Help with art photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Katie Loux, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Katie Loux

    Katie Loux TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I am an antiques dealer and have been photographing art work that ranges from jewelry to 6'4" high sculpture with a fantastic, but entry-level camera, the Nikon D60, with Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm lens.

    I'm improving with my photography, and I love my camera and lens, but have reached a limit with the results I can get with 18-55mm lens - the detail is just not good enough (and I'm pretty sure it's not just my inadequate skills :lol:). I would like to invest in a macro 60mm or 105mm lens for photographing jewelry, and a lens that would be suitable for photographing sculpture (usually no taller than than 6'4"). Can anyone give me advice on what to buy? I'm thinking of this as a long-term investment.

    Thank you!

    Katie
     
  2. Dykstra

    Dykstra TPF Noob!

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    The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro is an ACE of a lens. I've seen comparisons between them and the Nikkor's micro lenses and there's honestly little to no difference in apparent sharpness of the images.

    Price-wise, they're an absolute STEAL. I actually picked one up from a pro selling old equipment for $200! No dings, no scratches, and it's one of the sharpest lenses I've ever touched.
     
  3. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    If you photograph small things, yes, the lens could make a difference. I prefer a longer macro myself, even for subjects that don't move, as it gives me more space between camera and subject and I find it more comfortable. You may also want to look at a focusing rail which can make life a lot easier.
    Close-up: Focusing Rails - Photo Tips @ Earthbound Light

    There are also macro rings. Those can be a lot cheaper than a lens. The one I got for my DSLR cost me $25 on ebay and works just fine for what I was doing (ebay shots). I think the choice you make depends on how high a quality you need.


    Now, you don't mention your lighting but that can also make a difference in the quality of the details you get. Something to think about. And for small objects something like this is a great way to start:
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-Shadow-Portable-Halogen-Background/dp/B0011V23DO]Amazon.com: Adorama De-Shadow Box, Portable Still Life Studio In-A-Bag, with 16" x 16" Soft Light Box, Halogen Lamps, Blue Background Sweep, Table Top Tripod & Custom Carrier: Camera & Photo[/ame]

    The lights and tripod are junk but the box is alright. If you look on the strobist, there is an article on making your own for a couple $. There are also a few threads about it here.
     
  4. Katie Loux

    Katie Loux TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Cloudwater, you've been really helpful. I hadn't even heard of Focusing Rails. Good advice!

    I have a pretty good makeshift studio set-up with two tungsten halogen lights with umbrellas.

    I think it would be worthwhile for me to invest in a macro lens as I need to be producing high quality, detailed images.

    Thanks again,

    Katie
     
  5. Katie Loux

    Katie Loux TPF Noob!

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    It sounds like the perfect lens for me, and what a great price! Thank you Dykstra.
     

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