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Thread: Just got Rebel T4i... now what lens? software? how to shoot product photography?

  1. #1
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    Just got Rebel T4i... now what lens? software? how to shoot product photography?

    Just got a Rebel T4i with a lens kit. Will be using for product photography (clothes), will be resizing images to 5'' x 5'' to fit on online webpages. (FYI I have a light kit ordered should come in this week).

    (1) It came with two lens:

    Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens

    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS type II lens

    Which lens should I be using? Guessing the IS one.

    A guy who had some kick ass pictures...I asked him what he used and he said an older canon (don't remember the name but it's from 2006) and Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 IS USM Lens. That lens is $800+, I don't mind buying it, but people have told me I wouldn't see a difference between my lenses and his lens (for my purpose)... true or not?

    (2) My camera came with some software like Adobe Photoshop elements 10, but someone recommended Adobe light room (which isn't too expensive). Should I invest in it? What adjustments should I focus on in photoshop (probably impossible to answer)

    (3) How should I be shooting? Someone just told me shoot in RAW mode. Other than this, is there any other settings or adjustments I should use? (Yeah, never used DSLR before). I know there are photo books out there (100s of pages), is a lot more detail than I want or describes multiple functions. I am just using my camera to get rid of some old clothes, usually list for charity, and get whatever I can out of it. Not looking for anything else (maybe some day).

    Any thoughts and opinions are appreciated (:

  2. #2
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    Re: Just got Rebel T4i... now what lens? software? how to shoot product photography?

    Kit lens should be fine for what you're doing. Stabilization isn't necessary either. Typically, the higher priced lenses give you better contrast and saturation straight from camera. Try taking some shots and ask what's missing.
    Give adobe elements a try before buying something else. They have a channel on their website that helps out with work flow and adjustments. If you need more info than what they give you, look at YouTube. Other options are available but cost money.
    By the way, that's a great camera.
    Words get in the way of what I meant to say.

  3. #3
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    You'll want to use the 18-55mm. The 55-250mm is meant for things that are further away than you're likely to place your clothing.

    The 17-55mm f/2.8 can work in lower light (doesn't matter for non-moving clothess, lit with a flash). It can also create a thinner depth of field (or DOF). This is just a measure of how much is in focus, and how quickly background or foreground elements go out of focus. If you place your clothing items on a surface, both lenses will work the same. If you place your clothing on some sort of stand, and put something behind to act as a background (fabric, poster board, whatever), both lenses will be act identically. If you place your clothing items on a model, with a solid background, both lenses will act identically. If you place clothing on a model, and you can't control the background, and want the background blurred, the 17-55mm is the better choice. I'm expecting the 18-55mm will be just fine.

    If you're shooting lots of images at once, consider Lightroom. If you're shooting a few images at a time, Elements works fine. I use elements 10. You can also use the DPP (Canon Digital Photo Professional) software that came with the camera. It does everything you need.

    Until you get your lighting kit, I'd suggest using the following settings:
    Mode dial M (manual mode... except you're going to tell the camera to figure out ISO)
    Set the Aperture (Av) to f/8.
    Set the Shutter Speed (Tv) to 1/50s. Should be fast enough to hand hold without blur if hold the camera steady when pressing the shutter button.
    Set the ISO to AUTO. ISO is like a volume control for light, and we're telling the camera to figure it out for us.

    By setting a fairly slow shutter speed, you can work in dim indoor light. But setting a fairly high aperture value, you ensure you have everything in focus. It's also slightly above your lens' widest aperture (f/5.6 at the 55mm end), which helps sharpness. Many lenses don't perform their best wide open.

    If your ISO goes very high, your images will have a lot of noise. To combat this, you'll need either a tripod, so you can lower your shutter speed, or your flash kit, so you can add more light, or just move yourself to a brighter location (but not direct sunlight! Shaded near bright sunlight is great).

  4. #4
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    Actually, you know, the T4i is probably too new to work with the RAW converters available for Elements 10. You'll need Adobe's DNG converter (free) to convert the CR2 files into DNGs, then open those in Elements for further processing if you want... or just use the bundled DPP.

  5. #5
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    In my own (casual) testing the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is very decent in terms of sharpness (some reviews agree some not so much), CA isn't "as" controlled as on better lenses but it's still not terribly noticeable except in extreme circumstances (reflections of light sources on shiny things).

    You're going to want a tripod for sure, I guarantee your pictures will be better, and unless the subject is moving that applies to photography in general (the reason you don't see people lugging them around all the time is that people get sick of lugging them around all the time). Get a remote shutter release as well (I use this one, it's cheap and it works).
    A spare battery might also be a good idea, when shooting on a tripod I tend to use live view the most, and with live view on (which should be amazing on the T4i) I usually swap the battery after a few hours, which means that as long as you're not out in the woods you could theoretically shoot forever by just charging one battery while using the second (I've never actually had to swap batteries more than once in an afternoon).
    For most "stuff" shots I try to find a well lit room and use a long exposure (usually around one second), I've never liked the look of flash. From what I've read most people use a remote flash off to the side with a diffuser if they do use one.
    Oddly enough finding a room with the right light and enough space for your background setup can sometimes be the hardest part.

    Just to help get to know your camera better, I suggest watching these videos, they cleared up a few odd points about the camera for me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAx86nblZ2g

    The best suggestion I can think of right now as far as camera handling goes is to become proficient at manually setting the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Eventually you'll probably just stick it in one of the automated settings, but having a good grasp on how those three settings affect the picture will make sure you know what to do if the camera isn't getting the shot right.
    Oh, and having a grey card can be useful, sometimes the camera will display the colours all funny (I'm almost always on auto white balance), and just flashing a piece of white or grey paper in front of the camera can get it to set the colours more correctly.
    Last edited by 9VIII; 02-15-2013 at 01:28 AM.

  6. #6
    (1) Go with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II. The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is a fantastic lens (I have one and use it all the time) but is totally unnecessary for what your are shooting. Your kit lens is really quite capable of making fantastic photos. It just doesn't have the low-light and artistic latitude of its[much] more expensive cousin.

    (2) Aperture 3 if you own a Mac or Lightroom 4 if you own a PC. These programs are primarily designed to organize large numbers of photos, which I expect you will accumulate. They are also quite capable of color correction, exposure adjustment and basic editing. You would only need to use Photoshop Elements for much more involved editing. Elements will not help you manage/organize your photos.

    (3) You don't NEED to shoot in RAW. For what you are doing, JPEG (Large/Fine setting) is more than adequate, especially in a controlled shooting environment. But there's no right or wrong answer here. RAW is better, in that it captures more data for your computer to manipulate that gives you incrementally better control over color balance, highlight and shadow detail, sharpness and noise control. But the advantage is just that: incremental. RAW file size is not incrementally bigger. It is about 3x bigger than the highest resolution JPEG files and will likely only serve to fill up your hard drive and RAM, and slow up your computer. I use RAW to shoot weddings, but I'm frequently shooting in bad light and always in fast-moving uncontrolled environments with no hope of re-shooting if I get it wrong. But RAW is not necessary for static product shots that will be enlarged to 5" x 5".

    I don't think you need to shoot in manual mode, although it would be a good learning experience. I would recommend:
    • Shoot in AV mode with the aperture set to f/8.0
    • Set your ISO to automatic, but shoot in a space with good light so that noise does not become an issue


    That's it. Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Black_Dog, Elements has an organizer. I've never loaded it, but it's gone one.

    The advantage of Manual w/ Auto ISO over Av w/ Auto ISO is ensuring your shutter speed is hand holdable. I have no idea what a T4i will do when it can pick both shutter speed and ISO. It may try to keep the shutter speed high, and raise the ISO to compensate. Since we know shutter speed can be low, we can force that with Manual mode, helping to ensure a lower ISO and less noise.

  8. #8
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    If I recall correctly you are planning to have the clothing laid out on a flat panel of some sort??? If so, I suspect you will find that the set up will be fairly static, you can crop in quite a bit or zoom in/out w/ the 18-55 to frame the clothes correctly. The flash settings, etc will be static - zoom (unless it changes the f-stop, so I agree to start at f 8 as this will be consistent no matter what you zoom to) doesn't change the flash, shutter speed, or ISO - You will be able to get all the settings in the camera and use the JPG format and "size" i.e. resolution such that you will be able to avoid fiddling with anything in the computer before you post it to the web.

    I think your kit (new in box?) includes a USB cable so that you can shoot tethered (check the EOS Utlilities software) to the computer and can see what the image will look like before you even click the shutter - which you should consider as basically "free" so don't be shy about it. While not specifically rated you should be able to get 50,000 clicks before it gives up ( earlier rebel models were rated for 100,000 clicks).

    Then for the times you aren't shooting just product shots..... have a great time experimenting.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEccleston View Post
    Black_Dog, Elements has an organizer. I've never loaded it, but it's gone one.

    The advantage of Manual w/ Auto ISO over Av w/ Auto ISO is ensuring your shutter speed is hand holdable. I have no idea what a T4i will do when it can pick both shutter speed and ISO. It may try to keep the shutter speed high, and raise the ISO to compensate. Since we know shutter speed can be low, we can force that with Manual mode, helping to ensure a lower ISO and less noise.
    Elements often ships with Adobe Bridge, which is a crappy photo organizer that has been plagued with bugs, some of which are well documented and - last I read - remain unfixed.

    You are right, manual mode gives the photographer the greatest control over all facets of the exposure. I use manual mode when necessary in my shooting. However manual mode sacrifices all of the conveniences, efficiencies and failsafes available in these expensive and sophisticated cameras. Using AV mode with auto ISO is quite safe for handheld photography and is much faster and easier to use, especially for someone new to this kind of DSLR photography.

    In AV mode, the 4Ti (and all other Canon DSLRS) are programmed to keep the camera hand holdable. Canon uses an algorithm that automatically increases ISO when required shutter speed drops to 1 / lens focal length x 1.6 (the 1.6 multiplier only used if an APS-C body). Given how well the 4Ti controls noise (better than the 7D or 60D, quite acceptable noise up to ISO 3200 or maybe even 6400), AV mode seems to me to be the better choice.

  10. #10
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    Why not use your smart phone? It's a lot easier and quicker!
    According to your original post it seems like you're not interested in photography. You got the camera for the purpose of taking pictures of your stuff before selling them. Therefore I suggest you use the camera with the kit lens, that combination should be more than enough for your purpose. Hold on to buying expensive lenses before you are actually interested in photography. You don't want to end up using your camera + kit lens to take picture of your expensive lens before you eBay it.

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