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Mike Owens

Digital Camera

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I would have to agree with dfwphotoguy, Tamron lenses are slow when it comes to autofocus speed.

I have a Tamron 28-70 f2.8 that I use as my general carry lens, a little long for some situations (1.6 crop factor), but it is usually easier to back up then to move closer. I have never had a problem with autofocus speed, and I take a lot of photos of basketball in less then ideal gym lighting. At ISO 1600 and f2.8, I can usually shoot 1/500 of a second, and still get good images (without flash), although they can be grainy if enlarged substantially, which is a function of the camera body, not the lens. Anyway, focusing speed has never been a problem in gym lighting.

Brent Ashcraft

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Yes but only on Pentax, I still use all my old Pentax equipment with add rings.

I can use Pentax equipment ie bellows on rails for both K mounts/ M42 on my Canon and Olympus digital slr via appropriate adapter rings. PL

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My main two digital cameras that I use for field work consist of a Canon A590is point and shoot and a Nikon D40 DSLR. Both are very good cameras for their own purposes though of course the DSLR is superior but MUCH bulkier and heavier (though a feather weight compared to my heavy all metal pro body). Though I'm also old school and still carry a 35mm film Nikon FM most of the time in the field.

As others have mentioned Sigma and Tamron can make good glass though some is sub par, just read reviews and the like to make sure it will work for your needs. Look for demo shots taken on a body similar to yours if you are thinking of getting it because lenses tend to act differently with different cameras.

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There has already been a lot of good info posted, so I won't bother with repeating it. But I will point out one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet: Since you really want macro performance, you need a camera that can focus up close. One of my friends has a 12mp point-and-shoot camera (and it doesn't focus very close, as it is just a 'normal' pocket camera) that is a good general camera. Another of my friends has a 3 mp (yeah, just 3) camera that takes great macro pics (well, it is a professional camera... though a bit dated now). Despite the many fewer pixels, the pictures are much sharper because more of the available pixels were used where they were needed. With the higher mp camera, many pixels were cropped off (read: wasted) to get the subect, vs many fewer with the other camera.

For a parameter that is rarely noticed, it can have a huge impact on macro image quality. And, as we all know, min distance and max are almost always the two most used settings. (well... that's a complete guess, but I bet I'm right, anyway ;) ) That is one reason why I chose my Panasonic Lumix FZ7. At the time (which was a few years ago...) it had the shortest min focus distance of comparable cameras I could find. The newer Lumix cameras are much improved, though, and I bet there are many more options now from other makers today worth considering as well.

Plus, lighting must be taken into consideration. Light reflected off an object further away spreads out according to the law of inverse squares (for those curious), and you need 4x the light (and 4x the shutter open time, or other compensation method) for an object twice as far away (for example). The law begins to break down at very short distances for various reasons (camera itself blocking light, etc.), but it still should be kept in mind.

So anyway, check that min focus distance ;)

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