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zemlinrt Oct 2, 2007 6:04 PM

I have a Kodak P880 that I use for product shots at work. I got it because it's 8MP and mostly because of it's 24140mm wide-angle lens. I'm still having troubles getting in close enough for a crisp shot of rifles and shotguns. My question is, if I added a .45x wide angle lens would that allow me to get in closer for better detail and still fit the rifle/shotgun in the frame?


TCav Oct 2, 2007 7:31 PM

A wide angle 35mm equivalent focal length of 24mm is extraordinarily wide for a digicam, and the specs for the Kodak P880 (on ) list a minimum focus distance of 2 inches at the wide anglesetting, and 10 inches at the telephotosetting, which are also extraordinary.

I think that if you can get a rifle or shotgun into the frame, the camera should be able to focus on it, so I think there's something wrong with the autofocus settings or operation. At the very least, I don't think a .45x converter will help.

Have you tried using manual focus?

Can you post some examples?

VTphotog Oct 2, 2007 9:13 PM

Rifles and shotguns are too long to get the whole thing in a close-up shot in most cases. Shotguns can sometimes be broken down in two pieces, which makes things easier.

The answer to your dilemma would depend on what you are using the photos for: If posting in web pages, you may be finding that resizing for the web is losing some of the detail in the photo, and may need to do some additional sharpening to get good looking pictures. If you are printing for a catalog or photo book, you may want to look into stitching two photos together, as a panoramic image.


zemlinrt Oct 3, 2007 10:46 AM

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TCav - I've tried using the manual focus thinking that I could get a better picture, but the manual focus on this thing is not the best. I get a small digital window close-up of the center F.O.V., as I turn the ring I can't tell if it's getting worse or better.

Here's a jpg at 300dpi and 4" length. This is the best picture I've taken so far. Settings f2.8, 1/15, ISO 50 at 22" away. I can't use a flash because the receiver becomes too hot. I've done a little photoshoping to up the color and brightness. I'd just like to get grain on the wood to be more clear.

VTphotog - I'm taking this picture for an ad in a magazine . I tried the stitching method because in Macro mode the pics look great, but I don't have a setup where I can move the camera perfectly along the gun. That's where I thought maybe a wide angle lens would allow me to get in for a closer shot.

TCav Oct 3, 2007 11:49 AM

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The first thing I noticed is the yellow glow at the butt plate and the end of the barrels. Then I saw the softness of the image. Then I saw the chromatic aberration creating an aura around the shotgun.

I checked the EXIF data and saw that you shot it at 1/20", f/3.2, ISO 50 and at a focal length of 5mm.

I think you are using the lens at the extreme edgesof its capabilities, and that stopping down and zooming in might get you closer to the settings at which the lens will perform best.

Have you tried backing up a little and zooming in a little more?

Have you tried using a smaller aperture, possibly f/5.6?

At the very least, a wide angle lens won't fix this, and an add-on lens will probably make it worse.

I did a little post processing on your image and included it below. I hope you don't mind. I just did a little bit of playing with the Shadows & Highlights tool in Photoshop Elements 5.0, to bring out the detail of the stock and the receiver. I think the details are being lost because the camera is setting the exposure based, mostly, on the white background. You could set the exposure compensation to overexpose the white background a little so you get more detail out of the shotgun, or you could just use a light gray backdrop.

zemlinrt Oct 4, 2007 1:34 PM

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Tried backing up and zooming in, but it looked like I lost more detail.
I used a smaller aperture with a +1.0 overexposure, and that seemed to pick up a little more detail.

That's cool that you played with it, I don't mind at all. The receiver looks good.

So with the new pic I created a clipping path for the receiver to lower the yellows and one for the wood to contrast the grains a little more. The wood on this gun is really dark so that doesn't help.

TCav Oct 4, 2007 2:21 PM

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The Kodak P880 produces images at a resolution of 3264x2448, yet the images you've been posting have a horizontal resolution of 1200. However you got from 3264 to 1200 could be masking the actual sharpness of your origninal images, so it's hard to tell from these what's actually happening.

I did notice that in this latest photo, you stopped down from f/3.2 to f/4.5 but I can't tell if it's affected the chromatic aberration or softness of the image, because you've masked out the background. Also,it still uses a focal length of 5mm. I'm surprised that you say you tried adjusting the focal length and thought you got less detail.

I played with the shadows again and squeezed more detail out of the stock. I suspect you didn't actually shoot this with that white background, but with the background you did use, maybe a +1.0 overexposure isn't enough. Can you try a different color backdrop, say gray or even black, to see what happens to the wood grain and the detail of the receiver.

Also, instead of reducing the entireimage so you can post it here, how about just cropping a section from around the receiver and trigger guard, so we can see it full-sized with as much detail as possible. And leave the original background. In fact, don't do any post processing, so we can see what you're working with.

zemlinrt Oct 4, 2007 4:52 PM

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Yeah I have to somewhat down size the images to post them. Even so, they really dont look any different from the originals.

Sorry newb question - What is focal length? What is it that Im adjusting, focus, zoom?

And for the camera, Im only allowed to adjust 2 of the 3 settings at a time - Aperture, Shutter, Exposure. The camera will auto adjusts the 3rd one.

Heres a pic with a black background with no alts. I tried to find a gray backdrop, but Im really limited to materials here at work.

TCav, I appreciate the time youve taking with helping me out on this.
How are you able to find the camera settings of each pic I attach?

TCav Oct 4, 2007 6:14 PM

zemlinrt wrote:

Yeah I have to somewhat down size the images to post them. Even so, they really don�t look any different from the originals.
Actually, in this last one, I see a big difference in the sharpness. When you reduce an image that is 3000 pixels wide, down to 1000 pixels (I'm sticking with round numbers here.) the new image gets 1 pixel for every 9 that the old image had. A lot of detail gets lost, and a lot of edges get fuzzy. A good portion of the disappointment you have with your images might be a result of resizing them.

Do you resize all your images, or did you just resize them so you could post them here?

zemlinrt wrote:

Sorry newb question - What is focal length? What is it that I�m adjusting, focus, zoom?
The lens on your P880has a variable focal length of 5mm to 29mm.A short focal length has a wide angle of view, while a long focal length has a narrow angle of view but high mangification.When you are using your camera to look atsomething far away,you are using the long focal length of the lens. Because the lens has an adjustable focal length, allowing you to zoom in and out onsubjects, the lens is called a 'zoom' lens. When you turn the outer ring on the lens, you are altering the focal length of the lens to selectan angle of view and magnification.

Your camera is probably in autofocus mode, so you're not focusing; the camera is doing that. You're just zooming.

zemlinrt wrote:

And for the camera, I�m only allowed to adjust 2 of the 3 settings at a time - Aperture, Shutter, Exposure. The camera will auto adjusts the 3rd one.
Yes, there are three adjustmentsyou can make that affect exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO Speed. Aperture is the relative size of the hole that light passes though in the lens, Shutter Speed is amount of time the image sensor will be exposed to light, and ISO Speed is the sensitivity to light of the image sensor. You can adjust any of these three settings, and the camera will automatically adjust the others to obtain a properly exposedimage.

There are reasons to use or not to useeach of themin any givensituation.

Since the subjects you take photos of don't move, and since you're using a tripod, you can use any shutter speed.

The ISO Speedcan allow you to usea smaller aperture or a faster shutter speed, but the additional sensitivity will result inan effect called 'Noise'.You don't want that, so you should set the ISO Speedlow. The Kodak P880 can useISOSpeed settings from 50 to 400, and you've been using 50, which is good.

Aperture is simple, but it has some consequences that can work with you or against you. Aperture is expressedas a ratio of the diameter of the aperture to the focal length of the lens. The lens onyour P880 has an adjustable aperture of from f/2.8to f/8.0 at the 5mm focal length, and from f/4.1 to f/8.0 at the 29mm focal length. The important thing to remember is that, when the lens is wide open (when the aperture is widest, and the setting is at it's lowest numerical value) two things happen.

First, the entire lens is gathering light. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, including photographic lenses. So whena lens is wide open, any imperfections in the surfaces ofany of the optical elements, and any misalignment of the optical elements will degrade the image. Notusuallyby a lot, but always a little.

Second, the depth of field is quite shallow. The depth of field is a measure of how much stuff will be in focus in front of, and behind the subject that the camera has chosen to focus on.

Either of these things give you a good reason to use a smaller aperture in order to get a good sharp image.

In addition, by the way, using a lens at one end or the other of it's zoom range also can reduce the sharpness of the image.

zemlinrt wrote:

Here�s a pic with a black background with no alts. I tried to find a gray backdrop, but I�m really limited to materials here at work.
And this one does show a fairly sharp image, though I think it should be better. And while the detail in the wood grain and the receiver are a lot clearer than in your previous images, some of the detail is lost in the knurling. I think the black backdrop helped with the exposure, but light gray, green, or blue might do better. Thegreen or blue should probably be similiar to the colors you'd see used for the felt on a pool table or card table. Regular flat sheets would probably work well, and flannel sheetswould probably be great.

zemlinrt wrote:

How are you able to find the camera settings of each pic I attach?
Digital cameras include data about the camera and exposure in the file along with the image itself. It's referred to as the EXIF data. There are a number of programs that can displaythe EXIF data.

zemlinrt Oct 5, 2007 11:52 AM

With the receiver pic I did not resize, I just croped it. But as for the full length images, I had to resize them from 8" to 4" to get the file size down. I know by doing this I'm losing pixels (detail) but I was refering to the original picture and how it wasn't the greatest to begin with.

As for the focus, maybe this is the problem as to why the picture ends up blury/fuzzy at the ends. Maybe the table the gun is on is messing up the auto focus because it's the closest object to the lens ? I also noticed that I have some dust on the lens, but of course I don't have a lens brush here to use. I'll have to bring mine from home.

So for settings, I can set my camera to "aperture priority" which will allow me to adjust the f-stop. Maybe start with 5.6 and work my way up 8? Then up the exposure to make up for the small aperture with no flash and let the camera auto adjust the shutter speed. I'll also zoom in at 35mm. Sound good?

Kinda got off track about the wide angle lens subject. Is there a lens that would allow me to get in closer with a wider angle of view (besides a fisheye lens)?

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