Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

Thread: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

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  1. #1
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    Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Moving a conversation from the Images forum -

    Quote Originally Posted by jay.scratch View Post
    I just got a BM and snapped some pics of it [deleted]. I just couldnt get the camera to focus correctly so the pics came out really bad and didnt end up posting them on my thread ( took the pics to post at S.O.C. forum).
    What kind of camera are you using?

    Quote Originally Posted by jay.scratch View Post
    nikon D40 with the 18-55mm lenses

    A bit of research on the web indicates that the 18-55mm lens that comes with the D40 kit should be able to focus at a distance of ~1ft. This would be at the 18mm end of the lens. It will not be able to focus at that distance when set to 55mm.

    So take a test shot by setting the lens to 18mm, set up about 1 to 2 feet from the watch, and take a photo. Is it in focus?

    A watch photo taken with this lens is attached. Photo by Ken Rockwell (www.kenrockwell.com)

    Post your test shot - we'll take it from there.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    I do not have the D40, but I do have the D60 with a similar lens 18-55. The only difference as far as I know is the stock lens that comes with the D60 has VR while the stock D40 18-55 lens does not.

    I haven't had an issue with my camera focusing at a close range. I am able to get it to focus at 18mm within a minimum range of about 7 inches or so.

    Here's a quick and dirty picture of one of my watches taken from a range of about 7"

    flash is on and you can see the shadow of the lens on the bottom.



    My camera finds no issue in focusing at the same range even at 55mm.

  3. #3
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Quarter View Post
    I do not have the D40, but I do have the D60 with a similar lens 18-55. The only difference as far as I know is the stock lens that comes with the D60 has VR while the stock D40 18-55 lens does not.

    I haven't had an issue with my camera focusing at a close range. I am able to get it to focus at 18mm within a minimum range of about 7 inches or so.

    Here's a quick and dirty picture of one of my watches taken from a range of about 7"

    flash is on and you can see the shadow of the lens on the bottom.



    My camera finds no issue in focusing at the same range even at 55mm.
    You are right at the edge here for focus. The front of the watch including the front of the strap are not in sharp focus.

    Look at the pattern in the material just to the right of the camera - you can see how the pattern changes from out of focus in the foreground to sharp focus and then out of focus again in the background.

    I would recommend moving back a little. If the watch does not fill the frame you can always crop the image afterwards to create a full frame image.

    Watch Photos: http://s884.photobucket.com/home/PhotoBuff0/index

    Current Stable

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    Seiko M55 Sea Lion Date 6206-9000
    Seiko M77 Sea Lion Date 8305-1000 (needs balance wheel)
    Bulova 98C62 Marine Star Diver
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Is it possible to get the entire frame to focus on such a close range like that? Im just curious, without cropping of course.

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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Quarter View Post
    Is it possible to get the entire frame to focus on such a close range like that? Im just curious, without cropping of course.
    The amount of an image in focus is called the Depth of Field (DOF). The amount of DOF is dependent on a couple of factors:


    1. The aperture setting of the lens. The smaller the aperture (opening in the lens) the larger the depth of field. Shooting at F22 will put much more of the image in focus then shooting at f2.8.
    2. The magnification. As magnification goes up, DOF drops. So when taking macro shots (close-ups) there is limited DOF available.


    The limited DOF can be used effectively to blur parts of the image and keep other parts sharp.

    If you want a close-up of the face of a watch, try to keep the face parallel to the back of the camera. This will minimize how much DOF is required to keep the entire face in focus.

    The image below of my Hamilton Aviation QNE was shot with the aperture wide open to focus on one specific detail of the back of the watch while keeping the rest out of focus.


    Watch Photos: http://s884.photobucket.com/home/PhotoBuff0/index

    Current Stable

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    Seiko M55 Sea Lion Date 6206-9000
    Seiko M77 Sea Lion Date 8305-1000 (needs balance wheel)
    Bulova 98C62 Marine Star Diver
    Oris XXL Regulator
    Schaumburg Watch - Lindburgh & Benson - Ellomatic #1 Chronograph
    Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver (Valjoux 23)
    Omega Seamaster GMT 2234.50
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  7. #6
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    WatchBuff0 thanks a lot before anything else
    Well I just got home from work and snapped a quick pics in automatic mode. Weird is that I was able to focus at around 1 feet away with 55mm and 18mm.
    Maybe the reason i wasnt able to focus the watch the other time was because I was shotting during day time (with 55mm). I was getting direct sun light and obvious had a lot of reflections. Definitely next time gotta use 18mm instead and then crop the image.
    Heres the quick test I did:

    18mm


    55mm


    I wasn't using a tripod btw. But still a lot of pic when I crop them they dont look sharp even when using a tripod (the object doesn't look blurry but neither sharp)

    ps: btw when i couln't get any focus when pointing at the watch the other time I was trying to get a pic like this http://s884.photobucket.com/albums/a...B.jpg&newest=1 (your pic lol) the watch and glass were directly exposed to sun light
    Last edited by jay.scratch; January 18th, 2010 at 04:29.

  8. #7
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Based on this test as well as what Empty_Quarter indicated, the 18-55mm lens can focus at 1ft - which is good!

    Shooting at 55mm will mean fewer items in the background as there is a narrower field of view.

    Now that you have focusing figured out plus a tripod you can start to determine what type of shots you want. If you want a shot with a reflection it's going to be a challenge with your small mirror. I doubt impossible, but you are going to have to be creative.

    As for the referenced photo, on the thread where I originally posted this image I added some details on how the shot was created:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=337983

    Enjoy - keep posting you results.

    Watch Photos: http://s884.photobucket.com/home/PhotoBuff0/index

    Current Stable

    Seiko Orange Monster SKX781K1
    Seiko Orange Samurai TI SBDA005
    Seiko Orange Sport Diver 6106-7107
    Orient Orange Mako
    Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE
    Seiko M55 Sea Lion Date 6206-9000
    Seiko M77 Sea Lion Date 8305-1000 (needs balance wheel)
    Bulova 98C62 Marine Star Diver
    Oris XXL Regulator
    Schaumburg Watch - Lindburgh & Benson - Ellomatic #1 Chronograph
    Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver (Valjoux 23)
    Omega Seamaster GMT 2234.50
    Longines Master Collection Retrograde L2.716.4

  9. #8
    Member jay.scratch's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    bookmarked that thread
    yeah the mirror is really small im gonna try with different shiny materials.
    Usually I take "OK" photos, nothing out of this world but they are fine. Problem is that I cant make them much better on photoshop. I can't even try to fix the levels because it ends up with the colors all messed up. I have a good tutorial from some photo magazine in here. Have to read it a few more times to see if I get it once for all lol.
    Anyway thank you for your time once again. I will try to snap some photos and keep you posted

  10. #9
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchBuff0 View Post

    A watch photo taken with this lens is attached. Photo by Ken Rockwell (www.kenrockwell.com)
    Thats a great site! So much info, especially for newbies. Thanks for sharing
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    Re: Trouble Taking Watch Photos with Nikon D40

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchBuff0 View Post
    The amount of an image in focus is called the Depth of Field (DOF). The amount of DOF is dependent on a couple of factors:


    1. The aperture setting of the lens. The smaller the aperture (opening in the lens) the larger the depth of field. Shooting at F22 will put much more of the image in focus then shooting at f2.8.
    2. The magnification. As magnification goes up, DOF drops. So when taking macro shots (close-ups) there is limited DOF available.

    3. Working distance - DOF is proportional to the subjects distance from the lens, DOF increases with working distance.

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