Canon 550D set up options documenting artwork

Started May 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
Junior MemberPosts: 36
Re: Canon 550D set up options documenting artwork
In reply to photonius, May 21, 2012

Hi Photomius

The smallest canvas paintings being 60 cm wide x 80 cm tall. Not behind glass and not framed and no varnish. I have done some research to come up with this configuration of hardware listed above. I just need some advice as to fine tuning everything in set up. I haven't noticed a marked difference using the Polarizing Filter.

The polarizer will probably not help you much, given that you are at a 90 degree angle to the picture. The max effect is at an angle of 56 degrees, not useful for you. (photography)
It may also cause color shifts, not all polarizers are totally neutral.

Ok, good to know. At least I have decent Polarizing filter when needs must for Deep Blues Sky's.

I shoot in 'RAW' format for the best option of getting the files Print Ready in post PS4 processing. Yet:

1. I am obviously after the steadiest crispest pictures. Is 'locking the mirror' going to make a difference if I am already on a tripod with remote shutter ?

I still would use mirror lock-up, the snapping mirror can also cause vibrations. If you have a sturdy tripod, and with a 50mm lens, it would probably be ok without mirror lock-up. You could try comparisons with and without for your set-up if it makes a difference.

Yep I need to experiment. I am Happy with the tripod.

2. Is there really a big difference in the quality of memory cards used ? My paintings are rich in color mostly biased Blues, Reds and Greens ?

The memory card has no issue on the data (color). The data are DIGITAL, not analog. What you worry about with digital cards is
a) size,
b) access speed
c) reliability

Stick with a reliable brand, e.g. Sandisk, Lexar, and use reasonably fast cards (class 6 at least). Video needs fast cards, and faster transfer speeds will also help transfering the data later to the computer faster. Sandisk Extreme cards should be fine.

Then it is only a question how much space you need and want and how much you want to pay.

Thanks Photonius very helpful !!!

3. Am I supposed to configure memory cards to my 550D or is that automatically done ? I have used two cards that used to be in a Kodak fixed lens camera.

Sounds like those could be older cards, a bit slower. They will work, may just take a little longer to save the files to card and transfer them later. If they fit (i.e. SD) you sure can use them. Reformat them in the camera to be save, then everything should be fine.

Yep I have used them and taken pictures without configuring anything. Pic's appear OK. Will take time to reformat though to be safe.

4. I set the Picture Style to 'Landscape' assuming that is the best setting for getting the whole frame in focus.

5. So far the best results have come from the 'Auto' settings because I don't feel I am using the manual options well enough. I am still getting too much bleaching on the outer edges of the pics. In other words less density of color and focus.

I wouldn't use the automatic features. First, the image is flat, and you want to be sure that you are perpendicular to the picture. Hence, you don't need all the AF points of automatic set-ups.

To get the best picture quality, I would use Av mode, i.e. set the aperture to f5.6 where the lens is best (you want to have the edges of the image sharp too),
see hotozone test:
Then use ISO 100.

The only variable then will be shutter speed, but you are on the tripod, so you are fine even if shutter speeds will be a bit slow.

Thanks !!! I will take time to review the link f5.6 had been recommended at half the lens focal length.

6.I try using natural overcast light, alternatively I have two Studio Diffused Daylight Box lights. (Not much success) Tried placing them at recommended 45ยบ angle either side of the painting, I just can't seem to lose the color loss at the outer edge of the frame,( too much light from source ).

As you say, get a grey card (don't know how your pictures are painted, but it may throw of the automatic white balance) and set white balance for overcast light, or your daylight boxes.

The key problem you have is the reflections of the light at the edges of the image. The main issue here is simply placing the light sources in the best spot, as far back as possible - you want the distance from the light source to the edge and the middle of the image to be the same ideally. You can also try to change the angle - depends on the space you have available.
Also, the more diffuse you can make the light source, the better.
A flash bounced off the ceiling could be better than the two light boxes.

The lights are diffused yet I suspect too close to the artwork, as I am limited by the width of the garage I am using as the studio. Thanks for your input. More experimenting to do.

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