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07-13-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
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Lens for taking pictures of watch movements

I need a specific lens for a specific task and don't know where to start. The task is my latest hobby, vintage watches made by a Swiss company called Roamer. I am currently doing a couple of watch making / repair online courses and slowly building up a toolset as well as a watch collection (I have 6 Roamers, a couple of Omegas and a few other movements to play with )
So I need a lens or maybe a close focus kit to get in close, these movements are in some cases tiny, ie around 19mm across to a more typical 30mm but the screws and other pieces can me 1mm or less and I need a lens to hopefully take a nice shot of the actual watch once completed.
Any ideas, advice?

Thanks in advance, appreciate you looking in.

Robbie

Current kit includes the following: K-5, DA16-45, DA55-300, K28 f/3.5, FA43, FA77, K135 f/2.5

07-13-2011, 02:00 PM   #2
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I'd say any of the 3 telephoto Macro lenses would do you well. The 90mm Tamron, the 100mm Pentax and the 105mm Sigma will all be a great choice.
07-13-2011, 02:22 PM   #3
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As would a Raynox 150 attached to a normal telephoto lens, or extension tubes or reversing rings, or really, pretty much any of the solutions discussed in any of the many other threads on macro photography.
07-13-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Hi Robbie,

I would suggest the 90mm, as it'll give you a very close distance to work with, without being too tight, so you can pull out some and have a little wider view of everything. I started testing my Sigma 90's 1:1 out once I got the life-size adapter for it with my watch, and the results were nice. From a few inches away, you could get the entire watch face in focus, but if I needed to go closer, I could. Or, instead of getting a macro, toss the Raynox on as suggested? Possibly onto your 77LTD? I don't know if that'd be a good enough move to save you some money, but it could be a start.

Brian

07-13-2011, 03:25 PM   #5
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Any macro lens or alternate solution should mention magnification ratio. The sensor is 16mm X 24mm, and a 1:1 magnification ratio can reproduce something that size. So for the movements, anything that does 1:1 can fill the frame. The screws are going to look small at 1:1. You'll have to decide whether you'll need them to be larger.

The other problem is working distance; how far away from the watch you'll be. The watch won't blow, crawl away or attack. But you can have lighting issues when you have to be extremely close. Think about how you'll light the shots and support the camera, and that should give you a better idea of practical working distances.

With a stationary subject and a tripod, you can focus with live view so AF is not mandatory. If you want to use flash for lighting, a lens with an A setting makes that a little easier.
07-13-2011, 03:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone, I'll try the Raynox first and keep an eye out for a longer macro.
07-13-2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Any macro lens or alternate solution should mention magnification ratio. The sensor is 16mm X 24mm, and a 1:1 magnification ratio can reproduce something that size. So for the movements, anything that does 1:1 can fill the frame. The screws are going to look small at 1:1. You'll have to decide whether you'll need them to be larger.

The other problem is working distance; how far away from the watch you'll be. The watch won't blow, crawl away or attack. But you can have lighting issues when you have to be extremely close. Think about how you'll light the shots and support the camera, and that should give you a better idea of practical working distances.

With a stationary subject and a tripod, you can focus with live view so AF is not mandatory. If you want to use flash for lighting, a lens with an A setting makes that a little easier.
What Dave said (plus at 1:1 AF is not very useful.)

I think your K135:2.5 will do a superb job on a bellows. You can get a bellows for about $50 new (less on ebay) - this will give you a good working distance (about 270mm at 1:1) to ease lighting & a nice range of enlargements. Using your 28mm lens with the bellows will give insane enlargements.

Fotodiox

A Raynox 150 on a long zoom is great for general purpose macros but I fear edge softness would be too bad for your flat, wide subjects.

Even though it is less expensive the Bellows route may be better than the macro lens route (or at least no worse) - unless you want to use the macro lens for other purposes like portraits.
07-13-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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I've been using the K28 tonight for documenting a couple of stripdowns. Focus distance is around 12 inches or therabouts which is fine for high level shots. I've tried the 28 reversed as well but that is a whole other ball game. I had not thought of using a bellows, gives me some more thinking to do. Only obstacle I can see is that a bellows is generally used horizontally wheras I will be wanting vertically but that can be overcome with a bit of lateral thinking.

07-13-2011, 04:29 PM   #9
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The raynox 150 for longer focal length lenses or the 250 for shorter distances. A 250 on a 300mm ets lots of magnification but is too hard to control and the depth is very shallow.
07-13-2011, 04:41 PM   #10
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My other hobby is watches and I've won a couple of watch photo competitions over the past few years, but none for movements as those tend to be super close-ups at 3:1 or more. So, for movement shots 1:1 is not sufficient, it certainly is not for most of the watch aficionado websites that I have frequented over the years. You can certainly take some outstanding shots with a Macro lens but as you've been told AF is pretty worthless at the close working distances involved. Lighting is another issue and I have found a light box that diffuses white light broadly to work extremely well in combination with a tripod and remote for my camera.

I've been experimenting with various extension tube distances and my MF lenses. An extension tube set can run <$10 and can make a big difference. Another approach is to use a reverse adapter for a MF lens, but this is not an approach I have much experience with yet. The other approach is to use a bellows (I just won a genuine Pentax one in an auction for $9 and am eagerly awaiting its arrival).

Here is a random example of the typical magnification of a replica (read that illegal) watch movement on one of the watch replica sites:

07-13-2011, 04:49 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I would recommend a 50mm lens using extension tubes, or a 50mm macro. The 50mm focal length gives you a nice amount of depth of field to work with.

Perhaps more importantly, I would recommend seriously considering an off-camera flash. This would enable you a much greater degree of control with your lighting. If you add something as simple as a black piece of construction paper as a background with 1 off-camera flash, you can get beautiful (and easy) results.

I use the Cactus v4 wireless flash trigger / receiver. It is nowhere near as full-featured as the Pocket Wizard, but you can get it for under $50, and create images you will be very proud of. Here is an image using that setup (50mm lens + extension tubes + off-camera Vivtar 285hv)



This is a shot of a small clock my roommate owns. Those giant specks all over the gears are actually pieces of dust. The physical area featured in this shot is probably between 1/4" and 1/2" (I'm not that great at this type of estimate).
07-13-2011, 04:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fuent104 Quote
I would recommend a 50mm lens using extension tubes, or a 50mm macro. The 50mm focal length gives you a nice amount of depth of field to work with.

Perhaps more importantly, I would recommend seriously considering an off-camera flash. This would enable you a much greater degree of control with your lighting. If you add something as simple as a black piece of construction paper as a background with 1 off-camera flash, you can get beautiful (and easy) results.

I use the Cactus v4 wireless flash trigger / receiver. It is nowhere near as full-featured as the Pocket Wizard, but you can get it for under $50, and create images you will be very proud of. Here is an image using that setup (50mm lens + extension tubes + off-camera Vivtar 285hv)



This is a shot of a small clock my roommate owns. Those giant specks all over the gears are actually pieces of dust. The physical area featured in this shot is probably between 1/4" and 1/2" (I'm not that great at this type of estimate).
Nice, and its certainly higher magnification than simply 1:1. The area in my picture above covers about 17mm from the central screw to the bottom right corner.
07-13-2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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Hi Robert,

I feel very amateurish right now looking at that shot of the ETA
The best I could manage tonight was this:



hence the query...
07-13-2011, 05:03 PM   #14
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For lighting you can use LED light panels or even a small LED flashlight (couple dollars from hardware store). The super clean light emitted from LED's work great for super close up macro shots when using exten tubes or reverse rings...




----
07-13-2011, 05:06 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
Hi Robert,

I feel very amateurish right now looking at that shot of the ETA
The best I could manage tonight was this:



hence the query...
That is NOT one of mine just for clarity sake. I don't do very well, yet, with movement shots. Lighting is the key in my experience as is being ROCK steady. DoF is also something that is critically important and can alter the photo immensely with Macros. The IR remote improved my macro watch shots a huge amount for such a small investment ($4-5) as did a better tripod. The lightbox kit I got made a big difference too but I have had to play around with the lighting a LOT and am still not happy. I'm hoping that the bellows that i just won will make as big a difference as the IR remote did, even if it cost me twice as much Black backgrounds, particularly velvet, can be very forgiving as long as you have a lint brush

This one has a wee bit of PS done to it but not much.


Shots like these of my Fortis B42 Chronograph have been well received at watch fora over the years. They each taught me something but the most important is that with Macro EVERY mistake becomes a BIG one:




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