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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3

    Macro setting on DSLRs

    Hello - I'm trying to understand how the macro setting on digital cameras, in general, and a digital SLR, in particular, works.

    I previously owned a Sony Cybershot that apparently changed the focal plane in order to affect the macro focusing parameters.

    I now have a Pentax ist D with which I can detect no noticable change in focus, or anything else, when using the "Macro" setting. In other words, I can take the same "Macro" picture with, or without, that setting. Any comments? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    412

    Smile It should depend on the lens you are using.

    Hi Steve,

    I've never seen a dSLR with a macro setting on the camera itself (in my limited experience). I do know for sure that the macro capability depends on the lens that you are using; a macro lens is made to focus closer to the CCD. If you want good macro capability, then you shouldn't look for it on the camera body, look for it on the lens. I hope this amateur's comments help.

    Andrew S.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3

    Macro setting on dSLR

    Hi Andrew -

    Thanks for the response.

    Yes, I understand about the technical requirements for macro photography, and in fact have a good macro lens for my Pentax ist D.

    Every dSLR I've looked at (quite a few, recently) has a "Macro" symbol (usually a little flower) on the shooting mode dial, just as do most "point'n'shoot" cameras. But setting the camera to that mode does not seem to do anything to the functionality of the camera (unlike the Sony Cybershot point'n'shoot I had, where the minimum focus distance would actually change when set to "Macro," presumably by moving the position of the sensor).

    So, the actual function of the "Macro" symbol on the mode dial of at least this dSLR remains a mystery. The manual is of no help, merely indicating that the setting is there.

    Anyone with insight?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
    Posts
    6,029
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveB
    Hello - I'm trying to understand how the macro setting on digital cameras, in general, and a digital SLR, in particular, works.

    I previously owned a Sony Cybershot that apparently changed the focal plane in order to affect the macro focusing parameters.

    I now have a Pentax ist D with which I can detect no noticable change in focus, or anything else, when using the "Macro" setting. In other words, I can take the same "Macro" picture with, or without, that setting. Any comments? Thank you.
    Go to google.com and type in macro photography. You will get a lot of answers as to why, and how.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    901
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveB
    Hello - I'm trying to understand how the macro setting on digital cameras, in general, and a digital SLR, in particular, works.

    I previously owned a Sony Cybershot that apparently changed the focal plane in order to affect the macro focusing parameters.

    I now have a Pentax ist D with which I can detect no noticable change in focus, or anything else, when using the "Macro" setting. In other words, I can take the same "Macro" picture with, or without, that setting. Any comments? Thank you.
    I can't speak for your camera, but on the Nikon D70, putting the mode dial to closeup doesn't do anything that you are unable to do in P mode. From the owners manual, all it does is to automatically select center focus area (which can be changed if desired) and to automatically set the flash to front-curtain sync (which can also be changed).

    As Andrew stated, the most important setting for photomacrography, for dSLR's anyway, is the lens that you use.

    Mode settings on the dial other than the usual ('P'rogram, 'A'perture, 'S'hutter, 'M'anual), at least for the D70, are just to save time by not having to actually input optimum settings for the different types of photography you may be utilizing at the time (Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-Up, Sports, Night landscape).

    Ray.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3

    Smile Thanks for the feedback!

    Thanks, all.

    My experience confirms, now, that the "Macro" setting on the mode dial pre-selects values for certain shooting parameters, all of which can be changed, manually.

    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Paradise (aka Key West, FL)
    Posts
    139
    For clarity, here's a summary and slight expansion:

    1. dSLR's are not, themselves, complete cameras. They require a separate piece, a lens, to become one.
    2. With integrated-lens cameras, one control can set both the optics and "brain" appropriately. With dSLR+lens cameras, each piece will have its own control.
    3. Shifting to macro generally requires different optical arrangement _AND_ different program parameters for any automatic exposure and focusing controls.

    As a result, the macro switch on the dSLR can only deal with its brain. These are changes that you can make yourself if you understand the demands of macro photography. This is a separate button on the body because the optical flexibility of dSLR's (many lenses and attachments from many sources) prevents this from being done by the lens in most situations. The nature of the integrated lens cameras is such that a single button "to rule them all" is easy to program; you only have the one lens for the camera to deal with.
    ---
    dwig

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
    Posts
    6,029
    Quote Originally Posted by dwig
    For clarity, here's a summary and slight expansion:

    1. dSLR's are not, themselves, complete cameras. They require a separate piece, a lens, to become one.
    2. With integrated-lens cameras, one control can set both the optics and "brain" appropriately. With dSLR+lens cameras, each piece will have its own control.
    3. Shifting to macro generally requires different optical arrangement _AND_ different program parameters for any automatic exposure and focusing controls.

    As a result, the macro switch on the dSLR can only deal with its brain. These are changes that you can make yourself if you understand the demands of macro photography. This is a separate button on the body because the optical flexibility of dSLR's (many lenses and attachments from many sources) prevents this from being done by the lens in most situations. The nature of the integrated lens cameras is such that a single button "to rule them all" is easy to program; you only have the one lens for the camera to deal with.
    Hi dwig,

    What camera are you using? Just curious.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Paradise (aka Key West, FL)
    Posts
    139
    Cameras I use??

    Currently and frequently: Nikon CP 950 and 990.

    Extensively used in the past (owned or regularily used at work): Nikon SP, F, F2, F3, FA, LiteTouch; Leica IIIa, M3; Bronica ETR/ETRS; Mamyia 6x7 RB, Nagaoka 4x5 field, Toyo 45 View, various 4x5 Graphic & Speed Graphic press cameras, Polaroid 100, 180, 195, 340, MP4, Minox EL; Minolta 16II; Canon QL17gIII, TX, Dial35; not counting various roll film cameras used during my childhood.

    Have used: 1000's literally, mostly traditional film cameras from 9.5mm through 5x7. I've probably actually taken pictures with less than 20-30 different digital cameras.
    ---
    dwig

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