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Please help with digital camera selection

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Anonymous
March 17, 2005 11:39:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I'm looking to get my first digital camera. I have a few 'needs', so I
guess I'll start with those.

Need 1: I NEED the camera to be able to take great macro shots. I
collect coins, and want to be able to set the camera up on a copy stand
and take great pictures of the coins, with full detail and perfect
color.

Need 2: I need the camera to have a good zoom to it. I'm just learning
what the different zooms mean, so I'm guessing I'm looking for at least
8x Optical. My family likes taking trips to Glacier National Park,
Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, etc., and I want to get great pics of the
bears, mountain goats, etc., way up on the mountains - maybe 1/2 mile
away or so.

Need 3: I'm looking in the $500.00 range, +/-, for the whole kit,
including 512MB card, camera case, maybe a filter - what else would I
absolutely need to get right away? If there's a remarkable improvement
in a camera that's $700, I might be persuaded to go up a notch.

I'm kinda familiar with the Nikon Coolpix 5400. I've seen the kinds of
pics that it can take of coins (some people on rec.collecting.coins are
using it), and I've seen some truly amazing pictures with that camera!
The white balance is great. The ultra macro is incredible. Colors are
vivid. Details are sharp. I like what I've seen in that camera, for
macro pictures.

Unfortunately, that camera doesn't have a strong enough telephoto to
meet my Need #2. It only has 4x Optical + 4x digital zoom.

So, I was searching to see if there has been an upgrade to the 5400.
Nikon has so many cameras, I don't know what's what! I'm thinking the
Coolpix 5700 might be the upgrade to the 5400, but not sure. It has 8x
Optical zoom, which is better (similar to 350mm SLR lens). But, does the
5700 have as good of macro capabilities as the 5400?

Or, in order to get both the macro and telephoto, should I be looking
toward the Nikon Coolpix 8700 or 8800? They're a bit priceyer, but, if
they're much better, maybe I can make adjustments to go that route. I
like the idea of the stabilizer in telephoto of the 8800.

Now, I just mentioned the Nikons, cuz I'm mildly familiar with what the
5400 can do. If there are other cameras that would rival the 5400's
macro pictures, plus give me 8x Optical zoom or better, and stay pretty
near my price range, I'd love to hear about them.

Any practical advice would be great! If you've had personal experience
with the above-mentioned cameras, or some others that would be good for
me to investigate further, please let me know. Thanks!

--
Eric Babula
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention
of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body.
But rather, it’s to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!!!'
Anonymous
March 17, 2005 11:39:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

All I can say is that some of the best macro shots I've taken, without using
a dslr and a macro lens, were with a Sony point and shoot. Check the specs
for how close you can focus, and look for something that will focus down to
a couple of inches.

Now, all you have to do is match that with a camera in your price range that
has a decent "optical" zoom.

"Eric Babula" <ebabula@care2.com> wrote in message
news:Xns961C953EFC81Debabulacare2com@66.192.254.230...
> I'm looking to get my first digital camera. I have a few 'needs', so I
> guess I'll start with those.
>
> Need 1: I NEED the camera to be able to take great macro shots. I
> collect coins, and want to be able to set the camera up on a copy stand
> and take great pictures of the coins, with full detail and perfect
> color.
>
> Need 2: I need the camera to have a good zoom to it. I'm just learning
> what the different zooms mean, so I'm guessing I'm looking for at least
> 8x Optical. My family likes taking trips to Glacier National Park,
> Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, etc., and I want to get great pics of the
> bears, mountain goats, etc., way up on the mountains - maybe 1/2 mile
> away or so.
>
> Need 3: I'm looking in the $500.00 range, +/-, for the whole kit,
> including 512MB card, camera case, maybe a filter - what else would I
> absolutely need to get right away? If there's a remarkable improvement
> in a camera that's $700, I might be persuaded to go up a notch.
>
> I'm kinda familiar with the Nikon Coolpix 5400. I've seen the kinds of
> pics that it can take of coins (some people on rec.collecting.coins are
> using it), and I've seen some truly amazing pictures with that camera!
> The white balance is great. The ultra macro is incredible. Colors are
> vivid. Details are sharp. I like what I've seen in that camera, for
> macro pictures.
>
> Unfortunately, that camera doesn't have a strong enough telephoto to
> meet my Need #2. It only has 4x Optical + 4x digital zoom.
>
> So, I was searching to see if there has been an upgrade to the 5400.
> Nikon has so many cameras, I don't know what's what! I'm thinking the
> Coolpix 5700 might be the upgrade to the 5400, but not sure. It has 8x
> Optical zoom, which is better (similar to 350mm SLR lens). But, does the
> 5700 have as good of macro capabilities as the 5400?
>
> Or, in order to get both the macro and telephoto, should I be looking
> toward the Nikon Coolpix 8700 or 8800? They're a bit priceyer, but, if
> they're much better, maybe I can make adjustments to go that route. I
> like the idea of the stabilizer in telephoto of the 8800.
>
> Now, I just mentioned the Nikons, cuz I'm mildly familiar with what the
> 5400 can do. If there are other cameras that would rival the 5400's
> macro pictures, plus give me 8x Optical zoom or better, and stay pretty
> near my price range, I'd love to hear about them.
>
> Any practical advice would be great! If you've had personal experience
> with the above-mentioned cameras, or some others that would be good for
> me to investigate further, please let me know. Thanks!
>
> --
> Eric Babula
> Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
>
> Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention
> of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body.
> But rather, it's to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up,
> totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!!!'
>
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 12:08:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Eric Babula wrote:
> I'm looking to get my first digital camera. I have a few 'needs', so I
> guess I'll start with those.
>
> Need 1: I NEED the camera to be able to take great macro shots. I
> collect coins, and want to be able to set the camera up on a copy
> stand and take great pictures of the coins, with full detail and
> perfect color.
>
> Need 2: I need the camera to have a good zoom to it. I'm just learning
> what the different zooms mean, so I'm guessing I'm looking for at
> least 8x Optical. My family likes taking trips to Glacier National
> Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, etc., and I want to get great pics
> of the bears, mountain goats, etc., way up on the mountains - maybe
> 1/2 mile away or so.

May I make a couple of comments about 8x zoom? Sure I can. :-)

8X only tells us that one end of the zoom is 8 times larger than the
other. But it does not tell us if either end is wide angle or telephoto. I
have one zoom lens that is wide angle all the way from one end to the other;
and I have another zoom lens that is telephoto from one end to the other.

You need to learn and start thinking in terms of wide and how wide and
telephoto and how telephoto a specific lens would be on a specific camera.

Next important thing is to only look at the OPTICAL range. Digital
extensions are almost totally worthless. The good part of this game is the
manufacturers are starting to do better and fewer are trying to sell based
on funny figures.

Last on this issue is this: Most people tend to think first of
telephoto lenses. They look at the results the professionals get and they
want the same thing. I don't know how many times I was told, while I was a
camera salesman that someone wanted a telephoto lens because they wanted a
picture of a mountain.

If you want to photography a mountain, you DON'T generally want a
telephoto lens, you want a wide angle lens. Mountains are big, really big,
you want to photograph that bigness, not just a little chunk of rock on the
side of the mountain. You want the mountain and the lake in front of it so
you can see how big it really is.

BTW that goat up on the mountain ½ mile away will look like it is about
five football fields away with most 8X zooms. You will not be able to tell
if it is a goat or a rabbit. The lenses the pros use may cost 10s of
thousands of dollars and they often hike up into that mountain spending days
with that lens to get one or two of those photos.

I'm sorry I can't offer any specific advice as the models change a lot
faster than I can keep up with.

....
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
Related resources
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 12:27:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Joseph Meehan" <sligojoe_Spamno@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:6lm_d.1239$cC6.1@fe2.columbus.rr.com:


> May I make a couple of comments about 8x zoom? Sure I can. :-)
>
> 8X only tells us that one end of the zoom is 8 times larger
> than the
> other. But it does not tell us if either end is wide angle or
> telephoto. I have one zoom lens that is wide angle all the way
> from one end to the other; and I have another zoom lens that is
> telephoto from one end to the other.
>
> You need to learn and start thinking in terms of wide and how
> wide and
> telephoto and how telephoto a specific lens would be on a specific
> camera.
>
> Next important thing is to only look at the OPTICAL range.
> Digital
> extensions are almost totally worthless. The good part of this
> game is the manufacturers are starting to do better and fewer are
> trying to sell based on funny figures.
>
> Last on this issue is this: Most people tend to think first of
> telephoto lenses. They look at the results the professionals get
> and they want the same thing. I don't know how many times I was
> told, while I was a camera salesman that someone wanted a telephoto
> lens because they wanted a picture of a mountain.
>
> If you want to photography a mountain, you DON'T generally want
> a
> telephoto lens, you want a wide angle lens. Mountains are big,
> really big, you want to photograph that bigness, not just a little
> chunk of rock on the side of the mountain. You want the mountain
> and the lake in front of it so you can see how big it really is.
>
> BTW that goat up on the mountain ½ mile away will look like it
> is about
> five football fields away with most 8X zooms. You will not be able
> to tell if it is a goat or a rabbit. The lenses the pros use may
> cost 10s of thousands of dollars and they often hike up into that
> mountain spending days with that lens to get one or two of those
> photos.
>
> I'm sorry I can't offer any specific advice as the models
> change a lot
> faster than I can keep up with.
>
> ...

Yes, I'm a bit green when it comes to digital cameras, and cameras in
general, but I'm learning. Just yesterday, I learned that Optical zoom
is what's important, and digital zoom is pointless, for the most part.

I do understand that, if I want the whole mountain, I need wide angle.
But, see that brown ball moving across the mountian? That's a bear! I
want a good pic of that bear! Hence, good telephoto.

Now, I heard that some cameras can save to RAW (whatever that means -
haven't learned that, yet). My understanding is that RAW is a lossless
format, true? If I took my 8x Optical zoom to get that bear, and saved
that pic as RAW, could I then put that pic in PhotoShop or something,
crop the bear, blow it up to 4x6 or 8x10, and have a really nice pic of
a bear? That's what I'm hoping to do.

I know the really good telephoto lenses are gonna cost tons. I'm looking
for 'good' - better than 4x Optical. Afterall, I'm only looking in the
$500.00 range. If I can then crop and blow up the subject, with out tons
of distortion, that would be cool.

Certainly, if I forked out another $500.00, I could get a nicer 12x
zoom. Or, I could then get into the digital SLRs. For another $1,500
beyond that original $1,000, I could get an even better 70-400 zoom lens
to go along with my 35-70 that comes with the digital SLR.

But, I can't afford to go that far. I'm just looking for a) really good
macro for coin shots; and, b) as good a telephoto as I can get in the
$500.00 range.

Thanks for your input. And, of course you can comment away! I appreciate
the learning experience!

--
Eric Babula
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention
of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body.
But rather, it’s to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!!!'
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 4:50:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <Xns961C9D5431B95ebabulacare2com@66.192.254.231>,
ebabula@care2.com says...

> Yes, I'm a bit green when it comes to digital cameras, and cameras in
> general, but I'm learning. Just yesterday, I learned that Optical zoom
> is what's important, and digital zoom is pointless, for the most part.
>
> I do understand that, if I want the whole mountain, I need wide angle.
> But, see that brown ball moving across the mountian? That's a bear! I
> want a good pic of that bear! Hence, good telephoto.
>
> Now, I heard that some cameras can save to RAW (whatever that means -
> haven't learned that, yet). My understanding is that RAW is a lossless
> format, true? If I took my 8x Optical zoom to get that bear, and saved
> that pic as RAW, could I then put that pic in PhotoShop or something,
> crop the bear, blow it up to 4x6 or 8x10, and have a really nice pic of
> a bear? That's what I'm hoping to do.
>
> I know the really good telephoto lenses are gonna cost tons. I'm looking
> for 'good' - better than 4x Optical. Afterall, I'm only looking in the
> $500.00 range. If I can then crop and blow up the subject, with out tons
> of distortion, that would be cool.
>
> Certainly, if I forked out another $500.00, I could get a nicer 12x
> zoom. Or, I could then get into the digital SLRs. For another $1,500
> beyond that original $1,000, I could get an even better 70-400 zoom lens
> to go along with my 35-70 that comes with the digital SLR.
>
> But, I can't afford to go that far. I'm just looking for a) really good
> macro for coin shots; and, b) as good a telephoto as I can get in the
> $500.00 range.
>
> Thanks for your input. And, of course you can comment away! I appreciate
> the learning experience!
>
>
At $500, anything you get will be a compromise. It sounds like macro
is a lot more important to you than that "bear on the mountainside."
So go for a good macro capability, and enjoy whatever telephoto
capability comes with it, as-is.

Joseph is right; you're going to have to spend a lot more for even
half-decent wildlife photography. Photoshop won't be able to make
up the difference. Photoshop can't create detail that isn't there in
the original image. RAW format (or TIFF) won't make up the difference;
lossy compression on JPEG will show up worst around hard lines and
large solid-color areas, exactly what you're not going to be shooting
on mountainsides. (The edge of the mountain against the sky will
show compression artifacts, though.)

"8x optical zoom" doesn't tell you anything unless you can answer
"eight times what?" Start thinking in focal length. 400mm is kind
of a minimum if you want to shoot wildlife without them being aware
of your presence. For bear, I think I'd want something even bigger!

Diane
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 2:14:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> I do understand that, if I want the whole mountain, I need wide angle.
> But, see that brown ball moving across the mountian? That's a bear! I
> want a good pic of that bear! Hence, good telephoto.

Um, no, not good telephoto, *excellent* telephoto. If it looks like a brown
ball to the eye, you're going to need good quality 300mm to 400mm to get a
good picture of it. You're not going to get that on a $500 camera.

The Nikon Coolpix 5400, for example, has a 4x optical zoom, which goes from
28mm to 116mm. If you got within 116mm range of a wild bear, getting a good
picture of it would be the last thing on your mind! 116mm is more "candid
portrait amongst friends" range.

As another example, the Canon Powershot S1 has a 10x optical zoom with a
range of 38mm to 380mm. 380mm will get you a better shot of your bear, but
38mm isn't very wide, so you might not get a decent shot of the mountain
it's wandering over. Plus that camera is only about 3MP, which probably
won't give you enough data for a decent blow up of anything.

Have a look at the DPReview review of the Canon, taking special note of the
comparison pages, then maybe research the cameras they put it up against:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons1is/

> Now, I heard that some cameras can save to RAW (whatever that means -
> haven't learned that, yet). My understanding is that RAW is a lossless
> format, true? If I took my 8x Optical zoom to get that bear, and saved
> that pic as RAW, could I then put that pic in PhotoShop or something,
> crop the bear, blow it up to 4x6 or 8x10, and have a really nice pic of
> a bear? That's what I'm hoping to do.

No, you're way off here. RAW is just the data that comes from the sensor,
without any of the clever image processing that modern cameras are capable
of. Ideal if you want to do your own colour adjustments, sharpening, and so
on. You appear to want a sci-fi style "magically blow it up and find detail
that the lens never recorded in the first place" function. That isn't going
to happen, with RAW data, JPEG data or anything else.

> But, I can't afford to go that far. I'm just looking for a) really good
> macro for coin shots; and, b) as good a telephoto as I can get in the
> $500.00 range.

Walk into a camera store with a coin and ask to take pictures of it with
various cameras, then look at them on a monitor. Chose the camera that you
like best, that takes the best coin shots, and has the best telephoto
offering, in your price range. Be aware that you're going to compromise, so
work out where you're happy to make the compromises before you set out.

--
The email address used to post is a spam pit. Contact me at
http://www.derekfountain.org : <a
href="http://www.derekfountain.org/">Derek Fountain</a>
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 4:34:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Diane Wilson <diane@firelily.com> wrote in
news:MPG.1ca3fe03a019215e989a6c@news-server:

> At $500, anything you get will be a compromise. It sounds like
> macro is a lot more important to you than that "bear on the
> mountainside." So go for a good macro capability, and enjoy
> whatever telephoto capability comes with it, as-is.
>
> Joseph is right; you're going to have to spend a lot more for even
> half-decent wildlife photography. Photoshop won't be able to make
> up the difference. Photoshop can't create detail that isn't there
> in the original image. RAW format (or TIFF) won't make up the
> difference; lossy compression on JPEG will show up worst around
> hard lines and large solid-color areas, exactly what you're not
> going to be shooting on mountainsides. (The edge of the mountain
> against the sky will show compression artifacts, though.)
>
> "8x optical zoom" doesn't tell you anything unless you can answer
> "eight times what?" Start thinking in focal length. 400mm is kind
> of a minimum if you want to shoot wildlife without them being aware
> of your presence. For bear, I think I'd want something even
> bigger!
>
> Diane

Yeah, the macro is more important, at this point. That's why I mentioned
the Nikon CP 5400 - it has great macro capabilities.

I think the 8x Optical zoom on the Nikon CP 5700 equates to 350mm, which
is better than the lens on our Nikon N65 regular SLR.

I know I'm not gonna get everything I want, not at my price range. But,
I'm just looking for 'as good as I can get', for that money, both in the
macro range and the telephoto range.

Thanks for the advice, Diane.

--
Eric Babula
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 4:40:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Derek Fountain <nospam@example.com> wrote in
news:423a473d$0$19482$5a62ac22@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au:

>> I do understand that, if I want the whole mountain, I need wide
>> angle. But, see that brown ball moving across the mountian? That's
>> a bear! I want a good pic of that bear! Hence, good telephoto.
>
> Um, no, not good telephoto, *excellent* telephoto. If it looks like
> a brown ball to the eye, you're going to need good quality 300mm to
> 400mm to get a good picture of it. You're not going to get that on
> a $500 camera.
>
> The Nikon Coolpix 5400, for example, has a 4x optical zoom, which
> goes from 28mm to 116mm. If you got within 116mm range of a wild
> bear, getting a good picture of it would be the last thing on your
> mind! 116mm is more "candid portrait amongst friends" range.
>
> As another example, the Canon Powershot S1 has a 10x optical zoom
> with a range of 38mm to 380mm. 380mm will get you a better shot of
> your bear, but 38mm isn't very wide, so you might not get a decent
> shot of the mountain it's wandering over. Plus that camera is only
> about 3MP, which probably won't give you enough data for a decent
> blow up of anything.
>
> Have a look at the DPReview review of the Canon, taking special
> note of the comparison pages, then maybe research the cameras they
> put it up against:
>
> http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons1is/
>
>> Now, I heard that some cameras can save to RAW (whatever that
>> means - haven't learned that, yet). My understanding is that RAW
>> is a lossless format, true? If I took my 8x Optical zoom to get
>> that bear, and saved that pic as RAW, could I then put that pic in
>> PhotoShop or something, crop the bear, blow it up to 4x6 or 8x10,
>> and have a really nice pic of a bear? That's what I'm hoping to
>> do.
>
> No, you're way off here. RAW is just the data that comes from the
> sensor, without any of the clever image processing that modern
> cameras are capable of. Ideal if you want to do your own colour
> adjustments, sharpening, and so on. You appear to want a sci-fi
> style "magically blow it up and find detail that the lens never
> recorded in the first place" function. That isn't going to happen,
> with RAW data, JPEG data or anything else.
>
>> But, I can't afford to go that far. I'm just looking for a) really
>> good macro for coin shots; and, b) as good a telephoto as I can
>> get in the $500.00 range.
>
> Walk into a camera store with a coin and ask to take pictures of it
> with various cameras, then look at them on a monitor. Chose the
> camera that you like best, that takes the best coin shots, and has
> the best telephoto offering, in your price range. Be aware that
> you're going to compromise, so work out where you're happy to make
> the compromises before you set out.
>

Thanks, Derek. I understand that I'm not gonna get the ideal camera,
within my price range. I'm just looking for really good macro, and as
good of telephoto as I can get, for the $$ I have to spend.

I will look at dpreview - thanks!

Still in research mode. I will be consulting PCMagazine, PCWorld,
Consumer Reports, etc., too, for their reviews of digital cameras. Once
I learn a little more, I'll go to a camera shop and be armed with a
little knowledge and a lot of questions.

--
Eric Babula
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 5:01:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Derek Fountain <nospam@example.com> wrote in
news:423a473d$0$19482$5a62ac22@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au:

> The Nikon Coolpix 5400, for example, has a 4x optical zoom, which
> goes from 28mm to 116mm. If you got within 116mm range of a wild
> bear, getting a good picture of it would be the last thing on your
> mind! 116mm is more "candid portrait amongst friends" range.
>

BTW - the last time we were in Glacier, we saw some grizzlys pretty
close! At one lake, we were sitting at the edge of the water, watching
the kids throw rocks in the water, when our little one says, "Look,
mama, a bear!" Sure enough, a grizzly (maybe 1-2 years old) was about
100 yards away, splashing around in the water, playing with a rock, and
having fun! It was incredible, and I got some great video of it!

Another hike that trip, my wife and I were hiking with a guided group.
Kids stayed back with grandma and grandpa cuz this hike was known to
have bears frequent the area. On the way to Iceberg Lake, we saw another
grizzly (adult), about 150 feet away from us, just down the hill a bit!
On the way back to the Swiftcurrent Hotel, our group was rounding a bend
in the trail, and there was a big grizzly, right next to the trail! The
lead girl and the ranger couldn't have been more than 20 feet from it!!!
The girl screamed, the bear jumped back. The ranger made us all move
back up the trail, while we waited for the bear to get off the trail. I
grabbed our camera as my wife quickly moved past me. We all stood there,
watching the bear from a distance of about 80-100 feet. Got some great
pics of that one! He was just eating berries - eventually moved down the
hill, and we could finish our hike. Very exciting trip!!!

I love Glacier National Park!

--
Eric Babula
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
March 20, 2005 3:35:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Eric Babula wrote:

>
> Yeah, the macro is more important, at this point. That's why I mentioned
> the Nikon CP 5400 - it has great macro capabilities.
>

In your price range, you could get a used CP 5000 on ebay for about
$225, and add in the 3x Nikon Teleconverter, which would take you out to
240mm eq., or thereabouts. The 5000 is similar to the 5400, but an older
design. 240 isn't going to work for a lot of wildlife, but it will work
for some, and it will accomodate your primary goal of good macro.

Bob
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 9:14:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 12:35:57 -0500, bob <not@not.not> wrote:

>Eric Babula wrote:
>
>>
>> Yeah, the macro is more important, at this point. That's why I mentioned
>> the Nikon CP 5400 - it has great macro capabilities.
>>
>
>In your price range, you could get a used CP 5000 on ebay for about
>$225, and add in the 3x Nikon Teleconverter, which would take you out to
>240mm eq., or thereabouts. The 5000 is similar to the 5400, but an older
>design. 240 isn't going to work for a lot of wildlife, but it will work
>for some, and it will accomodate your primary goal of good macro.
>
>Bob


My CP 5400 cost $240 after rebate, brand new with Nikon warranty. Much
better deal than a used CP 5000 for $15 less
!