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what's the best lens for my purposes???

 
 
J. Clarke
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      08-04-2006
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> i'd like to get a digital slr to shoot my artwork. that is all the
> camera will EVER be used for. i want a lens that will suit my needs. i
> believe 50mm is slightly wide, is it not? so i need 55mm, and for
> convenience anything up to 85mm, maybe. most important is the lens have
> as little distortion as possible
>
> should i get ,,,
> 1...50mm only
> 2...85mm only
> 3...55mm-200mm zoom
> 4...24mm - 85mm zoom
> 5...18mm - 55mm zoom
>
> these are the lenses available for the canon. the problem: 50mm might
> be wide, yes? and because i have limited space to go back in my setup,
> i am worried that an 85mm will give me problems on larger paintings.
> and the zoom gives me my 55mm, but it is a zoom and i am concerned
> about distortion.
>
> the nikon lenses have roughly the same.
>
> if i am worried about distortion, BUT settle on a zoom(because of the
> 55mm) would a 55-200 be better than a 28-80. i'm not too cozy with the
> idea of a wide to telephoto format like the 28-80. btw,,,i will have
> absolutely ZERO need for a wide. i wish there were a 55-85.


Your post is very confusing. You say that you have limited space and need
to get close but you at the same time say that you have no need for a
"wide", which is in fact _exactly_ what you need if you don't have much
space.

Why don't you try telling us what you are trying to shoot (including its
dimensions) and how much space you have to work in and what kind of budget
you have and what you intend to do with the resulting photos and maybe
someone will be in a better position to help you.
>
> thanks


--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
 
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J. Clarke
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      08-04-2006
Dennis Pogson wrote:

> Randy Berbaum wrote:
>> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>>> i'd like to get a digital slr to shoot my artwork. that is all the
>>> camera will EVER be used for. i want a lens that will suit my needs.
>>> i believe 50mm is slightly wide, is it not? so i need 55mm, and for
>>> convenience anything up to 85mm, maybe. most important is the lens
>>> have as little distortion as possible

>>
>> A few problems with your simple question that you may not realize.
>> Digital SLRs have a sensor that is not (except for a very few very
>> high priced units) the same dimension as a frame of 35mm film. So the
>> digital image is cropped from what a 35mm film image would be with
>> the same lens. This crop is generally (and somewhat erroneously)
>> called a magnification factor. I don't know what this factor would be
>> for your particular target camera but with my Pentax camera the
>> factor is 1.5x. This means that a 50mm lens on my camera would give
>> the angle of view of a 75mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Thus if you
>> recognize that the "standard" 50mm lens as the dividing line between
>> wide and tele, to get the same image with my DSLR would require a 33
>> 1/3mm lens. This will definately effect the next part of your
>> question. As to 50mm being a tiny bit wide, there is no hard and fast
>> number that is THE divider. If there is one it may be 50.12696 or
>> some such number that isn't real practical. The difference is so
>> slight that outside of extreme scientific useage, it makes no
>> noticable difference.
>>
>>> should i get ,,,
>>> 1...50mm only
>>> 2...85mm only
>>> 3...55mm-200mm zoom
>>> 4...24mm - 85mm zoom
>>> 5...18mm - 55mm zoom

>>
>>> these are the lenses available for the canon. the problem: 50mm might
>>> be wide, yes? and because i have limited space to go back in my
>>> setup, i am worried that an 85mm will give me problems on larger
>>> paintings. and the zoom gives me my 55mm, but it is a zoom and i am
>>> concerned about distortion.

>>
>>> the nikon lenses have roughly the same.

>>
>>> if i am worried about distortion, BUT settle on a zoom(because of the
>>> 55mm) would a 55-200 be better than a 28-80. i'm not too cozy with
>>> the idea of a wide to telephoto format like the 28-80. btw,,,i will
>>> have absolutely ZERO need for a wide. i wish there were a 55-85.

>>
>>> thanks

>>
>> Due to the crop factor I would suggest that you try the the 18-55mm
>> zoom. This lens would include the approximate correct lens length. In
>> general if the horizontal field of view is 40 degrees (rounded to the
>> nearest full degree) this should be the correct lens.
>>
>> Hope this info helps.
>>
>> Randy
>>
>> ==========
>> Randy Berbaum
>> Champaign, IL

>
> To buy a digital SLR just to shoot artwork would be like throwing money
> down the drain.
>
> Buy a zoom-lens digital with all the bells and whistles, such as the
> Panasonic FZ30, and it won't matter what focal length you decide to shoot
> at.


Of course it will--what are the distortion figures for the FZ? Or are you
going to propose the standard "fix it in Photoshop" response that costs
resolution?

--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
 
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tomm42
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      08-04-2006
I have done art work photography professionally for 30 years.
Even with 35mm the best lens for shooting artwork is a macro lens, more
because the have a flat field rather than a curved field of normal
lenses. You want a DSLR (Canon 30D or Nikon D200 would be you best
bets) and a 50-60 mm macro. The 50 Sigma would be ideal, since it is a
little shorter than the 55 or 60 macros Nikon and Canon have and you
have a constrained space, these would also work with 35mm, no worry of
distortion with a macro. With a quality camera (as I listed) auto focus
should be no problem, getting a split image screen is a little bit of a
hassle but they are available, saddly not from the camera
manufacturers.
Lighting is also an issue, polarized lighting is the best to use. Buy a
couple of Lowel Totalights and work from there.
If you want to do professional work you need a DSLR, small sensor
digicams aren't going to hack it if you are submitting to magazines.
Also a good macro lens is the only way to go when shooting, a long
telephoto (150-200mm) also works but it doesn't sound like an option in
your space.

Tom

 
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J. Clarke
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      08-04-2006
Joan wrote:

> How do you fit something 40x50 into a studio that is 12x17?


40x50 inches vs 12x17 feet most likely.


--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
 
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woops
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      08-04-2006

<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> i'd like to get a digital slr to shoot my artwork. that is all the
> camera will EVER be used for. i want a lens that will suit my needs. i
> believe 50mm is slightly wide, is it not? so i need 55mm, and for
> convenience anything up to 85mm, maybe. most important is the lens have
> as little distortion as possible
>
> should i get ,,,
> 1...50mm only
> 2...85mm only
> 3...55mm-200mm zoom
> 4...24mm - 85mm zoom
> 5...18mm - 55mm zoom
>
> these are the lenses available for the canon. the problem: 50mm might
> be wide, yes? and because i have limited space to go back in my setup,
> i am worried that an 85mm will give me problems on larger paintings.
> and the zoom gives me my 55mm, but it is a zoom and i am concerned
> about distortion.
>
> the nikon lenses have roughly the same.
>
> if i am worried about distortion, BUT settle on a zoom(because of the
> 55mm) would a 55-200 be better than a 28-80. i'm not too cozy with the
> idea of a wide to telephoto format like the 28-80. btw,,,i will have
> absolutely ZERO need for a wide. i wish there were a 55-85.
>
> thanks
>


I suppose you are talking about "perspective distortion". Not an issue with
flat subjects.

Also, do not get caught up in the megapixel hype:
http://www.smugmug.com/help/print-quality (scroll down)



 
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J. Clarke
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      08-04-2006
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> to be more specific about the artwork.....
>
> they are oils. i use lamp and camera polarizers with
> zero glare. the oils range from small(8x to 40x50. i HAVE TO shoot
> in my studio, which is about 12x17. most of my artwork is no bigger
> than about 23x27, but i do an occasional 30x40. i can get back
> approximately 5 or 6 feet with my camera to shoot. this will accomodate
> a 23x27 or there abouts, no problem. i can only shoot my artwork on the
> width of the room. if i were to try setting up along it's length, the
> lamps would be too close and not at a great angle.


First, some calculations. To handle your 40x50 paintings at 6 feet distance
will require a 28mm lens. That lens could also handle your 8x8s at about
15 inches and your 27x23 at about 3 feet 6 inches. You could supplement
the 28 with a 60mm or so that would let you shoot the 8x8s from 3 feet or
so, or you could go with a 28-135 zoom that let you handle everything from
a single camera location.

The Sigma 28mm f/1.8 has distortion around 0.4 percent according to the
Popular Photography test--that's very good for a 28mm lens--and is
otherwise a decent performer, but the autofocus doesn't always work well.

The Canon 17-85 zoom, according to the tests at <http://www.photozone.de>,
has a low distortion sweet spot around 24mm where the distortion is less
than 0.1 percent, but it also has significant amounts of chromatic
aberration.

The Canon and Nikon 28mm lenses have decent distortion figures, under 1
percent, but not quite as good as the Sigma.

You might want to take a look at the lens tests at <http://www.photozone.de>
and see if there is one that strikes your fancy. There's also a link from
that site to the one for the vendor of the software they use for
testing--it has a free demo version that should let you check your current
setup and see what distortion you are actually getting so you'll have a
handle on what you really need.

> i have been using a canon g3. at 300dpi, i can get a 5" width image. up
> until now, i have been using those images for my galleries to print
> invites,,,,,,a perfect size. but i have recently faced situations
> where clearly it's time to move up to the 8mp range camera(8 in fact
> barely gets what i need). the printers are starting to ask for 350dpi,
> and the magazines are asking for larger images for full page spreads.
> this makes my 4mp obsolete.
>
> i want a dslr because i have always felt my images were lacking in
> really good sharpness. manual focus on the g3 is pathetic...i would
> also like a split screen focus because my eyes see the focus much
> better with a split screen than than a prism.
>
> i'm looking at the rebel xt because of the price, which is great for
> the next step up.


If you want split screen focus you'll need to replace the focusing screen.
<http://www.katzeyeoptics.com> makes one, there's another fellow who sells
his on ebay that makes another that works well.

> randy: you're saying a 35mm on a digital is equivalent to a 50mm
> standard slr. so then my concern about image distortion on a 50mm dslr
> is erroneous....that there will be no distortion. i can get a
> rebel/18-55mm. that would cover the 35mm-55mm range.


There will always be distortion. The question is how much and whether it is
a problem for you.

> dennis/frederick: i think also part of the reason is simply my desire
> for the manual focus. as i stated, i feel my images have been lacking
> sharpness, maybe on an insignificant level, but it has always bothered
> me nonetheless. do you think maybe the lens on the g3 was lacking, and
> that the zeiss or leica lenses will make up it?


Zeiss or Leica lenses? They'll be sharp but there are few DSLRs that will
use them.

> bugbear: what kind of software are you talking about that'll correct
> distortion?


Photoshop CS2, DXOptics, PTlens, and there are others.

> after what you all have said, i started looking around, and the sony
> and panasonic look ok too. same price as the rebel, and the sony offers
> a 10mp, but the panasonic offers 8.


Trouble is finding information about the actual performance of the lenses.

--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
 
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Joseph Meehan
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-04-2006
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> to be more specific about the artwork.....
>
> they are oils. i use lamp and camera polarizers with
> zero glare. the oils range from small(8x to 40x50. i HAVE TO shoot
> in my studio, which is about 12x17. most of my artwork is no bigger
> than about 23x27, but i do an occasional 30x40. i can get back
> approximately 5 or 6 feet with my camera to shoot. this will
> accomodate a 23x27 or there abouts, no problem. i can only shoot my
> artwork on the width of the room. if i were to try setting up along
> it's length, the lamps would be too close and not at a great angle.
>


Good. I would suggest that Rebel is a good choice based on what you
have said.

To do that 40" with only 6' you will need about a 24mm lens. That range
is covered by the "kit" lens nicely. The 19-55 is the kit lens and I have
one. While a lot of people dislike it for its low price and light "plastic"
feel it happens to perform very well.

If I had the room, I would look for a 50mm or longer macro lens as it is
likely to be a little sharper and have a flatter field. I suggest that if
you are not happy with the results using the kit lens, finding a good 24mm
lens for it should not be difficult or expensive.


>
> bugbear: what kind of software are you talking about that'll correct
> distortion?


If you are photographing straight on, and it would seem that you will be
able to, you should have little or no distortion to worry about.


--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit


 
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jeremy
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      08-04-2006

<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> i'd like to get a digital slr to shoot my artwork. that is all the
> camera will EVER be used for. i want a lens that will suit my needs. i
> believe 50mm is slightly wide, is it not? so i need 55mm, and for
> convenience anything up to 85mm, maybe. most important is the lens have
> as little distortion as possible
>
> should i get ,,,
> 1...50mm only
> 2...85mm only
> 3...55mm-200mm zoom
> 4...24mm - 85mm zoom
> 5...18mm - 55mm zoom
>
> these are the lenses available for the canon. the problem: 50mm might
> be wide, yes? and because i have limited space to go back in my setup,
> i am worried that an 85mm will give me problems on larger paintings.
> and the zoom gives me my 55mm, but it is a zoom and i am concerned
> about distortion.
>
> the nikon lenses have roughly the same.
>
> if i am worried about distortion, BUT settle on a zoom(because of the
> 55mm) would a 55-200 be better than a 28-80. i'm not too cozy with the
> idea of a wide to telephoto format like the 28-80. btw,,,i will have
> absolutely ZERO need for a wide. i wish there were a 55-85.
>
> thanks
>



If you are shooting two-dimensional art, like paintings, you require a macro
lens. Nothing else will perform as well.

Macro lenses are designed to have excellent flat-field reproduction, so your
subject will not exhibit barrel or pincushion distortion. Macro lenses
typically have extremely low light fall-off, even at the edges of the frame.
That is important if you want consistency. Macro lenses are usually
optimized for shorter distances, whereas standard lenses are optimized for
infinity.

Be careful when choosing regular 50mm "(Normal") lenses, because the fast
ones, i.e. f/1.4, typically do not have great flat-field response.
Manufacturers often recommend against their use for slide copying, as an
example.

I'm not familiar with Canon's macro offerings, so I can't give you a
specific recommendation. I do know that, if Canon does not have the lens
you need, there are adapters allowing you to fit M42 screwmount (Pentax)
lenses for use on Canon bodies. There may be other adapters as well. There
were two very excellent macro lenses made by Pentax in M42 mounts--a 50mm
f/4 and a 100mm f/4. If you want to put a little bit of distance between
the camera and the artwork, so you can light the subject from the sides, for
example, you'd do well with the 100mm.

Try to stick with your own manufacturer's lens if one is available, so as to
retain metering and exposure linkages. But if you want a lens that will do
the job right, it's definitely a true macro lens that you want. Do not be
fooled with telephoto zoom lenses that have "macro mode." They are not true
macros, and will not afford the same degree of flat field and low light
falloff performance.


 
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Bart van der Wolf
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      08-04-2006

"J. Clarke" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
SNIP
> Trouble is finding information about the actual performance of the
> lenses.


I'm not sure how involved the OP wants to get in optimizing his
system, but the lens correction parameters can be determined very
accurately by using Panorama software, such as 'Hugin' and others.

All it takes is a target object for calibration at the desired
shooting distance. The target consists of a grid with horizontal and
vertical lines. One full frame shot of the target at a fixed distance
with a given focal length, will be sufficient to allow lens
calibration for removal of geometrical distortion.

The pano software should be given multiple horizontal and vertical
line segments (say between the intersection nodes), and the software
removes the distortion. The parameters it finds can be re-used on
other images taken with similar camera settings.

Bart

 
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jeremy
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      08-04-2006

"Bart van der Wolf" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:44d39a19$0$4517$(E-Mail Removed)4all.nl...
>
> "J. Clarke" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> SNIP
>> Trouble is finding information about the actual performance of the
>> lenses.

>
> I'm not sure how involved the OP wants to get in optimizing his system,
> but the lens correction parameters can be determined very accurately by
> using Panorama software, such as 'Hugin' and others.
>
> All it takes is a target object for calibration at the desired shooting
> distance. The target consists of a grid with horizontal and vertical
> lines. One full frame shot of the target at a fixed distance with a given
> focal length, will be sufficient to allow lens calibration for removal of
> geometrical distortion.
>
> The pano software should be given multiple horizontal and vertical line
> segments (say between the intersection nodes), and the software removes
> the distortion. The parameters it finds can be re-used on other images
> taken with similar camera settings.
>
> Bart


Doesn't the degree of optical distortion change somewhat depending upon
distance and f/stop? If so, wouldn't one have to record several lens
settings, with specific correction factors for each?

That might be ok for casual use, but a true macro certainly has an advantage
over using a less-appropriate lens and then trying to correct for its
deficiencies.


 
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