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Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

(OP)
I frequently need to document very small flaws in very tight, very poor lit spaces: small scratches, weld cracks, tooling nicks or flaws, thread cuts, nicks or as-found damage for the clients' records, for final reports on repairs or problems, for engineering evaluation back in the office when we discuss solutions needing new tooling, methods, or estimates for repairs.

Flaw sizes vary: Figure 0.032 to 0.006 deep scars taken from 2 inches away to 4 inches away from the target.
Usually, I can get the camera lens within 2-5 inches from the target point. Sometimes closer, but the digital camera "Macro" setting usually fails, as does the cell phone Auto-Focus settings.

To date, nothing works - probably because of the limited "macro" abilities of my cell phone camera (most convenient most of the time) or small digital camera. Too fuzzy, too bad a light, bad focus, no room to get camera in place, etc.

There are clamp-on macro lenses on Amazon and other sites. In your experience, are those clip-on type lens adequate? Too poorly made? Not needed because a better solution is needed? "Good enough" for my reports and emails?
Should I go for a lens on the company's generic digital camera - assuming one can be found.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Play with various "magnifier"apps on your phone.

Most are free, and one might be good enough.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Have you looked at a good fiberoptic boresope with articulating head? There are some excellent models that can be purchased to document what you need and have 3D imaging software. Also, a borescope is one of the tools that can be utilized in various inspection activities.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

I was given a clip-on macro lens for my phone as a Christmas stocking-filler. For something that cheap, I'm surprised how effective it is.

Why not give it a go? At ten or fifteen quid, what have you got to lose?

A.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Don't use a "point and shoot" digital camera. They sometimes work for this but often not as you've experienced. Get a good digital SLR camera and a true macro lens. Even a used one off eBay would be fine. This will give you close focus and reasonable sharpness that you won't get in the other methods noted.

I use a Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII or a Canon 6D with a 100mm macro lens and a ring flash. With that I don't have to get within a few inches to get the same magnification and resolution.

A substitute would be one of the Canon or Nikon cameras with an APS sensor and a 50 or 60mm macro lens. Those are less expensive but do an adequate job.

If you are doing this in your office on stationary samples, use an old copy stand to mount your camera and provide lighting. One that works particularly well is a Polaroid MP4. It has mounted lights and you can find an adapter to mount your SLR on the mast. If in the field, use the ring flash.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Dino-Lite has several models of USB-based digital microscopes if connection to a laptop is feasible.
I have purchased several dozen to use in the plant for inspection, documentation, and measurement.

-AK2DM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's the questions that drive us"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

"Dino-Lite has several models of USB-based digital microscopes if connection to a laptop is feasible"

I bought something like that on eBay for about $20; seemed to work OK for that sort of thing.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

racookpe1978,

I agree with Ron about DSLRs, however, I am looking to replace the compact camera I keep in my briefcase. I mistreat thing way more then I would be willing to do with my DSLR.

I am thinking about getting a macro lens for my DSLR. If your camera can be manually focused, a good trick is to manually focus to minimum distance, then "focus" by moving the camera in and out.

--
JHG

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

For what it is worth, I have ab old computer program for editing photos. I can take a photo which was exposed in a dark place, sometimes near darkness and fix it amazingly well, amplify contrast either way. etc. I can brighten it, make more or less contrast, of course edit for size, play with colors, etc. I usually am using JPG files. I got it along with an Olympus camera. The file is called Olympus Camedia Master. It works on all my computers. I'd bet it could bring up those hard to see crack, etc. Don't know where I got it but I'd not be without it for working with photos of many situations.

Edit: I did a Google search and I see plenty of laces as to getting it. However, the one I brought up had some complaints on down loading the program. Apparently it is free.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

If you google "USB Borescope" or "USB Endoscope" you may find something that will work for you, and cheap & portable.

STF

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Here are a couple relevant courses:

Link

Link

Link

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

To oldestguyy's suggestion... an inexpensive DSLR and macro lens would allow for multiple exposures at multiple F-stops. With those, some free HDR (high dynamic range) software would let you really see the detail at a good level of contrast.

My Canon T2i is a great performer... cost me $1k several years ago, but Amazon has the body only for $200. Add in a macro lens for <$200, and you have yourself a really good camera.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

(OP)
To all: Looks like the "office" won't buy a new SLR camera, so I'm going to get a clip-on lens.

Will inform all of success/failure of the lenses as info becomes available.
Will order various focus lengths and report success/failures.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

One thing to note is that when the macro settings on a good phone camera fails, it's often due to the poor lighting. A good stubby LED flashlight to get whatever light possible onto the surface can go a long way in letting the autofocus do its job. Consider a good aftermarket camera app as well. They often go beyond the usual "instagram filter" approach, and will allow you to adjust aperture and shutter settings if the hardware is capable.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

I have had good luck with Canon point and shoots with "supper macro" mode.

I just saw a Ricoh camera with a ring of light around the lens like a microscope. This should help.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/t...

I had better results with my old Samsung phone than my new one with fewer MP.

A trick I was taught was to use the timer. Taat reduces the shake from pressing the button.

The Dinolites work pretty well when hooked up to a computer and on a stand. I have never tried to use them hand held though.

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

racookpe1978,

The Lumix camera that lives in my briefcase has just died, mostly from living in my briefcase. The new DMC-ZS45 I have just bought is very nice.



This shot was challenging with my DSLR. I used a tripod, f/20, and a one second exposure to get everything in focus.

--
JHG

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

I have an older version of the Ricoh that ProE showed, it works great. It's also shock/drop resistant and waterproof to some 15 or 20 ft., which is handy (I've taken it on beach/snorkeling trips). Tripod and self-timer mode is another great trick, especially for us older guys or who've had too much coffee for the day. I also usually disable the flash to reduce/avoid flare when photographing shiny objects. Finally, take a few big rubber bands with you, and/or some c-clamps, so you can tie down the tripod on funky structures when no horizontal surface is available. Or get one of these, or something like it:
http://www.cowboystudio.ca/product_p/cx-3000%2520t...

RE: Need Recommendation for Close-In (Macro) Photography for Reports, Records and Analysis

Speaking of C-clamps, it's handy to have a couple of specialized 'C-clamps' designed specifically for photography work, like the two that I've used over the years:



It may be hard to see, but the clamp-base of one of these is concave which makes it easier to mount your camera on a round object like a pipe or something.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

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