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Thread: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

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    Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    The design studio I work for owns a Nikon D600 with a few fixed lenses (24mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/2D and 50mm f/1.8G -- all Nikkor).

    I've been assigned with taking photographs of our portfolio. Most of our work are print (company profile books, stationeries) as well as packaging design (bottles, pint of ice cream cups, frozen vegetables in highly reflective plastics).

    The style of photos will be similar to this site: http://www.swearwords.com.au/design-branding

    We have an extremely large warehouse with 1 full story not being used, so space is not a problem. I know I might be able to get good shots using the 50mm but getting closer to show paper textures on business cards etc will be impossible.

    So we're in the market to get a new lens. Reading a bunch of articles & forums I'm thinking of getting the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VRII macro for that really tight close up shots.

    Would this be the correct lens to get? Any inputs from more experienced photographers would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    It is indeed a very good lens, but if it is the best one for the job depends on a few things. Many product photographs may benefit from a tiltable lens, and there is a Micro Nikkor 85 mm T/S, that might be a better bet.

    Particularly when shooting flat objects that are not parallel to the sensor plane, tilt is useful to stretch the plane of sharpness along the object by the Scheimpflug principle.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Inkanyezi, thanks for the quick response! The price difference between those 2 lenses are stellar. Our photography equipment will only be used to shoot in-house portfolio needs, as such, I don't think the boss will sign off on it. I probably should've mentioned that the budget for the whole project is around US$1,000.-

    I can get a 2nd hand near-mind condition 105mm for about $650 at where I am, so that leaves about $350 for lighting (I'm building a very simple lighting solution.

    The only other lens I'm considering is the 60mm f/2.8 micro but I'm still worried about distance as getting way too close to the object might be problematic on the lighting.

    The images will be used mainly for website and physical portfolio book (a little smaller than A4 size) as well as a series of A1 - A0 size posters.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    I think it would be well worth while for you to read through the nearby thread on macro for cheaper alternatives and I would hope you could do the job with rather less than US$1000
    Macro
    If your 50 is like this one http://www.dpreview.com/products/nik...s/nikon_50_1p8 I see that it has a manual aperture control ring so the cheapest way to get BCU of the business cards will be with an extension tube.
    This could be auto or manual as here http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-10-MC...on+tubes+nikon for $12.15 plus of course P&P which is often quite horrendous these days unless coming from Hong Kong I just checked Amazon for that price but Ebay could have a HK supplier.
    The Ebay link http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trks...=625&_from=R40
    The advantage of extension tubes is that you preseerve the IQ of the Nikkor lens and avoid possible problems with CU lenses which don't bother me but in your situation tubes would be best ... either manual or auto for around $55. Are you happy working in Manual?

    Since your biggest need will be lighting to duplicate the work on your link you need to avoid spending up on lenses etc. Like a lot of this work it is all lighting and setting and a P&S camera could make the actual exposures almost as well as the Nikon. Particularly if it was a Nikon P&S

    EDIT ... Your concern about gettng too close is a good point and the solution here is a longer lens using the complete set of extension tubes with the need for large prints I suggest you need to shoot as close to the finished requirement as possible and avoid cropping in editing. This may make sense but to achieve an image on the sensor the same size as the subject with a 50mm lens you need 50mm extension [ or a bit less allowing for the lens's ability to focus ... 0.45m I believe ] with a longer lens such as a 135mm you would need 135mm extension but unlike most of us going after spiders and the like I doubt you will want to go that far and standing back with the cards in an attractive setting could be better than a big bold close-up.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 29th May 2013 at 10:23 AM.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Depth of field will be your biggest problem. Get as much light as possible to allow the use of small apertures. There is no substitute for the correct tools for the job. A tilt/shift lens would be the correct tool.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamS View Post
    Depth of field will be your biggest problem. Get as much light as possible to allow the use of small apertures. There is no substitute for the correct tools for the job. A tilt/shift lens would be the correct tool.
    With Shifting's budget the suggestion of TS lens is completely ridiculous even if it is the 'correct' lens ... I priced the 85mm which is almost twice his budget. LOL

    He is going to need a steady tripod as well though in the studio if he uses remote release along with mirror lock-up a less than professional tripod should work AOK .. the budget and more would go a good tripod same as the TS lens .. we need to give him practical suggestions....like the main problem is holding onto the camera when making exposures and ideally one gives the camera time to stop vibrating after pressing the trigger or touching it in any way assuming the warehouse is not vibrating from production machinery or passing traffic.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 29th May 2013 at 10:14 AM.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Thank you all for your kind inputs. The 85mm PC-E is definitely out of the budget as it sells for a little over $2,000 from where I'm from. Our 50mm is a f/1.8G, so no aperture ring unfortunately

    I'll read more on jcuknz's suggestion but I guess the general consensus is that the 105mm macro is probably an overkill for what I need to do.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by shifting View Post
    Thank you all for your kind inputs. The 85mm PC-E is definitely out of the budget as it sells for a little over $2,000 from where I'm from. Our 50mm is a f/1.8G, so no aperture ring unfortunately

    I'll read more on jcuknz's suggestion but I guess the general consensus is that the 105mm macro is probably an overkill for what I need to do.
    That means you need the auto tubes. I would say the 105 would be good except my concern about splurging an a lens, however convienient and I'm not really sure you need it except for the longer focal length ... is there anything else available which gives you greater reach/length? Personally I like working with my 280mm AoV lens though I need to use CU lens to enable closer focus. With regard to DoF for a given image the DoF remains the same whatever focal length you use in case the talk of DoF worries you, and don't worry about diffraction at small apertures becuase most likely other factors will spoil your shots ahead of diffraction according to the CiC guru who works with full frame

    A side note .. does the D600 have a delay release like many cameras giving you 2 or 10/12 second delay after pressing the trigger? usually enough to give the camera time to settle down for the exposure .. I use it all the time when doing 'studio' work rather than a cable release..
    Last edited by jcuknz; 29th May 2013 at 10:39 AM.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    I just had a short discussion regarding this with my boss and he's leaning towards the 105mm since apparently in the near future we'll be taking a lot of small items product shot for a client.

    The D600 does have 1,2 or 3 seconds exposure delay setting.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Of course you can use your creativity with what you have at hand, and the 105 mm macro is a really good lens. For shooting small objects, you only need to learn what to expect and set focus and aperture to best suit your needs. I just assumed that a tripod would go into your equation, even if a studio stand of column type is better if you have many articles to shoot. It is however outside the budget.

    The tilt lens is, as said before, a "correct tool". The macro lens without tilt is a workable tool.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Some years back on a blog a photographer was having trouble getting a good shot of a number of books and at the end of a lengthy discssion with various ideas suggested by people and not working I suggested the use of a flat-bed scanner and suprise suprise it apparently worked well.

    There are two books worth getting hold of "Light, Science and Magic" Fil HUnter and Paul Fuqua and a recently published one by Steve Stint who published numerous examples on Photo.Net which demonstrated his competance in the studio field. I really doubt the need for a macro lens with the items you have listed but a longer focus lens with means to get it to focus closer than normal is needed. You will find slightly soiled copies of the book on Amazon as I did at a reduced price.

    My other thought was I hope you are reasonably competance with an editing programme and have a programme such as a recent version of Adobe Elements or Paint Shop Pro even if you don't have the full blown Photoshop which I am sure has helped the photographer that you linked to. If you DO need depth of field there is 'focus stacking' which can be done manually in such programmes mentioned or else with a focus stacking programme. Being in the studio can make life complicated but also more controllable once you work out how to achieve the results you are after. Your boss is getting the job on the cheap so I hope he gives you plenty of time to learn and doesn't breath down your neck ... Good Luck

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    I wouldn't have hinted about the tilt lens if it wasn't for the high end approach regarding other hardware as well as space. If a work deserves to be done, it should deserve to be done well. Quite clearly, all lenses that you have there so far are rather short for the task, and in my opinion, the high end camera is a bit of overkill, although it is a splendid tool for any photography worksman.

    Looking at the examples you pointed to, I think some of them might indeed have been taken with tilt, while others are just shopped. Given the available space and your location in the world, you might hire some local craftsman to make you a column type stand on castor wheels at a reasonable price. Otherwise a tripod with a tripod dolly will be rather comfortable too. The tedious thing with tripods when shooting various objects of different size and at various angles is that a tripod is not convenient to arrange and rearrange multiple times during a shoot. A movable column stand with counterweighted boom is far more convenient in the studio than a tripod, although commercial stands are much more expensive than decent tripods. However, sometimes they go for a song when some photographer goes out of business and the space is needed for something else. One was sold here for just about $30 recently.

    On a low budget hardware-wise, I wouldn't have suggested a full frame camera for this type of job, but once you have it, I find it a bit silly to save too much on the tools you have to use every day. The camera is just one piece of image-making hardware. Lights, backgrounds, reflectors and softboxes and lighting stands are also needed, and to work efficiently and flexibly, column stands are far more convenient than the usual flimsy amateur equipment, both for camera and lighting. On a low budget, stick-in-can is a very cost efficient lighting and prop stand though. I'd recommend taking a look at the videos that Jim Talkington has made at Prophotolife.
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 29th May 2013 at 09:46 PM.

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    Re: Close Up Product/Stationery Photo Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by shifting View Post
    The style of photos will be similar to this site: http://www.swearwords.com.au/design-branding
    Any inputs from more experienced photographers would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    That link illustrates the STYLE of Photos
    but the USE of the photos and the tight budget are more the main factors that should be driving your bosses' choices.

    For web in-line display and a catalogue of A4 prints as have you mentioned . . .

    You'd be better to advise your boss that you are looking to spend the budget on the lighting and backdrop and lighting tents you presently have to use (apparently this is none or very limited?).
    And the remainder (if any) on some hands-on training to use same.
    And NOT directing the budget at new lenses.

    Adequate DoF for images of small products for in-line web display can be achieved by increasing the Shooting Distance; using an adequate Aperture and suitable Lighting and ISO - and then later cropping, in Post Production.

    A0 and A1 Posters, however, are a different kettle of kippers. Prima facie, for anywhere decent results for those sized promotional posters, your boss needs to consider choosing a budget bigger than $1000.00 and seriously consider the uses of a Tilt Shift Lens, as well as an adequate lighting rig and adequate training for use of all.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 30th May 2013 at 04:58 AM.

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