Low budget copying & landscape lenses for 5D Mk2

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sunny_alan_alan, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    New to this forum.
    I am here for learning.
    Professionally a digital large format printer, running own business in printing for advertising industry graphics.
    Newly entering in Fine art & photo copying and printing on Epson 9890.
    Copying involves photography, DSLR camera, lenses(I discount scanning, and large/medium format Scanbacks to begin with, since found current DSLRs are competent to capture images of 'normal' sizes)
    After much study, I zoomed in on 5D Mk2 as basic body. Think this full-frame with it's mps can capture a 4x3 ft painting in single shot with enough resolution, to be reproduced without stitching.
    Not experienced in the mind-boggling multitudes of lenses, just stepped in to the learning process.
    Need to shortlist 2 lenses:
    1. Copying lens: For copying paintings of various sizes, say 4x3, 3x2 ft... Bigger ones may need Stitching. Copying is in-studio. A copying room is in the making.
    Here is my confusion: Suitable lens mm/size, room length needed to copy the above sizes and rare large ones, say 8x4 ft. etc. (I am aware of need of good lighting, Polarisers, Tripod etc.)
    Considering a room length of 20/25 feet, which is the good copying lens for Mk2?
    Result of my study:50 mm - F/1.8 - Canon EF, 50mm f/1.4 USM
    2. General purpose landscaping-zoom lens: Budget say $ 500. My find: Canon EF 100-300mm 4.5-5.6 USM. Or should I stretch to EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, since I have no plan to keep many lenses.
    I am no Pro yet, but a lens is no consumable, an asset.
    I am waiting for your valuable advice on all aspects.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. In a 20 foot room an 85mm lens will allow you to shoot just over 8 feet by 5 feet so you may want to consider the 85 F1.8 or even a Macro lens (Cannon 100 F2.8s or Tamron 90mm). If you are happy to focus manually the Contax 50mm F1.7 and F1.4 are very sharp and work well with an adaptor. My Contax 50 F1.7 is clearly sharper than my Canon 50 F1.4. The Leica R series lenses also work well but are expensive even though the camera system is dead. There are some good MF Nikon lenses that will also work well but they are unlikely to be a big improvement over the Canons.
    FOr a zoom the 70-200 F4 IS is hard to beat - you may want to consider the non IS version of the same lens which was much cheaper. I have used the 100-300 but not for many years - I was not that impressed with it. It is an OK lens but not in the same league as the 70-200 F4 IS.
     
  3. The Canon 50mm Macro is far better for your intentions than the 50's you mention.
     
  4. Depending on what you're copying:
    50/1.4 -- a bit sharper and much better built than the 50/1.8. I haven't studied the 50 macro Scott recommends, but I suspect his recommendation is a very good one.
    85/1.8 -- a popular prime, but I have concerns over edge sharpness, based on data on slrgear.com. I suspect they got hold of a bad copy, as the images I've seen are pretty good.
    100/2.0 -- sister lens to the 85/1.8. I own the lens and can vouch for its excellent image quality.
    100/2.8 macro -- sharpest knife in the drawer, but not as good a portrait lens as the 100/2.0, if you have any interest in portraiture. This would probably be a wonderful copy lens.
    For a landscape lens, do you really want a telephoto? I'm not saying a telephoto isn't useful for landscape work. It is. It's just that wider angle lenses tend to be used much more often. The 17-40L is a popular landscape lens. A more general purpose lens is the 24-105L. I have and enjoy both of these lenses. If these are too expensive, which they may be, you can pick up a 28-135 IS USM for CHEAP on the used market. It's a very common kit lens that nobody loves enough to keep forever (not well suited for a crop camera, which is what most people have). Despite that, and despite its mediocre build, its optics are quite decent -- not stellar, but certainly in the upper end of what you're going to find in a consumer zoom.
    I'd suggest that you should carefully research the landscape lens, rather than taking our recommendations at face value. Factors you might not think to consider include size and weight (if you're going to do any hiking with it), dust/moisture seals and internal focus/zoom (if it's going to be used in moist or dusty environments), and zoom range (since different photographers tend to have different preferences).
    BTW, the 70-200/4L IS is an excellent lens. I own and love it. However, I wouldn't dare take it on a hike. It's too heavy and bulky. My favorite hiking lens is my 17-40L, which is very small and light, and which is very well sealed against dust and moisture (but only if wearing a protective filter). For me, internal focus and zoom is a must on any dusty trail. That means no telescoping barrels, and therefore no drawing of dusty air through the mirror chamber. The 17-40 satisfies this requirement. If I were younger and stronger, I might also carry my 70-300 IS on hikes for occasional telephoto shots, but my knees can't take any extra weight.
     
  5. Macro lenses are built for corner to corner sharpness and very low distortion, I see no reason for even considering a normal lens for copy work. Just choose a proper focal length - all macros are good. If 50mm seems good then that old EF 50/2.5 can be found very cheaply.
    2. General purpose landscaping-zoom lens: Budget say $ 500. My find: Canon EF 100-300mm 4.5-5.6 USM. Or should I stretch to EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, since I have no plan to keep many lenses.​
    70-200/4 is just about infinitely better than the old 100-300 and it offers you weather sealing.
     
  6. Another vote for the 50/2.5 Macro. I don't have experience with the 50/1.8, but the 50/1.4 has noticeable barrel distortion that makes it unsuitable for copy work. The 50 Macro has minimal distortion and excellent resolution.
     
  7. Thanks a lot for those contributed. Great tips.
    @Philip Wilson: In a 20 foot room an 85mm lens will allow you to shoot just over 8 feet by 5
    feet so you may want to consider the 85 F1.8 or even a Macro lens (Cannon 100 F2.8s or Tamron 90mm). If you are happy to focus manually the Contax 50mm F1.7 and F1.4 are very sharp and work well with an adaptor. My Contax 50 F1.7 is
    clearly sharper than my Canon 50 F1.4.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    This given rise a doubt: Copying from closeby with a 50/2.5 Macro or copying from far with a 60 or 85 mm will result distortion-less better quality. A painting is always square and no cropping possible, corners are as important as center of reproduced painting.
    I am trying to do the perfect job of a Scan-back, expectations of my clients are sky high, cannot compromise. So money cannot be a barrier…
    What is my best bet, at a higher budget, if it improve quality decisively ?
     
  8. The 50 macro is built for the job, the next lens in length is the 100, that will give you no resolution or distortion advantages over the 50, the 50 will give you more flexibility and working room, not working distance, but space to work.
    But for high quality, really high quality, you know you need a scanning back, or a custom stitching frame, or a Hasselblad HD4-200MS, nothing beats effective sensor size or number of pixels.
    What is your proposed output? A single 5D MkII frame will not output to high quality, art reproduction quality, much over 24" on the long side, but even then viewing distance is a factor.
     
  9. Thanks, I got it and decided on the 50 macro.
    @ But for high quality, really high quality, you know you need a scanning back, or a custom stitching frame, or a Hasselblad HD4-200MS, nothing beats effective sensor size or number of pixels.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I checked what are involved....at least NOW, I am not going for it, may be later, if the incoming volumes justify it.
    @What is your proposed output? A single 5D MkII frame will not output to high quality, art reproduction quality, much over 24" on the long side, but even then viewing distance is a factor.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No 24" in longer side?
    I expected 36 with Mk2, without stitching.
    But need 36, what else to do? Well, will resort to stitching.
    Please tell me: A 48" painting for decent close resolution stitched, how many steps, snaps needed?
    What extra gear needed?
     
  10. [[So money cannot be a barrier…]]
    [[Low budget copying & landscape lenses for 5D Mk2]]
    What?
     
  11. Yes Scotts advice on the 50 Macro is the way to go ( I forgot about this lens but own the old FD 50 Macro which is a very fine lens). You need to position your camera so that the painting fills the frame - thus you get more pixels on the image. I am more optimistic than Scott on image size I would see how far an interpolation program (e.g. genuine Fractals) or stitching can get. Under controlled conditions you should be able to create a system that keeps the camera steady but puts four shots on the painting. If I was to try this (I should be very clear - this is NOT something I have done) I would keep the camera still and move the painting. For this approach you might need a longer lens as the 50mm would be within 3 feet of your painting to put two horizontal and vertical images on a 48" painting - the obvious candidate is the 100 macro. Perhaps you should rent / borrow both lenses and try.
     
  12. I agree Bob, 'enough money' is very much a relative term...
    Thats why when a Hasselblad HD4 is referred, I retreated immediately to Stitching...
    I am all ears, wait for your wise input...
     
  13. Definitely, go with a MACRO lens for your copy work.
     
  14. For you copying work, unless you have a large space to work with room to move around, you might want some focal length versatility. Obviously, you could get this with a zoom or with more than one prime.
    Secondly, if my assumption that you want to not only copy large subjects but also reproduce them at equivalent sizes up to 4' x 3" is correct, you will be pushing the upper boundaries of high quality print size - and lens quality will be significant.
    Third, you mention "landscaping" (e.g. - "landscape") lens, but I'm not clear whether you are simply using that as a description of a lens type or if you also intend to photograph that sort of subject. I'll assume that you do not plan to do landscape photography but are just using that as a shorthand to refer to lens characteristics.
    With this in mind, your focal length will depend primarily on the size of the subject and the distance from which you can or choose to photograph it. Going cheap on lenses could make sense if you are only going to print small - say 12 x 18 or similar - but if you intend to print at those very large sizes and do professional work, this is a situation in which you will want to get a lens that optimizes image quality. (I use the 7900 and a 5D2 and have some experience with such print sizes.)
    I do not have an personal experience with the inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 lens. I do use the 50mm f/1.4, and stopped down a bit it can produce very high resolution - essentially, for all practical purposes, as high as any other Canon lens in terms of the effect on your print.
    I would steer clear of inexpensive zooms for the purpose you describe. It is difficult to produce an optimal zoom that produces very high resolution and does so without introducing various types of image distortion that you don't want with your reproductions of visible art - things like barrel and pincushion distortion, corner softness, and more. If you need the flexibility of multiple focal lengths I recommend either a much higher quality (and, unfortunately, more expensive) L zoom or two or three carefully chose non-L primes.
    Dan
     
  15. A two stitch 5D MkII shot will print out to 48"x32" for reasonably close inspection. But it depends on the artwork and viewing distance. If the artwork is full of fine detail, think brush strokes in paintings, then you could well need three or four. If it is something really difficult like a tapestry, you (and I) are out of your league, to recreate lifesize tapestries took a specialist mathematics team a long time to stitch. Read this, it is a humbling and interesting read.
    To do it on a commercial basis I'd have a rigid metal frame made that I could slide the rigidly mounted camera on, this would maintain stitching consistency and, more importantly, trueness to the artwork, the set up must be parallel to prevent distortion. Distortion is the killer of quality for this work. I'd create custom lens profiles via the free Adobe Lens Profile Creator, for all your lighting, aperture and focusing distances too.
     
  16. The 50 f1.4 will out resolve the 100 IS macro on the edges at f8, but the distortion is not sufficiently correctable for high resolution large print art reproduction stitching.
     
  17. @Dan:....Secondly, if my assumption that you want to not only copy large subjects but also reproduce them at equivalent sizes up to 4' x 3" is correct, you will be pushing the upper boundaries of high quality print size - and lens quality will be significant.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Yes , you are correct, I want to print actual size 4x3. Know despite with a fullframe+21 mp may not be capable to get a very fine job as done by a Hasse or Scanning Back.
    But my effort is how far near(say acceptable to at least a layman buyer) I can push the quality to near ‘upper boundaries’, with Mk2 + any possible additions, improvements, investments.
    @...Third, you mention "landscaping" (e.g. - "landscape") lens, but I'm not clear whether you are simply using that as a description of a lens type or if you also intend to photograph that sort of subject. I'll assume that you do not plan to do landscape photography but are just using that as a shorthand to refer to lens characteristics.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I HAVE plan for landscape photographing and printing on canvas. That is the reason I enquired which ‘Value For Money’ Zoom.
    @...With this in mind, your focal length will depend primarily on the size of the subject and the distance from which you can or choose to photograph it. Going cheap on lenses could make sense if you are only going to print small - say 12 x 18 or similar - but if you intend to print at those very large sizes and do professional work, this is a situation in which you will want to get a lens that optimizes image quality. (I use the 7900 and a 5D2 and have some experience with such print sizes.)
    I do not have an personal experience with the inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 lens. I do use the 50mm f/1.4, and stopped down a bit it can produce very high resolution - essentially, for all practical purposes, as high as any other Canon lens in terms of the effect on your print.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Yes, if specific, costly LENS can push me near high quality, bigger sizes, I am ready: if that decisive quality possible. If L-series can make MUCH difference, I go for it. Because it is much much cheaper than going for a Scanning Back!
    But; with a Mk2+ whatsoever high lens+ gears I cannot get even a decent 4x3 copy: I DO NOT go for costly lens, but normal once and satisfy with possible sizes. Waiting till when I can save money for a Scanning Back…
     
  18. My wife is a painter, working on canvases often up to 6 feet in larger dimension, and I photograph her work as it is completed. Guess what? I use a 5DII and 50/2.5 macro. This is a very effective combination, working at f/5.6 to f/8 for optimal resolution. The 50/2.5 has very low distortion (unlike the 50/1.4 or most zoom lenses at most focal lengths), and very low peripheral illumination fall-off at those apertures, and the aberration correction capabilities in DPP easily provide any desired fine-tuning without introducing unwantedside-effects. I know of no Canon lens that would do copying work better than the 50/2.5, but it might be worth checking out off-brand options such as Zeiss. Lack of AF, and even of auto diaphragm, is of no consequence for copying work. Live View at ×10 allows very accurate focusing.
     
  19. Another vote for a macro, in your case a short one.
    But the suggestions about MF should remind everyone of the capability of the Canon EOS cameras to take an amazing variety of MF lenses from Nikon to M42 among others. They will be totally manual - both focus and stop-down of the aperture -- but you have a huge variety of the world's best lenses that can be used and are often quite inexpensive (e.g., pre-AI Nikkors).
    Another sort of lens that is often corrected for little barrel, etc., distortion is the class of tilt & shift lenses. These are also largely manual, but range from older shift-only lenses like the PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 to modern lenses like the Canon TS-E 45mm lens. In your case, it's not the shift, etc. that you need so much as it is the generally highly corrected nature of these.
     
  20. If you are going to use primes, L lenses are not your only options for the types of shooting you describe, especially since neither in likely to require you to shoot at the largest apertures. I have some fine L zoom lenses, but I will sometimes switch to certain non-L primes when shooting some landscape and similar subjects because these lenses can produces somewhat better resolution.
    Dan
     
  21. I have a different suggestion. Save yourself some $$ and get a 60D or T3i. Add a 50/2.5 or 60/2.8, and shoot with the intention of splicing.
    My reasoning. A 21 mpix 5D2 will give you about 8% more pixels in each dimension compared to a 18 mpix crop camera. Yes each those full-frame pixels will contain a little more information, but this pales in comparison to doubling the number of pixels in each direction when shooting a 2x2 grid.
    If you're looking for max resolution on a 3'x4' print, I suggest stitching, regardless whether you're using a crop or full-frame camera.
    Splicing is quick, easy, and painless with PS CS3 and up. Especially when you're shooting from a tripod with flash to begin with.
     
  22. As an ex-Canon shooter, including several of the Rebels and a 5D2, I have an alternate suggestion. Go to www.DXOMark.com and compare the sensor ratings and noise performance between the various Canons and a Pentax K-5. You'll find the K-5 has 2 EV more dynamic range than any current Canon model, regardless of cost (it uses the new backlit SONY 16 meg sensor). At a current list price of of $1199.00, it's a bargain when you consider it also is packaged in a professional, weather/dust proof body, does 7fps and has less 'read' noise in shadow/dark areas than current Canon models. Pentax prime lenses are affordable and easily stack up with anything in similar price ranges from Nikon or Canon. You can also get adapters to use many MF lenses with the Pentax bodies.
     
  23. Arie,
    Four 21mp images gives you 12mp more than shooting four 18mp! Your suggestion makes no sense.
    Charles,
    Dynamic range is of zero importance in a controlled lighting art reproduction setup. You control the DR 100%. Not saying don't look elsewhere, but weatherproofing, fps, and dynamic range are near the bottom of the list of requirements for this job.
     
  24. Four times 21 mpix is indeed 12 mpix more than four times 18 mpix.
    It's still only 8% more, in each direction. sqrt ((4*21)/(4*18)) = 1.08
    To me a full-frame camera for simple reproduction work makes no sense. Overkill IMO, kinda like buying a pickup truck to get the groceries. The OP is not looking to shoot shallow-dof portraits in dark back alleys and bars. Why spend almost the entire budget on a body and hardly anything on a lens, makes no sense to me.
     
  25. Lies, damn lies and statistics......
    8% linear increase still adds up to a 16% increase in pixel information by area. It might make no sense to you, but in a job where even the 16% more information is often not really quite enough going smaller makes even less sense.
     
  26. Scott, my suggestion that the K5 be considered was as an alternative to the 60D or the 7D, which another poster suggested as a
    budget approach. I suggested the K5 not only because of It's ruggedness but IQ,as well. The K5 has superior noise performance,
    color bit depth, as well as dynamic range, when compared to any of the Canon cropped bodies.

    As for going with a FF sensor if at all possible, I couldn't agree more. I found my 5D2 lacking in some areas and for some of my
    needs, which is why I moved to a Pentax 645D. It was a doable solution for me whereas the Mamiya, Hasselblad, Leaf options were
    not.
     
  27. In Photo.net discussions, as in radiation, the accuracy or relevance or both of computations generally falls off in a ratio to the square of the distance in generations from the original post (JDMvW's second law)
     
  28. JDM, your remark is proof of itself.

    And mine too.
     
  29. A good way to think about the effect of MP increases (isolated from other issues) of sensors is to look at the sensor dimensions. Pick some resolution value for printing - just to pick a number, lets use 200 - and figure out how large the print would be for each.
    • 5D2: 5616 x 3744 - at resolution 200 the long dimension of a print would be about 28 inches
    • 5D: 4368 x 2912 - at resolution 200 would be about 22 inches
    • 7D: 5184 x 3456- at resolution 200 would be about 26 inches
    In most cases, you will be surprised at how small the difference will be when you compare print size at the same resolution - even between cameras as different as a 12 MP and a 21 MP camera. The difference between, say, 18 MP and 21 MP or between 21MP and 24 MP is truly trivial. This is even more true if you are not printing at the upper limits of print size.
    Dan
    (A couple of important points. This comparison is very limited and most certainly doesn't tell the whole story - there are other significant differences between cameras and between format beside the MP count. Second, disregarding all of those other issue and thinking only about MP comparisons between cameras of the same format, my general rule of thumb is that a doubling of MP is almost always significant to those whose work is large enough to be affected by this and that smaller increases in MP count are much more rarely significant. Going from 12 MP to 21 MP could well be significant for those pushing the print size boundaries. Going from 21 MP to 24 MP almost certainly would not be.)
     
  30. As an alternative, you could look at how much the resolution value changes at your likely print sizes. For example, at 20 inches wide
    • 5D2: 5616 x 3744 - resolution would be 5616
    • 5D: 4368 x 2912 - resolution would be 218.4
    • 7D: 5184 x 3456- resolution would be 259.2
    Dan
     
  31. Oops - error. The 5d2 resolution at 20" width is actually 280.8
    Dan
     

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