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short macro lens recommendations? (specific)
I posted here:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=26598299.

...explaining that I'm a painter and I'm looking into a DSLR for the main purpose of photographing my paintings that are generally no larger than 36"x36" (and usually much smaller)..

Most of the feedback suggested a short macro lens because of flat focus, and with my small scale paintings 50mm or shorter will work best for me without having to stand super far away (I live in an apartment, so standing 20 feet away to take the picture isn't going to work)..

This is very helpful advice, but I have to ask for more help. I looked up macro lenses on amazon and I don't know how to distinguish one from another. I have very limited experience with lenses and if I could get some more specific recommendations I would very much appreciate it!.

Also, when the lens doesnt say an apperature range, just a specific f-stop, does that mean it only has the one? How does this impact the usefulness of the lens? I'll be photographing my paintnigs under studio lamps or home-made lighting kits (very low tech)... I know the smaller fstop lets in more light, that's a good thing right?.

Thanks,(I'm lost)..

Comments (5)

What kind of camera you have will determine in large part the kind of lens you get. I suspect even a 100mm macro will work. You can get as close as a foot away, then back away proportionally to capture the painting in the frame. Remember, true macro is 1 to 1 which will give a truer rendition. The only disadvantage to one f-stop is your light must be sufficient for that aperture. You can adjust ISO and shutter speed, but that one f-stop can be somewhat limiting.

One with a lower aperture can give you a little depth of field, and that's what you want because you want the painting to be the focus of your shot, not the background, and a little soft background surrounding the painting will make it stand out a bit better...

Comment #1

Ebineesey wrote:.

I posted here:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=26598299.

...explaining that I'm a painter and I'm looking into a DSLR for themain purpose of photographing my paintings that are generally nolarger than 36"x36" (and usually much smaller)..

Most of the feedback suggested a short macro lens because of flatfocus, and with my small scale paintings 50mm or shorter will workbest for me without having to stand super far away (I live in anapartment, so standing 20 feet away to take the picture isn't goingto work)..

This is very helpful advice, but I have to ask for more help. Ilooked up macro lenses on amazon and I don't know how to distinguishone from another. I have very limited experience with lenses and if Icould get some more specific recommendations I would very muchappreciate it!.

Also, when the lens doesnt say an apperature range, just a specificf-stop, does that mean it only has the one? How does this impact theusefulness of the lens? I'll be photographing my paintnigs understudio lamps or home-made lighting kits (very low tech)... I know thesmaller fstop lets in more light, that's a good thing right?.

Thanks,(I'm lost).

I think the reason a short (50mm) macro lens was suggested was that with longer ones, you would have to be too far from the work. For example, with a 50mm on a Canon XTi, you would have to stand back 10 feet to get a 36"X36" canvas. If you had a 90mm lens, you would have to be proportionately further..

You really don't need a flat field but it doesn't hurt. Actually, unless you have paintings smaller than 5X7, you probably don't even need a macro lens. You could use a regular 50mm or even a 35mm if your room is small..

All macro lenses may be stopped down from their listed aperture. For example, the Canon 50 mm f/2.5 can be used at any aperture from f/2.5 to f/22 although you would probably use it at f/8 or so for best results..

Lenses that list more than one aperture are zoom lenses whose maximum aperture changes with focal length..

The most important thing with photographing paintings is the lighting. I used to use a pair of floods set at 45 degrees at either side of the line between the camera and the work. This minimizes shadows and gives the most even lighting. Get white balance from a white or gray card. When using film, I used to set my exposure from a gray card too but you can probably just check the histogram..

Use a tripod. This lets you set the camera square to the painting and also lets you stop down to a reasonable aperture as well as insuring that the camera doesn't move during the exposure..

With good lighting and a tripod, you don't actually need an SLR. Any half-decent digital "P&S" camera will produce high-quality shots if you use minimum ISO (with a tripod) and stay in the middle of the zoom range so distortion is less.Leonard Migliore..

Comment #2

Don't forget to use a two second timer when taking a shot to make sure you don't shake the camera when releasing the shutter!..

Comment #3

E-.

You do NOT need a macro lens for anything as large as 36" EVER. Nor do you need one even for objects that are as small as 10" or so. By the time you get to these sizes, the DOF will cover the flatness of field issue of things like paintings nicely.(see below).

You DO need a macro lens for objects around 4" or smaller, regardless of flatness of field.If your work goes that small, you could consider a macro, or you could just crop the image from a larger coverage..

I would suggest a good zoom lens that can vary the area covered and has very good image quality at f/5.6-f/11 or so. This will allow you to show the full image even if they vary greatly in size and to show individual area elements within some of the painting, too. It will also allow you to reproduce down to about 10" on a side. I would think that something like a good 17/18-50mm f/2.8 zoom would likely do nicely..

The key issues are to make the camera lens axis perpendicular to the painting surface and aim at the center of the image. leave a little area around the edge of the paintings. The other key issue is how to light the images. I would suggest 2 identical lights at an oblique angle to the paintings surface, one on either side of the subject, equidistant and diffused if possible..

John.

Ebineesey wrote:.

I posted here:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=26598299.

...explaining that I'm a painter and I'm looking into a DSLR for themain purpose of photographing my paintings that are generally nolarger than 36"x36" (and usually much smaller)..

Most of the feedback suggested a short macro lens because of flatfocus, and with my small scale paintings 50mm or shorter will workbest for me without having to stand super far away (I live in anapartment, so standing 20 feet away to take the picture isn't goingto work)..

This is very helpful advice, but I have to ask for more help. Ilooked up macro lenses on amazon and I don't know how to distinguishone from another. I have very limited experience with lenses and if Icould get some more specific recommendations I would very muchappreciate it!.

Also, when the lens doesnt say an apperature range, just a specificf-stop, does that mean it only has the one? How does this impact theusefulness of the lens? I'll be photographing my paintnigs understudio lamps or home-made lighting kits (very low tech)... I know thesmaller fstop lets in more light, that's a good thing right?.

Thanks,(I'm lost).

Van..

Comment #4

I photograph artwork for artists. Any macro lens will work given the appropriate working distance to the subject. But I do recommend (if you use Nikon) a 60mm with any digital body that you have. Shoot on manual focus and manual exposure, bracketing to give you the best exposure. A sturdy tripod and grid (E) screen will help you square the painting in the viewfinder. When I photograph paintings, I use two strobes bounced into 48 inch white umbrellas at approximately 45 degree angles to artwork to give even lighting over the entire surface.



Larry Bermanhttp://BermanGraphics.com..

Comment #5

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