Which camera to buy for large oil murals?

Silverknite

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hey everyone, I'm an oil painter somewhat in need of some great advice on to what camera to buy to photograph my murals.

My paintings are 40"x60" to three times the size.

So far I've been using a 14 mp camera and iPad Pro camera with okay results.

I'm not really looking to spend a thousand bucks on a camera but if you give me great reasons to I might consider it. I can show some of my work if it will give you a better idea on which one to recommend.


I'm considering getting a canon pro 1000 and 2000 so What I do need it primarily is for making high quality prints.



Thanks!
 
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480sparky

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What is you your require of the images? Just to post on websites & email? Enlarge to original size? Publish?
 

Light Guru

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This is no such thing as a camera designed just for photographing paintings.

The thing that is going to make the biggest difference in the photos is going to be good lighting.
 

jcdeboever

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A good tripod so you can make sure it's plum to the painting. Wired or wireless shutter release. White balance cards to ensure proper color. I would make sure you have those things, try them with your 14mp camera. If your still not satisfied with the quality of the image, we could go from there. That is my opinion.

If you are planning to build a portfolio to present to potential dealers, you may want to consider hiring a professional.

If those are not viable options, then you may want to consider a used Sony A7 first generation. You can get them pretty reasonable and the full frame image quality is excellent for what your intended use is. A 50mm prime lens ( used Minolta Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.4) would be a solid choice to minimize distortion and offer excellent micro contrast, color saturation, and sharpness.
 

480sparky

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Just about any mid-range / prosumer camera will do. I'd suggest a short prime telephoto to keep distortion to a minimum.

And you'll need to learn lighting, which is a whole other animal.
 

KmH

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

What 14 MP camera do you have?
How big do you want to print?
If you want to print big, say larger than 24 x 36, you'll want much more image resolution than 14 MP. In fact, you may want to consider a medium format camera in the 50 MP range - if you can afford such.
Will you make the prints or will you have a print lab make the prints?
High quality prints (often referred to as Gicleé prints) are made on inkjet printers that use 12 or more ink colors.

It's mostly about the lighting and the lens used rather than the camera.
The ipad pro lacks the controls/settings to consistently make high quality images that can subsequently be printed large.
You will want to make the image files as Raw files, not JPEGs, because you'll need the bit depth Raw files have.

In addition to setting up and controlling the lighting you will need to do the post production editing needed to prepare a digital file for printing.
Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom (2nd Edition)
The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (2nd Edition)
The Digital Print: Preparing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop for Printing
 
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benhasajeep

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It depends on your print size really. And how well your murals are lit.

For printing you need at least 150-180 pixels per inch for decent prints. This is a little better than the human eye can resolve. Better prints have 240 per inch. 300 per inch is max you need. Above that your wasting ink and time. Also depends on what your printing on. Pictures on couputers are good at about 72. 100 is probably lowest you can go on something like canvas and have good results.

So, a 14mp camera will produce a 300 pixel print 11x14. 16x20 with same camera would get you about 209 pixels an inch. You could go 20x30 but would be right at 152 pixels per inch.

Like others have said, tripod and lighting would be as important as the camera and lens. Lens will also depend on how much room you have to take the picture. If your murals are in rooms of houses for example. You will need a wide angle lens. If its the wall of a building and you have 50' to back up then a long lens can be used.

The pro 1000 is a 17" printer and the pro 2000 is a 24" printer. Most new less expensive DSLR's are in the 18-24mp range. They would be plenty for the Pro 2000 printer. I think right now Nikon has the best lower cost cameras for what you pay. DXO labs test cameras and right now Nikon entry level cameras test higher than Canon, and are less expensive. Now there are other cameras that also test better but higher in price as well. Nikons D3400 would be plenty for you megapixel wise. Has good ratings for color gamut, good dymanic range and ok ISO performance (ok, but is better than other entry level cameras). Now lighting would be the biggest factor for you I think. If there is decent light where your murals are. You just need a tripod. But if some are in dark areas you will need some kind of lighting as well. It doesn't have to be flash. It could be car lights or flash lights for all it matters. But what does matter is the lights need to be the same kind! And produce an even light across the whole mural.
 
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Silverknite

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Thanks guys, I'll definitely have to reread some of your responses... the pieces I have on my website so far I've photographed with a 14mp camera and tripod...I had to photograph all of them in two sections and pieced them together in cs6

So I'm looking at the Nikon D3400 24mp DSLR camera for 400$-$636
 
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Silverknite

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

What 14 MP camera do you have?
How big do you want to print?
If you want to print big, say larger than 24 x 36, you'll want much more image resolution than 14 MP. In fact, you may want to consider a medium format camera in the 50 MP range - if you can afford such.
Will you make the prints or will you have a print lab make the prints?
High quality prints (often referred to as Gicleé prints) are made on inkjet printers that use 12 or more ink colors.

It's mostly about the lighting and the lens used rather than the camera.
The ipad pro lacks the controls/settings to consistently make high quality images that can subsequently be printed large.
You will want to make the image files as Raw files, not JPEGs, because you'll need the bit depth Raw files have.

In addition to setting up and controlling the lighting you will need to do the post production editing needed to prepare a digital file for printing.
Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom (2nd Edition)
The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (2nd Edition)
The Digital Print: Preparing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop for Printing


Sony Cyber-Shot Lens G

How big? well considering I will be using a website to reproduce the prints in the meantime.. Im thinking at least 25% larger than the original size of the original paintings which are...36x70, 40x70, 44x78 and 56x70

These are the three printers I have in mind again...

(I may skip the 1000 and just go for the 2000)
Amazon.com: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Photographic Inkjet Printer, 17 x 22-Inches: Electronics

Amazon.com: Canon PRO-2000 imagePROGRAF Printer: Electronics

Amazon.com: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 44" Professional Photographic Large-Format Inkjet Printer: Electronics


Thank you for the extra info by the way.
 

benhasajeep

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Ok, all your murals are on canvas? How large of an area do you use to photograph? On a D3400 camera a 30mm lens is considered a standard lens. You will get about a 40 degree angle of view. A 20mm lens on the D3400 will give you about a 55 degree angle of view. And a 15mm lens on the D3400 will give you about a 74 degree angle of view. It's better to use a long lens as possible. So if you can stand back some and use a long lens thats best.

Depending on where you take the picture you may not need lighting. You can adjust the camera for different type of artificial lights you already have. If your location has the same bulbs in every light (same color / K temperatures). For example 3,200k or 2,500k color temp light bulbs. You can adjust white balance in the camera for those bulbs. That's if the lights are consistent and provide full coverage of your work. Or of course if you have a studio with large windows and get very good morning or late afternoon light. That would be good too.
 
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Silverknite

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Ok, all your murals are on canvas? How large of an area do you use to photograph? On a D3400 camera a 30mm lens is considered a standard lens. You will get about a 40 degree angle of view. A 20mm lens on the D3400 will give you about a 55 degree angle of view. And a 15mm lens on the D3400 will give you about a 74 degree angle of view. It's better to use a long lens as possible. So if you can stand back some and use a long lens thats best.

Depending on where you take the picture you may not need lighting. You can adjust the camera for different type of artificial lights you already have. If your location has the same bulbs in every light (same color / K temperatures). For example 3,200k or 2,500k color temp light bulbs. You can adjust white balance in the camera for those bulbs. That's if the lights are consistent and provide full coverage of your work. Or of course if you have a studio with large windows and get very good morning or late afternoon light. That would be good too.


Yes all the paintings are on canvas. The area is basically the size of a large living room so I do get very good natural lighting. What I do need suggestions on is what lights to get for the paintings that have varnish because they tend to produce reflections and are nearly impossible to photograph without any reflections showing.

These are the ones I'm looking at so far.. thoughts and suggestions?

Amazon.com : Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera with AF-P DX 18-55mm Lens (Black), + Flash + SLR Photo Bag + Batteries and Charger + Remote + 48GB Card Bundle : Electronics

It might not be the longest lens but I'm sure it will be sufficient considering I have the space to place the painting far enough from the tripod and camera...if you know of a better alternative than this lens Id really appreciate it if you send me links from amazon.

Amazon.com : Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras : Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo

Thank you very much!
 

480sparky

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.......... The area is basically the size of a large living room so I do get very good natural lighting. What I do need suggestions on is what lights to get for the paintings that have varnish because they tend to produce reflections and are nearly impossible to photograph without any reflections showing...............

I'd go with forgoing the natural lighting and use artificial lighting with polarizers, with an opposing polirizer filter on the camera.
 

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