Chip Photography Thread

Marius L

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Here's an example of my 5 minute photoshot yesterday.

Equipment:
- I have a Canon EOS 6D dslr that I use with a sigma 150mm prime macro lens.
- homemade shufflepad that I've felted with speedcloth leftovers from my table build
-window + daylight
- something to put this on to get it next to the window (in my case a modified ikea steps that my 1 year old use to stand by the kitchen bench)

Took a photo of the set up, which was pretty ridiculous and simple, but it worked for a quick chip photo. The most important thing is to have good lighting and to isolate the subject.
DSC_0482.JPG

DSC_0483.JPG

Used the wifi connection and sent the pictures straight from camera to my phone and uploaded here. Zero editing in post.

I realize I'm probably cheating by having a dslr camera and macro lens, but I think if you have a decent phone or any proper camera you can get good results simply by using daylight + window. No need for fancy lighting.

Here's a couple of the resulting photos
20210215163839__MG_7576.JPG
20210215163728__MG_7567.JPG

20210215163610__MG_7560.JPG
 

horseshoez

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Here's an example of my 5 minute photoshot yesterday.

Equipment:
- I have a Canon EOS 6D dslr that I use with a sigma 150mm prime macro lens.
- homemade shufflepad that I've felted with speedcloth leftovers from my table build
-window + daylight
- something to put this on to get it next to the window (in my case a modified ikea steps that my 1 year old use to stand by the kitchen bench)

Took a photo of the set up, which was pretty ridiculous and simple, but it worked for a quick chip photo. The most important thing is to have good lighting and to isolate the subject.

Used the wifi connection and sent the pictures straight from camera to my phone and uploaded here. Zero editing in post.

I realize I'm probably cheating by having a dslr camera and macro lens, but I think if you have a decent phone or any proper camera you can get good results simply by using daylight + window. No need for fancy lighting.

Here's a couple of the resulting photos
View attachment 637459View attachment 637460
View attachment 637466

Amazing what the combination of natural daylight + proper setting can do. These pics are a perfect example. I think many times when some people see nice pics, they feel overwhelmed and think there’s a lot of pro equipment involved. Nicely done.
 

horseshoez

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I know several of us aren't quite able to achieve these type of images but I saw this set and its photo shoot before. Had to give it a mention in here. Photo credits go to it's owner, @madforpancakes. I can remove these at your request. The set and the photos you took, just too incredible not to share in here. Would really like to know what setup was used when capturing these.

https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/the-rainier-room-cpc.64177/

DSCF8086-01.jpeg
nVOaapu.jpg
h3t3miL.jpg
 
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I know several of us aren't quite able to achieve these type of images but I saw this set and its photo shoot before. Had to give it a mention in here. Photo credits go to it's owner, @madforpancakes. I can remove these at your request. The set and the photos you took, just too incredible not to share in here. Would really like to know what setup was used when capturing these.

https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/the-rainier-room-cpc.64177/

View attachment 647417View attachment 647421View attachment 647420
That bottom shot is the money tho :sneaky:
 

Nex

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One can definitely see in these photos that someone threw substantial effort and far above average gear on the job.

- Dusted-off/cleaned chips, balanced edge spot visibility in stacks (likely carefully rotated)
- Macro (or close to it) lens
- Very clean/tidy background
- Apparently an external flash, and likely not a bare one but softened
- Looks like not straight out of camera with some preset but slight, appropriate color/curves adjustment
- Very creative angle/setup in first shot
 

madforpancakes

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I know several of us aren't quite able to achieve these type of images but I saw this set and its photo shoot before. Had to give it a mention in here. Photo credits go to it's owner, @madforpancakes. I can remove these at your request. The set and the photos you took, just too incredible not to share in here. Would really like to know what setup was used when capturing these.

https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/the-rainier-room-cpc.64177/

View attachment 647417View attachment 647421View attachment 647420
Thanks! My setup is nothing too fancy.

Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lenses: 35mm f/2 / 80mm f/2.8 Macro

Lighting for all of these is just my poker table's overhead track lighting, plus some additional face on light from a couple LED bulbs in one of those 5 flexible arm floor lights you have probably seen at Target. Important note here, you should make sure all of the lighting you are using (assuming artificial) has the same color temperature. A lot of LED bulbs have the color temperature (for example 2700K) printed on the bulb. Probably also worth using the same brand for all the lights as I'm sure there will be variation between brands that have the same color temperature. Make sure you shoot a custom white balance setting if your camera supports it! Don't leave it to the automatic WB, that will give you inconsistent results depending on what the camera sees in each shot.

The first pic was taken with the 80mm macro lens which is great for close up shots of chips. It is kind of a pain to get the focus right when you are that close however. You can even see the left and right sides of the chip are already falling out of focus, and this was at f/5. Without more powerful lighting it can be difficult to get really sharp results indoors at macro distances.

I have a black photo backdrop that I used for shots 2 and 3. Both were taken with the 35mm, f/8 and f/11 respectively. I find the number one thing that holds people's photos back (outside of composition and that sort of thing) is not paying close enough attention to what is in the background. A distracting/ugly background takes people's eyes away from the subject of the photo, and it makes a big difference. I'm not saying "black out the background every time," but it is just something to think about when you are taking your own photos and analyzing ways you can make them better. As a quick example, here's a picture I took for the Chip Hoard thread with my cell phone - exact same location minus the backdrop:

IMG_20200323_124352.jpg


Even though this is just a cell phone photo, the background (filthy basement wall, chairs haphazardly placed, ugly cables and pipes) takes away from the majesty of all the chips in the middle.

Hope this info helps!
 

Nex

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For the macros -- newer camera models offer "focus peaking" in live view mode where they run the usual contrast detection algorithm for "old " live view autofocus and highlight the areas in the video feed where it perceives optimal or near optimal sharpness. Can help with accurate manual focus if the camera is on a tripod. For the shallow DoF, some cameras offer automated shot bracketing where the camera will move the focus position slightly with every new photo. You can then run the photo series through a computer program that takes the sharpest parts of each shot and combines them into one single image.
 

madforpancakes

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One can definitely see in these photos that someone threw substantial effort and far above average gear on the job.

- Dusted-off/cleaned chips, balanced edge spot visibility in stacks (likely carefully rotated)
- Macro (or close to it) lens
- Very clean/tidy background
- Apparently an external flash, and likely not a bare one but softened
- Looks like not straight out of camera with some preset but slight, appropriate color/curves adjustment
- Very creative angle/setup in first shot
For the macros -- newer camera models offer "focus peaking" in live view mode where they run the usual contrast detection algorithm for "old " live view autofocus and highlight the areas in the video feed where it perceives optimal or near optimal sharpness. Can help with accurate manual focus if the camera is on a tripod. For the shallow DoF, some cameras offer automated shot bracketing where the camera will move the focus position slightly with every new photo. You can then run the photo series through a computer program that takes the sharpest parts of each shot and combines them into one single image.

These are actually all straight out of camera! These were all shot RAW and then run through the in-camera RAW converter with the Provia film simulation. Fuji colors just have that something special going on! I have used the focus bracketing a few times to great effect, but wanted to avoid post-production as much as possible.
 

horseshoez

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Thanks! My setup is nothing too fancy.

Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lenses: 35mm f/2 / 80mm f/2.8 Macro

Lighting for all of these is just my poker table's overhead track lighting, plus some additional face on light from a couple LED bulbs in one of those 5 flexible arm floor lights you have probably seen at Target. Important note here, you should make sure all of the lighting you are using (assuming artificial) has the same color temperature. A lot of LED bulbs have the color temperature (for example 2700K) printed on the bulb. Probably also worth using the same brand for all the lights as I'm sure there will be variation between brands that have the same color temperature. Make sure you shoot a custom white balance setting if your camera supports it! Don't leave it to the automatic WB, that will give you inconsistent results depending on what the camera sees in each shot.

The first pic was taken with the 80mm macro lens which is great for close up shots of chips. It is kind of a pain to get the focus right when you are that close however. You can even see the left and right sides of the chip are already falling out of focus, and this was at f/5. Without more powerful lighting it can be difficult to get really sharp results indoors at macro distances.

I have a black photo backdrop that I used for shots 2 and 3. Both were taken with the 35mm, f/8 and f/11 respectively. I find the number one thing that holds people's photos back (outside of composition and that sort of thing) is not paying close enough attention to what is in the background. A distracting/ugly background takes people's eyes away from the subject of the photo, and it makes a big difference. I'm not saying "black out the background every time," but it is just something to think about when you are taking your own photos and analyzing ways you can make them better. As a quick example, here's a picture I took for the Chip Hoard thread with my cell phone - exact same location minus the backdrop:

View attachment 647542

Even though this is just a cell phone photo, the background (filthy basement wall, chairs haphazardly placed, ugly cables and pipes) takes away from the majesty of all the chips in the middle.

Hope this info helps!

Had a feeling there was backdrop, making it a cleaner shot without having to mess with angles in order to keep any of the room appearing in it.

Interesting to see that first shot was taken at f/5. I’ve been out of the DSLR game for so long now that I thought it closer to f/2.8. Very cool. Makes me miss owning one. My last body was a Canon 5D Mark III but a lot has happened since then. All sorts of new toys out there to pick from.

Thanks sharing the details on how you took them. Really useful, even if the setup wasn’t that complicated. Helps most everybody on here that are trying to get some nice shots without breaking the bank.
 

Nex

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Current macro lenses all exhibit this behavior. Some limitation about the optical design, related to the interior focusing. They are designated constant f2.8 but in reality the max aperture gets worse the closer the lens has to focus. For my Tamron 90mm, it's f5.6 at the near focus limit and only gets to f2.8 when focused at infinity. In any case though a f2.8 aperture at such focal lengths and low distances would probably be unusably thin so you'd either have to stop down and/or go with focus stacking.

While on the Nikon system the lenses and camera firmware correctly report the change of effective aperture as you move the focus, and also writes the effective f-stop into the photo files, in the Canon world it doesn't report it correctly at least, or so I heard. Don't know about different manufacturers.

These are actually all straight out of camera! These were all shot RAW and then run through the in-camera RAW converter with the Provia film simulation. Fuji colors just have that something special going on! I have used the focus bracketing a few times to great effect, but wanted to avoid post-production as much as possible.
Okay well, Fuji does have a reputation for having presets that don't suck. I was thinking Nikon- and Canon-Level presets.
 
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IMG_20210303_120908_1.jpg


Just a kitchen counter with window light from the right, a 2 year old cellphone and the most important setting: a decent white balance.

Same spot taken from a little farther away without the chips obv:
16147778086875078324355086305174.jpg


You really don't need fancy equipment for a decent picture. Background, lighting and light temperature/white balance are the most important things you have to control and you can do that with just a phone and a window.

Edit: the set is not finished yet, I just got overexcited and needed an excuse to post it somewhere.
 
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horseshoez

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View attachment 648010

Just a kitchen counter with window light from the right, a 2 year old cellphone and the most important setting: a decent white balance.

Same spot taken from a little farther away without the chips obv:
View attachment 648011

You really don't need fancy equipment for a decent picture. Background, lighting and light temperature/white balance are the most important things you have to control and you can do that with just a phone and a window.

Edit: the set is not finished yet, I just got overexcited and needed an excuse to post it somewhere.

Your countertop seals the deal in this shot! I like the color of it. Seeing your set makes me happy I peeled the 25¢ labels off my yellows and turned them into my $5’s, pending @Gear labels for those and other racks.
 

Nanook

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Current macro lenses all exhibit this behavior. Some limitation about the optical design, related to the interior focusing. They are designated constant f2.8 but in reality the max aperture gets worse the closer the lens has to focus. For my Tamron 90mm, it's f5.6 at the near focus limit and only gets to f2.8 when focused at infinity. In any case though a f2.8 aperture at such focal lengths and low distances would probably be unusably thin so you'd either have to stop down and/or go with focus stacking.
I think I understand what you are saying and if I do, what you are saying is that even though you have a lens that is a constant f2.8 it won't actually autofocus when taking close ups at f2.8. What is the near focus limit on your lens? 3' maybe? Lets say it is 3' then you are saying the most wide open you can get it to focus @ 3' is f5.6? hmm..

Here is my experience with this:
You may be right with your lens, but I know what works for me so I'll give a few suggestions. I know they are a bit expensive, but a macro lens does wonders for being able to get closer. You can get some extension tubes too and that helps, but a macro lens is a better solution, not cheaper, but better. I have a Canon f2.8 macro (non-IS) and I can get it to focus @ f2.8 at around 6" pretty easily, yes that is right 6 inches. Your comment about f2.8 @ very close focal length having a very thin depth of field is 100% correct. Sometimes you want that and others it is just so unnecessary. Add a tripod to the mix and you will have no problem using your f5.6 or even just go to f13 or even f22 and keep everything in focus that you want to stay in focus.

I just took these pictures to show what can be done with different aperture and depth of field. It is all about knowing what you want to do and knowing how to do it. You can produce very different looking pictures depending on what you know and how you make your settings/setup light source, background etc. All pictures are taken with an old Canon 40D and a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro (non - IS) lens on a tripod in a light box with an external constant light source. My lens has an advertised minimum focal length of .31m or about 11". I can easily focus down to about 5 or 6" @ f2.8 and inside that it gets tough.
Pic #1 Object @ 12" f2.8 - Straight on - Everything in focus
Pic #2 Object @ 12" f2.8 - Right side closer by maybe 1/4" - Right Side OOF
Pic #3 Object @ 12" f13 - Same position as pic #2 - Everything in focus
Pic #4 Object @ 12" f2.8 - Chip angled at about 45° Right side further from Camera - Focused on center of Chip - Center in Focus, Right and Left sides OOF
Pic #5 Object @ 12" f13 - Chip angled at about 45° - Same position as Pic #4 - Focused on center of Chip - Everything in Focus
Pic #6 Object @ 6" f2.8 - Chip angled at about 45° Right side further from Camera - Focused on center of Chip - Notice how thin the depth of field is here
Pic #7 Object @ 6" f13 - Chip angled at about 45° - Same as Pic #6 - Focused on center of Chip - Both Right and left edges are soft
Pic #8 Object @ 6" f32 - Chip angled at about 45° - Same as Pic #6 - Focused on center of Chip - Everything is in Focus
and the pictures:
#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8
 
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Nex

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I think I understand what you are saying and if I do, what you are saying is that even though you have a lens that is a constant f2.8 it won't actually autofocus when taking close ups at f2.8. What is the near focus limit on your lens? 3' maybe? Lets say it is 3' then you are saying the most wide open you can get it to focus @ 3' is f5.6? hmm..
https://www.tamron.eu/lenses/sp-90mm-f28-di-macro-11-vc-usd/

Current design macro lenses are internally focusing, i.e. to focus there's a lens group moving inside the barrel. The tube never changes its length when focusing. Now if I understood the optics part correctly, the problem with that is when the focusing lens group moves all the way to the rear end where the lens is mounted on the camera, there is a very large distance between the focusing lens group and the front lens, with no (relevant) other optics inbetween. This reduces the amount of light that ends up at the focusing lens group, making the effective aperture worse. I may be wrong with the specifics of the explanation, but what really only matters to a photographer is the following.

Technically it's still a f2.8 lens because aperture is calculated with focal length and front lens diameter (which are immutable here too), but for exposure purposes where you are primarily interested in light intensity, it behaves more like a f5.6 lens so you have to either up your ISO or choose a slower shutter speed for equally bright results (vs. shooting at infinity).

This phenomenon is present in all internally focusing lenses, just that in regularly designed lenses all the numbers for the calculation aren't so extreme - the difference is somewhat negligible.
 

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https://www.tamron.eu/lenses/sp-90mm-f28-di-macro-11-vc-usd/

Current design macro lenses are internally focusing, i.e. to focus there's a lens group moving inside the barrel. The tube never changes its length when focusing. Now if I understood the optics part correctly, the problem with that is when the focusing lens group moves all the way to the rear end where the lens is mounted on the camera, there is a very large distance between the focusing lens group and the front lens, with no (relevant) other optics inbetween. This reduces the amount of light that ends up at the focusing lens group, making the effective aperture worse. I may be wrong with the specifics of the explanation, but what really only matters to a photographer is the following.

Technically it's still a f2.8 lens because aperture is calculated with focal length and front lens diameter (which are immutable here too), but for exposure purposes where you are primarily interested in light intensity, it behaves more like a f5.6 lens so you have to either up your ISO or choose a slower shutter speed for equally bright results (vs. shooting at infinity).

This phenomenon is present in all internally focusing lenses, just that in regularly designed lenses all the numbers for the calculation aren't so extreme - the difference is somewhat negligible.
I am trying to understand what your point is and figure out a) is this actually happening with my lens and/or all lenses and b) is this actually a problem as you say?
So to answer a)
I don't really understand lens design, but I do understand how photography works. I could probably test your hypothesis, but it is going to be tough because anything I would take a picture of at infinity (focal lenght) would have drastically different lighting conditions than something that I would take a picture of at 6". Infinity = outside with changing lighting conditions as the time of the day and or clouds etc change light a lot and @6" inside a controlled light box on a tripod. Unfortunately I am going to say that I can not say for sure if what you are saying is true or not, but I have not noticed what you are saying.
To answer b)
I am going to say that even if this were true, there are work arounds like a tripod, image stabilization, a better camera with higher ISO capabilities etc and I certainly do not see this as a problem that needs solving or a problem that I wouldn't know how to deal with given my current equipment.

I don't really understand 100% what your point is. Are you having trouble getting good pictures at close up distances with your lens/setup? Are you saying that no one is able to take close up pics? Are you saying all lenses are defective and should be made another way?

All you have to do is look at my pictures above and you can see that it is really obvious that with the right knowledge and a little bit of gear (nothing particularly expensive) you can get great, in focus, extremely close up pictures.

Here is another one. I just took this the other day and spent maybe 2 minutes fooling around with it and this was either the 2nd or 3 pic I took. I don't remember for sure, but something was slightly off on the 1st pic and I made a slight adjustment or two. Straight out of the camera other than cropped a bit and you can read text where the letters are roughly .002" or 2/1000" A standard piece of copy paper is .004 so we are talking about being able to read text that is 1/2 the size of the thickness of a piece of copy paper. If there is a "Problem" that needs solving here I can not see what it would be.
 

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It's a (solvable) problem in the way that you need to consider this fact when changing/judging camera settings for a particular scene, if the camera doesn't already do it for you. I don't have trouble getting good photos with my lens either.

--

The thing is that you pick up a lens that says it's f2.8.

You already have some experience with how f2.8 lenses behave in regard to roughly how much ambient light you need and what kind of ISO/SS you can go with there, figuring "yeah in this and that situation I can easily shoot hand-held without going beyond reasonable ISO levels", but then you find out you'd actually have to double all the ISO values you have memorized to get proper exposures if you use the lens for what it's actually made.

Now since you likely don't want to end up with ultra noisy photos, the only other options are slower shutter or more light. If you shoot natural light one of the routes is blocked already, and the other route will usually end up requiring you to bring a tripod. Summing up, the designation of such macro lenses sounds much much better than the actual performance is. They are not as versatile as you'd think they are just judging by technical specs alone, and they take some work and additional gear (tripod a must; remote trigger and artificial light helpful) to actually produce good results.

That's the issue I have with this phenomenon.

(Yeah, I know there's the more accurate T-stops which would make things way clearer, but they are not really used in the photography world. You won't get official T-stop values from most photo lens manufacturers.)
 

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Summing up, the designation of such macro lenses sounds much much better than the actual performance is. They are not as versatile as you'd think they are just judging by technical specs alone, and they take some work and additional gear (tripod a must; remote trigger and artificial light helpful) to actually produce good results.

That's the issue I have with this phenomenon............

Ok, point taken.
 
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