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Old Jul 4, 2012, 9:22 AM   #11
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Default 40 year old Nikomat

I've been using a Nikomat from the 1970s with a "Nikkor-S Auto 1:1.4 f = 50 mm" lens. I did get some barrel distortion, but my work was much larger before so it wasn't a big problem. My paintings have gotten much smaller in the last few years, so now I need to get much closer and distortion and even sharpness are important issues.

I've been looking for the 70 mm Sigma lens you recommended for the Sony A37 and it is around $500 new. There is also a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 for around $360 new. The reviews say this is also a good lens and appropiate for copy work. What do you think?

(I saw an analysis of the 50mm sigma lens at http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/299-...review?start=2 .It is highly recommended but it is tested on a different camera, not the Sony. Would the results be much different?)
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 9:41 AM   #12
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Two more quick questions: I saw in the specs of some lenses, like the Tamron, that it has no "tripod collar." Would this be an issue with the copy stand?

Also, if I find a used lens in excellent condition but without the owner's manual, are these lenses easy to figure out for a novice like me without instructions or should I just restrict myself to new lenses?
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 1:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ingriste View Post
I've been using a Nikomat from the 1970s with a "Nikkor-S Auto 1:1.4 f = 50 mm" lens. I did get some barrel distortion, but my work was much larger before so it wasn't a big problem. My paintings have gotten much smaller in the last few years, so now I need to get much closer and distortion and even sharpness are important issues.

I've been looking for the 70 mm Sigma lens you recommended for the Sony A37 and it is around $500 new. There is also a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 for around $360 new. The reviews say this is also a good lens and appropiate for copy work. What do you think?
Since a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera had a sufficiently wide angle of view for larger paintings than you currently produce, I think that a focal length of 50mm to 70mm is a good choice for what you want to do.

As I said in my first post
Quote:
The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro is probably as good a macro lens as you will find ...
The Sigma 50/2.8 is also very good, but the 70/2.8 has less vignetting and CA, and it's slightly sharper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingriste View Post
(I saw an analysis of the 50mm sigma lens at http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/299-...review?start=2 .It is highly recommended but it is tested on a different camera, not the Sony. Would the results be much different?)
No. Except for the connection, lenses don't really care what camera they're attached to.

BTW, SLRGear.com also has also posted test results on the Sigma 50/2.8 Macro as well as the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingriste View Post
Two more quick questions: I saw in the specs of some lenses, like the Tamron, that it has no "tripod collar." Would this be an issue with the copy stand?
No. A tripod collar is only necessary for a lens that weighs more than the camera.

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Originally Posted by ingriste View Post
Also, if I find a used lens in excellent condition but without the owner's manual, are these lenses easy to figure out for a novice like me without instructions or should I just restrict myself to new lenses?
No. In fact used lenses can represent a significat cost savings. Plus, many manufacturers have the manuals for their cameras, lenses and accessories available online in the form of PDF files, which I prefer to the printed manuals anyway.
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 1:29 PM   #14
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Just to be sure, how wide is the angle of view of your 50mm lens on your 35mm film camera when the copystand is extended as high as it will go? You should be able to figure that out with a simple tape measure.

In your first post, you said that your largest subject is 15 inches across. Since an APS-C dSLR would have a narrower angle of view, if the maximum size you can do now is 22.5 inches, a 50mm lens should cover 15 inches with a Nikon or Sony.
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 2:34 PM   #15
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My older paintings were significantly larger, in the 3 x 4 feet range, so I didn't use a copystand; I photographed them on the wall. I've only recently started using a copystand and photographing the work with a simple point and shoot digital camera. I'm not home now, but I will measure the widest angle of view with the Nikomat in the copystand later today and let you know.

Once again, thank you for sharing all your expert advice.
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 4:43 PM   #16
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Thank you, but I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, some of whom are right here.
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 6:06 PM   #17
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At the highest point in the copystand (28 inches), the maximum size that the 35 mm camera with the 50mm lens can fit is about 17 x 11 inches. If I understand correctly, that would not be enough with an APS-C sensor camera, so I would either have to buy a larger copystand, photograph the paintings on the wall with a tripod to get more distance, or use a different size macro lens, right? What size macro would I need, and how sharp and flat are they?
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 7:43 PM   #18
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A 50mm lens on a 35mm film SLR has a horizontal angle of view of 40° (your 17 inches.) On an APS-C dSLR, a 50mm lens would have an angle of view of 27°, or a little over 11 inches on your copystand.

A 35mm macro lens on an APS-C dSLR will have a 38° horizontal angle of view, or about 16 inches on your copystand.

Tokina makes a 35mm f/2.8 Macro lens for either Canon or Nikon dSLRs, that sells for $299. PhotoZone.de has a review of it here: http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...okina3528prodx

It suffers from some vignetting and field curvature at apertures larger than f/5.6, and some chromatic aberration at apertures smaller than f/5.6. It looks like the magic number is 5.6.

Unfortunately, it doesn't have an AF motor, so on anything less that a Nikon D90 or D7000, it's manual focus only. You could also use it with a Canon dSLR which should give you about the same angle of view.
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 8:08 PM   #19
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Default A million thanks!!

THANK YOU for being so thorough and careful. I am the same way with my artwork and I really appreciate your dedication to the craft and your generosity in sharing your expertise.

I am already so excited with the Sigma 70mm that the Tokina doesn't sound so appealing. I will consider the options carefully and then decide....

Thank you again and best wishes.
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Old Jul 11, 2012, 8:39 AM   #20
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Every visual artist faces a similar problem at one point or another. While they may not necessarily be a photographer, photographs are a necessity in the art world. Websites, portfolios, slide, prints – all require high quality, accurate photos of the artist’s paintings/drawings/whatever. Any artist who has just thrown up a painting on the wall and snapped it with a camera knows that getting a good image of a painting *isn’t as easy as it sounds*
but fear not! with a little know-how and a few simple tools, anyone can take a portfolio-worthy photo of their artwork!
note: I started writing this as a single-piece article, but it began getting so long that I decided to split it into 2 installments. Part 1 (this) will deal with, equipment, setup and using natural light. Part 2 will deal with studio or artificial light.
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