Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I'm looking for a good Macro/Super macro digital camera for taking pictures of small objects like stamps,coins, and jewelry. I will be using it for selling items on Ebay. I'm looking for a camera that has a focus as low as 0cm. I hear canon cameras get this low but are there any other camera brands that has great macro/super macro abilities? Something in the point and shot or bridge camera I'm looking into. Thanks for any help you can provide.

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closed as off-topic by mattdm, chills42 Jul 15 '13 at 13:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product or service recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – mattdm, chills42
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Zero cm, as in actually touching the lens? :) – Dan Wolfgang Jun 12 '12 at 20:17
I would assume so: a coworker has told me about pointing his camera straight up, putting a dollar bill on top of the lens, aiming at a light, and getting a clear image of the bill. It's the wrong definition of "0", but it's still impressive. – drewbenn Jun 12 '12 at 21:01
0cm is simply zero, as in no distance between the lens and camera. All fixed-lens cameras measure their minimum focus distance that way. Lens specifications measure the focus distance from the sensor though. – Itai Jun 12 '12 at 21:18
Any such list would be outdated in a month. Please see – mattdm Jun 13 '12 at 11:19

small objects like stamps,coins, and jewelry.

More or less any camera on a tripod in a window on a sunny day - you will probably have to crop the image on a PC. This doesn't matter because images for Ebay don't have to be good enough to print at poster size.

focus as low as 0cm

I find it is best not to rest the lens front element on the object being photographed. I'd not worry about minimum focus distance too much, any current camera with a standard lens will most likely do all that you want.


Here's some rushed shots with a few cameras I had to hand. An old point & shoot compact, an old entry level DSLR and a new small format Compact System Camera - not in that order - all with standard lens, at night on a desk, illuminated just by an anglepoise lamp. I used a tripod.

coin coin coin

The US 1 cent coin has diameter about 1.9 cm (3/4") I shot from 10-20 cm away. On my computer screen the cropped images are about 8x life size. The worst shot was taken with the arguably best camera (I rushed and was sloppy).

With a little time and attention I could probably have got much better pictures but if I was selling this coin on Ebay I think at least two of these shots would be OK.

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Yes it is possible. I looked for the same and found Canon ultra-zooms to have 0cm distance. These looked nice but I finally bought Fuji ultra-zoom with 1cm distance and is good enough for me :)

Look here for Fuji but look where it says Minimum Focus and it color Green. The reason is that I like mechanic zoom and only Fuji has it. Very precise.

For taking pictures of money or stamp I put it on window and light it through, it looks very smooth light that way. Probably not work with coins!

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I have to agree with the Canon choice. In terms of cost/benefit I think you can't beat an old Canon SD880 if you can find one.

But assuming you'll use the camera for other tasks, the Canon G11 can be found with great prices (since the not so better G12 replaced it).

Both the SD880 and the G11 can focus really close and have excellent image quality for their price range.

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What the client asked for:

  • I'm looking for a good Macro/Super macro digital camera for taking pictures of small objects like stamps,coins, and jewelry. I will be using it for selling items on Ebay.

  • I'm looking for a camera that has a focus as low as 0cm. ... are there any other camera brands that has great macro/super macro abilities?

  • Something in the point and shot or bridge camera I'm looking into. Thanks for any help you can provide.

What the client may be extremely happy with :-)

A possible better, cheaper, more capable alternative: (Choose any 3)

You asked for a camera 'brand', but you may be better served and happier with another approach which is

  • brand independent and

  • which can give you better results

  • and more flexibility

  • at lower cost

  • and allow you a wider choice of cameras that are suitable.

Reversed lens add on macro facility: The method described below works superbly for any camera that has "though the lens focusing" - either an SLR or any camera with an EVF (electronic viewfinder) or rear LCD pre-photo scene view .

How it works -

See here for a good tutorial.
Note that the extra lens can be "taped on" if necessary but an adaptor would usually be used.
The add on lens can be a low or no cost junk box item which is otherwise of no value:

As the reversed lens is relatively non critical many old lenses with almost no cost or value are able to be used.

The method mentioned produces excellent results and allows use of a camera which otherwise may not have marvellous macro capability - so allowing you more flexibility in choosing the camera that best suits overall.

As noted, this method works best with an SLR or similar but as per example below, will work well with a point & shoot.

Buying an older used entry level SLR or EVF camera - now very cheap and good value for money - may be a good idea if this application is a major focus for you.

(1) - You can achieve very short focusing distances by attaching another lens reversed in direction, to the front of your main lens - so the lense are "face to face".

This is an extremely time honoured and much implemented method and can produce superb results.

It is usually done with cameras which allow you to view the actual focused image through the lens prior to shooting (typically SLR & EVF equipped cameras) but will work on pont and shoot cameras as long as you can either manually focus OR fix focus and move the camera in an out.

Being able to see that the object is in focus when doing this is of immense value due to the very very very shallow depth of field that you typically get, but with the ability to review immediately afterwards and to put objects in fixed known position you could do this with no preview if absolutely essential.

Here are a large number of examples to give you a feel for what is involved. Each of these is hotlinked to an assocated webpage. There is probably enough there to answer the question well, but if not ask again.

Using the SLR arrangement (from here ) produces superb results - see page.

(2) IF a finished 640 x 480 image is adequate for your ads, you can probably acquire an old Sony Mavica for about $0. These will focus on the inside of the lens cap if you can get light in there. ie they meet your focus at 0" spec about as well as you could wish.

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mmm... I'm interesting to know why your answer is getting down votes. – akram Jun 13 '12 at 3:12
@Russell: Could you clean up the copyrighted to it off-site until you have proper permission? Thanks. – jrista Jul 18 '12 at 16:19
@Russell: Please address my previous comment ASAP. – jrista Jul 25 '12 at 13:49
@jrista - Nah. You don't get the work I've put into what was actually a very good answer and then more again to jump through arguably unnecessary hoops when people are downvoting a technically good response for unknown reason. Easy path taken. A shame. – Russell McMahon Jul 26 '12 at 14:22
@jrista - All done / Hoopla. – Russell McMahon Jul 26 '12 at 14:33

I saw an Olympus sz-15 ($199) today that took a excellent closeup of a ring I was wearing. I removed it and placed it near the camera (that was tethered). I use my camera for jewelry and stone pix mostly but my old Olympus, even though it does great closeups does not capture moving images. Too slow. The capture time would miss all moving pictures. So I have been actively looking for another great closeup camera. Olympus appears to have a super macro setting in their cameras.

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I forgot to add, I tested it in the moving mode and it captured my hand moving across the aperture so it does snap a faster picture than my old one. I may go back and buy it. – Elizabeth Smith Jul 14 '13 at 19:10
Please see @mattdm's comment on the question itself for a pointer as to why specific model recommendations are generally not a good fit for this site. – Philip Kendall Jul 14 '13 at 19:58

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