On 4/1/2012 7:20 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I think you are asking a bit much of the people he described.
They aren't professional photographers in any reach - except that
he's paying them to take pictures.
A properly working AUTO setting would be better.
But I agree about the light box.
What they want is a JPG file - not RAW file.
RAW gives the user a lot of capability in post-processing, but that
takes talent and proper software.
The more one spends on the camera itself (within reason) the better the
camera does in it's own post-processing to deliver a better JPG.
AND - usually - the more options the camera offers in setting those
I stand by my Fujis...
Other people love their Cannons.
(My Dad was a Pentax man - Go figure)
A room painted white works pretty well, as does a large shop-made tent.
With a studio flash, there is no problem getting enough light, so great
efficiency isn't needed. The objective is to have enough light so the
camera can stop down (giving great depth of field). With light, the
setup becomes non-critical.
Specular reflactions are a bane of industrial photography, and light
tents or other diffusion can make things easier. I use a couple of
sheets of drafting paper for small objects.
But the other bane is a lack of contrast, which a light tent makes
even worse. So sharp lighting sometimes is needed. One recent article
I wrote and photographed has three photos in it -- really pedestrian
industrial illustration -- and I had to use on-camera flash on all
three to avoid undifferentiated shadows.
I shot all three both ways, with diffused light and with harsh,
on-camera flash. In each case, I needed the direct flash.
Something like Iggy's work probably won't allow time or expertise to
play with lighting, so a light tent, or a couple of big transmission
umbrellas, would be a good all-around solution that does the job most
of the time. "Black-on-black" shadows are the biggest killer in that
type of work and overall diffusion at least solves that problem.
The result will be some annoyingly flat photos, but that's better than
shadows in which you can't see anything. If it were me setting it all
up for a non-expert photographer to do the work, I'd use two big
lights, each at 45 degrees from the lens axis, or maybe 60 degrees,
and I'd hang really big drafting-paper sheets in front of each. The
ideal is to have the sheets as far from the lights, and as close to
the subject, as possible. I'd use light stands and gaffer's clips
(spring clips, like big clothes pins) to hold the diffusion sheets.
Sometimes I do the same thing with transmission umbrellas. Regular
reflection umbrellas don't work out very well for that task because
they are too far from the subject and you don't get enough diffusion.
All true, but situation dependent. But with machine parts, I've found
the diffuse flat light works pretty well. My shop is painted white, and
I use a studio flash pointing at the wall behind the camera.
The next step up is a ring flash on the camera, plus a white tent.
The next step is crossed polarizers, where the camera lens has a linear
polarizer, and the lamps have a perpendicular polarizer. This
eliminates all specular reflections, and makes shiney metal vanish. One
usually detunes the setup so the metal will show just enough.
War story: Many years ago, on an Olympus Camera group, I noted that the
pros photographing models all seemed to use Hasselblad cameras with big
ring flashes, which flattened things, which didn't seem like a good idea
a good idea with such models, and expressed mystification. The answer
that came back was that the ringflash eliminated the bags under the eyes
from to much partying, and too many controlled substances. Oh. Never
photography, begun in London in the '60s and used off and on for
decades, in which the models were made up and lighted for dead-flat
facial appearance -- almost like cardboard cutouts. It went along with
Twiggy-style bodies and skinny legs jutting out at odd angles. When
used in b&w, they'd light up the background so much that you sometimes
couldn't see where the face ended and the background began. Then some
dark eye and lip makeup made the eyes and lips look like they were
suspended in space.
Here's Emma Watson (today's Twiggy) with the flattened lighting but
without the background effect, with a couple of eye sparkles and a
pair of kickers on the hair to modernize the look:
If one is doing a lot of this, a relatively inexpensive umbrella could
be a good investment. I got one that can reflect, or the black backing
can be removed and light passed through it. This is similar to mine:
I've picked up several 60's era light bars dirt cheap at yard sales and
set them up on cheap tripods, bouncing light off the ceiling.
There's all manner of very inexpensive ways to light things and soften
the light to avoid glare and flash hot spots.
On Sat, 31 Mar 2012 23:47:43 -0500, Ignoramus20530 wrote:
Just a suggestion for when the load is heavy enough to warrant two
Have one guy do all the prep work, and the other one do all the picture
taking. If one guy is sorting, cleaning, and arranging for picture-
taking while the other guy is taking pictures and downloading, then you
may well keep both of them busy all day while still needing just one
A bit of time spent watching your one guy at work should give you an idea
of whether this is so.
For that matter, if you've got two guys sharing the work, neither of them
constantly "shifting gears" from prep to photography, you may get more
than twice the productivity out of the two working together than you
would with two working in parallel.
Control system and signal processing consulting
I'd just get another D80. Same interface, same media, same batteries,
same lenses. They should be relatively cheap by now.
As others have said, lighting is key. There are a lot of good concepts
out there for using things like cheap hardware store halogen flood lights
to create a studio that works night or day, rain or shine. This site has
a lot of good ideas:
They have designs for home brew ring lights, light tents, flood lights,
agreed. Then you dont need multiple spares or to worry about differnt
workflows from photos from two cameras.
junk you sell on ebay doesn't move, so get a strobe and crappy reflector
umbrella and you should be good.
if you're dealing with dirty stuff, skip the light tent, you'll just get
it dirty and they don't clean up.
A roll of continious paper is good for stuff that's heavy and will tear
calumet photographic will have anything you need in stock.
With photographic stuff, there's never a limit to how much you can spend
on any item, but cheapo stuff is great for getting started.
A fleece throw from Walmart in an appropriate color actually works
surprisingly well for the purpose and is dirt cheap. As a bonus, it
will keep you warm in an emergency (for certain values of "warm" and
For really small items, I've had good luck with plastic stretchy UPS
shipping bags. They do good at not reflecting annoyingly, but just
enough that it helps cut back on shadows.
Certainly not a professional solution, but they're also pretty much
free. I wouldn't necessarily suggest this as a professional solution
On Sat, 31 Mar 2012 23:47:43 -0500, Ignoramus20530
Iggy, I'm pretty clueless on digital cameras, but I'm gearing up to
buy my first one for professional work (it probably will be a Sony
Alpha NEX-5N), and I can tell you what's been on my mind.
All of the problems I've had with cameras have been mechanical. My
Nikon F is on its second set of mirror bumper-stops and its third
shutter. My Nikkormat is on its second shutter release. My Schneider
view-camera lenses and my Caltar have all had shutters replaced.
I pound my cameras hard. I bought my film in 100-foot rolls and sheet
film in Pro-Packs. In copy work, I've shot as many as 1,000 shots per
I don't want another SLR. That's why I'm looking at the Sony. Its CCD
chip is as large as the best SLRs and its shutter delay is 0.02 sec.
Fro $30 I can get an adapter for all of my Nikon F-series lenses. I
don't even remember how many I have. Now we're talkin'.
What I really don't know is the model-by-model reliability of any of
them. I'm using my wife's Fuji FinePix F30 for the shots I take for
online magazines, and that little sucker is trouble-free. All I can
say is that I'll trust electronics more than mechanics for high-volume
photography, and you're talking high-volume.
The vast majority of what I've done over the past four decades has
been industrial, which is what you're talking about, and manual setup
is no hardship for that kind of work. In fact, I much prefer it. You
don't need features. You need quality and reliability. With the latest
generation of non-SLRs with big chips, you may find something that's
bullet-proof and somewhat cheaper.
Anyway, that's what's been guiding me as I search for a new camera.
Ed, I think you would be very happy with a Fuji.
Zoom lenses will never be as fine as replaceable lenses.
That's a given.
But Fuji really does do it right.
Moving to electronics does away with all the mechanical issues of the past.
Look for an electronic remote shutter release.
OPTICAL zoom as big as possible.
In your case, RAW file delivery options.
That gives you the ability to do (with UNDO!) what you used to do in the
developing tank (without undo!).
Like I said earlier, I've very happy with the Fuji 8100.
It's a compromise, of course.
But a great one.
This is a good list. Regarding item 9, many digital cameras come
with a media cable so you can display what usually appears on the
camera's small display screen on a video monitor. This can really
speed things up when taking a series of product pictures because
you don't have to look at a little screen while framing the picture.
Regarding the Olympus C-4000 and C-3030 that Gunner recommended,
keep in mind they use SmartMedia chips, with storage limited to a
small fraction of that offered by CompactFlash or SD. This might
not make any difference if you only use USB for picture transfers
and if you automate the camera control so you don't have to delete
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmartMedia - max size 128MB<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompactFlash - max size 128GB<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital - max size 2TB
Top speeds of SmartMedia are 2MB/s (per link above) while CompactFlash
has speeds (available at higher price) up to several times faster, and
SD several times faster than that. But to get those higher speeds of
picture storing you have to find and buy the faster chips, and should
have a camera that supports both faster picture writing and faster
transfer. However, an advantage of cheaper cameras, even if slower,
is that you could use more of them, and could have two or three picture
angles set up for simultaneous shots.
Many Canon cameras can be internally re-programmed by user for specific
purposes. See <http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK . For less radical
approaches see Canon's camera-control software development kits at
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