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Good lens for up close shots

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  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Good lens for up close shots
Posted by hogfanfs on Thursday, July 28, 2016 7:32 PM

Gentleman,

I'm not a photographer, but I do want to take some decent shots of my WIP and finished models. I have a Cannon Rebel XTI. It does take pretty good pictures, but, with the current 18-55mm lens, up close shots are not so good. I was looking at purchasing a 10-18mm lens for up close shots. But, before I do, I figured I would ask those who know. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:47 PM

Hey Bruce, being a commercial photographer for most of my life and I did teach college level advanced photography for several years, I'll try to help. First, what's "not so good" with the 18-55? That lens should focus fairly close, at least the Nikon version does. The 10-18 will only be wider (smaller image at the same distance) which sometimes gets so close that you are blocking the light. Macro lenses focus real close and the longer ones (60 up to 200mm) and more give you more working distance which is good on insects and venomous snakes. Lighting is important and I usually use a broad fluoresent light. A tripod is a must and will allow you to use smaller f stops which will increase your depth of field. More info if you need it, feel free to ask! Glad to help.

Max

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:59 PM

Max,

Here is a photo I took last night:

This is with the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. I'm researching a small photo studio because I know the lighting is not good in these pictures. I do have another 55-200mm lens with IS that I will try. I was doing some research and seen the Macro lens sound like what I need, but, I'm not sure I want to drop that kind of cash on a lens right now. Thank you for the help, Max!

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:21 PM

Hey Bruce, there are also inexpensive close-up filter sets that screw into the front threads of the lens that will get you closer. The 18-55 is a good lens and should work well for what you are doing. The 55-200 will probably not focus close enough for your needs. Try shooting something close with the 18-55 at wide-open and then stopped down all the way and you will see a remarkable gain in depth of field. Of course the exposure times increase and that's where the tripod comes in. There's no reason you can't be shooting excellent stuff with the lens you have. Keep after it and give me a report! We can work on the lighting next.

Max

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:31 PM

I just tried the other lens, I was incorrect, it's 70-300mm. I will look into the close-up fliters. I'll give you a report next week. Driving to Alabama for a short, but needed vacation tomorrow!

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 29, 2016 9:16 AM

If you had a Nikon, I would recommend the standard kit lens, an 18-55 mm macro zoom.  The neat feature is it is macro at all focal lengths, not just the telephoto (longest) focal length.  That allows closeup wide angles, which make models look larger, more massive.

However, a solution to your problem is to use either supplemental lenses, add on lenses often called close-up lenses) that screw into the filter holder of your normal lens, or an extension tube, an attachment, or set of attachments that mount between the camera and the lens.

For many years I used the supplemental closeup lenses, but bought my first extension tube set.  I am really fascinated by it- it allows much closer shots than the supplemental lenses.

Which to buy first depends on just how close you want to get.  If you only want overall shots of your models, and especially if you build in larger scales, the supplemental lens set would be better. If you build in smaller scale (1:72, 1:144), or want real close shots showing part of the model,  the extension tube might be the way to go. Either approach generally is cheaper than a whole new macro lens.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Saturday, July 30, 2016 12:13 PM

Say Bruce, I had the same problem. Standard focal length DSLR lenses are not good for really closeup work unless, something more is added to make it work. Let's face it. Most of what we are working with is very small, and it requires special gear that can get down to that macro level.

I researched getting a macro lens, or possibly extention tubes already discussed. In fact, I went to a camera dealer with the intent to buy one or the other. Good *** was with me that day because when I explained to the sales person what I was using it for, he offered up another option. "How about buying a point and shoot camera with macro built in?" 

He tells me about a camera that his wife uses and how she loves it. He pulls one out of stock for me to try. I start playing with it and holy cats, you can really get in close. I was sold. At the time I paid $175.00, and they are still out there for about that price. That is more than half the price of a good macro lens, and if memory serves me right, about the same price of an extention tube set for my camera.

The camera that I purchased is a Canon SX600 HS. This little gem was worth every penny. It even has built in wifi capability so that I can transmit the images to my PC. It fits the bill for 98% of the shots that I need, and I tell you, it is hassle free. About the same percentage of shots are all handheld.

Consider this for a second. How much time will you be using to setup your DSLR with attachments? Also, whether using special gear or a dedicated macro lens, you might need to use a tripod. DSLRs are bulky and heavy.

The camera that I bought is perfect for this hobby. There is virtually no setup time. You just point, and shoot. 

Just another option for you to consider.

 

 

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Saturday, July 30, 2016 12:17 PM

PS: I guess Mo Jo is a bad word.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Saturday, July 30, 2016 4:33 PM

Bakster has a point Gang. I'm a professional photographer going back 50+ years and have about every useful Nikon lenses you would ever need to handle any assignment you can think of. If you caught my post a few days ago on the 1/48 Revell F-14A Tomcat you would probably be interested to know that two different cameras were used. This first shot on the grid with dark blue was shot with an $8000 Nikon DSLR 24MP full frame D3X with a special $1500 Micro 85mm with tilt/shift capabilities that allows me to extend the depth of field. The following shots on white were shot with a $350 P330 Nikon point and shoot Coolpix. Hard to tell the difference on the internet. The P330 (now the P340) shoots JPEG and Raw files and has a 24-120 35 equivalent lens with close-up capability. It also has Manual and Auto modes. I also post on a Hodaka motorcycle forum and use the point and shoot for everything from repair processes, close-up to overall pictures. The point being here is the point and shoot meets the requirements for this type of work for less than the cost of a DSLR lens. I do use the big guy for things like magazines and brochures where you do need lens selections and extreme file size. Different tools for different missions. Something to think about.

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Saturday, July 30, 2016 6:11 PM

Say Max, that is also a good point about some of the PS features available. The Canon that I have is pretty much a bare bones unit that serves me well. However, coming from the DSLR world, I do wish that it had more manual control capability. Specifically, being able to control the depth of field. There are on occasion instances that I would like to blur the background more, mainly to reduce the background clutter. With my camera, I do not have that kind of control. So, I have to make an effort to manually declutter things from the scene. It's not a terrible thing, just that it is little more work at times, and I am inherently lazy.

Like you said though, different tools for different missions. My camera works well for my purpose but for someone that really wants to dive in with a PS and is willing to spend a little more, get one like P340 that Max mentioned. That offers more control and Raw files would be a nice thing too! 

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Saturday, July 30, 2016 8:02 PM

All true Bakster. That's just the one I use and was hesitant to admit that pros use point and shoots! Maybe I'm just getting lazy in my old age but it sure is quick and easy to post something quick and easy that actually does a good job. Photobucket somehow kills a lot of resolution in the transfer. The Hodaka motorcycle Forum stores your pictures rather than a third party and are much sharper. I even turn down the resolution on the little Nikon to prevent producing too large of file. Not only is it much sharper on that site but you can enlarge it even further. I'm sure ther are other Nikon and Canon P&S that are as good or better but this one certainly does what I ask of it. I don't have the link handy but if you want to see some examples of the Nikon P330 in action go to Strictly Hodaka/Forum and the Hodakamax post on the "Day One Project" which is a many month documented motorcycle project. It's just a 1/1 model, same deal, check it out.

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Saturday, July 30, 2016 9:32 PM

Max, I can't agree more. I like to spend less time fiddling with the camera and more time building. 

I see what you mean about the Hodaka Forum and your images. That is sweet in the way that they look, and in the way that they display. Using my IPad I am able to expand the images right from within your post. Unlike with the cumbersome PB method that takes a person to PB and then the process therein. Ugh..

That is a cool project BTW.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, July 31, 2016 8:02 AM

Hey Baxter, quite a difference in resolution huh! (and ten times faster.) I shoot, tune and crop to site in about three minutes. I have to dust the subject on close-ups because dust and scratches show up that you can't see with the naked eye. Seriously!

As for the Vintage Hodaka project, I'm sure you can see that it's just a big 1/1 model with challenges and problems to solve. Nothing has to be stock or original which gives it a different twist. Kinda the ultimate scratch build. It's kept me intertained and behind in modeling for over a year. Back to the Stuka and Phantom soon!

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, July 31, 2016 9:00 AM

Max, yes to them being much better and.... displaying much faster. No doubt.

"I have to dust the subject on close-ups because dust and scratches show up that you can't see with the naked eye. Seriously!"

I am laughing here because that is my experience as well. When using the macro mode it reveals things that the human eye can't see, even if I have magnifiers on. 

In that vein, a quick story. When I had first got back into modeling I went out and purchased a new airbrush. When it came time to use it, I was having issues with splattering. I eventually sought out for some help here. Various things were suggested and tried. The problems remained. Early on it was suggested that I check the needle tip by feeling it with my fingers. I did feel a kind of roughness but I really couldn't say if that was the issue. Later, and when all other options were exhausted, I took a macro photo of the tip. I loaded it to my computer and then expanded the image to its near maximum.  Eureka! There was the problem. The tip was bent over like a fishing hook.

 

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, July 31, 2016 9:04 AM

LOL, I'm 73 years old and I tell everbody "It gets worse!" LOL again.

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, July 31, 2016 9:11 AM

Thanks for the warning!  LOL..

 

  • Member since
    April, 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Sunday, July 31, 2016 9:28 AM

Going by the images the op has submitted, looks to be more a problem of either camera shake, or just too close to the subject?

Every camera, whether using a macro setting or some kind of special lens, has a minimum focus length - or am I wrong here?

I'd first check and make sure you have the optimum settings for both picture size and quality.  From there, just make sure the subject is within hash marks of the camera lens to ensure sharpness.  In photo shop you can crop out the extremities and will find you still have a large image that requires to be shrunk down.

Again, going back to the posted images, if these were taken with  a white background, consideration should be taken for better lighting, or try shooting in natural lighting and adjust the light meter for either scenario.

regards,

Jack

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, July 31, 2016 9:50 AM

Hey Jack, Thanks for your input. As we photographers say "there's more than one way to get a bad picture." The challenge in close-up is that the closer you get the less depth of field you have. Stopping down the lens all the way helps but the closer you get you soon exceed the capabilities or limits of the lens. Shorter lenses have more depth of field and the smaller sensor size in a point and shoot helps this situation. Also when you stop down for more depth of field you must compromise with longer exposure times requiring a tripod and/or even higher ISO values. It's always a compromise in close-up photography.

Max

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Sunday, July 31, 2016 10:12 AM

A few thoughts.....

On Jack's comment about DOF above, that was my first thought a few days ago when I saw the OP's posted pic. Didn't look like an inability to focus close to me.

On Steve's (Bakster's) comment about a P&S, as an amateur of about 45 yrs with over $20k of kit sitting around, I cringe a little bit these days when nice folk like the OP have a reasonable goal in mind and want to go out and buy a fancy lens for their DSLR for some specific purpose like this one. It could be a fun and rewarding experience, or it could be expensive overkill. Sort of depends on the individual and amount of effort I suppose. P&S's (and lately,  even smartphones (cough, cough, can't believe I just said that) do a surprising job indeed on some 'close-ups'.

Best of luck to the OP regardless of which direction you go.

Edit: Bruce, my apologies for having referred to you as "OP" a few times above. I forgot who started the thread whilst replying. And obviously couldn't view the thread whilst doing so.

 

-Greg

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, July 31, 2016 10:34 AM

One more thing about close-up photography is that as you magnify a subject you are projecting a bigger image on the sensor. Just as in a slide or movie projector the further you are from the screen the larger the image is. The problem is as you get further away the light falls off with the square of the distance. It's the same in close-up photography, when you double the size of the object, it is two squared and requires four times the light. It starts getting out of control say at 9x magnification where you need 81x the light. Yet another problem among many in close-up photography.

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, July 31, 2016 1:01 PM

This is a really great conversation guys. I would like to add a few more things.

I just took a hard look at the photo that Bruce posted and in my opinion, there are two things going on. There is both poor DOF, and poor focus. If it was strictly a DOF issue, shouldn't at least part of the photo be in focus? I just don't see anything in that image that is in proper focus. The line going across the bottom of the image does appear to be slightly sharper. But to me, it still seems out of focus.

Lets assume that my assumption is correct, for conversation sake. If that is true then that the image as a whole is out of focus, then what are the causes? There are a lot of unknowns here. Was the camera on automatic focus and the sensor couldn't focus correctly? That certainly does happen and my DSLR has problems focusing in on close subjects. Was it manually focused and the optimal focus was missed? Is it a case of camera shake? Or is this a case of the distance being too close for the lens/camera setup? Without knowing more, we probably can't be 100% certain. If I were to venture a guess though, based on my experience, what we know about the type of lens that Bruce used, and the size of the subject matter and its size in the image, I think that he exceeded the operatIng distance of focus. Again, just my opinion.

As I had mentioned earlier, I can relate to the problem that Bruce is having. Greg...you remember my Avenger and the GB that I was part of? When I first started posting photos I immediatly started hitting that focusing barrier that Max is talking about. I could not get in close enough. It was frustrating as all heck. Here I have a 3k rig and I can't even use it.  My next option was to do what Jack suggests. Take the photo within the focusing limits of the gear, then crop the image on the computer. Well, that works, to a point. Guess what? There is a limit to that too. You reach a point where you can only crop so much before the image loses its integrity. In short, it looks like garbage. But, in some cases, you can get away with it. 

So then, what do I do? Ah...a brainstorm. I position my desk lamp with magnifier over the subject, and then shoot the image through the magnifier. Hey...that works! And it does, if you are willing to accept poor overal sharpness. For the time being I was, and did.  However, I soon became very tired of trying to focus my camera through a magnifying lamp. And BTW, good luck with this method if a tripod needs to be involved. Sigh.

Thats when I came to the inescapable conclusion. If I am going to stay in this hobby and be active in posting images, then I need to find a better solution. The rest is history.

Bruce mentioned that he wants to do a WIP. That means he will be doing a lot of imaging, and probably taking many images detailing processes that will be out of the focusing range of the lenses that he has. He will need to come up with a plan to address this or it will become a major frustration.

I agree with Greg about not spending lots of money just to accomplish this one little thing.    That is the reason that I resisted it myself, and that I jumped through all kinds of hoops to make things work. There is one caveat to this though. Maybe photography is a hobby for Bruce. In that case, maybe a macro lens makes sense. It could be used in both hobbies. Or, the same being true with the extention tubes. 

That is also a great idea, Greg, about the smartphone. I always forget that little nugget. Those can focus pretty tightly too. Lots of options to consider.

Lots of good info there Max.

Bruce...let us know how this works out for you.

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, July 31, 2016 5:07 PM

Smartphones have very small sensors and therefore have very short focal length lenses that have more depth of field. Unfortunately small sensors just don't have the resolution of even a point and shoot and lenses of that size don't perform well compared to large multi-element ones. HOWEVER, smartphones meet the requirements of viewing over the internet because the screen resolution is relatively low and they actually look fairly good on that medium. They don't work for things like magazine covers or large prints.

Most real professional photographers are now unemployed due to most photo viewing being done on a computer format. Most new digital cameras have solved most of the technical parts of photography such as exposure, focusing, color balance, storage and other manual things. Almost anyone can get a fairly good picture on the auto setting but lacks on things such as lighting and composition to mention a few. Anyone who has a fair digital camera and computer can produce fair pictures. In the trade it's called "good enough" and a new and lower standard has been set for photographers. Most newspapers and other photo based businesses have gotten rid of the real photographers and passed out point and shoot equipment to employees or worse yet depend on phones.

No sour grapes here though, I made a great living and retired during the digital revolution. All is well, now I can build models and motorcycles and enjoy life. I didn't mean to get started but don't send your kids to school to be photographers!

Max Good/Photographer

PS--I still have a few top end commercial clients and I do shoot Aviation, motorsports, wildlife and other fun stuff such as models (the aircraft kind). LOL Smile

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, July 31, 2016 8:37 PM

Say Max, thanks for that info. Very interesting, and if so inclined, PM me with a link to some of your work. I would love to see it. 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Monday, August 01, 2016 7:21 AM

Hey Baxter (Steve?), I'll try to find a few aviation pictures that are relevant to the Forum and try to post them soon. Being an aviation nut is why I build models!

Max

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Monday, August 01, 2016 8:22 AM

Here's an oldie from the days of poor Ektachrome film and the Blue Angels were flying F-4s. (Mighty close I might add!) Check it out.

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Monday, August 01, 2016 8:24 AM

Hey Max, 

sounds good. Maybe post them under the aviation section.

That is correct...Steve

Thank you sir!

Steve

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Monday, August 01, 2016 8:31 AM

Maybe I should move them to the FSM ready room. Aircraft? Tell me Gang.

Max

PS--It's always fun to find some victims to look at your photography!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Monday, August 01, 2016 8:52 AM

Hey Max.. Too funny. I am a victim. That should be my knew motto. Maybe I will be happier that way.

Cool pics. I think yes. Move them to the aircraft forum. We should keep this thread on topic for the OP, and you may get more victims there at the same time!

Big Smile

 

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Monday, August 01, 2016 9:13 AM

OK, I moved it up to Aircraft with a new thread. Maybe we can get some other submissions!

Max

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Monday, August 01, 2016 10:51 AM

Hey Steve and gang,

On your comment about not seeing anything in focus in Bruces sample shot, I think I am seeing a long skinny something or other with the left end in perfect focus. But I have a real problem interpreting photos if I don't know what I'm looking at (alway have, a mystery to me) and I might be flat wrong and you might be spot on.

I remember the whole pic thing and when you evolved to some new gear during the Avenger build well. And that is a good point for Bruce to read, to help make an informed decision.

I do hope you keep us apprised, Bruce.

-Greg

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