Following on from my previous post, my intention was to make a small post with the pictures and the correct camera. However it seems the post reached further than expected and has been receiving some healthy feedback.
To clarify, this was never meant to be an absolute, definitive review on the best super macro technique, as everyone has their own favourite. It is meant as a comparison for shooting more than lifesize with various systems for someone who is choosing a new camera rig.
There is full frame, crop frame, mirroless and compact, the cameras could be any brand, but I happen to have those listed. The Nikon D800 is a formidable camera for macro due to its huge pixel count, but not one that I own.
For my terminology, I am using the term super macro to describe a shot where the whole of the picture represents greater than lifesize in 35mm format terms, ie the width of the picture area was 35mm or less. The Canon S110 just about scrapes through with 1 subsee +10.
So the 7D seems to win this test, but it was always going to be leaning that way as that is my oldest camera, and therefore the one i’m most familiar with. The OM-D was a pleasant suprise both to use and the image quality (IQ). The test really highlighted the issues with full frame and macro, which is compounded on canon by not having a up-to-date 60mm. I do remember when digital first came out and crop sensors were seen as a huge negative point, here in Lembeh it’s the other way around!
Click the Images below for a full size, I kept the picture area similar, so the size of the picture varies depending on camera:
From the crops you can see that at full size the difference is quite clear in terms of IQ, but how often do you do anything with your pictures other than small prints and web uploads?
From this highly unscientific experiment, i can offer the following conclusions:
- Canon S110 or equivalent compact: Good for web images and ability to switch lenses underwater.
- Olympus OM-D or mirrorless equivalent: Good for Slr users who don’t want to carry a big camera anymore, i need to get the gear / port for the 12-50 zoom and do a direct comparison with the S110 for people considering upgrading.
- Canon 5Dmk3 of Full frame equivalent: Great IQ, but not as good as the 7D for macro.
- Canon 7D or crop frame equivalent: Good IQ, next generations of crop frame cameras will have much better IQ. Perfect macro camera.
My wife will kill me for admitting this, but our original 7D seems to be the overall winner… so why did I buy the newer cameras and housings?!
For the housings, the Nauticam housings are great, and even though we are no longer dealers we still buy their product. You may have also noticed the different flashes in the pictures – review to follow after a few fishy posts!