Macro on Digital Point and Shoots

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Tom Nic
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Macro on Digital Point and Shoots

Post by Tom Nic » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:09 pm

OK, I've been shooting my Casio 1050 and love it.

99% of the time I just set it on automatic and go. Steadiness and angle end up being the greatest factors in my shots.

I like to get close.

A few times I've tried the macro setting because I wanted to get REAL close... as in a few inches away.

However, when I set it on Macro it does not want to focus, and when it does I don't notice much difference between macro and auto.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Experience? Just what does Macro do on most point and shoots?

It's been buggin' me and I thought I'd throw it out on a post!

Thanks!

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Post by thelawgoddess » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:42 pm

don't know anything about casio's, but some of the small canon point-and-shoots are known for great macro capabilities. ;-) one thing that really helped me a lot was knowing that macro mode only works when the lens is at normal length (as in, you can't use zoom + macro). again, this is just for the two canon's i've had, but perhaps that will help you as well. in macro mode, i can get very close to my subject - less than an inch. otherwise, lighting can be an issue - but not usually that terribly much of one (i don't use an external strobe, but sometimes - especially in warm water, i will use my flashlight to light the subject so the camera can focus) ... and the clarity of the water can be an issue (which is a bit more rare when you're only an inch from the subject).
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Post by Tom Nic » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:53 am

thelawgoddess wrote:don't know anything about casio's, but some of the small canon point-and-shoots are known for great macro capabilities. ;-) one thing that really helped me a lot was knowing that macro mode only works when the lens is at normal length (as in, you can't use zoom + macro). again, this is just for the two canon's i've had, but perhaps that will help you as well. in macro mode, i can get very close to my subject - less than an inch. otherwise, lighting can be an issue - but not usually that terribly much of one (i don't use an external strobe, but sometimes - especially in warm water, i will use my flashlight to light the subject so the camera can focus) ... and the clarity of the water can be an issue (which is a bit more rare when you're only an inch from the subject).


Thanks LG... I need to play with it more... and perhaps read the manual? As my Daddy used to say, "When all else fails, read the directions". I've heard great things about the Canons... but I love my Casio! It might be a lighting issue. I'm NOT using the zoom... it's pretty much useless underwater from what I've found.
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Post by spatman » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:34 am

i have a canon as well, and it will not focus on anything closer than roughly 12" - 18" without being in macro mode. when it is in macro mode it usually takes an extra second or two to focus on the subject before i can snap an image.

the depth of field in macro mode is extremely narrow. if i move the camera an inch or two between the time it focuses and when i depress the button, the subject is not clear.

in this pic, you can see that the shrimp is clear, but the depth of focus is so narrow that it's antennae quickly get blurry:

<a href="http://spatman.com/diving/gallery/lesdavis2/large/IMG_3934.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://spatman.com/diving/gallery/lesdavis2/large/IMG_3934.jpg" width="400" height="300"></a>
(click image for larger version)

it took me 4 or 5 shots to get that shrimp in focus...

another thing to check is the settings on the camera to see how it determines what to focus on. mine has a general setting that takes an "average" of everything in the frame, and another "spot" setting that focuses on the spot/reticle in the center.

i usually choose the "spot" method and lock in the focus on the subject, then compose the frame and shoot it. i find that the average method often focuses on items that are not intended, such as a rock in the foreground or a piece of seaweed off to the side, etc.

as LG said, i have no experience with casios either, so i hope this helps. the great thing about digital, is that you can shoot 400 images while learning and not have to pay a cent in film or developing.

good luck and keep us updated.
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Post by cardiver » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:43 am

I think if you're getting 1" away you're in "super macro". Not a mode offered on the Casio, but possibly on your Canon.
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Post by cardiver » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:49 am

Tom. I just went to the Casio web site and it shows focus range in macro down to 3.94".
I've never been able to get that close with my ex-z1000 so I better check my specs next!
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Post by spatman » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:58 am

cardiver wrote:I think if you're getting 1" away you're in "super macro". Not a mode offered on the Casio, but possibly on your Canon.


no super-macro mode on my canon A-610... just auto, macro, and manual (which is a big pain in the butt).
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Post by thelawgoddess » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:03 am

cardiver wrote:Tom. I just went to the Casio web site and it shows focus range in macro down to 3.94".

dude; that sucks! my canon sd700is macro shooting range is listed as 0.79"-2'. that sounds about right - i take shots from about an inch away pretty often.
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Post by thelawgoddess » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:13 am

spatman wrote:
cardiver wrote:I think if you're getting 1" away you're in "super macro". Not a mode offered on the Casio, but possibly on your Canon.


no super-macro mode on my canon A-610... just auto, macro, and manual (which is a big pain in the butt).

btw, i don't have super-macro on my canon sd700is either. super-macro lets you shoot at a distance down to 0.0cm.
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Post by thelawgoddess » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:34 am

i'm not an expert, but i think a macro is just naturally going to have a smaller depth of field - depth of field gets drawn out with wider angle lenses.

my canon p&s cameras have had pretty fast shutters, but you definitely need to keep the camera as still as possible while you are taking the actual shot - it you half-depress to focus and change the distance from the subject, you're likely not going to be in focus anymore. (easier to avoid this problem on land, of course!)

i don't generally use "spot" underwater, but have found that i use it often for flowers. (i'm not sure why.) the spot/evaluative/center-weighted average selections are actually metering functions. if you really need to hone in on something focus-wise, it will probably be more helpful to turn off your camera's AIAF ("Artificial Intelligent Auto-Focus" - canon-specific terminology, but i'm guessing other brands have something comparable) and put what you want focused on in the center.

and ... very clear/translucent items (like that there shrimp) are incredibly difficult because the camera just can't "see" it. spatman did a great job of finally getting his shot. sometimes you can get it to work - like if you have something else same distance you can set the focus on, and sometimes just changing the angle/lighting will help. i will sometimes attempt 5-10 varied shots of a tiny shrimp before i finally give up - and every now and then i get a really cool photo that i like.

this has mostly just been learned through trial and error and re-reading my camera manual and such. i bet there are a lot more pointers and methods out there that could be helpful, though!
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Post by spatman » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:43 am

thelawgoddess wrote:i don't generally use "spot" underwater, but have found that i use it often for flowers. (i'm not sure why.) the spot/evaluative/center-weighted average selections are actually metering functions. if you really need to hone in on something focus-wise, it will probably be more helpful to turn off your camera's AIAF ("Artificial Intelligent Auto-Focus" - canon-specific terminology, but i'm guessing other brands have something comparable) and put what you want focused on in the center.


thanks for the correction, LG. i am mixing up my terminology, but the rough idea is that there are different settings that can be applied. i'll have to check my camera later to see what canon calls those settings...
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Post by thelawgoddess » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:54 am

spatman wrote:
thelawgoddess wrote:i don't generally use "spot" underwater, but have found that i use it often for flowers. (i'm not sure why.) the spot/evaluative/center-weighted average selections are actually metering functions. if you really need to hone in on something focus-wise, it will probably be more helpful to turn off your camera's AIAF ("Artificial Intelligent Auto-Focus" - canon-specific terminology, but i'm guessing other brands have something comparable) and put what you want focused on in the center.


thanks for the correction, LG. i am mixing up my terminology, but the rough idea is that there are different settings that can be applied. i'll have to check my camera later to see what canon calls those settings...

i should point out that i made the same "mistake" - i think the terminology natually leads one to think that they are focus-related. in some way, because it involves light, it is ... but not directly so. i got frustrated a few times when i put it on spot and it wouldn't focus on the "spot" i wanted! #-o
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Post by coachrenz » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:44 am

FWIW - Since I only seem to have some credibility in some areas...

I only shoot my Casio 1000 underwater set on Macro mode. This was from a suggestion by Calvin.

I find that on macro mode, it will focus on anything that I want to take a picture of underwater. It will focus as close as I can get and it will focus on as far away as I can get.

Even topside, I can focus on far away things when I am still on Macro mode.

The other day, I accidentally left my camera on AF mode. I couldn't figure out why it was taking 3 pictures to finally get one to focus. It wasn't until after the dive that I realized that it wasn't on Macro.

Take all this with a grain of salt, since I haven't won any photo contests, of course I also haven't entered any and I don't photo shop my pictures either.

Tom, I am impressed at the quality of your pictures without being set on Macro mode.
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Post by nice-diver » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:51 pm

on my nikon, in macro mode the zoom has to be zoomed up a bit for it to be IN macro mode. the zoom bar will change colors.

I use mine in macro often with the in camera flash so the flash will be in range, but I have got some great shots from three feet away and zooming in.

I still prefer my nikonos V with extension tubes and strobe; but its hard to beat 900 frames with digital
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Post by cardiver » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:25 am

Since Tom started this thread the other day, I decided to mess around with the real close up shots on a dive at Titow Thursday. Now I remember why I dont get too close. Anywhere less than 6" or so and the entire left side of the subject is dark.
I guess that's as good a reason as any to pick up that strobe I've been eying for the past couple of weeks!
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Post by cardiver » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:26 am

Since Tom started this thread the other day, I decided to mess around with the real close up shots on a dive at Titow Thursday. Now I remember why I dont get too close. Anywhere less than 6" or so and the entire left side of the subject is dark.
I guess that's as good a reason as any to pick up that strobe I've been eying for the past couple of weeks!
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Post by spatman » Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:09 pm

cardiver wrote:Since Tom started this thread the other day, I decided to mess around with the real close up shots on a dive at Titow Thursday. Now I remember why I dont get too close. Anywhere less than 6" or so and the entire left side of the subject is dark.
I guess that's as good a reason as any to pick up that strobe I've been eying for the past couple of weeks!


does your housing have a flash diffuser on it? i found that if i shot w/o one i got that shadow from the housing near the lens blocking the flash. the diffuser sort of "pulls" the flash forward and spreads it out more.
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Post by cardiver » Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:14 pm

Yes. I have a difuser on the housing. The shadow looks almost the same as when you use the zoom and the lens blocks the flash.
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