Advices on taking photographs of calculators



#2

Hi everybody,
this is a question for anyone that has hosted his personal photographs of his beloved calculators on his own site, or for anyone that has managed to take good photos of difficult subjects like calculators. I have a digital camera Fuji FinePix E510, which seems good for quite anything, but I cannot manage in taking good photos of, say, a HP-11C, because lights is dim, or too much, or because the camera (and my face too) reflects on the display and keys are not definite or, if I want the display to show something, this something doesn't appear or appears dim.


May you help me? Or suggest some resources on the Internet?


I know these are quite stupid questions, but I'm not a professional photographer. I only need some advice about taking photos of my calculators.


Thanks in advance.


-- Antonio


#3

Hi,

I think to remember that Dave once described how he

took the photos of the calculators for the hpmuseum site.

Sorry I don't have the link, but it may be in the personal area,

or in the 'how to contribute' area...


HTH

Raymond

#4

Antonio,

To complement Raymond's answer...

IIRC, Dave gave us some hints on his method in this thread.

And the question is not stupid at all, we are quite numerous to share your concern.

Best regards to Italy!

Etienne

#5

Hi, Antonio:

I took mine (some of which you can see here with this arrangement:

  • Digital camera (in my case an old Sony model, 3 Mpixels or so), the more pixels the better.

  • Use some suitable cloth or otherwise for backgrounds, preferably dark-toned so that your calculators will stand out the most. Avoid white or very clear backgrounds, since metallic bezels will tend to blend with the background and not stand up as they sould.

  • Use a macro setting or else zoom to the maximum possible size so that your calculator fills at least 3/4 of the picture area.

  • Use both as strong an ambient illumination as possible *AND* fill-in flash, taking good care of angles so that there are neither reflections nor shadows (which the fill-in flash will fill IN, of course).

  • F-stop to the maximum possible f-number to increase depth-of-field, very important for relatively small objects such as calculators captured at macro settings. Otherwise you risk having some parts of your calculator perfectly in focus and others slightly unfocused or at the very least not that sharp. Don't worry for the reduced amount of light reaching the sensor, as the fill-in flash will compensate.

  • Set the ISO setting not to Auto but to the lowest possible number (usually ISO 25), because this will reduce electronic "noise" (spurious colored pixels here and there), most specially in dark areas of the image and, again, the fill-in flash will compensate for this.

  • And last but certainly not least, a tripod and a cable trigger are ABSOLUTELY essential, such that the camera is absolutely steady and no unnecessary vibrations are transmitted to it while triggering the shutter. Don't even think of taking pics without the tripod, the sharpness will decrease an order of magnitude or two. If you don't have a cable trigger for your camera, simply set it to autotrigger, so that it fires by itself after a short countdown. This way no vibrations are transmitted from your finger to the camera's body.

Follow these advices to the best extent you can and you'll be rewarded by razor sharp, well-lighted pictures.

Best regards from V.

Edited: 18 Apr 2006, 8:50 a.m.


#6

I need to add some points :)

> Digital camera (in my case an old Sony model, 3 Mpixels or so), the more pixels the better.

absolutely true; even if pictures are compacted to VGA size, you will notice the difference. Don't get fooled by "super 99 megapixel software resolution" - optical resolution comes with a price, nice allround cameras are available for 750$; DSLRs with good glasses are a couple of k

> Use some suitable cloth or otherwise for backgrounds, preferably dark-toned so that your calculators will stand out the most. Avoid white or very clear backgrounds, since metallic bezels will tend to blend with the background and not stand up as they sould.

yes, but not suitable for all types of pictures; best is to have one light and one dark background handy

> Use a macro setting or else zoom to the maximum possible size so that your calculator fills at least 3/4 of the picture area.

this depends on the optics - it's probably better to have less picture area filled than shooting with a strong distortion (mostly around the longest and shortest focal length)

> Use both as strong an ambient illumination as possible *AND* fill-in flash, taking good care of angles so that there are neither reflections nor shadows (which the fill-in flash will fill IN, of course).

ambient light is nice - you will notice, when you are shooting with sunlight... It's possible to simulate ambient light by attacking diffusors to your indirect flash. I recently acquired a ring flash (intended for macro shootings), this creates very "hard" and "technical" looking pictures, even when not in macro distance. This will of course only work for technical objects, you wouldn't want to do portraits with it :)

> F-stop to the maximum possible f-number to increase depth-of-field, very important for relatively small objects such as calculators captured at macro settings. Otherwise you risk having some parts of your calculator perfectly in focus and others slightly unfocused or at the very least not that sharp. Don't worry for the reduced amount of light reaching the sensor, as the fill-in flash will compensate.

yes - but no. Even high-priced chunks of glass will go very "soft" when shooting at maximum F. You will certainly have to experiment to find the acceptable range. Most certainly this is some stops further down.

> Set the ISO setting not to Auto but to the lowest possible number (usually ISO 25), because this will reduce electronic "noise" (spurious colored pixels here and there), most specially in dark areas of the image and, again, the fill-in flash will compensate for this.

lowest is good (though it's probably ISO100 or 200 on your camera)

> And last but certainly not least, a tripod and a cable trigger are ABSOLUTELY essential, such that the camera is absolutely steady and no unnecessary vibrations are transmitted to it while triggering the shutter. Don't even think of taking pics without the tripod, the sharpness will decrease an order of magnitude or two. If you don't have a cable trigger for your camera, simply set it to autotrigger, so that it fires by itself after a short countdown. This way no vibrations are transmitted from your finger to the camera's body.

and remember to get a *good* tripod; I started out with a very clumsy one which could hardly handle my DSLR. I replaced it by a (only one third as expensive) "pro" tripod for video shooting - from ebay. If available, I'd suggest buying an IR remote - that's far better than those short wires...

btw.: if you own an old scanner, you might want to try that one; I had a Relysis scanner, that scanned 1 cm deep - good enough for most of the calculators.


#7

re: Don't get fooled by "super 99 megapixel software resolution" - optical resolution comes with a price, nice allround cameras are available for 750$; DSLRs with good glasses are a couple of k

Prices (at least in the US) are much better. I got myself the Canon Digital Rebel XT as my Christmas present last year. It is an 8 megapixel DSLR and is now priced around $800 (with a 3X Canon zoom lens). I like it a lot. You can go to ASA 400 and there is little, if any, digital noise in the images. Our local Ritz has been advertising the Nikon D50 (whatever is their latest one; maybe it's the D70) for $600. That's a 6 MP DSLR, also with a 3X or so zoom lens.

Depends on the lens, but I think using longer focal length generally gives you better pictures. Using wide angle/up close creates barrel distortion.

#8

I have a Sony Mavica that uses 3 1/2" floppy and 640x480 resolution. It works great for web pics. I put it in macro by zooming in and filling the frame with object. The objects photograph best for me by setting them on my diving board (white). I bought myself a hp r817 5.1 mp for Christmas and I set the res. to vga to reduce file size and do same as with the Sony except the round hp invent calc was placed on my recently fallen saguaro.

hth, Charlie O. in Phoenix

#9

There are camera stands that are designed to hold the camera with the lens pointing straight down at the objective. You can then adjust the vertical distance. As far as reflections go, if your camera can accept an adapter I would try a polarizing filter. Max out the f-stop, use a low ISO setting, and use a time delay of 5 seconds so the camera will be perfectly still when it shoots. Use a well lit room to avoid any shadows and play with the shutter time (or slightly overexpose so you can tweak it with photo editing software).


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Taking a Prime apart Tony Duell 4 891 11-16-2013, 11:47 AM
Last Post: hugh steers
  41Z Red Shift taking shape. Ángel Martin 13 1,748 11-23-2009, 11:53 AM
Last Post: Ángel Martin
  Before I had HP calculators, I had Sharp calculators hecube 7 1,231 08-26-2009, 06:57 AM
Last Post: Mark Edmonds
  HP 28 Internal Photographs? Travis Goodspeed 6 1,023 01-03-2008, 03:02 PM
Last Post: Alex L
  Samson Cables now Taking Orders for 35S Les Wright 22 2,623 07-15-2007, 12:20 PM
Last Post: Gerson W. Barbosa
  Taking Inventory Les Wright 2 602 02-09-2007, 03:36 AM
Last Post: Les Wright
  Taking the 16C out of float mode Joe Edwards 9 1,277 06-09-2004, 03:48 PM
Last Post: bill platt (les Estats Unis d'Amerique)
  HP-28S Autopsy Photographs Paul Brogger 5 835 05-12-2003, 09:11 AM
Last Post: Paul Brogger

Forum Jump: