making good pics of small Objects with a cellphonecamera
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Joined: September 02, 2010
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Location: Freiburg (Germany)

making good pics of small Objects with a cellphonecamera
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Posted on Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:17 am
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I just read a very interesting article of a german news-site, they explained there how you could make good pictures of small objects with your normal cellphone-camera. Okay, it's not just the cellphone you need, you also need an old dvd-device (or, to be specific, the lense).

All you need to do is get the lens and tape it on the camera.

There are some pics to show you (the very first is an example how good it works); click me
Sadly, it's in german, but the pics show really well where to find the lens (I hope, I couldn't try it because sadly, I don't have a old dvd-device... throw 'em all out a couple of month ago -.-" but I think I can get one ^^).

Thought it might be of interest for some micromaille-makers who don't want to spent much money on photo-equipment (or only have their cellphone-camera), but want to make good pictures.


For the people who think that you would need a lot of know-how for this; Look at the pictures. All you really need is a screwdriver, a plier (I think anyone has one or two of those? ^^) and some tape. The DVD-Device is the tricky part (I think an DVD-Player wold also work, maybe a CD-Device [or player], don't know if the lens of those is really different), but normally you have one of those things that doesn't reall work anymore (or aren't in use anymore) or you know someone who happens to have one.[/url]

If you have any questions or need a translation for anything of this, just ask.

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
Submissions: 150
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:18 pm
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Yeah, that's a nice idea, to re-utilize some fairly high-quality optics, like found in DVD drives, as macro lens for photography. As the lenses of nowadays' cell phone cameras have shrunk from generation to generation, the DVD drive lenses have 'grown' Very Happy large enough to fit. And even the resolutions of modern cell phone cameras have grown enough for useable photos.

But laws of physics cannot be broken, only sometimes a bit tweaked by farther approaching not yet reached limits, to overcome problems, where principal limits are already reached. So for example one limit is already reached, the sensor resolution one, that is already in the region of light wavelenght (diffraction limit), disallowing further miniaturization that were technically possible, already for 'ages'. Some limits can be tweaked further by providing just high enough amounts of light, to increase focal depth. And this DVD drive collimator macro lens is another possibility to 'expand the envelope'.

But there are tasks enough, that rely on large sensor surface, to get high REAL resolution. And high quality photography is among them. Seeing the increased amount of low quality Gallery submission images during the last time, that show clear signs what they were made with, tells me, that I will continue to rely on a dedicated camera with a reasonable sensor size, for the next couple of years. And no - it doesn't need to be a SLR with exchangeable lenses, and a resolution far above ten megapixels - a cheaper older-generation camera with a fairly large sensor not too much above maybe 5 megapixels, and good optics most times suffices, for 99% of all situations. Mobile cameras are maybe good for 80% - and jewellery photography often belongs to the remaining 20% not covered by them...

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper Mfe.s Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Pj Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hi

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: May 08, 2010
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Location: Chesapeake, VA, USA

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Posted on Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:31 pm || Last edited by Jax25 on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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I find that even cheaper cameras have a "close up" or similar function. Those give perfectly reasonable pictures of maill if you use them properly. I recently bought a small light box from ebay for about $15 (including shipping) and it has done wonders for my pictures. I won't lie and say that I've been taking them with a cheap camera though. I dredged out my $500 Canon EOS Rebel and have been using that...but even so, I think using my cheapie Kodak would give good results with the indirect lighting too. If one doesn't even have 15 dollars to spend, there are some good articles out there on making your own out of tissue paper and a cardboard box. Google DIY light box. One of those, a couple lamps and you're in business.

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
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Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:00 pm
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I must admit that I do not yet owe a light box, while I know that I could further improve my results that are (as I think) not too bad, already.

But I have a workplace light setup in my office/workshop combo, that is optimised to give much light, in a manner that avoids hard shadows. It consists of two long fluorescent tubes at the ceiling, in a L arrangement, directly above my main workplace. And there is an additional long tube of the same type, vertically mounted at the wall, to be switched on optionally. The office's window, showing to North, is relatively far away from my standard workplace, and has not much influence on the light situation anyway, as I'm used to be in that room mainly during the darker hours - I continue to be member of the working part of population, and so am absent during most daylight hours. The office's secondary workplace has another, optionally switchable tube, that is added sometimes to provide even more light.

Who hasn't (or doesn't need) so much artificial light, should invest in a light box. What is needed then additionally, is a decent tripod, and the knowledge how to use the camera's self-timer to get absolutely vibration free photos.

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper Mfe.s Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Pj Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hi

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: September 02, 2010
Posts: 380
Submissions: 16
Location: Freiburg (Germany)

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Posted on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:39 pm
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I have no lightbox, mostly I use sunlight, the pictures can get really beautiful, the downside is that I have to wait for a good day for this (upside; I'm living in the town with the most sunlight-days in germany ^^). But I was thinking about making one, too, especially yet in the darker time of the year - it's not really fun when you can only make pictures on two days of the week and on those you have to hope for good weather...
My camera is okay and yes, the pictures can be pretty good, especially with the close up (and there is a second close up option, really good for micromaille) but a often repeated reason for low-quality pics on this page was that they would only own a cellphonecamera.

Joined: May 08, 2010
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Location: Chesapeake, VA, USA

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Posted on Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:54 pm
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I have a tripod, but I can count the number of times I've used it on two fingers...and the last time I used it was over 10 years ago. Smile

Joined: May 07, 2008
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Submissions: 150
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:10 pm
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Jax25 wrote:
I have a tripod, but I can count the number of times I've used it on two fingers...and the last time I used it was over 10 years ago. Smile


Uh. Oh. We have problems enough getting photos of maille right, as lighting curved, often polished metal surfaces is difficult enough - and you seem to rely on flashlight, as you would get blurred photos without. I DID develop a promising (and even partially successful) easy solution for flashlight-utilizing maille photography (the matte ground glass plate) - but for most maille photography I use the tripod nevertheless; now often in combination with that plate.

Seeing your Gallery photos, that do NOT look like a flashlight was involved, I must ask, whether you make dozens of photos to select a nonblurry from, or use a fixed point to lean against as tripod substitute? Or do you something, that I don't think about?

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper Mfe.s Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Pj Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hi

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: May 08, 2010
Posts: 1155
Submissions: 11
Location: Chesapeake, VA, USA

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Posted on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:27 pm
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I've been using a very hack job setup recently because I don't have a lot of spare room. I put my lightbox on top of a Rubbermaid tub and use a lamp that I have in my workroom that has 5 "tentacles" that I can reposition where I want them. I put a couple of them shining down on top and a couple of them shooting from the side. Then I hold my camera and take pics from different angles. I usually do take about 5-10 shots that are slightly different focuses and angles. I don't have the steadiest hands in the world but I'm pretty practiced at holding a camera relatively steady from shooting in low light and some macro photography outdoors (insects and flowers mostly). I know I really should use a tripod but I'm lazy. Smile For the most part I do an okay job of getting clear images...and if I don't, then I go back and shoot another series. That's the beauty of digital photography, if at first you don't succeed, just go back and do it until you do. Laughing

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
Submissions: 150
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:13 pm
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Ah yes. The trial-error-redo-success method. I used that method for some time as well. And telling you, that I don't have much space, it became a matter of laziness now, to USE the tripod, at least for my standardized weave sample photo setup. I do not more fold down my tripod completely, but have it standing in one of my room's corners (just legs folded in to a column, but leaving them extended), for quick access. And I do NOT use a lightbox, but profit from my workplace's 'supersoft' lighting schematics. So in effect I save time and labor, due to a 'pre-adjusted' standardized setup. So sometimes small workspaces have also an advantage - all is within hand's reach. Very Happy

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper Mfe.s Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Pj Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hi

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: September 02, 2010
Posts: 380
Submissions: 16
Location: Freiburg (Germany)

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Posted on Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:52 pm
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I use the trial-error-redo-success method aswell. But the redo has more to do with lighting then with the picture getting blurry (and mostly with blurry picture I just used the wrong setting again). I have stady hands and lean again a fixed point (mostly the edges of the table) and 'prepress' the button of the camera. Most cameras (or at least, most of the ones I had) have two stages of the 'trigger' being pushed - with the first stage, the camera is fixed, the second stage takes the picture. With seperating thoes steps, the moving of the camera is reduced a lot.
And another part of it is to breath out before you do it and then hold your breath, that keeps you stady more (and you are more relaxed with having breathed out then in). Actually, I forget this part most of the times, but it's a good trick anyway. Coif LoL

Joined: May 08, 2010
Posts: 1155
Submissions: 11
Location: Chesapeake, VA, USA

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Posted on Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:14 pm
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ZiLi wrote:
And telling you, that I don't have much space, it became a matter of laziness now, to USE the tripod, at least for my standardized weave sample photo setup. -ZiLi-


Ah, but see, I very rarely have to go back for a second session. Usually I have a usable image (or multiple such) within the first 5 or 6 photos, as long as I light properly. As a bit of background on my work room, it has NO fixed lighting. It's a bedroom with one east-facing window. My work table is up against the window but unless it's a very bright day, there's not a ton of ambient light - at least from a photo taking perspective. Still, I think I'm doing pretty well with my photography. I'm hoping to buy a house and one of the major things I'm looking for is room to expand my "workshop." I'm sure the tripod will come into play then....or perhaps not, as needed. Smile

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