Serious newbie help needed - cannot do macro


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pop

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Newbie here. I'm using FX9. Now testing out macro shots. I'm puzzled. Is the FX9 not capable of macro shots or I don't know how to do it or there is a fault with my camera?

I attached 3 photos here, respectively, taken at no zoom, 2x zoom and 3x zoom. The subject is a coin placed on the windowsill. The pictures are taken with the cam mounted on a mini tripod and the camera is staring down on the coin. No flash used as there is sufficient light from outside the window. The camera lens is about 10cm from the coin.

Without zoom, the picture is pretty clear. But once I zoom in 2x and 3x, the problem I face is the camera cannot focus. When I try to depress the shutter button to focus, cam just cannot stabilise on a clear focus. At 2x zoom, there was still momentarily clear focus as I press the shutter button but only momentarily. I cannot stabilise the focused image. Tripod is very firm, no movement.

I am very worried. If this is a limitation of the camera, that's fine. But if the camera is capable of taking good macros, then either I don't know how to do it, in which case I want to learn or if there is a fault with my cam, which I worry, then I have to send for service.

Can kind seniors please enlighten me and put me out of my misery. Appreciate very much.


no zoom


2x zoom


3x zoom
 

#2
I've tried with one of my SONY handycams, which is capable of super macro at <1cm from the lens. However that works only at the widest angle. Once zoom-ed in, min focusing distance increases.

Not sure if this is the same case as yours
 

raptor84

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#3
The FX-9 Has a min focus distance of 5cm at the wide end and 30cm at the max optical zoom end so its not that good for macros.
 

pop

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ya, consulted the manual, it says up to 5cm, but the reality when I tried, no way to focus at 5cm, in fact, i can only manage to get a clear shot if the distance between lens and object is at least 10cm.
 

hwchoy

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#5
I can safely assure you there is nothing wrong with your cam.

can you put your cam into manual focus? also make sure to disable digital zoom.
now zoom to max (optical only). next (in manual focus mode) adjust focus to the minimum. then move the cam away from the coin until you can a focused image. this is your minimum focus distance at the telephoto (zoomed) end. that's it.
 

pop

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thks, choy. this cam has no manual control. but it has a pre-set macro mode which is what i use.
 

runes

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hwchoy said:
I can safely assure you there is nothing wrong with your cam.

can you put your cam into manual focus? also make sure to disable digital zoom.
now zoom to max (optical only). next (in manual focus mode) adjust focus to the minimum. then move the cam away from the coin until you can a focused image. this is your minimum focus distance at the telephoto (zoomed) end. that's it.
Agreed. The minimum focus distance will be 5cm at the wide-angle (no zoom). Of course 5cm is what the manufacturer claimed, maybe 6-7cm actual one.

Once you zoom in (2x or 3x), the minimum focusing distance will increase. According to specifications given in dpreview, the minimum focusing distance is 30cm at telephoto (3x).

Hope this helps.
 

wiz23

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#10
I think it is on. He said he's using the macro mode, which is the flower icon for most cameras.

pop, glad u finally decided on a camera ... ur problem doesn't sound like a camera fault, it's more like the limitation of FX9. FX9 is not known for its macro capabilities ...
 

roti_prata

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OT: very bad vignetting in ur 1st pic

try not to use it at the widest end unless u really hav to. zooming in will ease the dark corners as seen in ur 2x and 3x pics
 

pop

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Thanks for your help, guys. I now understand things better.

While I'm glad this is no camera fault it does mean now that this cam is not capable of very near shots.

I also learned a new thing - vignetting. Thanks, Roti, I noticed that now. But it would be like a case of double whammy for me now. The first shot is taken without zoom and that is the clearest close-up, which isn't really close anyway, I can get. But then it has vignetting. The others, with zoom, they may not have vignetting but has out of focus pic.

Well, looks like I can forget about close-up shots with this cam. :cry:
 

runes

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pop said:
Thanks for your help, guys. I now understand things better.

While I'm glad this is no camera fault it does mean now that this cam is not capable of very near shots.

I also learned a new thing - vignetting. Thanks, Roti, I noticed that now. But it would be like a case of double whammy for me now. The first shot is taken without zoom and that is the clearest close-up, which isn't really close anyway, I can get. But then it has vignetting. The others, with zoom, they may not have vignetting but has out of focus pic.

Well, looks like I can forget about close-up shots with this cam. :cry:
You can zoom say 1.2x (if there is), may remove vignetting. Crop your picture if it is too small to print, afterall, fx9 is 6M pixels camera? you can get decent printed photos even if cropped to 3M pixels.
 

pop

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wiz23 said:
pop, glad u finally decided on a camera ... ur problem doesn't sound like a camera fault, it's more like the limitation of FX9. FX9 is not known for its macro capabilities ...
ya, finally decided on it for its sheer smaller size. I want one that's easy to carry around and yet still take pretty good pictures. Didn't think about macro capability before hand, otherwise, I might have gone for the F11 like you. Is it good for macro?
 

pop

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runes said:
You can zoom say 1.2x (if there is), may remove vignetting. Crop your picture if it is too small to print, afterall, fx9 is 6M pixels camera? you can get decent printed photos even if cropped to 3M pixels.
ok, thanks, will take into consideration. it definitely can zoom anywhere between 1x and 3x.
 

wiz23

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pop said:
ya, finally decided on it for its sheer smaller size. I want one that's easy to carry around and yet still take pretty good pictures. Didn't think about macro capability before hand, otherwise, I might have gone for the F11 like you. Is it good for macro?
Yes, it's satisfactory so far ... F11's macro capabilities is not fantastic, but usable. I'll post a pic later to show u ;)
 

hwchoy

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pop said:
Well, looks like I can forget about close-up shots with this cam. :cry:
it appears you chose one of those super slim point & shoot cameras. yet you were disappointed with some of its capability. realise that everything is a trade-off and you need to consider what it is you REALLY want from your camera before picking a model.
 

fWord

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#18
It's probably a limitation of the camera itself. As you start to zoom it, I gather that the minimum focussing distance increases. As a result, you are too close to the object when zoom is applied.

One of the tricks that I used in the past with my old P&S camera, a Canon PowerShot A40, is to zoom in as much as possible using the optical zoom, and then blue-tack a jeweller's loupe to the front of the lens. This is basically a small magnifying glass that is used by collectors to examine jewels, watches, coins & stamps. I bought mine for $15 in the past when I still used to collect coins.



When successfully applied, the magnification is incredible. DOF becomes paper thin, and focusing becomes ultra-slow. As such, it's best that you prefocus first before you start snapping. Also, turn off the auto-off function of your camera. Otherwise if it shuts down, it'll drag all the blue-tack into the lens mechanism.

It helped me get some interesting pictures, such as these, which are full-frame views, not crops:

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/17787985/

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/15677076/

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/19288666/

Of course, take your camera out when you are hunting for this loupe. Make sure that you can attach it to the tip of your lens without actually touching the front lens element itself. If you are thick-skinned enough, try it out on the spot by placing the loupe over your camera, turning it on and then see if you can get a good focus and a sharp picture. The working distance may be as small as 1 or 2cm, so start close and move further away.
 

pop

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hwchoy said:
it appears you chose one of those super slim point & shoot cameras. yet you were disappointed with some of its capability. realise that everything is a trade-off and you need to consider what it is you REALLY want from your camera before picking a model.
agree, I'm aware of this reality. i wanted a small cam easy to carry around especially for overseas trip, taking of sceneries mostly. I was concerned about night shots too and tested the fx9's night shot capability with my friend's camera before buying. But I overlooked the macro capability though, but it is a trade off I can still accept. My initial fear, due to lacking of understanding, was that there's a fault with this cam.

today i learn some new things, which is good.

btw, the issue of vignetting, is poor lighting a possible cause? when i took the 3 shots above, although it is next to the window, the weather has been overcast today, so lighting may not be adequate?
 

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