Folksy Ltd

Help - Camera recommendations for photographing glass Please

(Joy Salt) #1

I have a camera question for all glass artists out there.

My wonderful Minolta Dynax 5D (digital SLR) has a broken (overused !) shutter button and is due at the menders as soon as I can get it there…(will be posting it out Tuesday as soon as we get home from France on the chunnel)…

but… it may be that it can’t be mended… that the part/s it needs will not be available as Minolta died several years ago. Mr camera mender says he will do his best but no guarantee he can fix it this time.

so advice please.

I need to buy another camera, even if this one can be fixed and kept as my backup or glass use only (I do take a lot of holiday / family photos as well).

I’m pretty certain I need SLR to have any chance of good glass photos - given that glass is extremely tricky to photograph well.
Wondering about a Panasonic Lumic G3 - which is a compact semi SLR ?
Certainly neither our little compact camera nor phone camera can come anywhere close to usable pics.

What does everyone else use, recommendations would be most welcome.
Wondering how I can get to try one out before buying - take laptop, card reader, glass and suction hook into shop. Stick glass on window, take photo, download into laptop and check it is ok ?
Will they let me do that !

(Ronald Koorm) #2

Have a look at a Panasonic GX7, an amazing camera with a tiltable viewfinder, very useful. That is a micro four-thirds camera so needs four thirds lenses. It comes with a 14-42mm zoom lens equivalent to I think 28mm-84mm on 35mm . As regards glass photography, I have done a lot of that and can be tricky. To control reflections, you might need a circular polarising filter, and watch the effect as you turn it on the lens through your viewfinder or SLR. I think the GX7 uses Fuji X mount lenses, and if that is so, the image contrast on Fuji lenses is wonderful. I have 9 digital cameras, and two are fuji. The Fuji one I would recommend is the XE2 but if a bit pricey look at the XE1, a lovely camera. Both those Fuji’s have a bigger sensor chip than the panasonic but for your use you may not notice a difference unless you make big enlargements.

(Joy Salt) #3

Thanks Ronald, I’ll take a look.
Joy xx

(Ronald Koorm) #4

By the way, I think your glass items are fabulous !
Always have liked stained glass.

To light the glass items from behind you can select a cloudy but reasonably bright day. To diffuse the light more, use bounced electronic-flash from behind the object, off-camera, bouncing the light off a white sheet or white card.
You can trigger the separate flash outside from your camera, with an inexpensive sensor available in Jessops or elsewhere.
You can even get rigid plastic ‘opal’ sheets too, to diffuse the light and make it even. Even some tracing paper might work, providing it is out of focus.

Woody Allen, the famous director, once made a comment about England’s light for filming; - he loved the diffuse effect of our clouds, and made filming so much easier with lighting the scenes !
A change from Californian sunshine, perhaps ?

Final tip for those who use flash on compact cameras or even smartphones- Try diffusing the flash with one or more layers of plain white tissue. (You have to hold it in place, avoiding obscuring the lens). Really can make a big improvement for portraits and photographing close objects.

(Suzanne Francis) #5

wow - helpful information. I was thinking about getting a new camera, something a bit more up to date, I’ve had my canon power shot SX for a while, its been a pretty good camera though. I need a new phone as well, and probably computer, also my kindle fire seems to be going weird on me, huh technology!! :smiley:

(Lizzie Gillum, Bedfordshire, Uk ) #6

So good of you to take the time to give this advice, Ronald. Thank you!
I’ve just posted on Shop Talk, about how disappointing it was to have to leave items out of a Pinterest board (again), because the photos were just so poor. I am still working on improving my photos, so any professional advice is so welcome!

(Ronald Koorm) #7

Lizzie, just seen and responded to your blog on Pinterest boards.
I think you have raised a really key issue. It’s all about presentation.

Take lots of photos and get in lots and lots of practice.
I have been taking pictures since a boy, and have had more cameras over the years than I would care to admit.
I even had the embarrassment of putting the film in back-to front of a new expensive camera not once, but twice ! I sold it in the end, just couldn’t get on with it.

Luckily the few weddings I took years ago for friends, were with cameras that I had practiced with a great deal !

I sold my 30 + film cameras a couple of years ago, - they were just sitting in a cupboard and not being used as I had gone digital. It took a long time for digital photos to become as good quality as film, but they got there in the end.

Always glad to help anyone out there with a photo problem. Cannot say I would always know the answer, though.