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Thread: Framed painting

  1. #1

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    Framed painting

    Could some give me some advice on the type of lens I should use ?
    I am required to take colour accurate copies of the art work for use in a catalogue.


    I have this question in a assignment which I have a option of lens to pick from and filters. Great pick with the polarising filter.
    The lens are 20mm, 35mm, 50mm 100mm macro, 135mm and 300mm.
    Last edited by underwater; 29th January 2011 at 04:08 AM.

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Framed painting

    I would think it would matter less what lens and more that you set the correct white balance for the circumstances. Also if there is glass over the painting, you may try a circular polarizing filter. What camera and lenses do you currently have?

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    Re: Framed painting

    Hi "Underwater",

    Would you please be so kind as to add your first name to your profile for us?

    The short answer is "impossible to tell with just the information given".

    The long answer is that there are several things to take into consideration ...

    First up, the shorter focal lengths would require you to get a lot closer to the image, which will introduce a degree of distortion; nothing that can't be fixed later (assuming that it's not extreme), but the first preference will always be to "get it right in camera". So in that respect, the longer the lens greater the distance from painting to camera, and thus the less distortion that'll need fixing. So using that criteria, you'd want to go for the 300mm.

    Second up, generally, you want the painting to fill the entire frame so you capture the most amount of information possible. Sometimes lenses like the 300mm may not allow you to get close enough and still focus (it for example it's a small painting), so in this circumstance, the macro lens may allow you to get closer.

    Third up, you'll want to use a sharp lens for maximum image quality - so the 135mm might be something like a Canon EF135mm F2.0L USM that's legendary in the sharpness dept, so assuming that you can frame the shot correctly, then this would also be a good choice.

    In terms of colour, 99% of the battle is having an accurate white balance reference, which means shooting a grey card reference shot at the same time.

    Polarisers aren't normally needed if you lighting is setup correctly, but in a tight space, you can use polarising film on the lighting and a CP filter on the camera to kill glare.

    Hope this helps

  4. #4

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    Re: Framed painting

    Choice of lens depends on a number of factors not least of which is location. For example shooting a small painting in a large gallery I'd go for the 135 or the 100mm macro, change the location to a small gallery with a 6ft square canvas and it's a different ball game. If those lenses are the only choices you have and you can pick one only then it's kind of tricky. The 300mm limits you if the artwork is large as you'll need a fair distance from it to get the whole thing in frame, the 20mm would work in this instance but means you'd have to get real close to smaller artworks and you'd be introducing some wide angle distortion into the shot. Rule out the 300mm and the 20mm I think. The 35mm probably not bad for the large artworks and wide angle distortion ditto for the smaller items but again you'd have to get pretty close to some of the smaller artworks so not ideal perhaps. The 135 not a bad choice for smaller artwork but for the big stuff you might be tight on space so that might be a contender and for smaller artwork the 100mm macro would be better. Between the two, the 135mm and the macro I'd probably opt for the macro for optimum results on smaller artwork and a little more versatility. Also not too much of a telephoto but still for the 6ft square artwork you'll need some space. The 50mm, a possibility certainly for the larger artwork but for the smaller stuff possibly not ideal. I'm leaning toward the 100mm macro myself. Should have zero distortion for the small stuff, will allow you to take small details of the artwork and if the artwork is huge then you have to hope that you have enough space to shoot it. Colour accuracy is a bit of a red herring here I think and it shouldn't affect your lens choice as I don't believe that any focal lengths are notoriously more inaccurate than others. Most important as suggested above is to use a grey card both for colour balance and to set the exposure - nothing worse than having the camera compensate for a really dark painting by over exposing the hell out of it. (I have NEVER done that - honestly )
    Yep, on balance I'd probably opt for the macro and maybe sneak a 50mm in my back pocket for any surprises.

  5. #5

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    Re: Framed painting

    Thank you very much for the time you spent on answering my question.

  6. #6
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    Re: Framed painting

    I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but color accuracy is not the only criteria that depicts a work of art. You also want to convey the style, whether it involves lighting, perspective, or any other effect the artist used to give the image a 3 dimensional look.

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    Re: Framed painting

    This is the first time I have used a forum and it is amazing the responses I have received.
    Thank you for shearing your knowledge.

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    Re: Framed painting

    Quote Originally Posted by underwater View Post
    This is the first time I have used a forum and it is amazing the responses I have received.
    You're very welcome

    Thank you for shearing your knowledge.
    We even share knowledge too

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Framed painting

    Hi Samuel,

    If you are still around, if you answer the questions below, we can give far better answers.

    1) What is the maximum size of artwork?
    2) What is the minimum size of artwork?
    3) Will you be shooting in a studio environment?
    3a) e.g. will all the artwork for the catalogue be given to you to shoot?
    3b) or will you have to shoot it where ever it is?
    4) What camera you'll be using?
    4a) e.g. full frame or crop factor?
    4b) or tell us the brand and model
    5) What will be the lighting available?
    6) Will you have to do it quickly?
    7) What kind of artwork?
    e.g. oils, water colour, pencil, etc.?
    8) Will it just be flat stuff like paintings, or are 3 dimensional sculptures possible?

    A lot of questions yes, but worth answering

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ...

  10. #10
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    Re: Framed painting

    While the choice of lens and white balance is important, my experience tells me this is a job for a good slide (transparency) film. If you have or can obtain a film camera, I recommend that you shoot a roll with that in addition to your digital shots.

    After that, lighting is going to be very important. Soft, even lighting, all of the same color temperature is going to do the best job.

    Pops

  11. #11

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    Re: Framed painting

    Thank you Dave but this a hypothetical question.

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