks a lot better to me, but it still seems like the back end of focus hits halfway through the whites.

Some interesting eye pictures can be seen here:
http://photography-o....&highlight=eye

And 2 nice eye shots with a digicam, which is what the original post asked about.
http://www.hardforum....&highlight=eye
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#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Dave_vega

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Posted October 15 2004 - 06:07 AM

well my daughter was moving like a crazy person as stated..I don't know of any 11 month old that stay still Posted Image..

my first time shooting an eye also, so theres reason that they're not perfect..they still look in focus to me..