Author Topic: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?  (Read 29228 times)

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Offline Dubbie

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How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2017, 06:26:57 pm »
Here is a tip I haven't seen here yet, if you have a bath that is white and isn't too dirty, it makes a great "cyclorama" for small objects. If you reflect a flash off the white ceiling, you'll get nice shadowless evenly lit pic.

Here is an example with my old beat up meter.

This is just taken with my phone, handheld using the bulb in the ceiling. I took care to use my body to cast a shadow from the direct light, so no hard shadows or harsh glints.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 07:08:02 pm by Dubbie »
 
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Offline salbayeng

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2017, 04:54:53 pm »
@TiN
I like the K2002 picture looks like it was taken with a Nikon , with a bounceflash off the ceiling, but wait... the JPG still has EXIF metadata.
so ..... It's a  Nikon D800 at F7.1 with a 1sec exposure , 150mm focal length.
So probably done with a light tent with ambient indoor light and on a tripod.
(See attached picture for a light tent photo of TWO ants, count them!   That's f7.4 1/200s 280mmFL (I had to use digital zoom so I could stay about a foot away))

I can get similar looking results (on a sunny day)  under a patio (with acrylic sheeting on the roof) using a coolpix 5700 at f8 and  ~ 1/30 to 1/60 ,  zoomed to ~ 100mmFL.

I've also got an ancient speed light, that can be spun 180degrees so bounce flash off ceiling, (being careful not to blind yourself), but then you have find some batteries put them in, setup the camera, setup the flash.   So sometimes in a hurry I just go for room lighting (the lab is 1200lux on the bench) and 1/30 at F4 and use a monopod (whatever stick I can find) take 4 exposures, hope one of them won't be blurry!
 
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Offline salbayeng

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2017, 05:47:39 pm »
And now I've read the article on the Xdev,com website , I would highly recommend that to budding photographers.

Using the methods in the article you should be able to take reasonably adequate photos without trying too hard. Here's an example GFM1 PCB , a reasonable shot taken fairly simply on the kitchen bench, under a skylight with ones own head used to block direct light (An A4 piece of cardboard with a hole in the middle is good too)
This shot is ISO100,   F3.5 at 1/125 35mmFL  and handheld  (using such a short 35mm focal length setting is not recommended as it distorts things (e.g. the studs all lean out) but it means camera shake is less significant)
 It's adequate to post on a blog, but you wouldn't use it in a report that someone paid money for!
If you wanted that money shot you would use a ceiling bounceflash, and set up for ~ 100mmFL and F8, and manual focus , with a modelling light set up somewhere for a hint of shadow to get some depth.
And another shot of a burnt transistor using a convenient plastic box as a mono-pod , (barely enough focal range for the macro shot ,  but you can't get better than f8 without spending $$$ on a proper DSLR lens. )

 
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Offline Twoflower

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2017, 06:07:15 am »
[...]
but you can't get better than f8 without spending $$$ on a proper DSLR lens. )
If you own a DSLR you might consider to buy extension tubes. They're cheap as they are only tubes. But you should get some which route the signals through them. I got a set of 3 tubes as a set with different length and they're very useful.

The picture shows a hole in a shielded audio cable pierced by a 2.5mm header. Learned the hard way to check if there is enough space between the housing and the PCB for the cable :palm:

Code: [Select]
Flash used   : No
Focal length : 135.0mm
Exposure time: 0.500 s  (1/2)
Aperture     : f/16.0
ISO equiv.   : 6400
I don't know the tube-length I added, probably 28mm. Light: One 60W incandescent bulb. I only cropped and no other post processing.

Another way is to attach the lens other way around (reverse). It works well but it's a bit cumbersome as you don't have control of the diaphragm. For this there are also adapters to mount your lens. In the past I used this by carefully place the lens in front of the cam. And it worked rather well. So you can try it without any additional equipment. Obviously don't do this in dusty areas as the mirror box is open to the environment.

So if you have a DSLR you can get macro capability for very little additional $/€/¥/£/z?/?...
 

Offline tkuhmone

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2017, 06:27:14 am »
I have tested the extension tubes (Nikon DSLR). It affects to closest distance, where the lens can focus. My extension tube set, has only aperture ring to camera, no other controls & info pins. The cases when I use extension tubes, I do focus lens manually.

Also I own a reverse ring, to use Nikon crop sensor SLR with lens reversed. I have used mainly 24 / 35mm manual focus lenses. Extension tubes can be used with the reverse ring also...

I have not tested the focus stacking, what could be used for small targets. Might be worth of trying, since some free software exists....
Timo, OH7HMS
 

Offline salbayeng

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2017, 03:54:02 pm »
Ah yes back in the days of film cameras we always had some macro rings in the bag!
The coolpix can do sort of do macro but depth of field at f/8 limits it to postage stamps and the like.
On the attached picture it is focussed ~1 mm in front of the target, and as a result the pin is a bit blurry.
 

Offline switchedmodepsu

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2017, 10:44:53 am »
You either have an eye for a composition or you don't. A certain amount can be learnt, but if you're not a natural photographer then it'll take you more effort to produce something that someone with a natural gift will knock out in a couple of seconds with barely any effort.

Head-on flash: ALWAYS AVOID.

Shadows cast by side-illuminating components: ALWAYS AVOID.

When I take photos of devices with my iPhone 5S, I never trust its built-in flash to get the exposure and amount of flash right - I have a Moto G 3rd gen which has a handy feature where you shake it in a "chop chop" motion and the flashlight just comes on, which I then position optimally to illuminate the subject, whilst my iPhone takes the photo:



 

Offline skylinrcr01

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2017, 01:13:12 pm »
Echoing others, lighting, position of item, having a neutral background, and position of camera are all very important. It's nice to have a SLR and softboxes and lightroom, but wax paper over a box with a lightbulb works pretty well too, just be sure to not use an incandecent bulb or you'll start a fire.
 

Offline moz

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2017, 11:20:14 am »
These days cellphone cameras are pretty good, you just need to be able to persuade them to behave. Turn the flash off, obviously, but also delayed and long exposures. The tiny sensor gives huge depth of field even in (near) macro which makes life much easier.

My big hack with the phone was buying a couple of lab stands at a garage sale for $5. They're generically useful, but they work a treat for holding a cellphone still. You can get new ones for $40-ish online, but garage sales and dumpsters FTW (at your own risk, they sometimes get thrown out because they're contaminated and proper disposal costs money)



Rotate the clamp 90 degrees from that, insert phone, tighten clamp. But not too tight :)

I've got a pile of camera gear at home, but I still mostly use my cellphone for blog and social media shots. At work I've persuaded them that for some photos they're better off waiting until evening and using a long lens from the balcony to reduce distortion and get maximum depth of field on the taller components. They'd be better off with a smaller sensor or focus stacking to get the DoF, but instead they've gone for 3D renders. Again, a remote release or a long timer is essential to make that work.

At the rocket science end of the spectrum, I can't overstate the usefulness of high ISO and frame rate with focus stacking. If you can shoot 20MP at 10fps, or even 4k video, you can get the input for focus stacking a macro image very quickly indeed. This is not usually necessary for blog images, but especially if you have bigger chips and are complaining to someone about a board, being able to have the whole thing in focus with enough detail to show solder hairs can be very handy. Doing a manual focus pull while firing lots of frames gives you an excellent image series to drop into software. Overview here
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2017, 02:15:55 am »
Mounting the lens in reverse only makes really sense if you need to go to extreme macro - that is objects considerably smaller than the sensor.

With a relatively long focal length lens one can also use an extra close up lens for closer focus. I got quite good results with the front lens of an old binocular in front of a Sony P&S camera, just holding it by hand. Just for a web page, if you don't need full resolution (e.g. because small image size is more important) one can also use quite some cropping / digital zoom. Sometimes digital zoom in the camera gives better details than later cropping.

In case you have the choice, for close up photos a camera with a large sensor (e.g. full format DSLR)  is often not the best choice. It helps if the camera has a relatively high pixel density, even if the sensor is smaller. With large sensor the depth of field tends to be bad unless a really small aperture is used - provided such a small aperture is possible at all. This can be a problem with an additional close up lens in front. For macro photos, as APS_C sensor is usually large enough.
 

Offline steve30

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2017, 06:19:11 pm »
Reverse mounted lenses can be fun. Here's a few which I did with the camera handheld, and the lens just held up to the camera (no actual mounting). Can't remember which lenses I used, but my Chinon 28mm K-Mount is quite good for this.
 

Offline steve30

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2017, 06:20:49 pm »
Here's another with a reverse mounted lens.

The other photo in this post (showing two ThinkPads) was taken using the camera's onboard flash, and a mirror to reflect the light upwards, so it will bounce off the ceiling. This illuminated the black Thinkpads well and enabled the screens to show up with no glare (which would have happened with direct flash). Typically you can do 'bounce flash' with a proper flash gun, but in the case, a mirror worked just as well.

Where possible, I have recently been using a tripod, small aperture, low ISO, and long exposure for photos of still objects. Its been working really well.
 

Offline brainwash

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2017, 08:26:14 am »
For documenting purposes it's better if you shoot with a small-sensor camera (smartphone for example), straight-on, with a lot of indirect lightning.
Lightning is number one, I would just use a lot of lamps, with the same color temperature, spread out. A lot of light will also raise the f-number (unless you do that manually), which increases the depth of field (DOF).
Where the light is a point source, use some diffuser, like a piece of paper.
Shoot at angles where the light does not reflect directly on the surface, takes a bit of experimenting.
A flatbed scanner cannot be beat if you want to get direct dimensions, but is has a very shallow DOF.

Second thing, after light: learn to adjust exposure. Shadow areas should have enough information, light areas should not be pure white (overexposed). Shoot in aperture priority mode (if available) to lock the DOF.

Third thing: this also deals with light, but make sure you have a rich color. This will help you in post, as you can just hit Shift-U in Irfanview and auto-adjust everything. This means staying away from cheap LED lights or older CFL bulbs. You should look out for lamps with >80% CRI (5000K-5500K preferably). Or shoot in daylight.

Other things:
- you need to experiment a lot and always study the pictures on the big screen, not just the smartphone or camera LCD. Those lie.
- for fast, temporary uploading, the best to use now is imgur. You can just paste an image from the buffer or print capture, no registration required.
- for long-term usage, Google Photos is hard to beat. It automatically uploads, has nice adjustments and easy sharing. But not anonymous.
- even with steady hands, your photos can be blurred. So either take at least 3 photos or invest in some tripod/mount
- use a grey background (such as a cutting mat). It will help your camera from over/under-exposing and keep the focus on the piece you are trying to shoot
- use digital zoom (sparingly) to get a straight shot. A lot of cheap cameras distor at the edges. It also decreases macro distance, so it lets you see small lettering.
- if you have a shallow DOF, focus on what you want to show, not everything
- crop and zoom in on the significant/useful bits, keep the other stuff blurred or away

Random examples, pulled from my Google Photos archive: http://imgur.com/a/oSdcJ
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 08:32:55 am by brainwash »
 

Offline eliocor

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2017, 02:20:58 am »
Sometime a good scanner can be ideal: the following pictures (they are rather big, so I will publish only the smallest one, for the others see the attached links) where taken putting the FE5680A board directly* on the scanner bed.
The one I used is an Epson Perfection V550: it has a very high focus depth unlike (to my knowledge) the Canon ones.
See also :
*) take care to not scratch the glass pane!!!

 
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Offline tkuhmone

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2017, 05:22:34 am »
Sometime a good scanner can be ideal: the following pictures (they are rather big, so I will publish only the smallest one, for the others see the attached links) where taken putting the FE5680A board directly* on the scanner bed.
The one I used is an Epson Perfection V550: it has a very high focus depth unlike (to my knowledge) the Canon ones.
I have also used occasionally flatbed scanner for similar purposes. I own Epson 4990, need to doublecheck the driver functionality win7 - after I got PC back from storage (I use scanner mostly on 35mm slide film).
Timo, OH7HMS
 

Offline zucca

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #40 on: October 24, 2018, 01:31:56 am »
take care to not scratch the glass pane!!!

A clean transparent A4 foil used for overhead projector could do the trick.
Can't know what you don't love. St. Augustine
Can't love what you don't know. Zucca
 

Offline Jr460

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #41 on: October 24, 2018, 01:56:14 am »
Had to take close up photos of bones and parts of bones once.   Done a bunch of other things like that over the years.

Used two monblock flash heads, each 750Ws each into photo umbrella up real close. from two different directions.   The larger the light source is compared to subject, the smoother things will look.   To get the depth of field that close up, needed to be at around f16 or f22.   So the flatheads were set high so the shutter was short to avoid and camera vibration.  Also a Nikon 105mm  Macro on tripod does wonders.

Other said it, if you can, fire an one camera flash into the ceiling.  Can't point it, put a white card in front of it to bounce the flash up.
 

Offline grizewald

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2019, 09:03:51 am »
There's some great advice on this thread!

Personally, I'd like to thank TiN for all his excellent full resolution pictures here and on xDevs.com

Being able to click on a picture and have it expand to the full resolution of the camera is fantastic, particularly when it comes to circuit boards and other things with lots of fine details.
 

Offline electromotive

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Re: How-to make decent photographs for forum posts/articles/publications?
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2019, 04:34:20 am »
There are some fairly decent macro lenses available for iPhone. I don't know that I would trust using a device designed to shatter in every conceivable manner with it's glass everything, but it does exist.
 


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