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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D


@Amscot56 wrote:

I am leaning toward staying with the 40D and investing in lenses. One question to "Skirball": Why did you not recommend an "L" lens in the 100mm macro besides the price? Also will I be better off with a few primes than going with zoom lenses in the L series?


 

Only because of price.  I seem to be one of the few people around here that doesn't insist that you need top of the line everything without any reasoning on why. If you're budget is infinite, then sure, but if you have a set amount of money I'd recommend getting 2 lenses instead of spending double on the L, in this case:

 

The 100L adds image stabilization, which is nice if you're chasing around bugs for macros, but it won't help on product photography.  I get the feeling that you're buying this for company use, not a photographer that will be using it for personal use on weekends?  If you're not using the IS, then the increased IQ of the L isn't worth the cost difference.  The non-L is seriously good.  I'd argue it's one of the best non-L lenses that Canon makes, and it's one of the best deals they sell.  All I'm saying, don't underestimate it because it doesn't have a red ring.

 

I really don't think you need zooms for product photography.  You simply move your camera/subject to get the perspective you want.  For a lot of product photography it won't even matter.  Primes are cheaper, sharper, and won't hold you back with static subjects.

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D


@Amscot56 wrote:

Photoshop is not an issue since I subscribe to Creative Cloud and have LR and PS CS6 installed.


Nice.   Photoshop is good for fixing blemishes, and removing feet nubs or supports or something if you have too, but most the stuff you can easily do in LR.  The better I get with product photography the less I use PS.

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎03-31-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

What do you make of the suggestion to go with a tilt and shift lens? Also, so on the cropped 40D the 100mm lens ends up being a 160mm fixed lens right?

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 849
Registered: ‎03-06-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

45mm TS-E lens are perfect for 40D for product shot (in my case). But TS-E lens has a learning curve, so if you can rent it to test out, I think you should before putting down the $.
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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D


@Amscot56 wrote:

What do you make of the suggestion to go with a tilt and shift lens? Also, so on the cropped 40D the 100mm lens ends up being a 160mm fixed lens right?


Answering in reverse order:

 

Yes, it's 160, but so what?  That number only means something if you're used to shooting Full Frame and have a vision in your head of what 100mm is suppose to look like.  For macro photography (or any small objects you may be shooting) the extra distance is a good thing.  The 100mm lens can focus up to 6" in front of the lens - it can get tough to fit decent lighting in there.   The only down side is if you have very cramped space to shoot in.  I mostly shoot in my spare bedroom and can always make it work, but some times I'm dancing around tables, light stands, tripods, modifiers, and the like.

 

Tilt shifts are pretty cool, but they’re not cheap, and they have some drawbacks.  They’re also not a panacea as many mistakenly believe they are until they actually use them.  I’ll discuss my thoughts on them below, but for the quick answer: wait.  You need a good macro lens regardless, and the 100mm is a fraction of the cost of a tilt shift.  Get one, get the lighting, learn how to use it, and upgrade if and when you find your lens just aren’t doing what you want them to do. 

 

Tilt shift has its place in product photography, but it’s not a necessity, IMHO.  In full disclosure, I haven’t used them for product photography, only Architectural.  Even there, I can come close to what they can do with normal lenses and some post processing.  For product photography the feature most use them for is the extra control over depth of field.  It becomes a real boon on small objects (the razor thin DoF).  As mentioned above, you can do focus stacking, but it’s time consuming.  The Tilt Shift lets you ‘tilt’ the focal plane to something more advantageous to your composition.  It’s a complex subject I won’t discuss here, but it’s a useful technique with some limitations.  Again, I’d recommend you wait until stumble against that wall before worrying about it.  If you get yourself a macro lens and some off camera lighting you’re going to open up a whole new world of photography to learn and explore.  Don’t try to bite off too much at once.  Trust me, macro lens, a decent wide angle prime, and some lighting – you can do some amazing product photography.

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 849
Registered: ‎03-06-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

Agree with Skirball, in product photography lightning is much more important than lens/camera anyway.
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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎03-31-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

This is really good stuff. I am grateful for all of your responses. "A decent wide angle prime lens" could you give me a suggestion here. Also I've been looking a lighting tents, some come with lighting combos left right and top. What is a good brand? I would need to add in some real surfaces for some or most products like weathered boards. Last question: about how far away would a 100mm (160mm) put me from subject focal point? Also I would need a good deal of flexiblility in focal length which I assume could be adjusted by stopping the lens down or opening it up.

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 849
Registered: ‎03-06-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

You can build your own light tent. It's not that hard.
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Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

Well, the 50mm is a classic size.  I have both the 50/1.8 and 50/1.4, and I can’t say I love either.  The 1.4 is OK, but I find myself trying to love it.  But that’s for portrait use.  For your use the only reason you’ll need something besides the 100mm is if something is so big that you can’t fit it in given your room size, or if you need to change the relation of two objects relative to each other (getting in close with a 50 will make the other object look small compared to with the 100).  Canon makes an old 50mm macro, and a 60mm macro that might be worth looking at.  Another option, and I haven’t tried it, is the new Canon 40mm STM.  Suppose to be a great lens, very sharp, and it’s only $200.  For that little of a price I’d almost say it’s a no brainer.  Don’t spend a lot of money on a second lens you’re not sure you’ll even need yet.

 

As far as distance and focal point, you’re confusing me a bit here.  I think you’re mixing up terms. The focal length just determines the field of view.  The 100mm can focus as close as 6”, which is really close.  But it can focus on an object at any distance.  Which is why I said the initial suggestions for a zoom makes no sense.  Put your subject on the table, and move the camera to wherever you need to get it perfectly in frame.  Piece of cake.  Stopping the lens down or opening it up will only change your depth of field (assuming you add/subtract more light to maintain exposure).  For product photography you’ll want to keep this high to keep as much in focus as possible.  Just remember that if you go too high the images get soft from diffraction.  I like f12 – f16 on mine.

 

One more thing, if you’re itching to drop some money on something get a good tripod and head.  Seriously.  I did the typical upgrade procedure from super cheap, moderately cheap, to a decent Manfrotto and ball head instead of just listening to advice and buying something decent to start.  Product photography takes a lot of nudging this way or that and a cheap head will drive you crazy.  Get something where you can set your composition and lock it down without it moving.  Don’t skimp here.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎03-31-2013

Re: Need professional advise for product photography lens for Canon 7D

On "focal length" what I meant to ask is can the camera be relatively close to subject such as peeping through a tent opening? or would it be across the room? I got an old Bogen tripod from my dad. It seems good and is barely used. I also really like the idea of the 40mm lens which would be (64mm). You will have to bare with me on this comparison because I got my training in the film world so it makes more sense to me to convert to what I know.
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