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01-13-2013, 10:54 AM   #1
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Furniture Photo Request

I've got a friend that makes furniture (and eventually will be making bikes). Mondernish, mostly metal works. He has a well lit, drop clothed area to take photos of his pieces. He sent me some samples and they really don't look as good as they should. He is using his fiance's D40, but really, I could use my ist and get better results. I have a feeling that it is mostly a setup problem (I'm waiting on a non edited photo from him with full exif data) as that camera should be acceptable for what he is doing.

Anyway, he is really on the verge of buying a 5D off of ebay (the original version) as he thinks the full frame sensor is the only way to go. I've tried to tell him that a K-01 would suit his purposes just as well, especially since it would be mounted on a tripod and he could pick up a high quality prime for less than switching over to Canon. Since my K-01 has yet to ship, I can't take some examples for him to show him how good it can be shooting in RAW and being able to tweak everything just right in post using a Pentax.

Do any of you have some really good looking photos from your K-01 of furniture or other items where you would envision the results being used for product promotion? I'd be very grateful for a few of them, if you do! I want to turn him into a Pentaxian.

01-13-2013, 11:00 AM   #2
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You can also look for photos with the K5 (mkII) or the K30, it's the same sensor basically, that might help your search.
01-13-2013, 11:13 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Not sure what his setup is but I doubt the camera will make as much difference as the lighting. 'Well lit" can mean industrial fluorescent lighting. If he is serious about getting good product shots he needs to invest in good lighting. Couple of mono-lights and umbrellas at the least. Softboxes, even better.

I would spend some money on the lighting before worrying about the camera. He can go to 5D but I think he will be disappointed unless he has a good setup.
01-13-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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Yes, I agree about the lighting. I haven't seen his setup, but I know he said he bought a "kit" for lighting everything. I'll know more about what is going on when I see the exif. I think, part of this, is he wants his own camera too. Like I said, he has to borrow the Nikon right now. I think he is pretty well set on getting a new camera, regardless, but for the price of the K-01, I think he would be remiss if he didn't look at it.

01-13-2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Well I've owned both... Both the K-01 and various other Pentax camera bodies and items, and also two different versions of the Canon 5d.

If the person really wants to spend the money for a Canon full frame - then have them go ahead and knock themselves out in doing so. The Canon 5d is slightly better than average - especially in full frame, but... Quite a few people have noticed major issues with the camera. Mainly the Canon version of WR sealing. The 5d does NOT have anywhere near the effective level of sealing that both the K-5's do or the K30. Canon also claims to be able to do the 150k shutter/camera cycle, but... I've seen more than a fair share of various 5d's fail - and fail in a rather miserable way well before those numbers. Items like having the slr mirror completely fail and be in pieces. So if they do go the Canon route, try to also have them get the best warranty possible.

But for items such as furniture and most non commercial publication still life's Pentax will fit the bill nicely.

This is probably one of those very few instances where full frame isn't really needed, and might actually be overkill - unless they are going to commercially publish such as in a periodical and/or magazine
01-13-2013, 11:38 AM   #6
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Well I think he should invest in someone to take his pictures.

Either buy the K-01 with a good lens, for doing the job, don't know the amount off space. Or buy Pentax 645D and forget about the cheap inbetween!
01-13-2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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May I humbly suggest that you have him take a look at the various photo challenges on this site so that he can see what various Pentax camera's are capable of?

"Full Frame" Aint the the only solution....



http://www.flickr.com/photos/90747359@N08/8271620363/in/photostream

Last edited by Eric Auer; 01-13-2013 at 11:57 AM.
01-13-2013, 12:44 PM   #8
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Lighting, lighting, lighting. A 5D (or D800E or 645D) will produce images that suck as much as a P&S under bad (or thoughtless) lighting, just with a lot of buttons to press and more "suckpixels" (TM applied for). Furniture is product photography - a specialty unto itself. Just look at some of the marketplace listings here and ask yourself if you're more inclined to buy some item from a blurry phone-cam photo or from a nicely lit, carefully crafted photo that shows the item clearly?

Either way, good product photography starts with a tripod, a decent lens, and good lighting. Camera body is maybe #4 on the list (or #5, if you include retouching like I do), so you're right that your *istD could kick it up a notch... with the right lighting.

01-13-2013, 01:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Lighting, lighting, lighting.
Total agreement. With a good lighting kit properly used, a good point&shoot would be adequate for his needs.
01-13-2013, 01:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Lighting, lighting, lighting. A 5D (or D800E or 645D) will produce images that suck as much as a P&S under bad (or thoughtless) lighting, just with a lot of buttons to press and more "suckpixels" (TM applied for). Furniture is product photography - a specialty unto itself. Just look at some of the marketplace listings here and ask yourself if you're more inclined to buy some item from a blurry phone-cam photo or from a nicely lit, carefully crafted photo that shows the item clearly?

Either way, good product photography starts with a tripod, a decent lens, and good lighting. Camera body is maybe #4 on the list (or #5, if you include retouching like I do), so you're right that your *istD could kick it up a notch... with the right lighting.

Agreed.

Much, However, Can be accomplished within a budget.

Clip lights from your local hardware store, some old sheets (clean ones haha) and a little bit of imagination on orientation of the subject goes a long way.

And lets not forget what can be done with natural light. Always a grand choice when available.

Most of all, Just be prepared to accept that it takes a lot of work and like all things, Practice makes perfect.
01-13-2013, 02:44 PM   #11
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That is a great idea to check out the photo challenges. I just found out that his lighting setup was not setup on these photos, so yeah, that will change everything. I am really surprised at the amount of noise the D40 was putting in the photos with the iso set to 400. I know he has overhead, industrial lights, so that is all playing havoc on things.

Unfortunately, for his big pieces anyway, he is cramped for space in his workshop. He was shooting with an 18mm lens and just getting the piece in the frame.

I'm convinced that the D40 is up to the task, if other conditions are ideal, but again, I want to convert him over to Pentax. It would be nice to have a friend I can swap lenses with from time to time. As it stands, I've seen one other person shooting with a Pentax of any sort. I had to chat him up since I was so excited to find someone else out there.

I think I will direct him over here to look at some of the examples people are getting with their K-01, K-5, and K-30's. I think he will be impressed. Also, I think things will change once he gets his lighting setup. I'm hoping to have my new camera by the next time I head down there so I can give him a demo.
01-13-2013, 07:33 PM   #12
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Agree with all on the lighting. A friend who shot auction pieces for Sotheby's decades ago did earlier photos of this craftsman's work and showed him the basic setup for lighting. Twenty years later here are some of the carving details on an original I did last year with basic lighting and K-5 and the many mistakes I made that afternoon. I also agree with Ron. Get a product photographer or learn what finishes, grain, and color on wood will do while working with lighting as the harshness on one angle might be necessary to get a detail shot for the scallop on the pendulum door. Honduras mahogany ribbon and crotch grain. Good luck.

Last edited by lukulele; 02-03-2014 at 07:21 PM.
01-13-2013, 09:04 PM   #13
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As others say, product photography is all about lighting and setup.

This isn't furniture but is sort of a product photo.

Pentax K-01, FA 100-300 4.7-5.8, AF360fgz
01-13-2013, 09:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
As others say, product photography is all about lighting and setup.

This isn't furniture but is sort of a product photo.

Pentax K-01, FA 100-300 4.7-5.8, AF360fgz
No Doubt.

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