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Looking to improve my macro photos - tips? Camera?
Hey folks!.

On my blog page you can see many of my most recent macro shots of fantasy/sci-fi miniatures that I paint. Typically these minis are about 1.5 - 3 inches tall..

I currently use a light box with 3 arm-lamp 100 watt bulbs, and a tripod mounted Nikon Coolpix P5000. I shoot from about 4-7 inches from the subject. I don't use a flash or a flash-ring. Nor any special lenses..

None of my shots are really satisfying me in terms of sharpness, color reproduction and brightness (most of these shots have been edited in photoshop to brighten them up, which tends to muck up the colors)..

I've followed macro-photo guides online and am using the highest aperture setting I can (in this case F ~7.7). I was surprised at the F stopping at 7.7 - my old Coolpix 995 went up to like 11-ish. I use a timer to take the shot..

Any thoughts on getting clearer, **brighter** shots with better color reproduction? I'm interested in any tips including new camera suggestions. (I realize it's a bit tricky without having the original item to compare to).

The site with the photos:.

Http://orangecoke.bravejournal.com/..

Comments (8)

If you photography skills ever catch up to your painting skills you're going to be hard to beat..

THe only thing that bothered me about any of them was the the background was light blue and the foreground was pure white. I would like to see if it looked better if the foreground was light gray. I didn't like the feeling that they were "floating" with nothing below them..

What painting tech. are you using. Airbrush and brush or only brush?.

Keep it up!.

I'm gonna have to sell some of this stuff so I can buy more stuff! Mummm, more stuff!..

Comment #1

Thanks .

Hm - the background should be easy to fix (I'm adding a photoshop gradient). It's just driving me nuts that the photos don't seem to accurately represent the mini I'm holding in my hands .

I just use a paintbrush basically (usually a size 0 or 1). The only time I've used airbrush is for large vehicles, and I've only done 1 or 2 of those...

Comment #2

Orangecoke wrote:.

Hey folks!.

On my blog page you can see many of my most recent macro shots offantasy/sci-fi miniatures that I paint. Typically these minis areabout 1.5 - 3 inches tall..

I currently use a light box with 3 arm-lamp 100 watt bulbs, and atripod mounted Nikon Coolpix P5000. I shoot from about 4-7 inchesfrom the subject. I don't use a flash or a flash-ring. Nor anyspecial lenses..

None of my shots are really satisfying me in terms of sharpness,color reproduction and brightness (most of these shots have beenedited in photoshop to brighten them up, which tends to muck up thecolors)..

If the photos aren't bright enough, add more exposure time. You have constant lighting, so put the camera in manual exposure mode and shoot until you get it right. If you're using the same rig on every shot the correct exposure should deviate very little..

I've followed macro-photo guides online and am using the highestaperture setting I can (in this case F ~7.7). I was surprised at theF stopping at 7.7 - my old Coolpix 995 went up to like 11-ish. Iuse a timer to take the shot..

You need to burn that bookmark. Lenses are at their sweet spot in the middle of their aperture range. You're loosing resolution due to diffraction by stopping down too far. You are also prolonging the exposure unnecessarily. Open up to f/5.6 and you'll get better results. As far as f/11, many of the P&S cameras use what is called an Neutral density filter to achieve f/8 and beyond.

I'm guessing that is what your old Coolpix did. Either that or it was an old 1mp model where the loss of resolution wouldn't be seen due to the sensor..

Any thoughts on getting clearer, **brighter** shots with better colorreproduction? I'm interested in any tips including new camerasuggestions. (I realize it's a bit tricky without having theoriginal item to compare to).

Shoot at your lowest ISO setting. If you use Auto ISO it will most likely pick the highest ISO it can, causing additional noise. All that said, the photos don't look bad. Web resolutions can be pretty forgiving, but there is no harm in going for better photos. Good luck..

Through the window in the wallCome streaming in on sunlight wingsA million bright ambassadors of morning..

Comment #3

Some things I'd try:.

For better exposure: Use EV or manual exposure. (Are you sure that the meter is not underexposing due to a very light background in comparison to dark areas of the figure).

For more sharpness.

- Maybe wider F number (diffraction kicking in at 7.7?) I guess that you would have enough DOF with F5.6 (trial and error or http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html)- Try another FL?.

- Try with NR off (Maybe you cam applies it from shorter exposures on might think)- Try Manual Focus if possible- Try burst mode or self timer to 10 s (if you're using 2s).

On a side note, how many px are you using in the feather box when you select the figure to change the background? Borders look very harsh in some pics..

Good luck.

My Galleries:http://webs.ono.com/igonzalezbordes/index.html..

Comment #4

I'm not sure what FL stands for .

I've been using the magic wand to add my backdrops, tolerance around ~7 - 12 (depending on the figure). I agree some of the bordering of the figs is coming up harsh..

I had no idea going to a mid-range of f-stop would be better - all the guides i've seen kept telling me to use as high as possible (like F9 or higher)...

Comment #5

Orangecoke wrote:.

I'm not sure what FL stands for .

Focal length instead of using 36 mm equiv, using 100 mm or whatever the cam allow you and repositioning (optical aberrations change with FL, probably not sharpness but it's worth a try).

I've been using the magic wand to add my backdrops, tolerance around~7 - 12 (depending on the figure). I agree some of the bordering ofthe figs is coming up harsh..

I had no idea going to a mid-range of f-stop would be better - allthe guides i've seen kept telling me to use as high as possible (likeF9 or higher)..

That is true for film of full frame sensors. With themYou need to stop down much more than more than in small digicams to get enough DOF..

If you check a dof calculator you will see that you can get same dof with much wider apertures with small sensor digicams. Besides lenses' sweet spot (maximum edge to edge sharpness, less optical aberrations) tends to be around central aperture values, so it's advisable to use them..

WRT to colour accuracy, maybe you could try to use a preset white balance to see if it helps, but take into account that many "weird" colours cannot be appropiately represented in sRGB colour space..

RegardsMy Galleries:http://webs.ono.com/igonzalezbordes/index.html..

Comment #6

Really appreciate your input!.

Question: do you think I have a good camera make/model or is there something superior in the sub 500 dollar range I should consider?..

Comment #7

PS: at the moment I'm using preset whitebalance, which I set using a white piece of paper...

Comment #8

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