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Rex Johnson

Correct Camera Lens For Product Photos?

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Looking at buying an affordable camera for shooting my pieces.

Not sure what the correct lens I should get, Macro? 50mm?

 

I should know this stuff but my memory fades...

Though my iPhone takes great photos, the wide angle distorts the piece, giving a false impression.

What do you use?

 

c829f8_e309362ebc0440a09c8aabe4f7c8afb6.

glazenerd likes this

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I personally use a zoom lens, usually to about 50-70mm to shoot my pottery. All depending on the size. You want to use higher f stops for depth of field, and make certain to have good lighting. 

 

You may find the following link of help also:

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3157898

 

best,

Pres

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Hi Rex,

What do you mean by an affordable camera? What is the max price you would be willing to pay?

Are you interested in a point & shoot or DSLR with interchangeable lenses? Most point & shoots have great zoom lenses and actually shooting in the 75-100mm range would be what a "normal" 50mm lens would be on a 35mm camera. (I learned "Old School", hence the comparison). That range would present you with what your object would look like with the least amount of distortion. Most p&s cameras have exposure adjustments but do not compare with a DSLR.

Again, it comes down to how much you want to spend and how much time you want to spend learning to shoot the best pix.

Having trained as a professional photographer a long time ago, I'd be happy to be of further assistance, if you'd like.

Johnnyk

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I use my iPhone for anything that's destined for the web. The file format and size are web friendly right out of the can, and you can get some remarkably powerful photo editing apps for free.

I find I don't need a fancy lens for that, but you can get lens kits for your smartphone if you've grown beyond your phone's capabilities. They're cheaper than lenses for a more "grown up" camera.

Here's a review I found:

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-lenses-for-iphone/

 

If I need higher resolution pics for galleries or bigger shows, I shoot on my Big Girl camera (Cannon), and do the proper gradient background, etc. The kit lens is sufficient at that point, because unless you're shooting tiny things like jewelry, taking your depth of field too low will make things blurry, making a macro lens sort of counterproductive.

 

All the photography advice I've ever received from college instructors, friends who are professionals, camera shop pros, etc. Says to stretch the abilities of what you have before you start buying lots of lenses. It gets spendy fast, and unless you're doing a whole lot of camera work you get paid for, it's not cost effective.

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I also use a zoom lens. Mine zooms out to 55mm, and I keep it zoomed all the way to 55, and the camera as far away as possible, which minimizes distortion. The longer the zoom lens the better, in terms of distortion. But you need a large space in front of your photo stand to use a lens that zooms in further.

 

I'm not positive about this, a better camera expert might know, but I think a larger diameter lens reduces distortion too. My studio lens is 77mm diameter. This is kind-of large and heavy, so whenever I take the camera to a different location (such as shooting booth shots at a show), I will switch to a standard size 58mm diameter lens, which is much lighter.

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I'm a bad one to ask as I have so much high end nikon camera (SLR-gear along with several bags of lenses ) Thats said any digital camera with a medium zoom lens will get the job done-the 50 - 70mm zoom will do most everything .

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I use the "big girl" camera (Cannon) with the 50-70 mm zoom, then often I'll post things so I have to send it to my android phone to use snap seed or some other photo editing app.

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Once you get used to it, you can not beat the GIMP for easy JPEG editing. Open source software is free, and amazingly well developed these days. I have a Panasonic FZ-1000 that I am just learning. It has a free RAW editor that allows an immense amount of photo editing exposures of the RAW data. Most camera manufacturers supply a RAW editor when they allow RAW saves.

 

 

best,

Pres

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Old Lady:

 

You mentioned in my gallery we have the same camera. The trick to getting better pictures is not using the flash, it somehow distorts images/colors. I use the close up setting or the portrait setting outdoors or with halogen work lights nearby. The closeup up setting says no more than 28" away, but I found it works best around 36" while zooming in. Kodak C182

 

Nerd

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Well, answers! Thanks all.

I spent a lot of hours researching the past 24 hours, in Urgent Mode as my wife needs to shot some pics of here student work and I have to ge some web shots up this weekend.

 

For me, simpler is better. A DSLR is all I need, so after reading reviews about mainly Nikons and Canons, I settled on a Canon Rebel T5i that came with an 18-55mm lens.

Pretty sure that will do.

It came bundled with a  58mm HD Wide angle attachment lens and a 2.2x telephoto as well.

 

I realize these attachment lenses are kind of gimmicky, I'm hoping the 18-55mm will suffice.

90% of what I shoot will be inside a 24x24 light box within 24" of the piece I figure.

 

Per Diesel Clay's comments, I agree the iPhone takes fantastic pics, but it's the distortion is the issue.

I've tried using editing apps to correct distortion but they are inadequate when it comes to accurately show the true shape of say, a vase for example.

What I'm after is a true representation.

I.G., this is an iPhone pic of one of my saggar vases. The piece is really out of proportion top to bottom.

It's not nearly as wide at the top as it looks...

 

c829f8_c2b7ba68210b427ea35784d76a921a2a.

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(use a tripod and set the camera on highest f-stop (smallest aperture) and let the camera choose the exposure time.  This will give you the least distortion. )

 

this is the best advice as the depth of field (area in focus) will be the best as well.The tripod will make a slow exposure a non issue.

This is the same way I take photos in my photo cube.

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That's not quite accurate, about distortion being least at smallest aperture. It will give greatest depth of field which means more of the subject will be in sharp focus - which is not the same as distortion. Photographically, distortion is a changing of the shape. Like a building seems to taper as you look up it. To minimise distortion, you need to be as far away from your subject as is feasible, then use the lens to fill the frame. So using your kit lens at its 55mm setting should give you a good result, whereas the 18mm will give you distortion whatever the aperture. It would be interesting to try it with the telephoto attachment when you have the time. It might give excellent results - if you have the space to be far enough away.

Girts

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Distortion is greater in say my 18mm lens or my 17mm-55mm zoom if its zoomed in to 17mm. The 55mm is way less. In all my super wide angle shots distortion is always the issue. In those midrange lens distortion is usual not a factor.My 20 or 24 mm have way less than say an 18mm. small apertures help  with focus and my lens are all 2.8. Quality lenses also help but when you get down to say a 14mm distortion will be part of the deal always.

Heres a shot taken with the 17mm zoom cranked down to 17mm as the subject was 16 feet long-its not distorted much.

post-8914-0-66603100-1468091909_thumb.jpg

post-8914-0-66603100-1468091909_thumb.jpg

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My pics are awful-I don't even have a camera right now, just my cell phone, and my eyes are developing slow-growing cataracts that are interfering with my ability to discern sharpness (but not enough for surgery). At the moment I'm in an "I can only do what I can do" mood and a camera is a low priority. Of course it is a huge burr under my saddle that my former husband is an excellent professional photographer and is more than willing (LOL) to advise me on all things photographic. When I even hear words such as aperture or f-stop or bounce light I find myself grinding my teeth!! I am sure that will pass as soon as I admit to Self that I must attain an attitude adjustment and do better if I intend to post better pics on my website. 

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This white shark swam by the cage most of a 1/2 day and we named her hooker as her dorsal fin was bent over like a fish hook.

She was 16 plus feet with the cage as scale marker. This was 250 miles south of San Diego off a boat off Guadalupe Island in Mexico . It was on my bucket list for diving- after feed in sharks in Micronesia in the 80's, it was before shark week aroused the public on the shark craze of today.That list has been long and is still going on.In ceramics the list is much smaller.

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Lighting is more important than the camera. Just about any phone camera can work. An SLR is not necessary. A decent camera with a zoom lens would be the most versatile for shooting small pieces or groupings. You really can't go wrong nowadays with any major brand, as the quality of even lower end models is plenty good for web shots. Good lighting can be had with daylight, or a cheap lighting setup can be built or purchased for $100 or less. Making good product photos has never been cheaper or easier.

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