Camera recommendation for VFX Texturing Shooting?

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  10 October 2017
Camera recommendation for VFX Texturing Shooting?

Hello,

I have begun to narrow my focus down into specialise in texturing/surfacing. I was wondering if anyone could kindly offer me any recommendation on cameras / lens for close up flat texture photography ? I'm getting lots ofartefacts / slightly out of focus / noise with my current camera (especially once I start zooming into my textures) .

Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you very much

E
 
  10 October 2017
If you're having problems with out of focus regions and noise your issue is that your ISO is too high and your aperture is too wide, which means you don't have enough light. Recommend getting a tripod and/or an LED light panel. Tripod will let you have longer exposures/narrower apertures/lower ISO, and the light panel will let you light your surfaces more evenly.

Not sure what camera you have now, but just about any interchangeable lens mirrorless/SLR would do fine for a body. I'd go for a 50-ish mm macro lens since they tend to have zero distortion and a flat field. If you're on a budget check out film-era macro lenses since they tend to (still) be awesome and very cheap. Tripod and lighting are more important though.
 
  10 October 2017
I might be wrong, but I think that you don't actually want close-up-pictures for textures. It is better that your texture be lower-res and cover a larger-area, than be super-detailed but tiled/stretched. For this, pixel-count is king and recent semi-decent compact-cameras actually beat older SLRs for this because they auto-correct lens-distortion, have higher pixel-densities and are much cheaper. Cameras with small sensors and high pixel-densities are more susceptible to noise, but this isn't a problem with a decent amount of light. (Phone cameras have tiny sensors and require huge amounts of light).

I wouldn't go SLR and tripod if you can help it because you become a target for thieves, over-protective security-people and anyone that thinks you might be making $$$ on private-land with your "Professional gear". Lots of places in towns and cities like shopping-centers and parks are actually private-property. You can Youtube people getting accosted for filming/taking pictures of buildings in cities etc.
A phone-camera or compact doesn't draw nearly as much attention and you can fit them in your pocket which means you'll probably have it on you all the time. (the cameras in some modern-phones are actually really good)

How many pixels does your current camera have? I'd say something like aSony Cybershot HX60 would be fine for textures. High pixel-count and image-stabilisation, but there might be better alternatives.

Last edited by SD3D : 10 October 2017 at 10:30 PM.
 
  10 October 2017
What cam do you use ? What do you want to invest ?
 
  10 October 2017
Originally Posted by SD3D: I might be wrong, but I think that you don't actually want close-up-pictures for textures. It is better that your texture be lower-res and cover a larger-area, than be super-detailed but tiled/stretched. For this, pixel-count is king and recent semi-decent compact-cameras actually beat older SLRs for this because they auto-correct lens-distortion, have higher pixel-densities and are much cheaper. Cameras with small sensors and high pixel-densities are more susceptible to noise, but this isn't a problem with a decent amount of light. (Phone cameras have tiny sensors and require huge amounts of light).

I wouldn't go SLR and tripod if you can help it because you become a target for thieves, over-protective security-people and anyone that thinks you might be making $$ on private-land with your "Professional gear". Lots of places in towns and cities like shopping-centers and parks are actually private-property. You can Youtube people getting accosted for filming/taking pictures of buildings in cities etc.
A phone-camera or compact doesn't draw nearly as much attention and you can fit them in your pocket which means you'll probably have it on you all the time. (the cameras in some modern-phones are actually really good)

How many pixels does your current camera have? I'd say something like aSony Cybershot HX60 would be fine for textures. High pixel-count and image-stabilisation, but there might be better alternatives.


You don't understand, I'm not suggesting a macro lens for close ups. As I mentioned macro lenses inherently have lower distortion/aberrations than other lenses because of their optical formula meaning they're more suited to texture photography. You're also wrong about recent compacts being better because of auto lens correction, that can be dialled in for lightroom for any camera or lens manually in the very unlikely situation there's no preset available.Not to mention if you want the best IQ you need to be shooting in RAW, which means it gets no in camera correction anyway. Another thing is that while it's true small sensor compacts don't have much noise at low ISO, they also have lower colourdepth and dynamic range in general, meaning the files will fall apart more easily in post.

I'd steer clear of small sensor point and shoots, there's a reason why nobody buys them anymore. If you must go hand held then M43 Olympus and high end Sony (more recent A7 series) have about 3-5 stops of image stabilization.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by unaccompanieddminor: You don't understand, I'm not suggesting a macro lens for close ups.

The Original poster said: "I was wondering if anyone could kindly offer me any recommendation on cameras / lens for close up flat texture photography ?"
That is why I said that you didn't want to be particularly close to the subject matter. Or am I wrong with this too?
Is a macro-lens essential? or would a prime-lens do?
The Sony RX100 series are "Point and shoot" and will shoot RAW.
These days you really don't need to spend $1500+ to get something that will do. The a7 series are overkill.
Lots of people don't use Point and shoots because they were universally bad. Not so anymore. Obviously an a7RII or an A99II will be better, but at over $3000 once you've bought the lens, I don't know if its really worth the cost for what most people would be happy with. Indeed, even in films, you never get close enough to anything to see insane amounts of detail.

Last edited by SD3D : 4 Weeks Ago at 03:18 PM.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by SD3D: Is a macro-lens essential? or would a prime-lens do?
The Sony RX100 series are "Point and shoot" and will shoot RAW.
These days you really don't need to spend $1500+ to get something that will do. The a7 series are overkill.
Lots of people don't use Point and shoots because they were universally bad. Not so anymore. Obviously an a7RII or an A99II will be better, but at over $3000 once you've bought the lens, I don't know if its really worth the cost for what most people would be happy with. Indeed, even in films, you never get close enough to anything to see insane amounts of detail.

A macro lens is a prime lens, but if you're comparing a macro to a normal prime a macro will typically be better suited - whether it's close up or not. Unless you fork out 4k on a Zeiss Otus or something. I've done a fair bit of texture photography on a regular double gauss prime, which has been fine, but when I have it in the bag a macro is a bit nicer.

The Sony RX100 arenifty but they're not ideal. For the price of any of the RX100 line up you could buy an entry level DSLR, APSC Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic etc., all of which will allow the use of better quality prime lenses and have much bigger sensors. You don't need to spend 1500, even 500 will get a reasonable setup.

Point and shoots are dead because they've been outpaced by cellphone technology. The stacked BSI sensors in iPhone for instance totally outperform anything smaller than a 1" sensor in compact cameras, and higher end smartphones are even threatening 1". Smartphones have far more R&D money put into them than small cameras ever will, and it's easier to make non-traditional sensors at smaller sizes than it is larger, or have multiple cameramodules that take advantage of computational tech to improve the image.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by unaccompanieddminor: A macro lens is a prime lens, but if you're comparing a macro to a normal prime a macro will typically be better suited - whether it's close up or not. Unless you fork out 4k on a Zeiss Otus or something. I've done a fair bit of texture photography on a regular double gauss prime, which has been fine, but when I have it in the bag a macro is a bit nicer.

The Sony RX100 arenifty but they're not ideal. For the price of any of the RX100 line up you could buy an entry level DSLR, APSC Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic etc., all of which will allow the use of better quality prime lenses and have much bigger sensors. You don't need to spend 1500, even 500 will get a reasonable setup.

Point and shoots are dead because they've been outpaced by cellphone technology. The stacked BSI sensors in iPhone for instance totally outperform anything smaller than a 1" sensor in compact cameras, and higher end smartphones are even threatening 1". Smartphones have far more R&D money put into them than small cameras ever will, and it's easier to make non-traditional sensors at smaller sizes than it is larger, or have multiple cameramodules that take advantage of computational tech to improve the image.
Macro-Primes are significantly more expensive than Standard-Primes. A new 50mm macro-prime will cost about $500 on its own.
I'd argue that entry-level DSLR/DSLT are obsolete and have been replaced with compact-fixed-lens and interchangeable-mirrorless. These days you'd go DSLR/SLT for high end APS-C or "35mm full-frame" only.
I think companies that rely on the sales of compact-cameras do actually do some research-and-development. Indeed, from where do think the cameras in cell-phones are sourced? The only propriety-"Technology" Apple has ever had in the last 20+ years has been its stupid-connectors!

EDIT: Fuck! I forgot the rounded-corners!

Last edited by SD3D : 4 Weeks Ago at 01:57 PM.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by SD3D: Macro-Primes are significantly more expensive than Standard-Primes. A new 50mm macro-prime will cost about $500 on its own.
I'd argue that entry-level DSLR/DSLT are obsolete and have been replaced with compact-fixed-lens and interchangeable-mirrorless. These days you'd go DSLR/SLT for high end APS-C or "35mm full-frame" only.
I think companies that rely on the sales of compact-cameras do actually do some research-and-development. Indeed, from where do think the cameras in cell-phones are sourced? The only propriety-"Technology" Apple has ever had in the last 20+ years has been its stupid-connectors!

EDIT: Fuck! I forgot the rounded-corners!

My $50 1970's 50mm macro beats my Zeiss Planar 50mm and Fuji XF 35mm at every aperture. As for new prices, 300-ish and up for the entry macro primes.

IMO for texture it's not that important what body you go for so long as the sensor is reasonablylarge and the lens is good. To let the truth be known most APSC cameras use the same Sony sensor regardless of price point. You mostly pay for build quality and features. Large sensor fixed lens compacts are great but nobody makes anything narrower than 35mm, so they're not ideal here.

Dubious about compact camera r and d going into smartphones because a lot of current smartphone tech has never been in a dedicated camera before (with the exception of the L16, which got its tech mostly from smartphones). Yeah Apple doesn't do a lot of in housetech research, they buy it from start ups, but it is still money in put into the research ecosystem. Sony and HTC seem a lot further ahead on smartphone cameras. Here's the state of the market today:https://petapixel.com/2017/03/03/la...compact-camera/
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Hello everyone, thank you for all of your replies.

I have tried to take in all of the comments into considerations. (got quite a discussion going on here!) and I'm currently looking at a Sony A7 ?
https://www.jessops.com/p/sony/a7-m...70mm-lens-89678

with a50mm F2.8 macro lens
https://www.jessops.com/p/sony/fe-5...2-8-lens-101001


Any comments on this combo?
Thanks!
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Originally Posted by GreyEdzi: Hello everyone, thank you for all of your replies.

I have tried to take in all of the comments into considerations. (got quite a discussion going on here!) and I'm currently looking at a Sony A7 ?
https://www.jessops.com/p/sony/a7-m...70mm-lens-89678

with a50mm F2.8 macro lens
https://www.jessops.com/p/sony/fe-5...2-8-lens-101001


Any comments on this combo?
Thanks!
Only comment would be that the A7 has no in-body image-stabilisation which is why it is so affordable. The a7II does have the latest 5-axis image-stabilisation.

Last edited by SD3D : 4 Weeks Ago at 08:37 PM.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
I use a Nikon body because I have those lenses, but I don't think it matters too much as long as you have the resolution and low noise under 1600 ISO. I have 2*D750 bodies (great camera, light, tough and amazing ISO performance) but will be getting a new D850 soon. I use tripods for texture photography in almost all circumstances where possible. Glass wise I carry: 18mm fisheye, 14-24mm f2.8, 20mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, 70-200 f2.8. I don't bother with a macro right now because most of those lenses are pretty good and have close focus for their length, but I'll be picking one up in the near future, as well as an 85mm sigma art lens which I've played with an love. I have a large gitzo mountaineer tripod with panoramic ball head. it's very stable and sturdy but also pretty light for lugging around. I also carry a macbeth chart and spyder cube. And I have circular polariser filters for all my lenses except the 14-24 - these can be super useful. Worth noting I do other vfx tasks with this kit (HDRI, ref cam erc) so it's probably overkill for just textures.

When I need to go light it's a D750, 14-24mm (it's a beast but amazing) and the 50mm, plus spyder cube.

Getting good textures is about having good lighting, decent ISO (I aim for 100-800 but will go up to 1600 if I have to), tripod always when you can, and being as flat on to the texture as you can be while using as long lens as possible. Those rules aren't hard and fast but mostly work. I do a lot of tile plates too so the panoramic ball head helps. It's not a true pano head (I have one of those in the kit as well) but it works well for textures. We also take a lot of bracketed textures, especially for lights and angle reference textures for reflective surfaces.

The colour charts are really important as well. People leave this out but it can make a huge difference. The Spyder Cube is great for this as it easily fits in your pocket, also you can get the mini macbeth charts and they work great too.

For what it's worth I am thinking of adding a RX100 to my kit as per SD3D. They take amazing photos and quite often it's the quick snaps that really end up being used.

p.s.
I think going with a Sony system right now is a great idea. I used to get flak about shooting Nikon for some reason, seems everyone loved the canons in VFX, but now that's changed. The Sony system appears to be the big innovators right now. I was considering switching but the new D850 is amazing so I'm content for now. Remember, the investment is usually in the lenses.
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Last edited by axiomatic : 4 Weeks Ago at 06:21 AM.
 
  3 Weeks Ago
Apparently the a7III is soon to be released sometime in November so I'd probably hold-off on the A7 for a bit.
I also wonder if the A6500 would do. It isn't full frame, "Just" APS-C which I think is more than adequate, but it's better at video and the glass for it will be cheaper. Its not like you want Bokeh for textures anyway.
 
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