Micro image clarity tips / white balance issue

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by DaShiznit, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. DaShiznit

    DaShiznit TPF Noob!

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    I own an Olympus E-510 10.0 megapixel digital camera. I am in charge of all the digital product images for our online catalog.
    I have tried many settings to get the best overall image for our customers to view online but many times have issues with focusing
    in on the very tiny teeth or tips of these surgical instruments. Was wondering if anyone else has experience with shooting anything similar.

    Camera settings:
    Macro dial
    High Key Gradation
    WB 6600K (have tried others this works the best for our photo box)
    ISO 100
    Noise Filter: Off
    Noise Reduction: Off
    Manual Focus
    Spot Metering (seems to give the whitest background over other metering settings)

    Primary issues:
    1. Not getting a true white background on the unedited pictures.
    2. Not being able to get a very crisp and clear image of the instrument tips even in macro mode. If I focus so the top tip is clear the bottom gets blurry and vise versa.

    Unedited image
    [​IMG]


    Photoshop edits with background whitened
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    It looks like your first image is underexposed and maybe that the white balance if off a bit.

    It will be underexposed because of all the white...it tricks the camera's meter. So no matter what metering mode you are in...you need to add exposure above what the camera tells you in auto mode.

    To really get the white balance accurate, try setting a custom white balance.

    As for getting the whole object into focus, you need more DOF (depth of field). You do this by using a smaller aperture. (Higher F number).

    I suggest using aperture priority mode, if you have it, and set the highest F number you can. This will require you to have longer shutter speeds, so use a tripod and a remote (or the self timer).
     
  3. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes... welcome! I suggest reading off a gray card placed into the scene and then removed for the exposure. Once you have the proper exposure determined, you won't have to meter again until you change the lighting.


    I can't imagine any other way than this.


    I would shoot at the smallest aperture possible for this kind of work.


    Do we know what the lighting is here? He doesnt say directly. I think it's strobe considering the result and the 6600 degree K setting. Either way.... strobes or hot lights... I would recommend shooting manual.

    -Pete
     
  4. DaShiznit

    DaShiznit TPF Noob!

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    When in Aperture mode the F value goes up to 22. I will try this and repost another image later this afternoon.

    The bulbs we are using are TCP # 28927M, Model ESM27, 5100K. In the current light box I only have 1 bulb on each side.

    Would different bulbs be better for us to use to get a better quality?

    I have to apologize, I have been doing digital photography for a few years now and this is the first "real" camera we have had
    for picture taking so I do not have the technical background of a professional.

    I appreciate the help!!! Will post another image later with the recommendations you two suggested.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think the bulbs are a problem. As long as your lights are consistent (same light/color temp) then you should be OK because that's easy to change with digital.

    I believe you can shoot in RAW with that camera? If so, that might be something to consider. This would allow you to adjust the white balance on the computer, after the shoot, without degrading the image. However, if your light doesn't change, it should be easy to just get it right and keep it there.
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Agreed. Wow... fluorescent bulbs. I forget about those.

    Again, good advice. Once you get all this nailed down on one, you should be very close on everything. I've not worked with fluorescent bulbs, but I suspect you can expcect a slight chage in color over the life of the bulb.

    -Pete
     
  7. DaShiznit

    DaShiznit TPF Noob!

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    OK this might seem like a "noob" question and might be part of the problem...

    Our lens has 14-42mm on it does that mean the object should be that far away from the cameras lens? Those images above were taken at a distance of about 250-300mm or about 10-12"
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That is the focal length of the lens. The shorter the focal length, the wider the FOV (filed of view) that you will have (and the longer the focal length, the narrower the FOV will be).

    Each lens will have a minimum focus distance (check the manual), so as long as you are at least that far away, you will be able to focus.

    You might want to use the longer end of the lens, to avoid wide angle distortion...but that might not be too important to you.
     
  9. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    For the type of work you're doing, I would consider a dedicated macro lens with external flash and diffuser. Be careful going to small on the aperture as it will affect image quality. I think you can accomplish what you want around f16, but personally I wouldn't go smaller. Although, it does depend on the level of detail you want.

    One trick I use for macro is I actually do not use the minimum focus all the time. Try actually backing away from the subject some and crop in PP. This will help open the DOF more.
     
  10. DaShiznit

    DaShiznit TPF Noob!

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  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I personally don't think that a new/different lens is required here...certainly not from the one shot that you have shown us.

    A macro lens will allow you to get closer to the subject (more magnification) the that doesn't help if you want to get the whole object into focus. Also, if you are using a light tent, you probably don't want the camera to be so close to the subject anyway.

    OK...I went back and read that you also want to get close up shots of the instrument tips. In this case, a macro lens would help.
     
  12. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well... if you intend to work with the same camera for a while yet, I do think you'd benefit from this lens. Remember, this lens may place you farther away from the product than what you've used in the past. If you've been shooting zoomed all the way in at 42mm, it won't be very different. This 50mm lens doesn't zoom. So adjusting with the size of the product means physically moving the camera in and out.

    Are you using a tripod?

    -Pete
     

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