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Morgramen
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OK, I'm just about ready to try out the camera and shoot some minis and terrain, but after reading the instruction manual x3, I'm still at a loss.

 

Now as I understand things, in order to shoot minis, you need a good depth of field (fstop/aperture setting) right?  OK, no problem.

 

I even bought a little tripod.

 

However, the lens I have on my Minolta Maxxum 7000 may not be the right one for the job.  As far as I can tell, the lens is capable of ... well, I can't tell.  The writing on the lens says:

Polarizer 58mm

Auto Focus Zoom

1:3.4-4.5  28 - 80

 

Then it's got some sort of scale meter rangeing from 4 - 10 ft that doesn't seem to do anything, although the adjustment on the zoom/focus thing ranges from 80 - 28 mm and seems to match up with the little green line extending from the range meter.

 

So, in short, if I put this monster on the tripod, point and click, what will happen?  What aperture setting would I need for taking pictures in a standard basment environment with tungsten lamps for illumination?

 

Any advice or "tell me how to do its" would be greatly appreciated.  :D

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I'll post more tonight when I get home. I have one minute to post anything right now...

 

Get some closeup filters: +1, +2 and +4 that will fit on your lens. There is another thread here somewhere that I went more in depth into apeture, depth of field, and how they work. The Maxxum is a good camera, but the zoom lens isn't really made for closeup work. I'll walk you through how to use it for closeup work when I get back from work tonight, though.

 

But you're going to need those closeup filters to use the zoom lens as a macro.

 

Edit, here's the post on Depth of Field: Crisp and Clear Thread

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4-10 feet is the minimum distance you can shoot and have it remain in focus. WAAY too long for macrophotography ( IE, photographing small things close up ).

 

There should be some numbers proceded by a "f" for f-stop. At close ranges, you need a HIGH f stop to get the necessary depth of field. But at high f-stops, you need a flash, or long (several second ) exposure times.

 

Is it a film camera?

 

I have a nikon N65 with a Nikkor macro, I can put it within 6 inches or so of a mini and have the mini fill the entire frame. At these settings, I use 2-3 small desktop halogen lamps to provide enough light. I could use my flash, but that gives really stark shadows behind the fig. The lamps help blend them out. ( with my lense doubler and the macro, I can make the mini's HEAD fill most of the frame... )

 

Basically, the fig is about 6 inches from the lense, I use a minimum f-Stop of 22, and the exposure times are about 1-2 seconds at the longest. I also use a blue filter to color adjust the halogen lamp.

 

The above photo setup was used to take the following picture of GenCon painting winner Jen Haley's entry...

 

http://daniel.a.joyce.home.att.net/images/FirstPlace.jpg

 

NB, I have a CD of all the painting contest winners available...

 

I can use the flash, and I use it at GenCon to take pics of the display booth items. Buuut, everything behind the mini comes out black. I'll need to get a small slave flash to do backfill lighting...

 

-Daniel

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You can use the zoom lens if you get the closeup lenses. Truly, this I have done. I started doing closeup photography about 21 years ago. You don't need to go get a special macro lens. The closeup filters (they just screw on) will be a LOT cheaper than a new lens.

 

Now then, for lighting... I suggest having the following on hand:

 

Shutter release (helps reduce camera shake)

Flash (a good one that you can adjust the angle of the light)

Aluminum Foil (I'll get to this in a minute)

Tripod (small, large, doesn't matter as long as you have one)

Small piece of cloth (big enough to use as a backdrop) of a neutral gray, white, or bluish color

Scotch Tape (getting a little weird here yet?)

Book/s to use to raise the mini on level with the camera lens and something to drape the cloth on behind the subject.

 

Now then... shape the foil into a rough triangular shape with one end not pointy (actually, none of the ends have to be pointy, just a general triangular shape). Tape the foil to your lens shiney side towards the light, so that it goes up over your light. Point the light straight up and then angle the foil towards the front at about a 45 degree angle. This gives you a reflected light as opposed to direct light from your flash which can cause harsh shadows and a darkening of your background.

 

Try and shoot outdoors on an overcast day. If this is unfeasible, then indoors with a flash with 200 or 400 speed film.

 

Indoors; have a light source flanking both sides of your subject. Try and use those new GE natural light bulbs if possible. If you have to use Tungsten lighting, use 200 speed film and a flash, otherwise you're likely to get some severe yellowing of the color that, no matter how much you color correct, will not allow the natural color of the subject to come though.

 

Set the mini up level with the lens. Don't angle the camera to the mini as you'll distort the depth of the mini (from top the feet will be smaller than the head and from the bottom the feet will be larger than the head)... straight on is how you want it. Have the stand (books is what I use) and the back (another book) draped in the cloth noted above.

 

Note about cloth colors: Deep reds, blues, greens and other bright colors, while pretty, can cause the printers used these days to overcompensate, thus a photo with a lot of red will have a cyan cast to everything... too yellow will have a blue cast... this is especially notable on skin tones and since you're taking pictures of minis, truecolor and skin tones are extremely important.

 

Use the shutter release to press the shutter as opposed to using a finger. No matter how hard you try, you can cause camera shake with your hand actually touching the camera a lot easier, especially when dealing with close-up work.

 

When you take the film in to get developed... don't use a grocery store/drug store/department store type place... go to an actual Film Developer. You'll get better results and quality. As my old boss used to say "I have a deal with the local grocery stores... they don't develop pictures and I don't sell lettuce." Also, tell them to "Print for the subject." When you specify this they should automatically print the photo so that it isn't too dark or too light for your subject. If they don't, get them to redo it. They should redo it for free (at least, the lab where I worked did and still does... another reason not to go to a local grocer or Walmart).

 

Film Brands: Don't be fooled into thinking that Kodak film is the best. It isn't always.

 

Kodak tends to have cooler, more saturated colors.

Agfa is warmer and depending on the kind of film can have anything from lightly saturated to deeply saturated colors.

Fuji: I love this stuff. A bit warmer than Kodak and cooler in color than Agfa, it can be very saturated in color as well. I prefer the Fuji Reala as the colors aren't quite as saturated and it's made specifically for portraits/taking pics of people. I know a lot of wedding photographers who use it.

 

There are other brands... DO NOT USE that film you get in the mail that can only be developed by the company that sends it to you. 1) the film is unused movie film that is repackaged. While it can be used... 2) it's very brittle and breaks easily in the camera or in the machines the mail in companies use to splice the film onto large reels for developing and 3) you can only get it developed at one or two places in the country. How do I know? I used to work for one of those places. Don't ask me the number of times we had film break in the middle, thus ruining pictures. Not to mention the number of times those machines broke down.

 

Okay, I know this has been a long post. If there are any more questions, please ask. That's all I can think of at the moment.

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Thanks folks!

 

I ran out to see about the filters, but they will set me back $150.00 + apiece, so now I'm debating whetehr to simply buy a proper lens for the job.  (BTW Daniel, it is a film camera.)

 

Here's a new angle on the topic though: terrain instead of minis.

 

If I wanted to start zapping pics of my terrain (maybe a diorama of a mini battle ala Warhammer), would my lens still do the job?  Since terrain is larger, I suspect that I should be able to get a decent shot, but 'd rather not waste a roll of film + the dollars to try it first and find out.

 

What about digital cameras?  I asked around about these while I was searching for the filters, and was told that in orer to get one that you could play around with "the fancy stuff", you'd be looking at $800.00 plus.  This might be worth it in the long run, since digital everything is what it's all about now, but is definitely not something I'd buy just for use with mini photography.  Does anyone out there have a model/brand of digital camera that does the macro photography thing?

 

PS. All prices listed about are in Canuck bucks, which is about 1/2 of a U.S. bill.

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Well, a Quanaray x2 lens doubler will do the job somewhat...

 

It's cheap, around $75, and you can get some decent pics with that and a standard lens.

 

That said, My Nikkor Macro was about $400... ( the N65 I use is only $360... >.< )

 

My flash has 2 flash models on it, a small direct flash, and one I can angle and turn. So when shooting figs in booths and gencon, the small flash provided direct light, and I bounced main flash off my hand. Worked pretty well.

 

-Daniel

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Thanks folks!

 

I ran out to see about the filters, but they will set me back $150.00 + apiece, so now I'm debating whetehr to simply buy a proper lens for the job.  (BTW Daniel, it is a film camera.)

 

I don't know where you're shopping at, but they shouldn't be that expensive. A set of Hoya in the 46mm - 55mm is only $59.95 (different sets for different sizes). Hoya 58mm and  67mm closeup set is $69.95 62mm is $89.95.

 

Make certain you request a "Hoya close-up set (3) +1,+2 and +4 w/case"

 

Since yours is a 58mm lens you should only pay $69.95 for the entire set. This cost is a lot less than the standard charge of $300+ for a new macro lens.

 

Check out Precision Camera which is located here in Austin. They really have great prices and a good selection (and it's where I get all my photography needs except developing).

 

 

You should have no problems with the 28-80 zoom in shooting your terrain. Use the depth of field rules I gave you, try using the 28mm setting (that's wide angle and you're going to want the width for terrain) and you should be good to go. You can always use the zoom function to pick out details.

 

Your best bet is to play around taking pictures of your terrain first. Don't expect your first few rolls of film to be professionally perfect. Trust me, they won't me. Mine definately weren't. You have to play in order to learn, and you have to learn the certain quirks and habits of your particular camera. I'm still learning the ones of my new Nikon.

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I don't know where you're shopping at, but they shouldn't be that expensive.

Well, I asked at a few department stores, and none of them carried the filters.  When I went to London Drugs (do they have that chain in the U.S.??) they said I'd have to go to a specialty store like MacBains or something.  She also told me the "each" part.  $70.00 (U.S) x2 = 140.00 Canuck Bucks, so the price seems to match up, but if I get all the filters in the set then it's alot better.  (I thought I'd be buying each filter seperately.)

 

Thanks again Aryanun!  It's tough trying to get what you want out of these christmas sales clerks if you don't have any idea what it is you want.  

 

Still trying to locate a shop that is less than 1/2 an hour from my front door, but failing that, guess I'll have to drive into the big city next week.  (GAAAAAA!  I hate the "big" city.  Of course, my conceptt of "big" would likely be a Sunday drive through a local suburb in most U.S. cities....) ???

 

With any luck, I'll have a set of Hoya filters and a first round of attempts in 2d6 days!

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Try finding a camera shop that deals with used equipment.  I used to work in a photo lab/ camera shop that took trade ins and bought good used equipment.  You can get some good deals on cameras, lenses, and filters this way. :cool:
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Precision deals in used equipment. Email them and see if they have any used closeup filters and if they'll deal with Canada. They might. If not, maybe I can get them and mail them to you if you send me the money.

 

Precision has been around for a LONG time. I might also be able to get a deal with my old boss if he can still order equipment. He used to sell a lot of cameras and equipment (some used as well) and has been in business for over 60 years (his dad started the business originally). You might also be able to find them on Ebay.

 

Huge Range but ends in a little over an hour

 

Ends in 10 minutes

 

There are more but I just don't have the time to run through it all. Do a search like this:

 

Go to Advanced Search

Search in Catagories: Photo

Search Title: 58mm filter +1 +2 +4

Click on "In titles and descriptions"

 

You'll get a lot of auctions for it. Just look and even though it might say "Tiffen," "Canon," "Cokin," or whatever it's still the same thing. Some of these sets are going for about $30, some less, some more. Some are new, some are used. Some are even specialized dealers in camera equipment. Give a shot. You'll probably end up with an excellent deal.

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Now then... shape the foil into a rough triangular shape with one end not pointy (actually, none of the ends have to be pointy, just a general triangular shape). Tape the foil to your lens shiney side towards the light, so that it goes up over your light. Point the light straight up and then angle the foil towards the front at about a 45 degree angle. This gives you a reflected light as opposed to direct light from your flash which can cause harsh shadows and a darkening of your background.

OK, I've got the Hoya close up filters (YEA!!!) a tripod, and a shutter release.  Happy day!   :p

 

I'm not clear though, on what you mean here.  The foil gets taped ontop of the lens of the camera, angled towards the ceiling (obviously, otherwise it'd cover the lens), and the light source is behind you, or do you mean that the foil is to reflect the flash (which should be positioned straight into the air?)

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You want the foil on the flash as shown in the picture. Now, the photo shows and actual Flash Bounce Hood. You don't have to get one. Foil or plain white paper/posterboard works just as well and is a lot cheaper. White paper will diffuse the light more than foil.

 

bounceflashhood.jpg

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