Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-21-2012, 03:10 PM   #1
New Member




Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 9
Lens for photographing artwork

Which would be best for photographing oil paintings with a K-5 a DA 40mm or DA 35mm macro? Or is there another, better alternative?

06-21-2012, 03:20 PM   #2
Pentaxian
RobA_Oz's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 4,310
I haven't done much of this so don't mistake me for any sort of authority on the subject, but when I have photographed artworks or other similar 2-dimensional objects, I have chosen the lens based on the size of the work, to minimise distortions. Basically, the closer that the light rays from the edge of the piece are to parallel to the optical axis, the better. There are other considerations, such as positioning the work to avoid or minimise reflections, and to ensure even illumination, to the greatest extent possible, and the choice of focal length can influence those, as well.

Best of luck with it.

Edit: I should have said that, based on the above considerations, I favour the longest focal length available that's capable of producing the resolution and colour gamut that I want. Dependent on the size of the piece, that can range from, say, a 24mm for a small (sub-A5) work to a 135mm for a 1200x900mm work.
06-21-2012, 03:23 PM   #3
Senior Member




Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 119
QuoteOriginally posted by writerman Quote
Which would be best for photographing oil paintings with a K-5 a DA 40mm or DA 35mm macro? Or is there another, better alternative?
As I understand, macro lenses are designed for a flat focus plane, so I expect it would be better. Of course, if you have a tripod or enough light to stop down, either would be an excellent option. There is also a slight difference is focal length; I assume that changing your working distance isn't a problem?

The most important part is probably taking a shot at exactly the right angle and framing.

If you take the time that you'd need to anyway to setup the shot really well, you might prefer a manual focus lens anyway. How about an older 28mm f2.8 if you're on a budget?
06-21-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
Pentaxian
cmohr's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Brisbane. Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,089
I'd be more thinking a 100mm macro, flatter focal plane as mentioned above, less barrel distortion.

06-21-2012, 04:38 PM   #5
Pentaxian
aurele's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Paris, France
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,929
the DFA 100 macro have almost no distorsion (0.02%).

The DA 35 macro have a very small distorsion (0.4%), which will remain invisible 99% of the time.

so both macro lens are perfect.

About light, the hardest part is to have the whole painting perfectly and uniformaly enlightened, to keep all the frame rendering as close as possible from the original painting.

and that's not so easy.
06-21-2012, 05:07 PM   #6
Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Gabriola Island
Posts: 591
QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
the DFA 100 macro have almost no distorsion (0.02%).

The DA 35 macro have a very small distorsion (0.4%), which will remain invisible 99% of the time.

so both macro lens are perfect.

About light, the hardest part is to have the whole painting perfectly and uniformaly enlightened, to keep all the frame rendering as close as possible from the original painting.

and that's not so easy.
I agree that a 35 macro should work fine on APS-C. I found a 60mm micro Nikkor very well suited for this application on full frame digital.

Even lighting is indeed very important. I use an incident meter and set up lights so that illumination is perfectly even across the area being photographed.

One thing that can be an issue with oil paintings is specular highlights on the uneven surface created by brush strokes. The best way to control this is by cross polarization- that is, by having polarizing filters on light sources as well as the lens.

Good luck!
06-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #7
Junior Member




Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 39
I guess I'll be the odd man out, if the size of the art work permits it, the 50macro is also quite a good candidate. Oils can be pretty reflective and textured, so John's suggestion of polarizing is well worth pursuing, and so is Aurele"s uniform lighting, but whatever you do, make sure the camera is parallel to the image; look carefully for reflections and use balanced light. Let us know what you end up using and how it works out. Good luck!
06-21-2012, 08:07 PM   #8
Senior Member




Join Date: Mar 2012
Photos: Albums
Posts: 100
It really depends on how large the pieces are and how far away you can get and still control the light...but generally speaking, a normal to slightly long lens with very low barrel or pincushion distortion should work well in most situations. If you can get something with minimal vignetting and chromatic aberration, that would be a plus. If the pieces are smallish, indeed you would need either macro or close focus capability (or extension tubes, etc).

Aside from other comments, I also recommend you use a lens hood to control flare. Flat objects like paintings can cause quite a bit of stray light...

06-23-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
Depends on size of artwork. You really want to shoot from a bit of a distance away, to minimize distortions inherent in perspective (same basic reason portraits are shot from not too close). A 35mm lens is fine for larger works, but for works under, say, 11x14", you are probably better off with longer focal lengths.
06-23-2012, 10:32 PM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oregon
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,418
I'd use a long macro lens for flat field of focus and low distortion. If the surface is quite dimensional, highlights might be a problem. In this case using a polarized light source with PL filter would help. If the surface is fairly flat, low angle lighting should suffice.
06-24-2012, 01:38 AM   #11
Veteran Member
bassek's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 571
It also depends on the space you take the pictures in. We use either the F35-70 or the Sigma 15-30.
For big paintings the Sigma has been quite useful. And a tripod is a must, especially with the Sigma.

Oil paintings seem to be better without a flash.

Seb
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
da, k-mount, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best camera/lens for photographing negatives Kurt Euler Ask B&H Photo! 2 09-04-2011 09:09 AM
Photographing friends wedding in church, which lens? El Zoido Photographic Technique 13 08-03-2011 04:44 PM
Cityscape Urban Artwork On A Limited Canvas TonberryKing Post Your Photos! 2 01-16-2011 11:39 AM
Lens for capturing Artwork mccarvindh Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 7 03-14-2009 06:07 PM
Cheapish lens for photographing birds? Finn Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 21 04-15-2007 12:29 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:21 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top