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03-22-2010, 08:24 PM   #1
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Product photography lenses

I am very interested in doing product photography. I have an ez cube 30" on order with 3 lights. I am wondering if the pentax 18-55 mm kit lens will be acceptable foe close up photography of say a watch or jewelery, or will I need to buy a macro lens, which I probably can't afford right now. I have a k7, 18-55, and 55-300 mm da lenses. A macro will be a few months away.

03-22-2010, 08:42 PM   #2
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You could invest in macro tubes, close up filters or bellows. The lenses you have will do some products but not stuff like small jewelry.
03-22-2010, 08:53 PM   #3
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you should contact larryinlc here on the forums. He does a lot of watch work from what I remember:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/55977-seens-90%25-time-m...s-watches.html
03-22-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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Tamron/Quantaray 70-300mm macro would be good. Just make sure you stop down. They're fairly inexpensive (Less than $150)

03-22-2010, 10:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony3d Quote
I am very interested in doing product photography. I have an ez cube 30" on order with 3 lights. I am wondering if the pentax 18-55 mm kit lens will be acceptable foe close up photography of say a watch or jewelery, or will I need to buy a macro lens, which I probably can't afford right now. I have a k7, 18-55, and 55-300 mm da lenses. A macro will be a few months away.
Easiest way to find out is to try it. Set the 18-55 to 55mm, focus from as close as you can. If you can get close enough to render your subjects as large as you want, then you're good. If you can even come close, cropping should be fine, depending on how large you intend to print. The 18-55 should be able to fill the frame with an object 3 inches wide, which should be fine for watches if not for small jewelry.

If you find the 18-55 won't get close enough, the easiest/cheapest way to improve would be a Raynox 150 added to your 55-300. See the Raynox club thread in the lens forum for more info.

Since this post is about lenses, not cameras, I'm moving this to the proper forum.
03-22-2010, 11:24 PM   #6
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One half of this image was made with a $700 macro lens, the Pentax DA 35/F2.8 Macro Limited.

The other half was made with a $50 kit zoom lens (Pentax DAL 18-55) with a close-up filter (BW NL5) attached and a little post-sharpening (ACR Amount = ~66, Radius = 1.3)

Can you tell which half is which?




Click on the image to get to the full-size image, if you are so inclined.
03-22-2010, 11:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Can you tell which half is which?
Bottom half is with the DA 35 f/2.8.
03-23-2010, 01:03 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony3d Quote
I am very interested in doing product photography.
What will you do with your product photos? How will they be viewed? Will they be printed in catalogs, shown on websites, printed as posters, be used to sell stuff on eBay, or what? Will they be greatly enlarged? In other words, what resolution do you need? And how tiny are the products you'll be shooting?

The 18-55 kit lens focuses to about 4 inches. That's pretty close. With an inexpensive close-up or 'diopter' lens attached, you can go even closer and get magnification, as johnmflores shows. A powerful closeup adapter like a Raynox DCR-150 or -250, not very expensive, gets you closer yet. You really only need a macro lens if you wish to fill the frame with something that's around 16x24mm (2/3 x 1 inch). And to work at that level, with your light cube and non-flash lights, you can get a manual lens and macro extension tubes for much less than a macro lens.

I asked about resolution because I shoot (sometimes small, 1x1 inch) objects to sell on eBay. I almost always use my old Sony DSC-V1 P&S camera, 5 mpx, focusing to 4 inches, inside a 15 inch light cube. I still need to shrink the 2592x1944 images considerably for screen display. I find the small camera is much easier to use than my K20D (with or without macro setup) for this purpose. And its included charger lets me keep the camera line-powered for long sessions, without worrying about draining batteries.

There's a book, EBAY PHOTOGRAPHY THE SMART WAY (which you might find online as a PDF) that covers just what you need to do to be effective. Have you read anything about product photography?

03-23-2010, 01:19 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
One half of this image was made with a $700 macro lens, the Pentax DA 35/F2.8 Macro Limited.

The other half was made with a $50 kit zoom lens (Pentax DAL 18-55) with a close-up filter (BW NL5) attached and a little post-sharpening (ACR Amount = ~66, Radius = 1.3)

Can you tell which half is which?




Click on the image to get to the full-size image, if you are so inclined.
the top image still show some softness, so I think this is the kitlens. aside from the much shorter or thinner DOF.

on a regular sized photo or anything of standard size, it is a bit difficult to tell which is which, unless you do some large prints or expand the image.
03-23-2010, 04:38 AM   #10
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For product shooting, I would probably prefer a dedicated macro lens. The DA 35 is really nice for this kind of stuff. The thing to remember is that your lighting is the most important thing so that your images don't just look flat and dull. You can get by with the kit lens. If you stop down a little, it will work, but it certainly won't be as sharp on large prints as a dedicated macro.
03-23-2010, 05:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
One half of this image was made with a $700 macro lens, the Pentax DA 35/F2.8 Macro Limited.

The other half was made with a $50 kit zoom lens (Pentax DAL 18-55) with a close-up filter (BW NL5) attached and a little post-sharpening (ACR Amount = ~66, Radius = 1.3)

Can you tell which half is which?




Click on the image to get to the full-size image, if you are so inclined.
interesting albums, i ended up looking at your kitty pics on flickr for the most part. really love the last 2...

I'm going to go on a limb and say the top half is DA 35 f2.8... its like flipping a coin...
03-24-2010, 10:45 AM   #12
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For product photography I suggest lens with lowest chromatic aberrations possible. Any APO macro/close focus lenses.
If you are on tight budget and shallow DOF is not necessary, get any old tessar formula lens and some macro-rings and stop it down to f5.6 or more. Best is without doubts CZJ Tessar 4.5/40. The cheapest option is Industar-2 3.5/50.

Tessar 4.5/40 both @ f5.6:



click for full resolution image:

Last edited by BRunner; 03-24-2010 at 10:59 AM.
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