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Plant Photography


I am a retired nurse.  I spend my time studying 500 Carolina Native Plants.  I have been photographing them with a Canon PowerShot SX100 IS.  This has done a good job for me.  Yesterday I was at a protected site and photographed some very rare plants.  On the way back to the car it started to rain.  My camera got wet.  Later I noticed that the lens was half open and half closed.  I can not get it to retract fully.


I think I may need to get a new camera.  I am on a fixed income so I cannot afford to buy the top of the line.  Somewhere around $200 is what I have in mind.  Does Canon make a camera that would meet my requirements?  The only problem I have had with my old camera is that the controls are too sesitive for me.  I cannot easily manually adjust the settings using just the little multi-function dial.



Welcome, Arleigh.  It's clear that you are dedicated to an important project, so let's ask a few questions about what you want to accomplish.


  1. Do you need macro capability? (i.e. extreme close-up of the plant)
  2. Do you need to use a flash?
  3. Do you care about the plant being in sharp focus while the background is a soft, out-of-focus blur?
  4. Do you need telephoto capability? (i.e. can you get close to the plants or do you need to shoot them from far away - say, 10 feet or more)

If you can answer these questions for us, I'm sure we can give more targeted advice.

Macro capacity is very important.  I almost never use a flash.  I understand the concept of bringng the subject into sharp focus and letting the background blur out, but I have not tried to acheive that effect.  My old camera had a zoom which allowed me to photograph birds and animals from a distance, but I would prefer to get close to the plants.


I have done a couple of workshops with a professional nature photographer.  I learned a lot from those but I do not think it is something I am likely to apply to my work.  My core concept is to make the subject assessible to the average person.  To create photos that they could create on their own.


The biggest problem I had with my PowerShot SX100 IS was the fact that one button controlled so many things.  I had great trouble trying to change the focus or the field length.  I would be getting close but then would put a little too much pressure on the button and cause it to change to some totally different function.

I'm not sure if Canon has a camera that would meet your needs at that price point when buying new. My best suggestion is to go to your local camera store and try out the features of several cameras to see if they feel right to you. I'm sure you can find something in excellent used condition for that price however.

You might want to check out the SX160 IS.  It has many features similar to your SX100 IS and is a little larger physical format than the palm sized Power Shots.  Walmart sells it for $169.


Also, keep trying your SX100 IS from time to time.  Once it has had a chance to dry completely out, it may just start working again.


Best of luck !







Thanks, Ted.  I am considering buying something more expensive.  I am not very knowledgable about digital cameras.  I probably know more than most people about them, but there are a lot of things I do not understand.


My main concerns are that it takes clear, detailed photos of closeups of plants.  Mine had a "Macro" function which helped a lot with that.  The other is that it have both a good auto feature, and perhaps a special setting for foliage, and it has easy to use controls for manual focus, depth of field, and similar manual settings.  Color integrity is clearly very important.



I kind of assumed you would like to stay with Canon, if possible, so as not to have to learn a totally new menuing system.  I selected the SX160 because it was below your stated budgetary goal.  I had originally stated that Walmart also sold (online) the SX500 IS for $249 and that it was very similar to your SX100 IS, but it appears to be at the end of its marketing run and has been removed from their marketing line.  At the current time, the closest thing to your SX100 IS is the SX50 HS, which Walmart is selling for $449 which is the same as the current clearance price on the Rebel T3 - a full fledged DSLR.


You might also want to see Mike's (Canon Support) suggestion to a user on replacing his drenched A2300 on the Canon Loyalty Program:





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