If you can, use a "bellows" lens such as the Minolta Rokkor Bellows 100/f/4. It is a lens without focusing helicoid, especially optimized for bellows use and for this kind of work. Just like any other macro lens, it is optimized for short distance work. Unlike normal macro lenses though, those bellows lenses are optimized for planarity of field and border sharpness (or, if you prefer, sharpness uniformity between centre and corners) which makes them particularly suitable for reproduction works - documents, stamps - which is their reason to exist.
It might be that an enlarger lens is also quite apt to this kind of task.
If you use a Sony camera I think you can easily find adapters between Minolta AF and Minolta SR. Maybe the Rokkor bellows lens was also produced in Minolta AF mount. As you are making reproduction work I don't think you care about diaphragm automatism, especially if the camera you are using has magnified live-view function for focusing, so you can use any make through any adapter. You don't care about infinity focusing so any "reproduction" lens will be perfect. Again, I suggest looking into the enlarger lens field and their adaptability to this kind of work, for which I suspect they should be quite capable.
If your numeric camera has magnified live view I would use it for focusing, so that you can focus at the exact work aperture (if you focus at full aperture and then close the diaphragm a small focus shift can be produced, depending on the lens you use).
Best wishes for the work
Maybe it's too obvious to tell, but I'd think a B&W film with a polyester base should be the right choice for an archival use.
I have heard the same thing about enlarging lenses making great macro lenses and that could be an option, given my current availability of gear. But how are they for copying a 1.5m painting, for instance? And what f.l.; 50mm, 75, 135?
Your idea of using b&w film at first seemed impractical, but taking two pictures, one digital & one b&w film, would be an excellent archival asset.
1)Remember that flat disc that came with your light meter. you get to use it to check evenness of illumination from corner to corner.
2)Won't the museum want color for their archives?
It was standard practice to shoot on 10x8 trannie using a macbeth colour guide in the first frame.
As a rule the lights were polarised, you can get hold of the gel here
then cross polarise with a liner polariser on the lens, you can use a circular it makes little difference, use a spirit level and put the lens in the center of the picture using a slightly longer then standard lens, 100mm for Haselblad and a 240 for 5x4 would be a good starting point. To be honest a P65 on a sinar back is the most cost effective way to approach this but the issue of archiving will be a something to resolve. Shooting on black and white might not be the best approach
i have had to do this with blueprints and other things ...
a flat field ( enlarging ) lens works well for flat-art
fan your lights 45º and check for even-ness ...
a friend of mine does this sort of work for a living ..
he makes it look very easy !
good luck ( have fun )
Yes and no. Prints and statues are normally monochromatic, and B&W is probably the best choice if on film. Documents are also generally photographed in B&W.
Originally Posted by John Koehrer
I think the B&W could be very useful for things like that... statuary, prints, etc. At any rate, I'd be using both formats.
Thanks everyone, I've learned a lot of from you all
if you're planning on shooting 4x5("5x4" for you euro folk :)), then I'd use a 10"(240mm) APO-Ronar, or RED DOT Artar. These were originally designed for flat-field copy work, and are apochromatic(all colors focusing on the same plane), imperative for digital work due to modern "flat" sensor designs, where as film is layered, long story...
These lenses are easy to come by, and there were even some that were as small as 4-4.5" long(100mm equivalent). Using one of these on a Nikon/Canon bellows(originally designed for macro use) with an adapter board will allow you to use it on your digital camera, if you go that route. They're sharp as all get-out, and also quite inexpensive on the used market. This way you can use the shutter in your camera.
A friend of a friend does this, with a similar setup as described above, only with a Hasselblad 555ELD, with a Leaf 33mp digital back. He uses strobes(Profoto) instead of a shutter speed(bulb, since its technically a "barrel" lens), and uses multiple "pops" to get the desired light output. Very simple, and very effective.
He shoots tethered to his laptop, and usually can get a painting(up to 30x40") photographed, and his setup set up, and torn down, in less than 2hrs. He gets $300 for copy work, and can hand off a RAW file to his client(who usually have more than one painting to be copied anyhow) at the end of the job. Very simple setup(polarized strobes in silver-lined softboxes(more specularity vs a white-lined softbox), like the above link.
Try your setup with shooting a flat couch cushion or something like a blanket(slightly textured) to test your lighting setup before venturing out on this. Better to know something than show up with no knowledge at all. Just sayin...
best of luck!
EDIT: remember that BRUSH STROKES add character(and reality) to copy work. They need to be sharp. It helps make a painting seem more "real".
Daniel, thanks much for the advice.
I'd love to do this on 4x5", but as is the case, I'm just going to be using my D*. Truth be told, they were going to just "take some pictures", probably with a crappy point & shoot (and straight on flash no doubt!). I stepped in and said 'let me do this'.
Unfortunately I'm not going to have the perfectly ideal gear. I'm going to be using my Panasonic GF1 (micro 4/3) and will have an adapter for my FD lenses. Unfortunately I wasn't able to procure a macro prime in time, so I've got to make do with what I've got. My choices are 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8, plus a 35mm f/2.5 (FL).
Any recommendation on which one might have the flattest field and best performance at the distance ranges I' looking at? How about the ideal aperture?
And good call on trying out my lighting; I better do that tonight, as I'm leaving tomorrow!