Taking Audio Gear Pictures - Cameras, Tricks & Techniques


#28

That’s definitely an issue. Though in general, for product/review type shots, it is easily worked around simply by using a tripod, a fixed low-ISO setting and a longer exposure.

The other issue is depth of field control. Or more specifically being more limited in what you can do from a shallow-depth-of-field perspective. The 2x field-of-view crop of M43 (vs. full-frame, or 1.5x vs. APS-C) means you need to be able to either focus closer (sometimes needing a macro lens to get close enough) or a much faster (larger maximum aperture) lens to get the same amount of control.

The Panasonic/Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro OIS lens was a great help in that regard, and something I preferred, optically and for working distance, over the newer 30mm Macro.

Of course, for still-shots another, much cheaper, option is an adapted, fast, manual focus prime - and using such lenses is one of M43s strengths - both with the short flange-distance making lots of such lenses adaptable, and the extensive manual focus-assistance they offer.


#29

I was literally about to buy the Sony 6300 mirror less APS-C camera (same as @taronlissimore and @andrew have) but then @antdroid told me about the Lumix and for the price it was a much easier pill to swallow for jumping into taking photos. Plus as I’m playing with it I’m learning a lot. It is also making what you were teaching me make way more sense lol. I’m having a bunch of a-ha moments already… I just went in and played with SS and ISO settings for low light pictures and was blown away when I got it to work the way I wanted. Such a cool new hobby…I am already filling my head with dumb thoughts of taking all these awesome pictures and working for Nat-Geo :wink: lol


#30

I struggled picking which macro lens to get but ended up with the Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro and I’m very happy with it. I hadn’t used it too much for product photography but just started to with the Comet review and I really like the results. I also just bought the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 a couple weeks ago and it’s a very useful tiny fast prime. I still like the 25mm prime (which I have a manual f1.8) for product photos but 20mm is a better walking around lens.

I have an all-arounder Lumix 14-140mm zoom lens but I never use it. I’m sure it’ll come in handy when I travel but right now, it’s collecting dust given all the prime lenses perform so much better.


#31

just ordered this…found one brand new for $50 cheaper than the going price…I have now blown through all my play money, for the next couple months lol…time to start buying toys for the wife and kid to assuage my guilt :wink:


#32

They had a promotion on Panasonic lenses that just ended. Maybe you squeaked by. It was $250 recently with Panasonic mfg instant rebate. Most stores had it at this price.

If you got it at an approved retailer, you also get a 3 year extended mfg warranty as well. Same goes for your camera and other Panny gear.

https://shop.panasonic.com/3-year-warranty


#33

Working on getting my Picture quality up… what do you guys think? @Torq did this come out alright I tried to format it in the banner style (for practice purposes).


Focal Elegia - Closed Back Headphones - Official Thread
#34

Nice job! Looks better than phone pics before. :slight_smile: Might want to try moving the lamp a little further away so its not so harsh up top. You can probably spot fix that in Lightroom or Photoshop too. But otherwise, it looks nice. Pretty headphone!

Is the camera treating you well so far?


#35

Good so far, just learning how to use it. Yeah I was practicing with different filters in that picture, limited light source options (hotel in Ottawa). I book @Torq recommended has been a huge help, along with his tips on shooting and Photoshop.


#36

I highly recommend Adobe Lightroom or DarkTable (free opensource clone) for RAW photo editing and enhancements/filters. It’s a much faster and simpler workflow application than photoshop is for photography. Photoshop is good for creative picture editing, layering and creation.


#37

I use a lightroom initially, then I use Photoshop after just to get familiar with it and to get the crop size right. Still learning all the tricks, found a couple of fun quick guides on Lightroom that I’ve been messing with.


#38

Definitely getting there!

And you’ve got the aspect ratio and resolution nailed.

Compositionally/technically, you want to watch for situations in which you have extreme dynamic range - and where possible try and avoid them. That’s easier to do in product/review shots since you control the composition and have time to adjust it - where as, say, with street photography, sometimes a shot presents itself and you either take it or lose it.

In this case you have to try to balance the need for good shadow-detail retention, since most of the Elegia are black, while also attempting not to blow-out the highlights with the lamp. Without stacking multiple exposures (which requires a tripod) for high-dynamic range techniques, it’s almost impossible to capture something like that without crushing the shadows AND blowing the highlights. So, as @antdroid says, moving the light out of the frame is one way to help with that.

Shooting in RAW there are some tools in Camera RAW (the raw-file import tool used by Lightroom and Photoshop) that let you alter the tone curve so that you can preserve more shadow AND highlight detail, but they’re at the mercy of the limits of the dynamic range on the sensor for the camera in use.

Note that I moved this part of the discussion here since it’s more about the photography than is about the Elegia (feel free to post the picture in the Elegia thread).


#39

There is an easy to use Crop Feature in Lightroom that you can save a custom setting for:

The Crop Button is the dashed line box icon.

As you see, I mistakenly typed in 2:4 instead of 1:2.4 when I made my banner post last time. lol.


#40

For Macs, I recommend Pixelmator Pro. A little easier learning curve, I think, but as robust as Adobe products yet much less expensive.


#41

I’ll have to mess with that tonight, I have a couple of different pictures I took of the Elegia in this setting that I didn’t have time to mess with. We had a couple of guests over for brunch and I just did a quick edit with that picture. Looking forward to trying all the tips from @Torq and @antdroid. My MacMini is waiting for me at work so Monday evening I’ll set that up, when I get home.


#42

This is one I took with a Violet filter on the lens. I did some post processing in PS but I think this one is nice but the bokeh effect isn’t as good as the first picture.


#43

I prefer the amber filter. Note that the hole pattern on the headphones is more prominent, and that the drink doesn’t look like p*ss when you have a UTI. (gee, now I ruined it for you). :crazy_face:

I would consider going greyscale on the photo, except for the drink, which I would leave natural. Then post it in Music and Drink pairings with a caption, “Just finished the Brandenberg Concerto No. 3, and will soon finish the Balvenie 21 Madiera Cask.”


#44

If you want a blurred background (“bokeh” refers to the quality of the out of focus areas in a shot, not the fact that the background is blurred - which is just “shallow depth of field”), then you need to:

  1. Shoot at the widest possible aperture (lowest f-number)
  2. Be as close to the primary subject as possible
  3. Get some distance between the primary subject and the background

For example, in this shot:

I used a 55mm lens on a full-frame camera, at f/2.8, shot from a distance of 20" (minimum focus distance on that lens), which gives a depth-of-field of about an inch (i.e. roughly a half of an inch in front of, and behind, the primary subject) … outside which everything will be progressively more blurred.

So having everything at least an inch behind the actual IEMs ensures that they are progressively more out of focus, while keeping the IEMS themselves in focus.

With your GX85, and the 20mm f/1.7 lens, you would want to shoot that at 8" (minimum focus distance for that lens), at f/1.7, which would give also you about a 1" depth of field (that’s the shallowest depth of field attainable with that camera/lens combination).

The reason you have to be almost 2-stops wider open is due to the 2x field-of-view crop on Micro Four Thirds cameras. If I opened up my lens for that shot to f/1.8 (it’s maximum aperture), I’d get a depth of field of just under half an inch, but in the case of that shot, you couldn’t get all of the IEMs in focus then, and everything else was too blurred to readily recognize.

Anyway … while you will rapidly get to a point where you’ll simply know what settings are required, a useful tool in the interim if you want blurred backgrounds/foregrounds with a sharp subject is a “depth of field” calculator. There’s an excellent one online, here.


#45

oooh fun thread! I just purchased a Canon SL2 for my self, it should be here on Tuesday and I’ll likely play around and see if I really need to also grab a Nifty Fifty lens for it as well!!! Non the less, I certianly book marked some of the links you guys posted

But I also have to admit the Pixel 2 takes excellent pics!!!


#46

Congrats!

Cell-phone cameras do a nice job in good light - i.e. outdoors … from a photographic perspective indoors is ALWAYS “low light” unless using flash - and not the stupid little LEDs the phones sport for this - or dedicated lighting (never mind what your eyes tell you). But they’re pretty much locked to wide angles, have lots of depth of field due to their very short focal lengths and comparatively tiny, relative, apertures, so shallow depth of field shots - something of a mainstay with “product” shots", either have to be significantly contrived, or rely on software tricks.

The SL2 will help a lot there …

But as with all dedicated cameras, it’s the lenses that determine what you can do. The camera is just features and a sensor. And while the sensor is important, the best sensor in the world can only record what is projected on it - and optically that’s down to the lens and, compositionally, the photographer.

The kit lens, assuming that’s what you’re getting with it, will let you pull off that same shot … (10" minimum focus distance, shot at f/4) … although you’ll have to shoot at 18mm to do it, which will result in needing to crop the shot fairly heavily, with same depth of field limits. If you want shallower depth of field or to avoid cropping, you’ll need an optically faster lens (bigger maximum aperture - or lower f/number).


#47

Thank you! I just redid my office so I’ve got the entire room for audio now. Figured it was time to get a better Camera as well

Mmmmmmmm yea that nifty fifty does f1.8 vs 3.5 or so. So that’s done! Might as well work smarter not harder!

Also with regards to lighting, this maddening contraption is what I’m running with at the moment until I can get some more professional lights

But it’s two 3 2700 Lumen lights with a color temperature of 2800 or so

I’ve also got a very “blue” bulb and a strongly “orange” or warm, can’t quite remember the temperature. But I found having the Blue light at towards the rear has helped reduce noise in the “blue channel” to quote another online user. Either way I use those to help get a more natural color temperature. You can also see the chair I stand on to help adjust the angle too lol

Either way I’m sure once I have the SL2 I’ll find some software packs for it, start dropping stuff into Photoshop and end up where I ultimately want to be without to much fuss. Hardest part will be learning and improving how I use my DSLR and edit my shots! Including improving my lighting