I use a Fuji Finepix F610 digital camera, a 6.3 megapixel camera, which can go up to 12 megapixel with software enhancement. For taking wildflower images I generally use it on the 6 megapixel setting but go down to the 3 megapixel setting for smaller flowers. With a camera of this size a large 512Mb memory card and a couple of batteries is essential.
In macro mode I am able to get to within 8cm of the subject, this isn't as good as some cameras on the market but having a 6 megapixel camera means that I can crop and resample, and retain all the detail I need to produce a good image for the web.
The camera produces images of photoquality suitable for A3 and A4 reproduction, and it is a very easy camera to use, and I haven't yet had to use it in manual mode. To take photos of flowers all I have to do is turn the camera on, select macro mode, zoom in on the subject and press the button. Fuji have had problems in the past with camera shake but they have certainly eliminated the problem with this camera.
For my website (Wildflowers of Devon & Cornwall) I resample images to 640 x 480 and jpg compress to 25%.
I take all my images whilst out walking in the Plymouth area, and especially whilst out with my two four legged friends, Bess and Mabh, two Border Collie bitches.
The Fuji Finepix S9500 Digital Camera
Another camera I bought in January 2006 is the nine megapixel Fuji Finepix S9500 and this is proving to be a very good camera and unlike the Fuji F610 allows a range of accessories to be fitted e.g. polarising filters, so the camera can be used in a marine environment or in areas where there is naturally a lot of glare or reflection.
This camera is very easy to use, it has both 'macro' and 'supermacro' settings, which both work very well indeed with its x2 digital zoom. Minimum object distance in supermacro mode is just one centimetre so extremely good close-ups can be obtained even in auto mode, as the cameras auto-focus is really second to none. It is a 28-300mm camera, focussing from 1cm to infinity and carries a massive 10.7X optical zoom lens with x2 digital zoom.
Unlike most other cameras the zoom isn't motorised and this is a great plus as it allows the user to setup shots more quickly, and with a simple twist of its fixed lens. Another bonus is that this camera takes both compact flash and Fuji XD media, ideal for people like me who have both to hand and they can both be used at the same time, using the cameras settings to switch between one and the other. Like the F610, another great benefit is in its speed of operation, it's quick, there's no waiting around for the camera to save shots, and this means more time for composing and less frustration. I've read reviews about this camera and it has been stated that it is not a ''Point and Shoot'' camera, I completely disagree, on writing this I've had the camera for two days, I'm still playing around with it on AUTO and I'm already adding more images to the site, and improving on some that were already there.
In time I'll get used to all its DSLR type functions, but I'll get there without the stress of some other cameras, thanks to the good AUTO facility that is provided. At £400 it is approximately £100 cheaper than the 8M Nikon Coolpix 8800, a similar style of camera, and in my opinion 100% better, for it is far easier to use, lighter, and a lot less hassle.