View Full Version : which lens and focal length for art repro w/Better Light back

3-Aug-2007, 16:36
I am shooting art repro with a Better Light back and was curious as to what the best lens for that application would be.

So far I've had the G-Claron, the Apo Sironar N, and the Apo Sironar S recommended and they all seem like really nice lenses. But I'm also curious about the Rodenstock Apo Sironar digital and how much of a difference that would make with the Better Light back.

Then there is the focal length: which is the best for shooting art repro? I've read 210mm or bigger is best but then the Apo Sironar digital, which looks the most promising, maxes out at 180mm so I'm not sure if that would be a problem or not.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

Edited to add - Most paintings I shoot are under 30"x40"

Gene McCluney
4-Aug-2007, 11:44
I prefer to use a very long lens, my favorite being a 14" commercial EKTAR, as I shoot paintings in my studio where I have plenty of room to back up. I switch to a 12" commercial Ektar when I need wider view.

Ted Harris
4-Aug-2007, 12:44
Gene's point about the distance you need to be from the painting is the most important point. Without knowing that it is impossible to recommend a lens. Of equal importance is the lighting you are going to use. Doing the best possible photograph of an oil paintingor any other flat art taht has some dimension to it in terms of brush strokes is nontrivial.

Gene McCluney
4-Aug-2007, 13:21
The long focal length I use (14") tends to minimize any slight distortion I might get if I am not precisely lined up with the painting. This is an advantage of long lenses. It also gives me plenty of room to move around the hot lights (2000w Bardwell Mcalisters) to eliminate pesky reflections from artists that pour on the paint in big putty like lumps.

Jack Flesher
4-Aug-2007, 15:04
It is the size of the artwork and subject distance that will determine the optimal focal length, and your studio or location shooting area limitations combined with the size of art you are reproducing will drive lens choice. There is no one correct answer, but 180 is a very popular choice among Betterlight uers for typical paintings. Almost everybody I know that does Art-Repro professionally with the Betterlight also uses a Zig-Align to insure their camera is perfectly zeroed and parallel to the artwork. There is significant information about all of this on the Betterlight site. Lighting and camera support are additional considerations.