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07-12-2014, 12:16 PM   #1
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K-5iis? Collecting Opinions

Ok, so here goes nothing. Let me start by saying I appreciate any help offered and will consider it as coming from "the experts" I haven't done much other than point n shoot in many years. The extent of my skills was doing some friends weddings, anniversary parties, etc with my ME Super SLR.

That brings me to now. I am in the process of rebuilding a company website and after getting quotes for "professional" services. Have decided I can buy the equipment necessary and do all I want, when I want, so to speak, for what I was quoted for a single session. That being said, I'm not putting down professional services, but my application is such that I really think I can do it myself.

The details. The subject matter will be ophthalmic eyewear (glasses). Some will be just frames, some will be just lenses and some will be completed eyewear. Primarily on displays or backdrops. Occasionally on faces. As for the lenses to use, I would like to have a shallow depth of field in order to highlight some the details of the frame/lens.

My research to this point has me looking at the K-5iis very strongly. Main reasons being $, image quality and reviews of others.

My primary questions are these:
  1. Am I overlooking a model you believe is better suited to the task?
  2. What lens(es) would you recommend for the subject matter and why, keeping in mind this is all a balance of image quality for the money?
I understand there is going to be a large cross section of opinions. Please keep in mind, I am not a professional and don't have large budget. I also understand that the majority of my image quality will be relative to the lens.

If I sound overwhelmed, you would be correct. I would like to buy the correct setup the first time. Time and money are at a minimum.

Thanx in advance for your help

07-12-2014, 12:23 PM   #2
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I'd recommend going for something with a bit more resolution for product photography, such as a pentax k3 or nikon d7100. As for lenses, you'll probably want a 100-105mm macro for product shots and a 50mm, 55mm, or 85mm f1.4/1.8 for faces.

The k5 iis would certainly also work, but IMO more resolution is better for product shots.

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07-12-2014, 01:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd recommend going for something with a bit more resolution for product photography, such as a pentax k3 or nikon d7100. As for lenses, you'll probably want a 100-105mm macro for product shots and a 50mm, 55mm, or 85mm f1.4/1.8 for faces.

The k5 iis would certainly also work, but IMO more resolution is better for product shots.
Though I may agree with you in general, is there a limit? I mean since these are going to we on a website and loading time, etc is always an issue, combined with the fact that I can't imagine anyone needing to blow up a pair of glasses much beyond actual size, do I realize enough image quality?Considering the K3 sensor size of 15.6 x 23.5 vs is k5iis at 15.7x23.7, what am I really gaining? I truly am asking and not trying to argue. I want to learn.
07-12-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by WannaB Quote
I am in the process of rebuilding a company website
You don't need the K-511s to make images for the web--it has *way* more resolution than you need. Even if you display your images at 1000px wide, you'll be 'throwing away' three quarters of the captured pixels.

If costs are at all important to you, the best bang for your buck would be to allocate a couple hundred bucks for an older used DSLR. One of the plethora of 'nifty fifties' available would be more than adequate, lens-wise. The 50mm M f1.7 that came stock with your ME Super for instance.

07-12-2014, 02:29 PM   #5

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You will want lenses with very large maximum aperture (this means a very small aperture number) such as f/1.8 f/1.4 to help with shallow depth of field.

Pentax primes (even such as the DA 50mm f/1.8) are good for this. But minimum aperture value I'd look for on a lens is f/2.8 if looking for that shallow DoF look.

Outside of that, the larger the sensor, the more this feature will appear enhanced. So I wouldn't go smaller than APS-C sensored camera (Such as the K-5iis or K-3).

hmm a true macro lens, as others have suggested, would also be a plus 90mm being minimum focal length.

Medium Format would be the idea for product shots but a MF setup costs as much as a used car. APS-C isn't bad.

Also, I'd look at mastering the Brenizer Method of making Bokeh Panormas. Brenizer Method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia You can get some massive resolution shots doing this with tiny DoF... which seems to be what you want. You will probably want a tripod and perhaps a makeshift nodal slider to account for parallax.

Then, it doesn't really matter which dSLR body you buy as long as you have a large max aperture lens, you can create ginormous product shots this way.
07-12-2014, 03:15 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The k5 iis would certainly also work, but IMO more resolution is better for product shots.
For publication to the Web, any camera having greater than 6Mpx is probably fine for product shots. After all, you are talking in the neighborhood of about 1000 pixels in the long dimension maximum.

As for lenses, I don't see the need for a fast lens or a long lens for items such as eyeglasses. The normal lens on your ME Super along with a short extension tube is probably fine. I have a 50mm macro lens that I use for that kind of photography and it works great. The same would be true for most close-focus zoom lenses. One thing that is essential is a good tripod and the means to create soft, indirect, lighting.


Last edited by stevebrot; 07-12-2014 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Removed Gega Bixels
07-12-2014, 03:38 PM   #7
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I've done a fair amount of product photography with both k-5 and k-5IIs, and both are more than adequate for web based product shots. High end product photography for publication is a different story but really any recent APS-C DSLR will be more than enough resolution when you are going to down size to 800 or 1,000 pixels anyway.

For a lens I would look at a 50mm macro either the F or FA versions, or if you are OK with manual focus the A version can be had at attractive prices. 100mm is also fine but you might need to set up farther back than you have room for. Eye glasses plus props plus a little background is going to be fairly big. If you have the room the 100mm or 105mm ones are great. If you are doing head shots though 100mm can be long unless you have the space to set up the studio and backdrops and give yourself enough room to work.

Your biggest challenge will be the lighting. Shooting glass or other highly reflective subjects is as much art as anything and can be very frustrating until you understand what is happening. Make sure you have budget for a good set of lights, reflectors both white and black, scrims and some type of trigger either wireless or wired. For the head shots you will need a a decent hanging backdrop unless you have a wall or other backdrop that is suitable. You will also need a good solid tripod. That is not optional in my opinion, but required for product shots. You should also have a pair of saw horses and some plywood to make a place to work. Some clamps and cloth backgrounds and props to complete your set.

You might also look for a book titled "Light, Science & Magic" which is sort of the go to text for lighting difficult subjects.

The 'professional' quoted you a price based on camera & lens, personal skill, experience, lighting equipment and time involved. Yes, you can buy a camera for very little. Gaining the skill, experience and lighting equipment will cost far, far more than the camera and lens. If you have a time frame involved I would recommend starting sooner than you think as getting good glass pictures takes skill and there is a learning curve.

---------- Post added 07-12-14 at 03:43 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WannaB Quote
I also understand that the majority of my image quality will be relative to the lens.
Just to add, the lens is important but IMHO the majority of the image quality in this case will be the lighting. Given good lighting the kit lens will do a better job than the most expensive lens available with lousy lighting.
07-12-2014, 04:07 PM   #8
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I would suggest thinking this through a great deal before charging in any direction. I am going to guess that you are talking about a retail optometric business. There are a lot of things you can do to help contain costs, regardless of the path that you decide upon.

First - Sit down with a stack of blank paper and start listing what you want the site to do for you, ideas of how you want it to look and flow. You want it to be a reflection of your retail business. You want it to enhance your location and assist in drawing in customers. How do you want to accomplish this.

Then, story board out your site - web page to web page. You do not need to be an artist and it does not need to be fancy, but you need to develop a concept and a flow to the site. What do you want to highlight with imagery. What type of imagery - what does it show and how is it illustrated Eyeglasses other than being a functional part of helping the customer to see - can be more of a fashion statement, showing portraits of models wearing the frames. What type of clientele does your business attract. The website needs to appeal to them and draw them in to the business, while addressing their needs. For this, I would suggest going out and looking at similar web sites and see how they have designed the site in terms of flow and layout. Also the type of imagery (or lack there of). If you are considering something along the lines of a product catalog - how do the other sites handle this?

OK - now to imagery - pictures.
  • What do you want the website to show?
  • Do you want the web site to serve as a catalog of everything you carry and sell? How many items do you carry? This can be cost prohibitive in therms of the amount of work / images, and maintaining the site. How often do you turn over your inventory - adding new styles / products and removing existing ones?
  • Do you want the site to be product - i.e., product photography or portrait/fashion photography, giving the customer the feeling of what they COULD look like with various frames?
  • Do you want the site to help the customer select a pair of frames, based on fashion, the ability to hold the lenses, shape, style, frame material, the best hybrid of the these? This can be difficult based on your desires.
  • Do you want the site to be somewhat informational? What polarized lenses do and how they work. Same with UV and anti-reflective coatings. What to do about pink eye, what a detached retina looks like and to call immediately - things like that.
OR - do you want the site to draw in your customers to the retail location, so that the staff can attend personally to the customer's needs (help them shop). It may be better to entice the client / customer into your retail location, so that they can browse the collection of eye-ware, pick them up and put them on and see them selves in the mirror. Then your staff can consult with them in terms of - if their selection complements their prescription - lenses too thick for the frame, etc. (you know better then I do).

This will determine what type and kind of imagery the website will need to host. Then based on this, comes the question of where the imagery is going to come from.
  • The imagery may be available from the manufacturer. Does your vendor offer images that you can use of their products? If so, then a large part of your problem is solved to some extent. Just note, you want the frames to look good and enticing - metal frames to shine and look nice, with the shadows from the lighting taken care of. There is a lot of work going into to this. Then there is the plastic frames - making them look good - a whole different set of photographic techniques go into this as compared to metal frames. How about portrait / fashion photography showing models wearing the eyeglasses.
Now, this brings us to your original question. Based on all of this, what type of images do you really want to produce? As others have indicated here, you are not going to have 16 or 24MP images hosted and displayed on your site. You are going to have these images resized and rescaled in order to load and display quickly - these will be something like 1 by 3 inches. Are you going to want to provide a larger image if they click on the smaller display, say 3' x 9"? Are you going to want to have images of models wearing the glasses? This is yet a different type of photography. Are you going to want to provide a sense of fashion to your customers?

A K5 or K5II or K5IIs will do very nicely. Even a K7, K20 or a K10/K200 would do very nicely. Any sensor resolution 6MP or larger will do just fine. That said, you are going to need to be some what careful with the K5IIs since it does not have an anti aliasing filter and you might have some moire appear in the model's clothing. I'll leave it to the others for the best lenses for either modeling (77/f1.8 Limited K 85/f1.8) or product (50/f1.7/f1.2; 100/f4, etc. macro? or not?).

Lighting is going to be probably the most important key factor here. Product photography is going to require one type of lighting, while portrait / fashion photography will require other types of lighting.

- I am just an old engineer and I solve problems....

07-12-2014, 04:18 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
any camera having greater than 6GB is probably fine for product shots
Everyone love them Gega Bixels
07-12-2014, 04:42 PM   #10
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i reckon the K-5 IIs will do just fine.

If I were doing this sort of work, I reckon my DA35 macro limited and either my DA*55 or FA77 limited would get the most work. The former for the lightbox stuff as a longer macro will need you to be too far back for what is a reasonably large subject, and the latter for the on-face shots.

As others have said, lighting is key, and monster resolution is probably not such a big issue.
07-12-2014, 05:08 PM   #11
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You need to learn a slice of photographic craft and what to buy. Unless you have lots of time to invest in learning while missing business opportunities :

1. Hire the pro to help you select the gear you need.

2. Hire the pro to teach you to shoot product in a well defined environment, like a light tent.

3. Hire the pro to teach you how to do the people shots aka head shots in well defined environment.

Whether web or print, a K10D and a good lens can do you all need. You do not need 24 MP for product shots.

You're going to have to light this stuff and you'll need a tripod and a wired shutter release. You will need a calibrated monitor and LightRoom or something like it and you'll need to learn to use it.

And a backup plan to recover from disk and computer failures, power hits, etc.

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 12-03-2014 at 09:19 PM.
07-12-2014, 05:41 PM   #12
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I think the K-5IIs should be capable of what you want. I support your idea, but you mentioned optics, which is very difficult to photograph. Here are the challenges you will face:
-K-5IIs is a top notch camera with a steep learning curve. It might make more sense to buy a K-50, which should have enough features for your needs (though, its photos are not as "sharp" as the K-5IIs, since the IIs has no AA filter. But you will be resizing the photos anyway, so that might not be a big deal)
-Lens: A macro lens is usually best choice for product photography. It can double as a portrait lens, if it is 50mm or longer. Basically any modern macro lens will do. Pentax makes a great DFA 50mm f2.8 and DFA 100mm, which go down to true 1:1 magnification and are very sharp photos. DoF will be shallow anyway, most of the time you will struggle to have the DoF wide enough, at least with closeup photos. You might need to digitally stack focus, in fact. Other options are the Sigma 70mm and 105mm macro lenses, the Tamron 90mm lens, or older Pentax macro lenses (F, FA, even A or M series if you don't mind manual focus, etc.) Check out the lens database and simply type in "macro" (and read the actual specification of "magnification" - many zoom lenses claim to be macro, but don't offer magnification of more than 1:7. Just make sure you are getting a lens that gives you the magnification/close focus that you need)
-Lighting: This will be a major difficulty. You need to watch the background, make sure the product is absolutely clean, place the light so it illuminates the product just right, etc. Flashes and triggers would be needed, but since you are dealing with optics and translucent materials, you might prefer to use continuous lighting so you can deal with reflections and such in real time
-Post processing: If you are handy with software, this can help you out a lot. Either way, you should shoot raw and edit photos in a raw editor. Lightroom, Aftershot, DXo Optics, Photoshop.. or even one of the free ones: FastStone, Gimp,..

Oh, and of course, you will need a tripod and possibly some sort of setup, background, etc.
This forum will be a good resource, because we had quite a few similar threads, so you can learn there. And if you have questions, you can always ask.
Good luck.
07-12-2014, 06:28 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by fgaudet Quote
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07-12-2014, 07:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd recommend going for something with a bit more resolution for product photography, such as a pentax k3 or nikon d7100. As for lenses, you'll probably want a 100-105mm macro for product shots and a 50mm, 55mm, or 85mm f1.4/1.8 for faces.

The k5 iis would certainly also work, but IMO more resolution is better for product shots.
hardly necessary. I make a tidy sum delivering product shots for a global maker of designer jewelry and 50% of that is taken with a K20D. Even banners and posters using that body. I use my FA Ltd's and a 35ltd.

You do NOT need a 100mm lens for this sort of shooting. I would say no more than 70mm with 35-60mm being ideal. Of course remember you want to fill that frame with the shot.

My caveat to the OP is product shooting, I mean pro level stuff, is no trivial matter. It takes a LOT of practice to understand the lighting, DOF and detail needed for the intended purpose. And there is the key, if these are just for the web a K10D is more than enough body...and yes for banners and posters a K3 could help but is hardly needed thanks to today's PP software.

No matter the key is all about lighting the subject, controlling that light and getting consistent shots across the board for the individual products as well as across the whole catalog. Lighting tricks are not learned over night in this arena. What the pro can shoot in 10-mins might take you 2-days to get right until you get a feel.

I say that not to dissuade the OP but to temper the "I'l do it myself" idea because it is non-trivial if you want it to look professional for the site and other ad uses...and also remember the pro is charging you for the license to use the shot in that quote; in fact you would likely be paying the bulk of the cost toward that license/copyright release.

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