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10-31-2019, 04:28 PM   #1
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Help with Equipment for Lab

I am in the process of selecting equipment for a new materials and failure analysis lab. It will need a camera system for documenting failed products. This will be done almost entirely off of a tripod. Some of the objects that I will be taking pictures of will be plated with chrome or other highly reflective coatings, so light modifiers might be useful. Also, none of this will have to move very much once it is set up, so weight does not matter very much.This will be used in a fairly industrial environment, so there may be some dust and vibration.
Right now, I am looking at a K1 with the DFA 28-108mm and DFA 100mm macro, along with a pair of Alienbees Einstein Flash units. Since, as far as I know, pixel shift does not work with flashes, I would like to know if anyone has recommendations for continuous lights. For the tripod head, I was considering a geared head with a two axis macro rail, like the Arca Cube C1 or geared D4 and X-Table fliplock, but I am not sure what kind of tripod would be best.

I would appreciate it if anyone had suggestions for this equipment, or alternatives for what I have already considered. While I do not want to overpay, I would also like to get durable, long lasting equipment. Also, given the cost of the rest of the lab equipment, highest end gear could be justifiable. Lastly, I am in the United States, so would appreciate it if any recommendations were for things that could be found at regular US vendors. Thank you.

10-31-2019, 05:09 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alf Snelling Quote
Some of the objects that I will be taking pictures of will be plated with chrome or other highly reflective coatings, so light modifiers might be useful.
You may want some polarizing filters for your lights, along with a polarizing filter for the camera lens. By cross-polarizing the filters (you'll need to use modeling lights), you can significantly reduce such glare.
10-31-2019, 05:31 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alf Snelling Quote
I am in the process of selecting equipment for a new materials and failure analysis lab.
Welcome to Pentax Forums!

Could you provide more detail on several aspects (guarding proprietary information, of course):

- What would be the dimensional limits of the samples? Smallest/largest dimensions? Are they portable?

- Will you be photographing samples in situ, or in another location?

- Do the images need to capture fine details or just the general physical characteristics of the failed items?

- Could you characterize "dust and vibration?"


Thanks.

- Craig
10-31-2019, 06:29 PM   #4
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Actually for some lighting applications, I discovered that LED replacements for U-tube fluorescent lamps can be configured in housings for very practical lighting sources. I have two fixtures using these, filtered with linear polarizers as described previously by AstroDave, which I use for flat copy work to reduce reflection issues.

The LED assemblies are ballast bypass types so they operate directly from 100 - 277 VAC applied to two end pins. This might address your need for continuous lighting depending on other requirements. Tube types are 91262 "Superior Life" (4000K). Bases for these are readily available from lighting sources. Longer LED units are also available (the ones described are about 18 inches in length).

15W Non-Dimmable 16.3" 4000K 4-Pin Single Twin Tube 2G11 Base LED Bulb, Ballast Bypass | LED PLL 15WT5/120/FR/40K/2G11/100-277V | Bulbs.com


Last edited by Bob 256; 10-31-2019 at 06:38 PM.
10-31-2019, 06:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alf Snelling Quote
any recommendations were for things that could be found at regular US vendors
B&H Photo and Adorama are the two goto places to check out, and you should be able to get some good advice from both shops as well. I believe they both have their house brands on lighting equipment. I'm just a hobbyist, but I've found the Flashpoint from Adorama has hit a good price/quality point for me - check out the sales!
10-31-2019, 09:15 PM   #6
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OK - so the phrasing lost me at first - the implication I got was a lot of handheld work but I think you mean it will be ON the tripod most of the time?

If so there are a lot of X+Y+Z axis mounting brackets that could be used to give precision framing and allow you to take a series of shots at high resolution to then combine back together in post processing.
11-01-2019, 09:01 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
You may want some polarizing filters for your lights, along with a polarizing filter for the camera lens. By cross-polarizing the filters (you'll need to use modeling lights), you can significantly reduce such glare.
Thanks. I had not though of that. Given the light loss to the filters, would you recommend an extra bright light, or would a 250 watt halogen light be enough to keep exposures reasonable at base ISO and F/8 or so?


QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Welcome to Pentax Forums!

Could you provide more detail on several aspects (guarding proprietary information, of course):

- What would be the dimensional limits of the samples? Smallest/largest dimensions? Are they portable?

- Will you be photographing samples in situ, or in another location?

- Do the images need to capture fine details or just the general physical characteristics of the failed items?

- Could you characterize "dust and vibration?"


Thanks.

- Craig
Samples will be anywhere from less than an inch in all dimensions to several feet long, but they will all be at least portable enough to get onto a table. I do not think that any of the parts will be photographed during testing or use. Most some of the pictures will need to have fine details, but for the overview pictures the part mostly just needs to be recognizable. There will also be a stereoscope for higher magnification work. I do not like cropping or other editing for this since it might lead to extra questions if things end up in court, or look like they are going that way. Unfortunately, I am not completely sure how bad the vibration will be, since the production line that the lab will be next to is not operational right now. There is also a rail line about 100 ft away, a craneway that will be heavily used at about 200 ft, and plenty of trucks driving by. I think dust levels are going to be comparable to normal outdoor use, but since the production line is down this is mostly what I hope.


QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
Actually for some lighting applications, I discovered that LED replacements for U-tube fluorescent lamps can be configured in housings for very practical lighting sources. I have two fixtures using these, filtered with linear polarizers as described previously by AstroDave, which I use for flat copy work to reduce reflection issues.

The LED assemblies are ballast bypass types so they operate directly from 100 - 277 VAC applied to two end pins. This might address your need for continuous lighting depending on other requirements. Tube types are 91262 "Superior Life" (4000K). Bases for these are readily available from lighting sources. Longer LED units are also available (the ones described are about 18 inches in length).

15W Non-Dimmable 16.3" 4000K 4-Pin Single Twin Tube 2G11 Base LED Bulb, Ballast Bypass | LED PLL 15WT5/120/FR/40K/2G11/100-277V | Bulbs.com
That looks very interesting. Will any four pin fluorescent lamp work?

QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
B&H Photo and Adorama are the two goto places to check out, and you should be able to get some good advice from both shops as well. I believe they both have their house brands on lighting equipment. I'm just a hobbyist, but I've found the Flashpoint from Adorama has hit a good price/quality point for me - check out the sales!
Thanks. I was mostly hoping to be able to avoid ebay and so forth, so it is good to see that there are plenty of authorized dealers for this.


QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
OK - so the phrasing lost me at first - the implication I got was a lot of handheld work but I think you mean it will be ON the tripod most of the time?

If so there are a lot of X+Y+Z axis mounting brackets that could be used to give precision framing and allow you to take a series of shots at high resolution to then combine back together in post processing.
Yes, I meant the camera will stay on the tripod almost all of the time. I am sorry if I was not clear. Is there an advantage of having the Z axis on the bracket instead of using a using a geared center column on the tripod?
11-01-2019, 03:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alf Snelling Quote
That looks very interesting. Will any four pin fluorescent lamp work?
I would avoid fluorescent lamps altogether because of color rendering issues and the need for a ballast. The LED lamps I listed don't need a ballast and have a high CRI (color rendering index), plus they are easy to wire. You just need a socket (for each LED unit), a switch, and a 110VAC plug (maybe a fuse if you want to play safe). Two or more of these wire in parallel. They put out a good amount of light but you need to be able to use a line type light source (stick style light source) rather than a point or reflector style. Sheet polarizing material is available which can be worked into the enclosure design.

I wouldn't think light intensity would be that much of an issue since you can lengthen exposure time (assuming what you're going to photograph doesn't move). The same applies to pixel shift mode. In fact, the K-1 allows you to dial in f-stop and aperture, and then it will select shutter speed based on what's needed. The exposure can be fine tuned as needed.

11-01-2019, 03:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alf Snelling Quote
Samples will be anywhere from less than an inch in all dimensions to several feet long, but they will all be at least portable enough to get onto a table.
Thanks for the additional information.

I was wondering whether there would be issues with taking pictures of items in situ, but you should be fine with the samples placed on a regular stand or table. Depending on the lighting and image quality you require, you might consider a studio box or 'light tent'. There are many available, in various sizes and configurations. For example: https://www.amazon.com/MyStudio-Professional-Tabletop-Lightbox-Photography/d...ntaxforums-20&

As for detail, I would think the K-1 and DA 28-105 and 100mm macro lenses should suffice.

I would agree that post-processing should be limited, should any file lead to litigation.

I'd be concerned about the potential for vibration to cause blur in the images. The production machinery, rail, crane and trucks may introduce unwanted vibrations. Mitigation could include isolating the tripod -- for example, placing the tripod feet on weighty bean bags.


- Craig
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