Struggling with LED lamps and DOF...

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Mr_Chris, Aug 22, 2016.

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  1. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, looking for some help getting better product shots at work please - I am a keen amateur photography and made the mistake of volunteering to help out in my new job getting their catalog and web presence up to speed!
    I am use a Nikon D5300 with 18-55 kit lens and two 500w GODOX LED Panels (white LEDS) and a large light tent....
    [​IMG]



    Basically I need the product in focus from front to back - I am sticking to 35mm length, f22 and 1/40 to get the most DOF and brightest image without being burnt out...and i end up with:

    [​IMG]

    The boxes are there to help me focus on something - this shot was focused on the closest part of the pipe and you can see the focus dropping off by halfway up. I do have some experience shooting products and i know DOF only stretches a foot approx in front of - and behind - the center of the image. I would usually use my trusty 50mm lens to improve the situation but for now i need to get it to work with the kit lens before my bosses give up on me!

    This is how the images need to look - they were taken by a pro studio and i noticed from the file data that they used a 90mm lens - is this usual practice?

    Please don't post images to which you do not hold rights. You may post a link.

    I have achieved some OK results with the help of photoshop but its hit and miss with the focusing - even at f29 the above image would be slightly out of focus towards the back for example - i cant figure out if its the lamps (my first time using LED panels) the lens or the settings. I had better results at home using Tungsten bulbs/lightboxes but i dont think thats the key.
    Where am i going wrong? my only other option is focus stacking software at this stage it seems...

    Lastly - i have linked my images from photobucket but i have grown sick of its adverts etc - can anyone suggest a good free alternative? preferably with some kind of quick resizing options too? thanks
    Chris


     
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  2. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    First of all that's two entirely different products you are comparing. Second depth of field is not only down to aperture and focal length but the distance to your subject as well, often the distance to subject is a critical factor. If you want to get it all in acceptable focus use a depth of field calculator and work out how far away you need to be to get depth of field deep enough to cover the whole subject and allow a bit exta for margin of error.

    This may be worth a read for you.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Science-Magic-Introduction-Photographic/dp/0240812255
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Something like that is going to be a very awkward object to photograph simply because of how close you are to it (the nearer to the subject the less DoF you have) and how long it is. Assuming you need to shoot a 3/4 profile to showcase it, my suggestion would be to use focus stacking, because otherwise you're battling the laws of physics, and unless you know someone the rest of us don't, that's a battle you can't win.

    The 90mm lens that was used was probably a macro lens allowing for closer than normal focusing, and it's entirely likely that focus stacking was used to achieve the resultant images. Shooting at f29-32 can actually adversely affect the images due to softness induced by diffraction.
     
  4. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    LOL - I was waiting for someone to recommend that book to me - already on order from amazon after reading several posts on here....shipping from States so will have to wait a while unfortunately. Tried the DOF calculators but we are talking a change of focus over a few centimeters and those calcs are set up for much larger subjects it seems....thanks though!
     
  5. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    So to avoid confusion i have included a smaller part to highlight my struggle - the image that i am aiming for IS ALSO OUR PROPERTY SO PLEASE DONT REMOVE IT AGAIN(!)

    The setup:
    [​IMG]

    The problem (not sharp from front to back) can you see the focus fall-off on the left hand side?
    [​IMG]

    What i am aiming for:

    IMAGE DELETED BY A MODERATOR.


    I beginning to think its not enough light and that the LED panels are acting like torch beams instead of a blanket coverage like im used to with softboxes.....help!
     
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  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As another bit of information, depth of field extends in front of the plane of focus as well as behind it. About 1/3 is in front and 2/3 behind. If you focus 1/3 of the way from front to back you can improve things. The pipe should be placed at a less severe angle from the lens. Your light tent is limiting this. If I were shooting this subject I would use a white paper background outside the light tent lit by a couple of lights. I would back up and shoot the subject which had been turned to a less severe angle. I agree that out of focus areas have no place in product catalog photography.

    Another option would be to photograph the two ends of the pipe and forget most of it since most of it looks the same. You need something that lets the prospective customer see what he needs to see to make a buying decision. Sometimes that takes less than you think.
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This one is easy to reproduce. I would shoot it in the light tent (this one was) against a black background. Then it is trivial to remove the background or change its color in post process. This image may not have been made against a blue background. If it was, then it was cleaned up in post process.
     
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  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When a moderator edits a post, or removes something, please leave it removed until you have discussed that with a moderator. You stated that the image I removed was taken by a "pro studio". Just because you or your company paid for the right to use them, that does not guarantee that they are your property or that you have the right to post them here. Let's make everyone happy and just post a link, okay?

    Thanks!
     
  9. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Just change the units to cm. Most of them will go down to increments of 1cm or so. Here is an example showing that even at f29 with your camera and focal length you'll only have 15mm in front and 17mm behind the focal point if you are 200mm away from your subject.

    [​IMG]Depth of field calculator by wee_pete, on Flickr
     
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  10. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    It was shot against white and we add in the blue afterwards as its our company colour....thanks
     
  11. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Oh this is just a link to an image - can you send me a link to the actual calculator please? its the best one ive seen so far...
     
  12. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Sorry my bad - i didnt want to link to an image on our own company website as i felt this wouldn't look very professional
     

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