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Photographing PCB'S

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Hi all,
Just a quick question... Does anyone know of some optimal settings/conditions for photographing PCBs? I would like to take some good quality photos of a board but can't find the best way to light them etc!


If the board has no parts on it, place it on a flatbed scanner.

Use a tripod and a remote trigger so you can extend the shutter length.  Try lighting it in different ways to avoid glare and strong shadows.

If you want to do something fancy then google 'diy lightbox'

The only condition you need is light. Get lots of that, if you can. If you have to use the flash, taking pictures from further away and using optical zoom will help to avoid overexposure.

The other thing you need is practice :)

condition 1: you have a tripod
setup the camera on tripod and perpendicular facing to the pcb. set to lower ISO, smaller aperture (higher f value), trigger using timer, if you have image stabilization function, turn it OFF... and snap!

condition 2: you dont have a tripod (handheld)
set to highest (acceptable quality) ISO, largest aperture (lowest f value), trigger one shot, if you have image stabilization function, turn it ON... and snap! snap several times until u get the sharpest picture

for both condition:
arrange so that majority of lights comes from the 45 degree front of the PCB (not from the back), zoom to longest focal length is preferable to lessen distortion, as long as it will not create undesirable blur image. fill your image with pcb as much as you can to get highest resolution of it. set exposure compensation (EV) to +ve to brighten shadow area. edit in image editing software if necessary to get the best output. shooting indoor is much preferable rather than directly below the sun.

for condition 1, if you have an external flash. you can set your camera to longer shutter speed (say 1-2 seconds), set your flash to manual mode in your hand. while the camera is taking picture, you can move your flash around pcb very quickly while pressing test button many times to create multiple lighting effect :)

condition1 is much preferable than condition 2. so.... get a descent tripod! 8)
getting more lighting equipments is more preferable, but the money will tell how much u gonna need :)
or else... u need to know how to harness the light around you.
or even several DIY incandescent bulbs will do (with white balance set correctly)


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