Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 11, 2010, 1:51 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5
Default camera features needed to photograph artwork

Hello,
I am a painter, new to digital photography and need to create accurate digital images of my acrylic landscapes on canvas to make prints to sell to my customers. My largest work is 38" X 22".
What I need to know is this. What features on a digital camera are a must for me to have in a camera so with practice I can create good images.
Thanks!
dpzippi is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Aug 11, 2010, 4:47 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

dpzippi-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you dropped by.

Based on the assumption, that you will have independently solved the problems of good lighting and the need for a very good tripod, in terms of a camera you have to consider how large the final prints will be, to determine the proper camera to be used.

If you are going to make prints in the same size as the original, you would need, as a minimum a camera like the Canon G-11, or S-90, outside of the Canon brand line, the Samsung TL-500/EX-1, and the panasonic LX-3 are also potential camera candidates.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 11, 2010, 5:08 PM   #3
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,397
Default

Something that has a lens with minimal distortion and also good edge to edge sharpness otherwise you will get soft corners and also lines won't be straight. I think the Canon options mentioned by Sarah have strong performing lenses so if they are stopped down to f5.6 and used at a medium focal length you should be looking pretty fine.

Tripod and even lighting (not flash) are key to this process so you can shoot at the lowest ISO to retain as much detail as possible. If you want to go up a bit in quality then an entry level dSLR with again a lens that performs well for minimal distortion etc as above.
__________________
Any problems with a post or thread please use the report button at the bottom left of the post and the team will help sort it out.

Have fun everyone!


See what I'm up to visit my Plymouth Wedding Photography
site or go to my blog.
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 11, 2010, 5:28 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Ordo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BsAs
Posts: 3,452
Default

Look here:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Rona

Oil (or acrilic) paintings are tricky to photograph.
Polarizer filters are needed.
Ordo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 11, 2010, 8:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Thanks, Ordo-

That link, as well as the information provided by Mark 1616, really provides a lot of information that the OP will need in his copying efforts.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 12, 2010, 5:56 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
RioRico's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In mountainous California or Arizona or Guatemala or somewhere.
Posts: 224
Default

Good information from Ordo and Mark. One consideration is, how large do you want to make prints for sale? And how would you do the printing? My largest desktop printer is an old Canon S9000 that prints up to 11" wide, with nominal maximum sheet size of 11x17". My Pentax K20D camera produces images of 3104x4672 pixels, which translates to around 280 DPI, very close to the 300 DPI used in much magazine printing. If you want large prints, you need a camera that can feed the printer as much detail as possible.

I have not used higher-resolution (over 10mpx) point-and-shoot cameras, but their small sensors are usually not up to the standards of APS-C and full-frame dSLRs. For prints no larger than 8x10" or 11x14", such might work, depending on the resolution and detail you want in your prints. For larger prints, you'll probably want a camera with a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ah, lenses. Wide-angle lenses will distort the edges of your artworks. A good lens for art reproduction will be 'normal' or longer, where 'normal' is a focal length that is close to the diagonal of the camera frame or sensor. For a full-frame camera, that is 43-50mm; for an APS-C dSLR, that is 28-35mm. A longer lens will 'flatten' the image a bit and will have a greater working distance than a shorter lens.

For maximum sharpness of a flat image like a painting, I use macro or enlarger lenses, both types of which are 'flat-field' for best rendition throughout the entire image. Macro lenses tend to have extremely good optics and hefty price tags, although I have been lucky on my eBay excursions. Enlarger lenses (often extremely cheap) require a bellows (not very expensive) but shouldn't be less than 75mm -- because of bellows thickness, a lens shorter than that may be impossible to focus far enough to capture larger art. And any lens much longer than 110mm will put you some distance from your subject.

With my APS-C camera shooting an image that's about 2x3 feet (close to your largest work), a 50mm prime/macro lens needs about 10 feet of working room; a 100mm prime or enlarger lens needs about 16 feet. On a full-frame camera, the 50mm lens needs about 6 feet, and the 100mm needs about 10 feet. So, you can work closer with a full-frame... but such dSLRs cost *much* more than APS-C cameras.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I won't go into shooting technique -- Ordo's link suffices. I won't even recommend a camera, except to say that I'm quite happy with my Pentax K20D, a 14.6 mpx APS-C workhorse. The newer Pentax dSLRs are the Kx (12 mpx, great for low-light) and K7 (14.6 mpx, good for low light). BUT... neither supports tethering, where the camera is linked to your computer. This provides precise focusing and control, especially if you have a large hi-res screen. And I can't comment on Canon or Nikon or other dSLRs, since I haven't used them.

What do *I* use? My Pentax K20D. A Macro-Takumar 50/4 lens (M42 base, US$55). A Vivitar 90/2.8 macro (M42, US$3). On an M42 bellows (US$40), various enlarger lenses in the 75-90-110 range (average US$15 each). (These are all full-frame lenses and can be used on any modern dSLR.) A sturdy tripod. Banks of CF 'bulbs' with reflectors and diffusors, in a room 15 feet long with a white wall at the end. And patience...
__________________
Too many film+digi cams+lenses, oh my -- Pentax K20D, ZX-M, M42's, P&S's, more
The opposite of LIBERAL is not CONSERVATIVE, but ENSLAVED.
RioRico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 12, 2010, 12:24 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5
Default

Thanks folks,
I really appreciate the advise, especially the suggestions about what camera brands & models I should start looking at. This endeavor will have a learning curve & if I can get the right camera for this job I can start making some progress.
dpzippi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 12, 2010, 1:50 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
RioRico's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In mountainous California or Arizona or Guatemala or somewhere.
Posts: 224
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpzippi View Post
This endeavor will have a learning curve & if I can get the right camera for this job I can start making some progress.
A camera is a box upon which one hangs lenses. Digital cameras last a few years; lenses last many decades. Think about lenses first; the lens is more important than the camera. I think a useful way to approach your quest is:

1) Check the space you have to shoot in. A larger space allows longer lenses.
2) Decide how big are the prints you want to make, and at what resolution.
3) Decide how you'll make the prints -- your own printer, or a service shop.

(1) will tell you the focal length of lens(es) that will work for you.
(2) will guide you towards the resolution needed in a camera.
(3) will help you resolve the economics of the project.

Once you know that, you can think about the best camera for your project.
__________________
Too many film+digi cams+lenses, oh my -- Pentax K20D, ZX-M, M42's, P&S's, more
The opposite of LIBERAL is not CONSERVATIVE, but ENSLAVED.
RioRico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 13, 2010, 9:45 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Posts: 1,381
Default

Morning, I believe that you have received excellent suggestions and recommendations from all, especially Rio. I would believe that if you are going to sell the prints of the original image, then a dSLR would almost be required.

Since I am an engineer, I tend to start with math - but don't worry its simple. Start with this site.....
Scroll down to the "Dimensional Field of View Calculator". Based on your current largest work, 38" X 22" - we can easily figure out some numbers. You need some initial numbers:
  • Focal Length: Start out at 40mm as an initial guess
  • Focal Length Multiple: Use 1.5 since most cameras dSLRs use a 1.5. Nikon uses 1.6, and a full frame camera or 35mm film would be 1.0
  • Distance to subject: I would start out at 5 feet.
So using these numbers in the calculator you get - 3' by 2' or 36" by 24"

Pulling back a bit to 5.3 feet from the painting you get 3' 2.2" by 2' 1.4"

So one of the popular dSLRs with a 40mm lens, a good tripod (and hot shoe level to make sure you are shooting straight on), and something to hold the painting securely, in a way that will be square with the camera plane, along with good lighting - is what you need.

I would also suggest some type of known color chart. This way you could put the color chart in the frame - take a calibration shot, then without any changes - take the actual shot. In this way, you have a "color standard" to calibrate your post processing work flow with, along with the printing.
The body will control the sensor resolution - 10mp, 12mp, 14mp and I believe that there is an 18mp sensor in a camera body out there. I would also think that the camera body should handle ISO 100 or below, since that would provide the best image quality.

A tethering capability as Rio indicated may prove to be very helpful. Canon has the capability along with Nikon. Pentax has it on a couple models (K10 and K20).

... hope that helps...


Last edited by interested_observer; Aug 13, 2010 at 9:47 AM.
interested_observer is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:59 AM.