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Thread: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

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    Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    I have a Canon 5D and was hoping to get a recommendation for a lens to shoot original artworks. Original paintings may be as small as 8x10 and possibly as large as 20x30. My studio is fairly small so I don't want to have to set up too far back from the original.

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    Re: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    Depends perhaps on how accurate you need the photos to be; professional art reproducers would use lenses giving a perfectly flat and rectilinear images. Overkill for most of us. Look at Canon's range of macro lenses as a starting point.

    If the pictures are glazed, you may well get reflections when photographing straight on. Consider a tilt/shift lens; you can position the camera slightly off axis, and use the shift to get the picture centred, without any reflections.

    BTW are 8x10 and 20x30 in inches or cms?
    Last edited by rc53; 15th October 2008 at 05:15 PM.

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    Re: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    Thank you for your input. We are photographing the art for reproduction purposes and the highest quality capability, within budget constraints of course, is very important to us. Also, my dimensions are in inches. Thanks again, giff

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    Re: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    Giff,

    I understand that art reproduction has unique challenges and choosing a lens is just one of many considerations. If you haven't already, you might consider getting a good text on the subject to make sure you've got the whole picture (no pun intended).

    If you can't get a good recommendation for a suitable copy/reproduction lens in time for your project, you could just choose a good prime and stop down to f/11 or so to get the best out of the lens with respect to center/corner sharpness, vignetting, flare, chromatic abberation, etc. The smaller aperture is also important to have enough depth of field so (hopefully) both the center and the corners will be in focus.

    Mike

  5. #5

    Re: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    Giff,

    This is my first post here. I just subscribed to see if I can share some info which I hope will be useful!

    According to my readings, your full frame Canon (5D) will introduce too much softness and chromatic aberations into the edges of your frames, even using prime lenses. Accordingly, you might have to employ post processing with something like DxO to overcome the distortion, and automatically apply sharpness in a way which corresponds to the actual softness in the lens response curve across its face (assuming your camera/lens combo is recognized by DxO).

    I would also recommend looking at some lens test sites, to find the 'sweet spot' for any lens you are thinking of buying. The sweet spot will minimize chromatic aberation, maximize your shapness, and mimimize vignetting. Also look for lenses with the least amount of distortion (barrel/cushion). My favorite lens test sites:

    http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/overview

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/

    http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/index.htm

    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/

    http://www.photodo.com/category_2.html

    The sharpest, most distortion-free lens out there is probably the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8, followed by a good long prime macro (such as Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro). The tilt-shift will have the advantage if you want to take a panorama of a very wide piece of art in your limited stdio space (using the shift function), or if you are shooting a high piece and you want to easily correct for perspective distortion.

    Oh, I would also suggest taking the pictures with the MLU (mirror lock up) function enabled, to make sur ethe vibrations in the mirror box do not affect your shapness if the shutter speed is somewhere between 1/10 and 1/30 second.

    Good luck.

    Mohamed
    Last edited by mshaltot; 7th November 2008 at 01:02 AM.

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    Re: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    There are some very good points raised above and I agree with them all, if I may contribute;

    I am certainly no expert at any of this, but I was an electronic engineer once (in the field of TV pictures).

    You may find it helpful in your workflow process for each art piece you photograph, to also take a shot of either the (plain) background it is resting on, or even a test chart, ideally at the exact same place as the art work. It would be very important not to touch the camera settings (focus, zoom, aperture, ISO) in anyway between these exposures. It would be OK to adjust shutter speed for exposure. This test chart shot could then be used to spot (and correct in PP) any errors like chromatic abberation, vignetting, barrel/pincushion) and noise. Those same settings could then be applied to the artwork shot, I would imagine this would be a lot easier than trying to spot the errors within the scene image the camera sees. Please bear in mind these are the ravings of an ex-engineer, and not bourne of personal experience, so I may have just suggested something that's more trouble than it's worth to you.

    In terms of shortage of space and not getting too far back, bear in mind that a wider angle lens is more likely to exhibit noticeable lens errors than a less short focal length one. What I mean is; pound for pound (or dollar/dollar) 28mm lens is going to produce more warped and patchy images than say, a 35mm.

    Hope that helps, Dave

  7. #7

    Re: Canon 5D Lens recommendation to shoot art

    Thanks rustyshutter71 for reminding me of 2 important points which should help in the quest for perfect art reproductions: Using the lowest ISO (to reduce noise), and using a color test chart to help with custom white balancing. A great way to reduce noise without affecting detail is to use the wonderful averaging technique shown by Sean McHugh here:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ging-noise.htm

    By the way, I am also an electrical engineer, and I do not even own a DSLR!

    Thanks.

    Mohamed

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