Sony DSC-F717 and macro shots

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Taneli Korhonen, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. I'm considering an F717 but am somewhat worried about what the reviews say
    about its macro properties. The samples I've seen aren't promising at all,
    showing considerable amounts of barrel distortion and lack of sharpness at
    the edges.

    Is it really so that one can't make decent macro shots with the F717, or
    can someone prove the reviews wrong? Would I be better off (regarding
    macro shots) with a G3 and perhaps a macro ring / close-up lens or
    Taneli Korhonen, Jan 5, 2004
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  2. If you're serious about doing macro, forego the consumer digicams and
    go with a (digital, if need be) SLR and a dedicated macro lens. These are
    the only ones that you'll find that are flat-field optimized and able to
    perform properly, also allowing the use of teleconverters, extension tubes,
    and other macro accessories.

    That said, the F717 performs far better than I expected it to (used
    one for about a month). The reason you're seeing field curvature is because
    the macro focusing only takes place at the shorter focal lengths, the
    equivalent of 28-50mm or thereabouts in 35mm terms. For most macro
    subjects, this isn't too much of an issue, since the subject usually can be
    concentrated in the center anyway, and depth-of-field issues mean you're
    choosing a specific area to focus on. For copy work, or anything else with
    a flat plane of focus, both the field curvature and the working distance of
    the short focal lengths is far too hampering.

    The camera focuses down to just over 2 cm, which allows some
    impressive magnification for a digital, and has a built-in function that
    magnifies the viewfinder/screen image while focusing, giving more crucial
    detail. Still, tight focusing with an LCD screen is not the recommended
    way, and DOF is too short to allow the camera's autofocus to pick. But the
    larger concern, as far as I've seen, is the ability to light a subject at
    those distances, since the camera is in the way. The on-camera flash is
    useless in this respect unless you're into adjusting bounce cards.

    I have a few examples of the macro capability saved, and can send
    them to you if you like - full res jpegs are 1.5 megs each. Drop me a line
    direct if you're interested. But you can also see an experiment at This is with a 50mm lens reversed on
    the front of the F717 (which turns "field curvature" into a whole new
    concept and causes DOF to drop into fractions of millimeters) - the entire
    spider is about the size of a pencil eraser, and the distance across the
    wider eyes is less than a millimeter. With the stacked lens this is not a
    'typical' result, but does show how well it handled the additional lens
    elements. I was pleasantly surprised.

    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Jan 5, 2004
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