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12-28-2010, 10:14 PM   #1
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Looking for lens suggestions/opinions

Ok,

I am looking for advice on a lens to take pictures of my Artwork. I have a limited budget right now but I am sure I will add other lenses in the future. I am relatively new to the DSLR world, just having my K-X since late October. I am looking at primes lenses for this given task and better yet one that would make a nice "everyday" lens.

I have included a sample photo of one of my vases this was taken at about equivalent to 30mm to 35mm focal length with a cropped sensor DSLR, but was taken with my point and shoot camera. This is with a gradiant background and a homemade light tent. Most of the vases and bowls will be not taller than about 16" and most in the 12" range. if this is pertinent information.

I have been thinking that the DA 35 2.8 Macro limited would be a great lens for this but I have been also thinking that the DA 40 2.8 limited would work and be just a fun walk around lens to have. I already have a good full manual macro lens so I really don't need another Macro capable lens right now. I also have a SMC A28 2.8 that is a very sharp copy. It may work for this job as well but I have not used it for this application. I am kind of leaning towards the DA 40 as an all around nice lens to have for everyday use. The DA 40 is also quite a bit less expansive than the DA 35 2.8 Macro Limited. and for now would be much more affordable.

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Al

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12-28-2010, 11:27 PM   #2
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Not sure I can help with the lens decision but I have had good luck with my macro lens for situations like this. Seems to stay sharper at the close range using the light tent. I'm using a S-M-C Takumar 50mm f/4 to photograph my turnings.

Turned hollow form? What wood? And I don't recognize the blue material with swirl unless it is acrylic? Doesn't look like mineral. Very nicely done by the way.

Jt
12-28-2010, 11:48 PM   #3
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Jt,

Yes it is a turned hollow vessel. It is a mesquite root burl and cast in resin. It is about 12"X 8"X 1/8" thick. And thank you for your compliments. I really appreciate it.

I have an Yashinon Tomioka 60mm f2.8 macro but I think that is a bit long for this purpose.

Thanks,

Al
12-29-2010, 03:33 AM   #4
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Sounds like the 35 would be the right choice to me, it's really a swiss-army knife - macro, standard lens... if you think your 60 macro is too long, then the 35 will nicely replace it...

One limitation in its every day usage: autofocus may hunt, in landscape, etc. - it is afterall a macro lens, with a long & precise AF. So if you don't need a fast AF and you have the budget, go for it - you may end up using it 80% of the time...

The DA40 is surely great, faster AF, even smaller, but not as versatile and a tiny bit longer - I would not worry much about this, but it seems you're looking for a 30-35 range, so why go even longer?

You may also consider the DA35 f2.4, which sounds like a real bargain.

12-29-2010, 03:41 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by eljaco Quote
...

You may also consider the DA35 f2.4, which sounds like a real bargain.
I agree, here.
For such big objects you don't really need a macro lens. The important thing is having a good, sharp lens and using it stopped down a bit, to get the depth of field you need and use the best performing apertures (f/4 to f/8).

In reproduction lighthing is also very very important, so you might want to invest some money in that area as well...
12-29-2010, 08:42 AM   #6
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Personally, I think 34-40mm is way too short for products like that. You are getting some distortion of the product. Its better to use something a bit longer. Definitely 50mm or above. This one is taken at 75mm. Good lighting also helps a great deal; it might be wise to invest (both time and money) in learning how to manipulate light.

12-29-2010, 09:00 AM   #7
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On a tripod, with "added" light, I guess "almost" any lens could do if you have the room to move around, for that kind of shots. Distortion can be corrected in PP (i.e., LR3 or DxO fix that automatically for many lenses now...).

So re-reading the original post, I guess the decisive factor is more about getting a good, standard lens for everyday usage than for 'product shots'... So decicing btw DA35 2.8 Ltd, DA 35 2.4 or DA40 2.8 is a budget question and usage question (cheap 35 Vs very small Vs macro swiss army knife...).

But limited budget + everyday lens = DA 35 F2.4, seems to me
Or you may also choose to go for older, manual lenses...
12-29-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
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Manual lenses don't bother me in the least. I am old enough to have used 35mm manual cameras quite a bit so I don't mind setting aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. However I do like having the SMC Pentax A series lenses having the ability to set the aperture value on the camera so I can use the Aperture priority mode rather than the green button for metering. It just cuts out one step. I do have an aftermarket focusing screen in my K-K which has helped with focus accuracy.

I have been wanting to get one of the faster SMC A 50mm's such as a 1:1.7 being they are reasonably priced and thought it would be a nice focal length for some portraits. I might see if I can pick one up. I could shoot with it stopped down a bit for better depth of field and see if it works. If not I got a pretty decent 50mm.

If I can find a good older lens as a stop gap or a permanent solution that would give me time to save my pennies for some AF DA primes. They would be nice because of the AF for that quick shot when I am out and about the countryside and of course for the great IQ.

Far a lighting goes, are there any good books on lighting the type of objects that I am shooting? I have been experimenting with lighting and getting better but a resource would surely help the learning curve.

Thanks,

Al

12-29-2010, 10:05 AM   #9
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Light, Science and Magic is the best book for lighting
12-29-2010, 10:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Al_T Quote
I have been wanting to get one of the faster SMC A 50mm's such as a 1:1.7 being they are reasonably priced and thought it would be a nice focal length for some portraits. I might see if I can pick one up. I could shoot with it stopped down a bit for better depth of field and see if it works. If not I got a pretty decent 50mm.

If I can find a good older lens as a stop gap or a permanent solution that would give me time to save my pennies for some AF DA primes. They would be nice because of the AF for that quick shot when I am out and about the countryside and of course for the great IQ.
I would do this. Try the A 50/1.7 for product, and look for another lens (DA 21, DA 35/2.4, DA 35 Macro, or DA 40) for walkaround, when budget allows. Or even 35/2.4 then DA 15 or DA 70, for a budget kit of two autofocus primes . . .
12-29-2010, 11:00 AM   #11
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Thanks for the book recommendation. I will get it. I think I will get a 50mm and try that first before spending anymore cash.


Al
12-29-2010, 11:21 AM   #12
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Good idea...

QuoteOriginally posted by Al_T Quote
Thanks for the book recommendation. I will get it. I think I will get a 50mm and try that first before spending anymore cash.


Al
and there's of course some marvelous websites...

DIYPhotography.net | Photography and Studio Lighting

Photoflex Lighting School - Your Free Lighting Lesson Resource

StudioLighting.net

and +1 at least to a lens 50mm or longer (75 on a digital). Macro lenses have a flat field of focus, so maybe not the greatest for 3D sculptures, although they are sharp...you'll just have to stop down a LOT if you want it all in focus. Lots of nice used 50 f2's around for cheap, and I'll tell you, almost as good is the little 18-55 II kit lens...amazing little thing, $139.00 full price brand new, used ones for 60-80 bucks, and you won't need as much working room for different sized art pieces. Make sure you get the II designated one.

BTW, I've done LOT of pro product shots over the years (mostly drum stuff...see gallery), so I do know a bit about this.

Good luck.

Cameron
12-29-2010, 11:22 AM   #13
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Gorgeous shot, gorgeous pot...

QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Personally, I think 34-40mm is way too short for products like that. You are getting some distortion of the product. Its better to use something a bit longer. Definitely 50mm or above. This one is taken at 75mm. Good lighting also helps a great deal; it might be wise to invest (both time and money) in learning how to manipulate light.
What lens/camera/lighting? Nice work.

Cameron
12-29-2010, 11:41 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cambo Quote
What lens/camera/lighting? Nice work.

Cameron
Thanks

K20D with Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. Lighting was a single LP120 in a umbrella-softbox camera right, 5in1 reflector camera left.

Vase placed on mirror which was reflecting gray/black posterboard. The mirror on the ground and posterboard kind of made a 7 shape. If you turn it so the long part of the 7 is on the ground...

My girlfriend made the vase. Its pitfired with lots of chemicals (copper, magnesium...) that create the colors
12-29-2010, 01:02 PM   #15
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Enoeske, great shot.

I would agree that a macro lens would be overkill for this sort of work. One option for the occasional macro-shooter on a budget would be the Pentax M or A 50mm f1.7 lens, reverse mounted. It's more cumbersome, but would get the job done for the average shot.

Mounted normally, this 50mm lens is super sharp for product photography, and actually an OK everyday length (if a little tight).

A really good first lens to start out with would be the Tamron 28-75 though.... portraits and product photography would be a breeze, and the occasional wide shot could be had with either a wide zoom or a wide prime. The bang-for-the-buck with the Tamron 28-75 is incredible.
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