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Thread: Sony help for close up settings

  1. #1

    Sony help for close up settings

    Total amateur here looking to the experts for help PLEASE. I have a SONY DSC-H2 and have been trying to set up a lighting tent to take close up's for handmade jewerly such as necklaces, that is my love, my art. I had a Canon and knew what settings to use for it, but not the SONY as I have not used it for my close ups. Can someone please tell me how to set the settings while using a lighting tent? I have been reading and researching and taking a 1000 photos, but I have decided to give up and then I found this site.

    If you help, I will send you a handmade necklace!! I am desperate, please help me you experts !!!!

  2. #2

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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Welcome mmassey! BTW, is there a name we can use to address you more easily?

    There are certainly people here who can help you through this, so you've come to the right place. I'll just kick things off with some questions.

    Looking at the online manual for your camera on the Sony site (here), I see it has manual exposure settings, which is a good thing. What problem(s) are you having? Is it focus at the distance, exposure in your light tent, problems with the background? It would be very helpful if you post one or more example images, and say what you find wrong with them.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    ~ It would be very helpful if you post one or more example images, and say what you find wrong with them.
    Hi mmassey,

    Futher to Rick's excellent start, if you don't know how to post images here, this is probably the easiest way;
    How to post pictures inline using TinyPic

    So, other than to say, welcome to the CiC forums, there's nothing to add for the moment.

    Best regards,

  4. #4

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    My name is Margo

    I just got home and just do not have time to take any more photos tonight but will tomorrow I promise.

    Focus is good but I thought I needed more settings on the camera because the color is yellow like. I used to use these lamps my husband has in the garage while working on cars. They get super hot and I burned up a lighting tent last year because I became focused on something for two minutes and forgot to turn them off...oops. So I was trying to small lamps with 75 bulbs as I read that would be good. But then I also read about these bulbs you could get at Home Depot. So I just wanted to reach out and see if it was the camera and the settings or the lighing in the tent. Can you answer from this, or do you need photos anyway? If photos are needed, promise to get those tomorrow night. Oh I cant wait for the help !!!!

  5. #5

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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    This sounds like a white balance problem. In general, you can use most kinds of lights, but you'll want to try to make sure that all the light shining into your light tent is the same kind of light. If not the same bulbs, they should all be the same type: like all tungsten, all fluorescent. You'll have a problem with "mixed" light, where you have some fluorescent and some tungsten light on the scene.

    Once the light is all matched, you can either: 1) show your camera a neutral reference point and tell it to use that; or 2) fix it in post-processing. There's a lot of information about this here. If you use technique (1), look for "custom white balance" in your manual. For technique (2), it depends on your post-processing tool, but part of it will be similar, to include a neutral reference in a set-up shot. You could also put it at the edge of the scene, where it can be cropped out.

    The next step is probably to get the lights to be the same kind, and try some shots, either with "custom white balance," or with something white or gray in the scene, so it can be corrected. If you post some of these shots, it should be clear what's going on.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Last edited by rick55; 28th March 2010 at 06:00 PM. Reason: removed duplicate

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Quote Originally Posted by mmassey View Post
    My name is Margo

    I just got home and just do not have time to take any more photos tonight but will tomorrow I promise.

    Focus is good but I thought I needed more settings on the camera because the color is yellow like. I used to use these lamps my husband has in the garage while working on cars. They get super hot and I burned up a lighting tent last year because I became focused on something for two minutes and forgot to turn them off...oops. So I was trying to small lamps with 75 bulbs as I read that would be good. But then I also read about these bulbs you could get at Home Depot. So I just wanted to reach out and see if it was the camera and the settings or the lighing in the tent. Can you answer from this, or do you need photos anyway? If photos are needed, promise to get those tomorrow night. Oh I cant wait for the help !!!!
    Hi Margo,

    Rick's answer is good, but I'll add some more. I don't know what level of photographic experience you have, I'm going to pitch it simple and apologise in case it sounds condescending - that's not my intention.

    First a bit about my set up to see how it compares:
    I shoot with an 18 inch square light tent using 3 small desk lamps, the sort with a gooseneck so I can vary the angles etc. I have just 30 - 60w bulbs in these, to avoid the fire risk My garage hand lamp has a 150W bulb in, and as you say, gets way too hot! I got the 3 desk lamps from Asda (Walmart) for less than 10 pounds (dollars) - bulbs extra.

    Now that's not a lot of light, so you will need a tripod for the camera - trying to shoot such small items handheld is going to be a very frustrating process anyway, so it'll help with your sanity. Using a DSLR, I get shutter speeds, when object lit only through the light tent walls, of around 1/10 - 1/4 second, but that's at f16 for a decent Depth of Field (DoF) to get everything I want in focus. I'm not sure what shutter speed that will equate to on yours, because I think your lens only goes from f2.8 - f8. The Sony's small sensor size will more than make up for the Depth of Field (DoF) though, so that shouldn't be an issue.

    Now to the camera; I am not familiar with that model, as things have arisen, I have referred to an online review for info.

    The good news is, your camera is capable of being used manually to fix the problem.

    I note the review states that the H2 got the WB wrong when Auto was used with these kind of lights - this is likely to be the cause. You just need to take control of the white balance manually; so set it to "Incandescent" and that should immediately fix the yellow problem. If you don't know how, I'm going to take the easy option and refer you to the camera's manual, available online here - lazy wotsit, aren't I btw, it's on page 46.

    I'm going to stop there for now and let you resolve that before we go any further - if you want/need to.

    One further tip, which you may already know; you will benefit from one direct light source on jewelery to give it sparkle; so keep one lamp near the camera shing directly at the subject.

    There was another fairly recent CiC thread here that may help with further tips on sparkle, etc.

    Cheers,

  7. #7

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Sony help for close up settings
    Let me see if I did this right (posting the test photo)

  8. #8

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    OK so I posted the photo correctly on this thread. Now tell me how I can make this brighter. I did everything everyone suggested. But the photo still seems dark or has yellow in it. OR am I being overly objective???

    Thanks so far guys!!!!

  9. #9

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Sony help for close up settings

    This is what my old camera could do. These photo's are very different. I want the sharpness and color from this photo to the new camera. See why I am struggling?

  10. #10

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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Hi, Margo;

    You said two things about the image you're unhappy about: 1) it has a yellow cast; 2) it needs to be brighter.

    I took the JPG you posted, and did three things with it. For (1), I adjusted the color, setting color temperature to -20, and tint to +5. This was based on an assumption that the "floor" of your light tent is a neutral color. For (2), I did a curves adjustment, increasing contrast and brightness. I also sharpened the image, which you didn't mention specifically.

    Here's the result.

    Sony help for close up settings

    Is this more what you were looking for? If so, the color, at least, can be adjusted in the camera, with custom white balance. As for brightness, the image is a little underexposed. If you're shooting manual exposure settings, can you try the same shot at 1/15 of a second? You're using a tripod, right?

    Do you post-process your images, with Photoshop, the GIMP, or whatever? If so, a lot of this can be done there, as I did it here.

    Cheers,
    Rick

    Cheers,
    Rick

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Quote Originally Posted by mmassey View Post
    This is what my old camera could do. These photo's are very different. I want the sharpness and color from this photo to the new camera. See why I am struggling?
    Hi Margo,

    Rick's covered the other one very well, so I'll tackle this one (teamwork )

    OK, the old camera is a little different in colour temperature, but as Rick explained, that's fixable with the current camera.

    Beyond that, what I actually see isn't a better picture - the only bits that are sharper are the high contrast bits (the silver chain), if you look at the lower contrast parts; the stones, the ear loops and table weave, it is much softer. The only place the table weave looks sharper is where the more directional lighting has been put in shadow from one side. I just see a typical point and shoot camera's jpg that has a bit more sharpening applied than the later camera, that's all. Again that is probably something the new camera could be set up to achieve, but before you do that, read on...

    I do see why you are struggling, but it may be that you have a slightly unreasonable expectation of the results achievable from a camera alone shooting jpg. Professional jewelery catalog shots will have been shot by an experienced photographer in a studio environment and will undoubtedly have been Post Processed from RAW. After 50 shots, you'll be experienced too, so that's not really relevant, the difference is all about RAW and PP. You have seen, with Rick's efforts, what some PP can achieve.

    As I see it, you have a decision to make; there are two ways forward, and which is best depends upon the volume of shots per week/month/quarter you need to publish, your work environment and even personality.

    Option J:
    With a one off session of experimentation, determine the absolute optimum set up of lighting and camera settings (going deep into the menus), once set up, leave it all alone and shoot jpg.
    This is best for high volume, but for practicality, will require the space for the shooting studio to be permanently set up and left undisturbed between sessions. Really, this even includes the camera itself - don't use it for other shooting or the settings may get lost.
    If you cannot do this, the results achieved between different sessions are going to show in your pictures because I think it unlikely you'll get everything back exactly as it was before.
    The pictures will still benefit from PP (as Rick's), but I think it could be minimal if the experimentation of best set up/settings is very carefully done.
    Even if you can remove the variability, this option will result in lower quality images, although they may be good enough - given that you want to hand make jewelery, not images

    Option R:
    Having got the lighting rig optimal, shoot RAW and post process for best images, giving individual attention to each.
    This is only really viable for lower volume, given the time investment required for PP, especially if that doesn't interest you.
    You may be able to come up with a fairly standardised PP workflow to ease the time burden.
    Beyond remembering to switch to RAW, this leaves the camera available for other uses between studio sessions.
    You may need to buy software for PP, what needs doing can be done with many packages, some free, with practice you will become experienced at this too, but for production line use, something like CS4 may be better, if you can justify the price (and claim it as a business expense).
    Option R will result in higher quality images.

    No doubt the pros may have some better/further advice as I'm getting beyond my depth now

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 28th March 2010 at 09:36 AM. Reason: tweaks for better reading

  12. #12

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    You guys have been so kind to help me. I am going to block off some time later today and look at your next suggestions. Since I am in this for long haul, let me tell you about my art studio. The tent is set up to next to a computer that is just for the photos and the lights stay like they are sitting right now. So I will not be moving anything so I am set up there. Plus once I get the setting right on the camera, that will stay there too.

    I will post something in this thread in the next few days. Your the best ever!!

    Now send me some address and I will send a necklace or two haha

    Margo

  13. #13

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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Hi, Margo;

    It sounds as if Dave's "Option J" is likely to be what you want. Once you have things set up, it will allow you to spend most of your time arranging the subject, and no time on postprocessing. If this is what you want, then part of your setup is probably to do a custom white balance, which you'll find in your camera's manual. I'm lazy, like Dave.

    Essentially, you'll put a neutral colored object (white or gray) in your target area, and tell the camera: "This is neutral." You'll have to make sure the camera will keep the custom white balance across sessions. After that, just do what Dave describes in Option J, adjusting your lighting and camera settings for what you want.

    One last point: if you have significant light from elsewhere (especially a window), you can get mixed lighting, so it's important to avoid this. That would also cause a problem with consistent camera setup.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  14. #14

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    So here is my latest. I think there is still a little blur, but it is because I am not using a tripod. I dont have one. Need to make some money from my necklaces, then I will get one. What do you guys think?

    Sony help for close up settings

  15. #15
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Quote Originally Posted by mmassey View Post
    So here is my latest. I think there is still a little blur, but it is because I am not using a tripod. I dont have one. Need to make some money from my necklaces, then I will get one. What do you guys think?
    Hi Margo,

    Well, here's the basic EXIF data which confirms you have everything as it should be.
    Camera Maker: SONY
    Camera Model: DSC-H2
    Image Date: 2010:03:28 02:06:54
    Focal Length: 6.0mm
    Aperture: f/8.0
    Exposure Time: 0.033 s (1/30)
    ISO equiv: 200
    Exposure Bias: none
    Metering Mode: Matrix
    Exposure: shutter priority (semi-auto)
    White Balance: Manual
    Light Source: Incandescent
    Flash Fired: No
    Color Space: sRGB
    I would recommend a tripod though, even if it's only a table top one, it will save re-framing. Shutter speed, at 1/30s with the Anti-shake on and at that focal length, as we can see, results are pretty good. I don't think I see any camera shake blur as such, even when viewing the full size of 1,599 1,069px, but it would benefit from a little more sharpening.

    I am guessing you must have some form of PP software to down-size or crop the images, you may want to use that to do a little sharpening, or investigate the camera's menus, to see if there is a way to increase it a notch, I couldn't see one from the review I was reading (not the manual).

    The other thing that should help is switching P.Quality to "Fine", I think it may be on "Standard" at the moment (I looked on a better EXIF viewer for that).

    Some might suggest bringing the ISO down to 100, but as noise isn't a problem and a slower shutter speed may well be, I'd leave that alone at 200, it is a good compromise.

    Glad to be of help,

  16. #16

    Re: Sony help for close up settings

    Oh look, you have the settings. I will try these tomorrow night. I cant wait. I will repost then!!!! I am so happy, I am almost there!!!!!!!!

    I love this forum. You have been the best ever. If you ever need to ask about a necklace let me know.

    Margo

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