Lens(es) for photographing artwork for reproduction

Drizzt321

EOR R
Nov 23, 2011
1,667
0
Lala land
www.aaronbaff.com
First, assume that copyright/contracts/permission/etc taken care of for the gallery & artist, so all legal and above board.

The actual question:
So, I'm going to be taking some photographs of some artwork, primarily paintings/2d work for now, for the purpose of creating digital prints of the artwork. I've got a 5d2/5d3 (planning on using 5d3), pretty good quality Benro tripod & ballhead, shutter release, and know about mirror lockup & such. I'll have to get a good level, and then either eyeball it (probably bad idea) or bring a few things to try and cobble together something so that I'll be able to make sure the camera is square on to the artwork, and the plane of the sensor is properly at the plane of the art. I do have a couple of speedlites I was going to use on stands with either umbrellas or large foam-core boards at 45-degree angles on the sides as seems to be the general recommendation.

So, what lens? From my list, I was thinking the 40mm f/2.8 pancake as it's quite sharp and won't suffer much from perspective distortion. Plus I can keep it fairly wide open, f/4 or f/5.6 and have a very sharp image. Alternatively I could use the 85 1.8 @f/4 or so, but that feels a bit long for most things, and I'd have to have quite a bit of room.

I'm happy to rent a lens for a few days, but which one? The 24mm TS-E is too wide I feel, and would end up with some perspective distortion at the edges. 50 1.2 would be desirable over the 1.4 for renting, but I don't know well enough about it's performance and 40mm vs 50mm? I dunno how different in perspective it is if it'd be worth it. One of the Zeiss 50mm? Canon 45mm TS-E? 90mm TS-E? Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro?
 
Aug 23, 2013
2,350
48
Bahia Brazil
If you will have plenty of time, TS-E 45mm is an interesting option. If time is short, the combination 40mm pancake + 85mm F1.8 should do a good job. I may be old fashioned, but I prefer to photograph works of art with continuous light instead of flash. I recommend processing images on the same day, to have the true colors still fresh in memory. Photography works of art need to have clarity and colors very true to the original.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
qpcard.

70mm Sigma Macro.

Predictable light source with diffuser / soft box.

CPL filter.

Black curtain and stand, with lens shaped hole cut in it.
 

surapon

80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
Aug 2, 2013
2,957
2
70
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA, USA.
Dear Sir, Mr. Drizzt321
Just from my Idea , Low Tech one----I use 5D MK II and Canon EF 100 mm. F/ 2.8 L Hybrid IS, Macro USM with Tripods, Self Timer, and Shoot these my 35 years old/ Damaged Drawings, Size : 24 Inches X 36 Inches, at distant 7-8 Feet( AV. Mode At F = 8.0, ISO = 100), on Shaded Area ( No directed Sun Light)---":SET IS. off" And It work for me in every times.
Just another Idea.
Surapon
 

Attachments

IMG_0001

Amateur photon abductor
Nov 12, 2013
364
0
Hello,

Although I have little experience with artwork reproduction, I have with reproduction of research samples for archival purpose and this requires a similar practice.

As for lens selection, it all depends on the size of the artwork. For smaller work, longer focal length may be preferable and your 85mm may be good. Otherwise, usign your 40mm might be better. However, note that although distortion may be a problem for artwork reproduction, perspective effects should be almost inexistant if care is given to proper alignment. Therefore, usign a wide lens with low optical distortion (like the ts-e 24 should have altough I havent verified) might prove to beb alright. Moreover, If the need really arises, both a low amount of distortion and perspective may be corrected in post without to much of a hassle.

As additional tips, if the images are not framed, I would recommend shooting them lying on a table or the ground since hanged artwork is not usually parallel to the wall and alignment is more complicated. Frames are also often a bit crooked and make things look like they are out of alignment while they are not. If possible, a copy stand may also prove to be a good investment. You may also want to research on usign a mirror to help you in aligning your setup.

Finally, white balance and even light are capital, but you probably knew.

I hope this helps.

Best regards
 

dcm

Good or bad - it's not the gear.
Apr 18, 2013
797
135
Depends on the size of the items and your working distance. I used a copy stand (long arm) with a 100L Macro on a 6D. Very sharp, little distortion. Even lighting is the key. Old photos, art work, etc. for family history turned out great.
 

wtlloyd

EOS RP
Sep 1, 2010
280
10
Kihei, HI
I've only photographed artwork once, but most of the pieces were 20 x 30 or larger....

thats a BIG scanner.


bgran8 said:
Probably a dumb question, but why is a camera used over a scanner? Thanks.
 

tolusina

EOS 7D MK II
Mar 1, 2012
791
6
Alignment is the easiest part.
Set up your camera for center point focus with focus confirmation illumination.
Hang a mirror directly over the subject artwork, aim the camera so that the center focus point is centered on the reflection of the lens, camera is now square to the mirror.
Remove the mirror, light the subject evenly, focus and shoot.

If you are using the 40mm pancake I'd suggest f6.3 to f8.

More about the mirror trick, with some fast lenses, you can see the reflection of your eye when everything is square.



.
 

Vossie

EOS RP
May 13, 2012
332
0
Netherlands
www.flickr.com
dcm said:
Depends on the size of the items and your working distance.
Indeed.

Whenever possible I would use something longer than 50mm to get minimal distortion. With a longer lens (e.g. 100mm) you can always revert to stiching multiple images if the items are too large at the available working distance to capture then at once.
 

IMG_0001

Amateur photon abductor
Nov 12, 2013
364
0
Adding to tolusina's and my previous posts about using a mirror for alignment, I would add that this works best for subjects laid down since the mirror may not hang on the same plane as the subject if hanged on the wall. Morreover, one should ensure that the owner of the artwork is ok with having a something placed on the work.

edit "Usign a good quality mirror helps. At first I tried an acrylic mirror thinking it would be more practical but it had such a poor reflection that it was hard to have a focus good enough to judge alignment."

I would also strongly advise on shooting teethered to a computer as this allows for very accurate focus and alignement.

Also, when doing reproduction work, I always thought that using a macro focusing rail, but mounted transversally could be nice to help centering. I never tried it though.

Otherwise, I saw comments on aperture and would believe that working between F5.6 and F8 is probably better for homogenity over the frame and overall sharpness. Too small an aperture and you get soft edges, whilw too small and you may lose details to diffraction.
 
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paul13walnut5

Guest
surapon said:
Dear Sir, Mr. Drizzt321
Just from my Idea , Low Tech one----I use 5D MK II and Canon EF 100 mm. F/ 2.8 L Hybrid IS, Macro USM with Tripods, Self Timer, and Shoot these my 35 years old/ Damaged Drawings, Size : 24 Inches X 36 Inches, at distant 7-8 Feet( AV. Mode At F = 8.0, ISO = 100), on Shaded Area ( No directed Sun Light)---":SET IS. off" And It work for me in every times.
Just another Idea.
Surapon
Love these. Love modernity. Keep em coming. I hate they are pulling most of this stuff down now.