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Thread: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

  1. #1
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    Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Hi,
    I've seen some similar threads to this but I haven't seen any that actually address the issue I've got.
    I've got to shoot a set of A1 posters, lying on the floor with the camera set up vertically over it.
    I've read in other threads that the best type of lens to use is a macro lens as it gives the flattest image. We've got a Canon EOS 500D and at the moment we use a Sigma EX 50mm f2.8 DG macro, which gives an amazing image, but I've had a look and to get the poster and a bit of surrounding area in too I have to stand about 4.5 - 5m back, which isn't an option if we're shooting the poster from above.
    Does anyone have any suggestions of what I could use instead? I'm not going to lie I don't have the best knowledge of lenses, and we have about a £300 budget to play with.
    Thanks in advance!

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    allenlennon's Avatar
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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    why dont you put the poster flat on the wall or piece of wood sitting vertically and shoot it from the distance you want. And yes the better lens gets better results but you dont necessarily need to buy a new lens just for it.

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Hi Allen, thanks for the reply. We want to shoot it on the floor as we want our flooring as the background for the poster, otherwise I would just put it on the wall! Also we want to get another lens anyway as the macro gives great close up shots for doing product shots etc but when I'm trying to shoot larger products I don't really have the space in our small studio to stand right back to get it all in...

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Could you tell us the actual size of the poster, I you wanting to use the marco, any you have to get that far away, to get proper focus. Why not rent a good 50mm, as you are shooting something that has "0" depth, so you should not any problem getting a sharpe focus?

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Hi Allan,
    The dimensions of A1 are 594x841mm, but we want to get at least a foot and a half of background space in around it. I'm not necessarily wanting to use a macro, I just heard that was the best lens for shooting artwork, but any other suggestions would be welcome. Cheers, Joe

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Hi, Firstly determine the maximum size (length) of the area you wish to shoot (A1 poster + however much floor). Secondly determine the height that you can comfortably hold/support the camera above it. With these two dimensions known it's just a bit of trigonometry to work out the angle of view required and from this you can deternine the focal length of the lens you need.

    It's then down to finding the quality within you budget.

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Brilliant advice! The area I need to shoot will be about 1.5m x 1.2m — I can probably work up to about 1.5—2m high, what's the formula for working that out?

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    area longest dimension is 1.5 m, distance 2m, so to get the 'horizontal' viewing angle we need to calculate 2×arctan(0.5×1.5/2), which is about 53°
    doing the same for the 'vertical' viewing angle, we get 33°.

    Looking up the corresponding focal length would give a maximum usable focal length of about 30-35 mm.

    (or have a look here; scroll down a bit to see the calculator )

    So before spending some of the few dollars you have, try if the kit lens from the camera works (stopped down to F8 or thereabouts, and do use
    a tripod or other support if at all possible).

    If you feel you need another lens, you can also try to hire one for a few days, should be cheaper than buying, and probably get you a better lens.

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    IMO, it would be quite easy to shoot the poster on a wall and then paste in an image of the floor around it.

    As far as I know, there is no lens with a wider view field which would be appropriate. Perhaps renting or buying a full frame camera would give you a wider view.

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    I second rpcrowe's suggestion. It is extremely difficult to light a flat object to be shot with a wide angle lens, and few lenses with such a wide angle are rectilinear, without distortion, which might be necessary for the poster image, and maybe also for the floor.

    Shooting it on a wall would be simpler, as it can be done from a larger distance, which is easier to illuminate. A longer lens usually will not distort as much as many wider lenses, and you need not worry about vignetting.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Quote Originally Posted by jmwl View Post
    Brilliant advice! The area I need to shoot will be about 1.5m x 1.2m — I can probably work up to about 1.5—2m high, what's the formula for working that out?
    Making the 1.2m dimension at the shortest possible SD (Subject Distance) will be the more difficult of the two.
    The CiC Calculator provides a guide for required Focal Length of the lens in consideration of the LONGER linear dimension of the frame.

    The EF50/2.5 on a 135 Format Camera (aka “Full Frame’) will give a FoV (Field of View) 1.8m x 1.2m at a SD (Subject Distance) of 2.5m.
    Arguably this is the BEST lens for this job.
    Whether you need the best lens is another question.
    Obviously this solution would require hiring or buying another camera – a 5D would be more than sufficient for enlargements to medium wall size.

    Using your APS-C Format Camera and any capable zoom lens (i.e. your kit lens) at about FL = 25mm will give about an identical FoV at SD = 2.5m. (i.e. making the 1.2m dimension).
    A 24mm Prime also would be suitable.

    You will likely find any zoom lens set at 25mm will incur Barrel Distortion, mostly all 24 Primes do, also: and this can be corrected using various PP applications.
    Preparing the shot with the lens set in the centre of the Subject and with both Lens’s axes perpendicular to the Subject will benefit greatly the ease of Post Production.

    Example of Barrel Distortion exhibited by the EF-S 15 to 55F/3.5~5.6 ‘Kit Lens’ when casually used (i.e. no precision tripod setting up and measuring) and used at FL = 20mm, and also the quick (1 minute) Barrel Distortion correction:
    Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    WW

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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    If it were me, I'd hang it vertically (in any place that had the space) - light it properly - correct any distortion in photoshop - and add any "floor" as background later (also in Photoshop). Shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to process each shot.

    My standard lens for art reproduction is a TS-E 90mm F3.5

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Best Lenses for Shooting Posters

    Quote Originally Posted by jmwl View Post
    I've seen some similar threads to this but 0I haven't seen any that actually address the issue I've got. I've got to shoot a set of A1 posters, lying on the floor with the camera set up vertically over it.
    Often, the Original Question is premised upon NOT the most suitable method of achieving any specific outcome and also does not have enough information and also is not a general ‘outcome based question’, but rather makes assumptions, which might not be in the best interest of the best solution.

    Even though I answered your technical question accurately, my advice is to seriously consider the other advice on this thread, which suggests you hang these posters on the wall.
    Lighting is more easily controlled when the artwork is on a wall.
    Lighting is very important.
    You have not disclosed the USES of the images: this will go a long way to determining whether or not an investment in another lens is warranted. Also you have not disclosed what (if any) other lenses you have.

    WW

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