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  1. #1

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    NEED HELP with Backround Color to take pictures in house.

    What i am trying to do is take pictures of my Mothers special things she has, like special plates from Germany, statues and so on, she is 94.
    The only camera i have to use is the Olympus XA. I would like to cover the wall and the bed with a non shinning black material so there is no refelection back from the lighting i will use. Going to use the spiral bulbs for lighting in the lamps.
    Going to use a flat piece of wood under the material to place the objects on when i take the photos, this way they will be level and i can always make them higher if i have to do so by adding more wood on top so they will fit into the lenes at the right height.
    What film speed do you think i should use, 200 or 400.

    Thank You for all of your help from a beginner.
    Mike.

  2. #2
    gnashings's Avatar
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    The first problem I see is the camera. I know its the only one you have at hand, and its a little gem - but from what I understand the lens focuses down to just under one meter, and being a wide angle(35mm) lens, you will have a hard time filling the frame with something like a plate or a figurine.
    Since this sounds like a project that is meant to provide a memento of loved things for someone very special, I think this would be a dissappointing result.
    I would suggest borrowing a different camera, even an SLR with a 50mm lens would be an improvement as most of those can focus down to about 30cm and is a little longer, therefore offering you a better composition option.
    I would suggest you look into this first, unless you want to take photos of large groups of these items at once.

    Peter.

    PS I may have the wrong information about the XA, but to the best of my knowledge these are the specs.

  3. #3
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Peter is quite correct and the only answer i'm afraid is to go with an SLR of some sort. I may well be burnt at the stake for saying this on Apug but another option is a digital something or other as they all seem to focus very close. I have an older Leica Digilux which I use for Ebay and other throwaway type things. Better though to go for an old Pentax or similar and you may become hooked and posting photos before you know it!

  4. #4

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    Thanks to both of you for your input so i did not waste my time and pulling my hair out trying to do the impossable, if i took the photos with out asking about what i wanted to do and got them developed and looked and saw how bad they turned out it would of put me one step back, not forward.
    Knowlege is good from some one else who has the experieance, i said to my Father one time, Dad i have to ask you a stupid question and he said it is not a stupid question because you do not no the answer to the question if you did why ask the question.
    Thanks again from a newbee.
    Mike.

  5. #5

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    Peter, you are correct about the XA lens, it is a wide angle lens, thanks. Mike.

  6. #6
    gnashings's Avatar
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    I think our parents seem to have the same views on some things - my father too, told me a long time ago that there is no stupid questions as long as you genuinely don't know something!
    The good news is, like Tony mentioned, there is always eBay, or the classifieds here. I don't know your budget, but if you have an interest in photography (and since you're here, I assume you do), it would be a great investment to purchase a basic SLR. The camera you have is a cult classic - for what it is, its one of the best of its kind - but it has many limitations. The limitations I speak of are not any fault of the camera, but simply the type of instrument that it is - you can't blame a hammer for not being a good pair of pliers, right? A 35mm SLR is as close to a Swiss Army knife as you will get in the photographic world, and is almost always the most cost effective way to enter into the hobby because it is so flexible and versitile.
    If you ask here about what brand or model to get, you will likely get as many options as answers - but that's a good thing, it simply means there are many choices and most of them are comparable in their virtues.
    Just to give you an idea, you can get started for probably less than $50 if you look hard enough and show some patience (that's for older, all manual cameras with a basic lens), and for a couple hundred you can have a pretty much pro-level body with a decent lens. If you choose to go more modern, with auto-focus, etc., you will probably have to move up the bar a little - but its still possible to get a decent camera and lens for under $200. My suggestion is usually to stick with a majour brand, as they seem to be better supported in the used market. If you look at eBay for example, Nikon and Canon seem to have more listings each than the rest of the brands combined. This is of some consequence when looking for lenses and accessories later on, but you would certainly not be wrong to choose a Minolta or Pentax or Olympus or many others. Other brands (Leica, Contax) are simply more expensive, expecially the lenses, and unless you have the money, they make a pretty prohibitive proposition for a beginner.
    But I have gone off topinc a bit. Bottom line is, see what you can afford, find a nice example for a decent price (again, eBay is a pretty good barometer of where the market is at). Most bodies come with a 50mm lens of some sort which won't be ideal, but it will be much, much better than a 35mm lens that you can't focus closer than 85cm away from your subject. Another must for this kind of photos is a tri-pod. I don't know if you have one, but I would certainly suggest investing in one, even an inexpensive consumer model (pawn shops are full of them). The reason its so important is that once you set up your subject indoors, you will probably have a fairly low light condition which will mean long exposure times which means if you hand-hold, you will get motion-blurr. Of course, there is always flash - but I would suggest using natural light to a beginner (myself included - I am not very good with flashes!). Also, shoot by a window using daylight - light-bulbs give a very yellow light which will be very unattractive on normal film.
    But, I am getting into a photo101 essay here - if you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to PM me. If I know the answer, I will be more than happy to share it with you. If I don't (which is very likely), I may have an idea of where to ask
    Good luck,

    Peter.

  7. #7

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    Thanks Peter for your input, in Chicago we have a very good paper that comes out each month where people sell used stuff of all types from arounding suburbs, it will be out at the end of the week so i will start to look in there. I do have a tripod, and thanks you for the lighting idea, i learned something today and that is always a good thing, yours will be the first entry in a notebook that i bought just to enter any thing i have learned, and i am sure it will fill up quick.

    Thanks again, Mike.

  8. #8
    kwmullet's Avatar
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    If eBay isn't your cup of tea, camera equipment can be had for a song on KEH. In about five minutes I found a nice Canon manual focus outfit including a body and a 50mm 1.8 lens for $60. Just go to keh.com and put "T50 WITH 50 F1.8 FD (52) 35MM SLR MANUAL FOCUS CAMERA OUTFIT" into the keyword search field.

    If you don't want a fully automatic camera, then KEH has a fully manual outfit for $89.00. Just put "FTBN CHROME WITH 50 F1.8 SC FD BL (55) 35MM SLR MANUAL FOCUS CAMERA OUTFIT" into the keyword field instead.

    If either of these are in the range of what you want and can afford, maybe they're worth considering.

    -KwM-

  9. #9
    gnashings's Avatar
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    Mike,

    Thanks for the kinds words and glad I could help. Before you buy, it would be great if you could go to a store (pawn shop, old-fashioned photograpy store) and handle a few cameras, just so you know if they fit your hand. For example, a good friend of mine is right handed, but left-eyed... You never think of such things until just about every manual SLR tries to take your eye out with the film advancelever! Now, this is rare, but I am just using it as an example. The ability to handle a camera (preferably many different ones) will go along way to make sure you are happy with what you buy.
    I just thought of another thing: DO NOT get rid of that XA! Its a keeper, actually, I thin I may look for one for myself... not that I need another camera... Oh yeah - there is a warning in this post, somewhere

    Peter.

  10. #10

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    papisa,
    Since you seem to be in the Chicago area. Stop at Central Camera in the loop. They used to have a good selection of used equipment.
    Where are you in Chicago? It's possible I could come down & give you a hand shooting the stuff. If you're interested PM me with the information
    John
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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