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View Full Version : Help with still indoor shots of books



MikoLone
11-02-2005, 04:23 PM
I am trying to take a pictures of these books for work but it really isn't working out. We have bought some lights and umbrellas so that we could take out shadows and have enough light but the covers of the books are blurry. I also got a tripod so I wouldn't have to worry about keeping the camera steady.

What can I do? Is there some setting on the camera that I can do or something like that.

Thanks for any help.

Michael

Balrog
11-02-2005, 09:50 PM
Which camera are you using? what are your current settings?

Vich
11-02-2005, 09:53 PM
Can you also post a 100% crop?

MikoLone
11-04-2005, 01:29 PM
I am using a Kodak EasyShare Z7590 and I have been using the Auto button. with no flash.

I am a newbie so I wouldn't even know what to say about the setting other than that.

I am not even sure what 100% crop is but I am guessing that you want the full picture. I am going to attach the latest picture I have tried.

Thank you for replying.

ktixx
11-04-2005, 01:45 PM
I believe a 100% crop is when you take the full size image, crop a small section (IE: book cover) and put it on the forum at 100% so that we can see what you mean when you say "the covers of the books are blurry"

MikoLone
11-04-2005, 02:24 PM
I edited above. Notice how you can't really read the writing on the front book. I would like that writing to be crisp so that you can look and it and read what it says.

Vich
11-04-2005, 02:42 PM
I edited above. Notice how you can't really read the writing on the front book. I would like that writing to be crisp so that you can look and it and read what it says.
We cannot read this one any better than the first.

In photoshop, take the original and under VIEW select "Actual Size". Now crop part of the writing so that it is about 1/2 of the screen wide. Don't resize it.

When you save it, you can select JPEG compression so it fits within the 200K limit, but not below about 60% since that will degrade the image too much.

If needed, make a smaller crop rather than over-compressing it.

JTL
11-04-2005, 04:11 PM
I am not convinced it's because of jpeg compression that we can't read the titles...

The picture can not have been possibly taken at that highest resolution. I brought the picture into PSP to examine it and the detail on the book covers is simply not being resolved. Check the camera setting and make sure that you are shooting at the highest resolution (JPEG Fine 2576x1932).

Also, while the 7590 produces generally pleasing images, its lens is noted for it's lack of image detail...and at anything less than ISO 80, it's overly aggressive noise reduction algorithm further destroys image detail...

ktixx
11-04-2005, 06:44 PM
I edited above. Notice how you can't really read the writing on the front book. I would like that writing to be crisp so that you can look and it and read what it says.




We cannot read this one any better than the first.

Again, we are not yet able to judge the photograph. The quote above is referring to the size of the picture. For anyone to make an accurate suggestion we will need to see a 100% crop. Make it a BIG picture of a small part of your photograph. The images that you are attaching are too small in size for us to determin the clarity. Go into photoshop or some editing software with the image at full size and take an 800x600 selection of the full size picture and attach that to this thread.

Vich
11-04-2005, 10:06 PM
I am not convinced it's because of jpeg compression of the that we can't read the titles...

The picture can not have been possibly taken at that highest resolution. I brought the picture into PSP to examine it and the detail on the book covers is simply not being resolved. Check the camera setting and make sure that you are shooting at the highest resolution (JPEG Fine 2576x1932).

Also, while the 7590 produces generally pleasing images, its lens is noted for it's lack of image detail...and at anything less than ISO 80, it's overly aggressive noise reduction algorithm further destroys image detail...
JTL - I tried the same. It appears to have been reduced. As you pointed out, the EXIF is revealing:

1. ISO 140. Using a flash in a controlled environment, there should be no reason for higher ISO. Manually set the ISO to the lowest possible.

2. Exposure time is 1/60. Try 1/125. Are you using the timer or a remote shutter release?

3. F-Number is 28/10, translated to 2.8 or wide opened. This is the worst performance spot for nearly any lense. The sweet spot is usually around f8.

Also; f2.8 will have a narrow DOF (Depth of Field). Much less of a factor on your smaller camera, but f8 (or even f11) will have more things in focus (and therefore exact focus and object placement much less of a factor).

Note: At very high f-numbers (f18, f22), nearly everything will be in focus, but not anything exactly in focus. f8 - f11 is the sweet spot, f16 if the distances between objects are unavoidably large).

I don't know much about your camera's flash capabilities but if you can get good exposure for those settings, it aught to be giving you about the best that camera can get.

4. Focal length is 35mm (efl). That is probably the shortest length for that lense. That can have a difference on focusing accuracy depending greatly upon the specific lense. Usually the sweet spot is somewhere not at one end or the other, albiet wider is usually better.

Also; this reveals that you are pretty close to your subject. Maybe a little too close. That works well on single objects, but not a large one or many at different distances.

Of course, make sure the lense is completly in focus. Does the camera have manual focus?


Just playing around with these factors may reveal the most optimal settings.

I've not tried taking product shots with a digicam and Depth Of Field factors vary greatly from SLR's so I hope this pans out. It does seem likely to be part of the problem, but without adequate photos to analyse its hard to say for sure. Hope that helps.

MikoLone
11-07-2005, 08:52 AM
Some sucess!

Thank you Vich for the detailed help. I did what you said and set the ISO to 80, the F to F8.0 and the exposure to 1/125. The writing on the book is much clearer.

The only thing now is that the picture seems too dark. Any suggestions on what I should do to fix that?

Balrog
11-07-2005, 01:16 PM
It's too dark because you're not getting enough exposure; you could try increasing the aperture a little, or slowing down the shutter a bit .. if you have a tripod, there's no problem - if it's handheld you might want to keep it not below 1/60th, to prevent shake.
Try something like f/5.6 and 1/60th second - that gives you two more stops (four times the light), while still maintaining good DOF and sharpness (might even look better than f/8 .. on P&S the optimum aperture for sharpness is usually more around 5.6 or 6.3 - and the bookcase is flat enough that you don't need all that much depth of field), and also a pretty fast shutter to prevent camera-shake.

Vich
11-07-2005, 02:06 PM
Some sucess!

Thank you Vich for the detailed help. I did what you said and set the ISO to 80, the F to F8.0 and the exposure to 1/125. The writing on the book is much clearer.

The only thing now is that the picture seems too dark. Any suggestions on what I should do to fix that?
I think Balrog's suggestions will prove benifitial. For that matter, I would try setting it to "Av" mode (Apeture Priority) and simply set the apeture to 6.3. The camera will figure out the correct timing and flash intensity.

You mentioned that you are using a tripod. That is a must on good product shots. Don't even think about hand-holding the camera.

I notice the light is a little uneven. I see the reflection off the center of the top bookshelf and the bottom books have less light. You said you have an umbrella. Try playing with the placement.

Also; I think you said you are using an external flash. That is good since it gives you directional control of the light. You should be "bouncing the light". Your objective is to spread it evenly and to have the correct amount (enough but not too much) light. Also; is your room lit with florscent lighting? That can cause "light temperature" issues, particularly if its not even. So the right half has more yellow and that sort of thing.

Without investing in a whole studio, you'll just have to take this knowlege and play with it until it comes out right. You're almost there!

Balrog
11-07-2005, 02:33 PM
Oh; didn't notice he had a tripod. In that case, yes, definitely - switch to AV mode, set F/5.6 (or 6.3 .. or try anything from 4.0 to 7.1, see what comes out sharpest..) and let the camera meter the proper shutter speed. You could even dial in a bit of +Exposure Compensation if you want brighter results.

One more thing - since you have a tripod, you could take shots using the 2-second timer to get rid any shake from pressing the shutter button, too.