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Thursday, 07 May 2015


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You may not need advice; the Stylus 1 sounds like a great choice: EVF, tilting LCD, touch screen for quick focus point selection. If you are willing to give up the touchscreen to get a fully articulated LCD, instead of just tilt-up/down, then the Nikon P7800 may be the way to go. Good luck.

For small-sensor, maybe a Pentax Q? I know I love mine with the 01 lens.

For what it’s worth I don’t think you need another camera to do your web pictures.
Just do with the Fuji what you are doing with the Nikon, more than enough magic pixies for your needs in those circumstances I think.
Keep well,
Paul Colclough.

Mike, I do plenty of product shooting, and my weapons of choice are Canon 50mm f2.5 Macro + Canon 100mm f2.8L IS Macro + Canon 5D Mark II + a tripod + a copy stand + a passel of Canon 430 EX II's. If Canon ever produce replacement 50 and 90mm TSE's, I'd happily add them to the arsenal. Probably not what you wanted to hear.

For product shots that are going on ebay, I just stop down to f11 or f16 and don't worry about DOF at all, since the final image is going to be no larger than 1000px on the long side.

For shots that have more demanding uses in mind, I focus stack. I have a pair of macro rails, a heavy tripod, and half a dozen 15lb sandbags. I can choose exactly how much depth of field I want in the finished image. For high magnification images, where DOF is at a premium and your effective aperture is much smaller than your nominal aperture, it's a very useful tool for preserving sharpness too.

Wouldn't any Olympus m4/3 with a kit lens stopped down to f/11 do just fine? For web-only jpegs, you can't beat Olympus colors, and you'd only need to white balance it once (and only if really necessary - the WB presets are very good out of the box). I used an E-pl1 for years, and they are fine for this sort of thing - KEH used to carry them for 89$, and the kit lens for the same amount. I've used two of their kit lenses, and outside of a little shutter shock at 1/100, they were more than sufficient. Flash would eliminate that anyway.
You could set one up on a tripod, dial in the "right" settings once and then forget about it for years if you wish.

For simple product shots for the web, just use your iPhone. Yes the perspective will be a bit wonky, but that is becoming the norm.

On a side note, I was watching a commentator section between periods of one of the (NHL) playoffs and was fascinated/repulsed that they were shooting the talk with a wide angle lens up close. The commentators nose was huge, and every time he waved his hands near the camera they grew to gargantuan proportions...

Maybe that is just one of the downsides of being a Photographer...

As a Nikon 1 owner myself, I wouldn't recommend it for tabletop photography. It has no hotshoe or X-sync. The only flash option is a Nikon direct flash accessory. You'd have to use available light, hot lights, fluorescents or LED lights. I'd recommend the Olympus OM10 with an inexpensive short tele/macro lens, such as Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN. The Sony RX10 is another option, but then you'd be looking at closer to $1000. All it all, it seems to me you could manage it with your Fuji XT1 without spending any extra cash.

Small sensor lots of DOF , why not the iPhone ?

My product shots have come out best with a Canon S95-S110... and they're as cheap as a nice camera strap these days

An Oly XZ-1 or XZ-2 would do just fine for product shots, light enough for the flimsiest tripod and you can set the internal flash output power to very low to optically trigger another off-camera flash. You'll never worry about DOF, there's plenty, not sure that's true of Nikon 1 series cameras, but then I haven't used mine that way yet. And the XZ series has an f1.8 lens, which might be handy for you.

Use the Fuji for product shots. Good light, stop down, tripod.

Have you tried your iPhone? Get a cheap tripod attachment and it should be fine for web use. I've used one in a pinch at my job; no one noticed at 1200x800.

> the end of the 135mm ƒ/4 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar (this big beauty now
> belongs to Ned B.) is a bit out of the d-o-f. A tiny sensor would make it
> that much easier to get everything in focus in shots like this.

Just use your Fuji X-T1 and stop down its lens to increase DoF. Optically, the DoF would be absolutely equivalent to what you'd achieve with a camera with a smaller sensor.

The iPhone 6, for example, has a 4.15mm f/2.2 lens which, I understand, is a 35mm-e.

To achieve with, say, a Fuji 23mm lens — therefore 35mm-e — the same DoF as the iPhone 6, you'd just need to stop the Fuji's lens down to the equivalent aperture, which would f/2.2 * 23 / 4.15, that is, about f/12.2

As for the ISO, to make things fully comparable IQ-wise, you should increase it on the Fuji to the level necessary to achieve the same shutter speed as the iPhone 6.

If you don't believe the DoF would be equal, just take comparison pictures of the same scene with the iPhone 6 and the Fuji at their equivalent apertures.

For something cheap and cheerful, you can always go to WalMart for a bottom level PowerShot. They do well enough.

I've had good luck with Panasonic's LX7. It's been my carry camera for over a year, replacing the LX5. Useful manual knobs & dials. Fast lens. Switchable macro mode. Easy custom WB. B&H has a good price right now, no need to do eBay.

I'm at the point where I'm tempted to ditch all or most of my interchangeable lens digital cameras, for an LX100 as my "big" camera, while keeping the LX7. Undecided about the film cameras.

Do you really need a small sensor camera for web publishing? You have two options, based on your assertion that it's only for web publishing. One, stop the lens down fully. Once the image is resized to web sizes it will hide the diffraction. The other is to step back a bit and crop. In this case you are using a smaller sensor inside your larger one. Again at web sizes you won't see the loss in resolution.

I use my D800E with 60mm macro this way for ebay auctions. Framed very loosely and stopped down it has adequate depth of field and is easy to shoot. I just crop and export to a standard size with minor sharpening applied. Obviously this isn't "professional" quality, but it beats buying a new camera or tilt lenses for web use only product shots.

Just a suggestion, which might not be valid if you are after higher quality than I am for your web product shots.

"Anybody have any advice?"

Fuji X-10

The trick you've been doing with the D800 may work with the Fuji. Or if you have a longish lens, same idea but more "normally". Most of the time I'd grab my long kit zoom for that sort of work with my G3.

Always wondered about the Pentax Q system for this sort of thing... (not having used one myself, or even seen one in the flesh)

But it's got a lot going for it: small (body and anti-shake sensor), fun (inexpensive) lenses, and high sync speeds just in case (depending on the lens), K-Q lens adapter... etc.

A Canon G series camera will work. I have a G11 that I use. The macro setting is helpful.

Mike, Mike.....

You don't need another camera, just for web publishing of pictures of cameras so you can sell excess cameras. Look at DOFMaster and play around with some figures.

For example, with a 35mm lens (on my APS-C DSLR) at 2 ft and f/22, they say depth of field is slightly better than from 1' 8" to 2' 6", a total of nearly 11". The lens covers about 11½" X 17" at that distance, but you could crop down to, say 6" X 9" and still have over a quarter of the pixels you started with. More than enough.

"From now on, I'm thinking I will just own the tools I need to do the work I want to do, as I used to do."

Nyuh huh. Sounds good and clean. But even in this article you're looking at getting...another camera, a "bridge" camera! Admit it: you're just taking a dump before heading back to the table!

"Anybody have any advice? It should have a 1/2.3", 1/1.7", or 2/3" sensor, IS, and hopefully not too slow a lens."

For such small, low-res, temporary applications any number of cameras will work. My own primary requirement for such a camera these days is that it have an articulating LCD. It can really save on the discomfort. My personal favorites for such work have been (you won't like it) my Oly EM5 and my Sony NEX-5N. In addition to having articulating screens they also have touch screens which can also be very handy. They're also both excellent cameras.

Next in line is my Sony RX100 II or III. My own advice: consider getting an RX100-III (failing having the EM5 or NEX). I think you'll be impressed by how good and useful it really is, including for such small table-top projects.

" From now on, I'm thinking I will just own the tools I need to do the work I want to do, as I used to do..."
Wanna bet???
Wait a few months (weeks?) or just read your next paragraph.

Woops, rereading what I wrote, the passage about the ISO is incorrect.

The correct sentence is as follows:

As for the ISO, to make things fully comparable IQ-wise, you should set the Fuji to the same ISO value, and manually set it to the same shutter speed as the iPhone 6.

The picture might look "underexposed" with the Fuji at f/12.2, compared with the iPhone at f/2.2, but from a photon shot noise point of view, they'd be equivalent — i.e. they'd ve equivalent from a noisiness IQ point of view.

In postprocessing, you should just push the Fuji's very dark picture by 23/4.15 = 5.5 f/stops to equalize the apparent brightness.

By so doing, you'd achieve with the Fuji

• the same DoF
• the same noisiness
as with the iPhone 6.

If you want to reduce that noise, and achieve a better IQ with the Fuji than with the iPhone, you could of course use a much longer exposure speed on the Fuji, so that you wouldn't need to push its picture by 5.5 f-stops in post-processing.

But then, the comparison with the iPhone would be unfair and the Fuji would of course deliver a much better IQ than the iPhone, but hey, that's what large sensors are supposed to deliver after all — better IQ through reduced noise.

Re quick product photography for the web.... Are you sure you need one? If you really want small sensor jpegs try your iPhone 6+ in HDR & or Pano mode. Give it plenty of light with decent fill, and you may be surprised....
If you really want a separate camera look for a 1.7' sensor canon S100 or similar Sony on close out.
We own a Nikon 1 with the slow kit lens and do not like it.

If you really want a current camera, the latest Sony & Canon 1" sensors with fast zooms are Very good pocketable cameras. The Sony has the pop up EVF, the Canon has more reach in a fast zoom.
Then at least it could do double duty as a tryly pocketable camera that is better than an iPhone.

You lose a bit of the DOF advantage with the 1"

For quick product shots I don't see the longer zoom bridge cameras as offering any advantage, you don't need a slow zoom, and rarely need true macro, and they are not pocketable .

I've had a little Canon S95 for years and am amazed at some of the product type shots I have been able to get.

Because if you really need more, you can always adapt a T/S lens to your Fuji. Something like a Canon 45mm T/S is fairly inexpensive used and would be quite good on a crop sensor.

Mein Gott !

I should re-re-read what I'm writing !

Corrected version:

"In postprocessing, you should just push the Fuji's very dark picture by Log2( (23/4.15)^2 ) = 4.97 f/stops to equalize the apparent brightness.

[..] so that you wouldn't need to push its picture by 4.97 f-stops in post-processing."

Others may have more specific experience in this product area, but I highly recommend something like the Panasonic LX-5 or LX-7. Bright lens, good controls, hot shoe, close-up mode, useful lens range, good picture quality, etc.

I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 that I'm not using and cannot find the gumption to sell on the web because that would require effort. It has a great Leica-branded lens, a decent zoom range, full manual control, macro mode, small sensor, excellent specs, and is light as a feather. (I replaced it with the LX7.)

Oh, seller of used equipment; make me an offer! :-)

When I was in the high-end audio biz, I was always being asked for advice about what to buy. I would patiently explain that my focus was on equipment positioned at the high end of the marketplace and I had so little practical experience with more modestly priced gear that I wasn't comfortable offering them any advice, even though I'd like to help.

Their usual response was "But I have ($1,500 or $3,500 or $5,000 or whatever) to spend." Sadly, even at those price-points, all I could do was smile awkwardly, and this was in the late '80s / early '90s, when a dollar was still worth something...

I gave my wife and one of my daughters Nikon V1's when they went on fire sale at the end of their cycle. Highly recommended for what you want. It's my wife's favorite camera to date. It has some quirks I don't like, but none that would interfere with you.

Sony RX10? RX100mkII? RX10 has great video, for family stuff, just as an extra....

Since you already have the XT-1 you might consider a Fuji lens that can do Marcos. My little fuji 27mm will get within 11.3 inches. I believe they do have a macro style lens you just need to go to the Fuji site and check out their lenses.

Olympus E-M5 MK II's sensor shift mode is just right for studio product shots for the web. Creating 40mp jpegs, you can crop away. Used lenses are easy to find. A used MK II body, probably not so easy.

Re: Olympus Stylus 1. I haven't used it for product shots, but it's a lovely camera for general use. Good haptics, excellent image quality given its 1/1.7" sensor size, convenient size, quick response, well stabilized. It should certainly give the depth of field and image quality you need for product shots on the web, and be of as much use as you care to put it to beyond that.

>Anybody have any advice? It should have a 1/2.3", 1/1.7", or 2/3" sensor, IS, and hopefully not too slow a lens.

I use a Canon G11 for this sort of thing. It has a 1/1.7" sensor with tons of DOF, excellent IS, and an excellent lens. I think any of the Canon G series would do the job. Unfortunately anything after the G12 doesn't have a fully articulating LCD, but that may not be an issue for you. Or just look for a used G11 or G12.

You said it yourself: "... the iPhone for visual note-taking...".

How about a Lumix LX7? I used to have an LX5, and it was a pretty nice little thing.

X30, obviously! F/2-2.8 lens, 28-112 fle, 2/3" sensor, lovely colour, what more could you want?

Regarding a small-sensor compact camera for product photography: how about a Fujifilm XQ2?

For all my macro needs I use an Panasonic LX3....even for my macro 3D scanning using Agisoft Photoscan......it has great optics and I even know of some wedding photographers (though a partner full body 3D scan is the future :-))......that use a LX3 to shoot rings in closup, hmzzzzz rings are shinny thus hard to scan. Now I bet the LX7 will even be better at this game.

Greets, Ed.

Suggestion for close-up shots...

Manual focus Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm/3.5 Macro lens and an adaptor to use it on your Fuji.

Good lens, very low cost.

You may think I'm crazy, but your iPhone does perfectly fine product shots with plenty of resolution for the web and plenty of depth of field for close up work. You are trying to get rid of cameras, aren't you? so why buy another.

The Sony RX100 might be worth considering. It has a fantastic macro mode and though there has been an RX100 II and III the original is still available new at B&H for $400.

Why not just use your iPhone? In well lit situations, which I assume the product shots would be, the iPhone camera would be just as good, if not better, than a small sensor point and shoot.

Pentax MX-1 or Olympus XZ-2 might be worth looking into. Both have the same sensor and fast lens. I think the XZ-2 was the best overall camera for it's sensor size, but I don't know about macro in particular. I don't think you need the EVF and long zoom range on the Stylus One.

In our house there is a Stylus 1s and a Nikon 1 V1 with several lenses. I recently took a number of pairs of pictures at different focal lengths, one with each camera using aperture priority. I compared the jpegs and found that in most cases, the one from the Olympus camera was more pleasing than that from the Nikon 1. Now the Nikon 1 makes beautiful image files, and has the bigger sensor, so I was surprised at my findings. But the Stylus 1 has a more modern sensor and a lot of other great features, and I felt that I could be just as happy wioth it as I am with my more expensive collection of Nikon 1 gear.

I know this is not a scientific comparison, nor a completely fair one, nor one using raw files, etc etc.

I'm easily amused when I browse through eBay and see bad, bad, bad photos of photo equipment to be sold. Classic: camera with snap-out flash positioned so close to the item that the goods lay in the shadow cast by the lens hood.

As for a web/product shot cam: Does it need sophisticated flash capabilities? If not, shouldn't your iPhone have a small-enough sensor?

I do nearly all my product/ebay/website images with a Canon G12 as it is compatible with my set of Canon flashes. Example linked to my signature. BTW anyone want one of my handmade viewfinders? Also available in black.

A great small sensor compact if the Canon G7x. It has no view finder, but cracking 1" sensor, decent lens range and fits in a "winter" pocket.

Fuji X30 or Nikon One V2. Both are excellent small cameras for product work. The Fuji has a great macro setting (1 cm from front of the lens, IIRC). If you go with the Nikon, get the 18.5 prime lens and a couple of close-up lenses.

RE the camera for product shots:

I'm old and have a bad back (what Boomer doesn't...) and for me the only cameras that are even acceptable choices would be those with fully articulated rear LED panels or expensive big beasts that can be run remotely from the likes of Lightroom. Bending to look through an eyelevel VF or even to see a fixed rear LED panel is a painful experience for me.

I don't do a lot of this type of shooting, but my aging Panasonic G-1 does the job very well. I would suggest you consider one of the newer G-series Pannys.

Has the 6x7 itself been sold yet?

[Yes. Try KEH.com. --Mike]

Have you decided yet what Fuji lenses to add alongside the 23mm?

The upcoming 35mm f/2 R looks intriguing.

I was just about to say that you don't really need a small sensor camera because you can use wider lens further away and crop as you only need about 800pixels wide image. That way you get more depth of field. But then I read to the bottom of your story. Any camera will do, it doesnt have to be Nikon D800. The smaller the sensor, the less you need to crop, and probably the less pixels you have to start with. So it balances out nicely.
But to get back to your question. I think something like Olympus XZ would be good. Fuji has a similar camera, X10? Or is it by now X30? Small sensor, but big among the small sensors, and a fast zoom lens. You don't really need a fast lens, but sometimes it is good as it gives more options. You need a better camera that has more control over its settings, ISO, aperture, shutter speed. And a reasonably good quality lens. The cheapest models by each manufacturer are crap.

Why not just use the X-T1?

Why not dig in the rummage tables of digital photography? Take a look at a 10 years old Pro-Cam .... Olympus C-5050 ... Can be had for 20EUR.

Has a super Macro Mode (MFD ~5cm)
RAW support
Aperture F2-F9
Easy to handle and reliable

I was doing some jewelry test shots for a gold smith. He was amazed how well this old camera performed.

My test scenario: http://www.ihobs.de/tmp/C-5050/

How can you resist the upcoming Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4? It is waterproof to a depth of 50 feet, crush-proof perhaps even in the jaws of Butters. It shoots RAW. I have pre-ordered a black one, and intend to take it on my trip to Tasmania in September.

I love my Fuji X10 and I presume that the X30 is even nicer. I've often used it for eBay photos, and occasional field trips when I want to travel light.

"one camera and three or four lenses" Isn't that "cruel and unusual punishment"? Or perhaps requiring the steely self discipline equal to that of a prolonged weight loss regime?

I wish you luck, but sometimes in both cases, the 'bounce back' can be worse than the original condition!

Mike, it's completely ignored due to it's smaller sensor but the Fuji X30 is worth a look. (I've only used the x10/20, but I assume the 30 is just as good if not better, having a tilting LCD and proper EVF.) It doesn't have IS, but it's got a fantastic macro capability, a fast little lens, and you might just find yourself using it for other things as well.

Mike, using the Dragoon for product shots in the way you are is like lighting a cigarette with a howitzer. If you want a small-sensor camera with IBIS, DNG output, very nice lenses (some with leaf shutters), a real flash hot shoe, and an interface that you already know... I'll gladly send you one of my spare Pentax Q's with the 02 standard zoom lens. (The original Q, with the 1/2.3" sensor and magnesium body, not plastic). I use them for product shots that end up on DPReview, and I have two spare body/lens kits! Consider it my yearly subscription, although I'll warn you now that the lens is detachable and they make other lenses for the same mount... ahem.

What about the Ricoh GR for product shots? They're currently about $575, and have the same 28mm FL you mentioned above. (And IQ-wise, wipe the floor with all the smaller sensors).

I have had the Stylus 1 since it came out. I use it for my "running camera". As I'm in your area, you're welcome to take a look at it to see if it is something you want to pursue - I ordered and returned ten cameras before I kept this one... I'm not trying to sell it, just happy to share my experience.

The Fuji X30 seems a natural choice; fits with the 'family', and a great little camera.

I'm also deeply enamored of the Panasonic LX-100 - which would make for a great travel camera, because the XT-1 is SO BIG. And the lens is superb.(I know, a little too big for your requirements, but it's soon good)

The Nikon 1 series has a lot to recommend it, but another lens system?

My last suggestion is to go gonzo and get a Pentax Q.

Keep it in the family and get the 2/3" Fuji X30. It's a pleasure to use and doubles as a good "grab and go" travel camera for times when the X-T1 and lenses are more than you want to take with you.

You might try focus stacking. I use it all the time with an old Nikon D200 & 105 micro lens. Works best with a focusing rail. The idea is to take several shots, first focusing with the lens and then moving the camera on the rail to focus on other places. PhotoShop has an app to join them together selecting the sharpest (i.e. most in focus) areas. There are other apps available, but I've found PS to work fine for me.

Try the iPhone. I use it all the time for stuff I am selling on eBay.

Tell me about that eyeshade/piece on the NEX-6.

I sent an email note to a doctor yesterday, with a question. Before answering the question, he copy-edited it (there was a slight -- a very slight -- ambiguity in it.)

In that spirit, I will tell you that the tagline on your photo of the The Single Use device I first read this way:

The Single Use Device; A not-very-good product/
shot under the fluorescents.

I wondered why in the heck you were trying to sell it, while admitting it was a not-very-good product, and why shooting it under the fluorescents should be an issue...

Use the backup body of the primary camera for the web work :-).

> I really should have mentioned that I don't want to use the Fuji
> XT-1 for tabletop because I don't want to be changing settings
> and lenses back and forth all the time.

Philistine ! Are we to understand that you simply want a quick, efficient and time-saving camera, and aren't interested in setting up and fine-tuning oblique Scheimpflug DoF zones using complicated tilting contraptions like this one or this one ?

Make it a Fuji household, and go with an X30?

Regarding a choice of camera for table top for web posting I would recommend a second hand Canon G12.

I find the fully articulated LED screen invaluable when having to position the camera, handheld or tripod mounted, at an awkward position to get the taking angle right and still see what I'm doing. You can also easily adjust for exposure compensation, without or with flash, which is very helpful for photographing dark stuff on light backgrounds.

i can't imagine you "running" so fast that changing the settings of your camera would slow you down. It seems to me you are set in your ways, which might not be a bad thing. You can afford having 2 different setups. I have an aquaintance, he has been in the photo business for a very long time. He has adopted digital, but when you see his studio work, you don't know if he took them yesterday or 30 years ago. I'm deathly afraid to end up like that. You are set in your ways, but your pictures are not.

If you are building up your Fuji X-T1 system, why not purchase an entry level, used or discontinued Fuji for your tabletop product photography.

There are discounted X-A1 and X-M1 models available and they will do a fine job in this role and will double as a second body for your X-T1 for any occasion when you need an additional camera.

I do eBay sales of camera gear at a shop here in Seattle and we use an older Canon G10 and I've been impressed by the image quality it achieves with our small tabletop studio, as well as the small 1/1.7" sensor allowing for the kind of depth of field you're looking for. The newest version of this camera also has a f/1.8-2.8 lens which is nice. Most of the images on this blog I shot with the G10: http://www.cameratechs.com/cameratechs-blog/page/2/

Nikon D800E with an old ED 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 D AF Micro would be fine, but…

- You don’t want to be tempted to use it for anything else
- You definitely should get a camera with a large tilting LCD screen for this
- You don’t want to break the bank

The Olympus Stylus 1 or the Fujifilm X30 are far too nice to leave on the tripod all of the time. Look for a discount Olympus XZ-2 and maybe add a very convenient second hand VF-2 tilting EVF (the one that also sells for $500 as a Leica Visoflex EVF2 for the Leica X2).
Or buy a Pentax MX-1, a camera that is basically the same. Built like a tank and you can change the bleeps of the self timer into woof, woof, woof, woof, meow. Butters will love that.

Sorry, I was wrong about woof, woof, woof, meow.
It's the other way around. Watch this funny video.

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