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Customer Discussions > Digital Camera forum

Recommended Equipment for Garden Photography


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Showing 1-11 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 12, 2013 12:20:08 AM PST
Ratnakar N says:
I need help regarding buying equipment for taking photos as well as videos of thousands of plants in a single garden ... can spend $1000 and up ... any piece of knowledge in this area ... will be useful

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 2:43:21 AM PST
Les Schmader says:
Do you mean individual plants/flowers and close-ups, or landscape arrangements like lawn ponds, water gardens & flower gardens?

You'll most likely need a macro set-up for the former, but a wide angle for the latter.

Can you provide a more detailed description of what you want to do?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2013 3:33:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2013 3:33:52 AM PST
Ratnakar N says:
Thanks for trying to help.

I do not have much insight into the technicalities of photography.

One of my relatives has a garden with thousands of plants nurtured over the last 30/40 years spread over a few acres within 20/30 acres belonging to an educational institution in the form of small gardens, lining plants, trees, water gardens, flower gardens etc. There is also a home garden in a small area of 2/3 thousand square feet packed with all kinds of plants in pots and a small water garden

Thus i will have to say that there are all kinds of plants in the garden.
Most of them are/require ** individual plants/flowers and close-ups ** and a few water gardens & flower gardens

There is a lot that my relative can be write about and around each plant (descriptions, poems, comparisons, history, uses).
We are trying to capture the beauty of the plants, flowers, gardens as photos as well as videos.

Initially the requirement is rough photographs/video for reference to start the work and thereafter
quality photographs and video to supplement the written content

This content is intended to be put up on the web, used for print, high resolution copies in blu ray disks etc

Since it is not a one time task and having the equipment would enable us to take photos all throughout the year, We are looking at buying the equipment

I hope this would enable you to get an understanding of what the requirement is .

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 5:20:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2013 5:29:49 AM PST
Tom Martin says:
I'd recommend the Canon EOS Rebel T4i 18.0 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 18-135mm EF-S IS STM Lens and the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens.

The combination of this camera and those two lenses should do everything you want.

Just be sure you get the STM version of the lenses as those are the latest design and the sharpest version of those lenses.

In addition to the photographs here on Amazon you might want to review these on Flickr.

Here's a link to flower pictures taken with the 40mm STM lens:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=canon+40mm+stm+flower&m=text

This link shows pictures taken with the T4i and one of the two STM lenses.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=t4i+stm&m=tags

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2013 7:51:11 AM PST
Ratnakar N says:
Thank you

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 8:49:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2013 9:02:30 AM PST
Tom Martin says:
Also don't forget you'll want accessories like a tripod - Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black) and a Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Quick Release
SD Memory Cards - SanDisk Extreme 32 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 45MB/s SDSDX-032G-AFFP
Possibly a 67mm HD Circular Polarizer Filter and a Fotodiox 7 Metal Step Up Ring Set, Anodized Black Metal to allow you to use it on both lenses.
And a case to store it like the Canon 2400 SLR Gadget Bag for EOS SLR Cameras

edit: added ball head and case

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 9:09:43 AM PST
S. Owens says:
I was also thinking you should get a tripod. "Fast action" shouldn't be an issue so you shouldn't need really fast lenses although you still want to look into the DSLRs for the larger image sensor.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2013 9:38:13 AM PST
"""
This content is intended to be put up on the web, used for print, high resolution copies in blu ray disks etc
"""

Unless you are creating 12x18" prints, you aren't really using that high a resolution.

Most web pages will use images around 1/2 to 1 MP; HDTV (1920x1280) is roughly 2MP; 4x6" prints at 300 pixels per inch are also around 2MP (8x12" print is only 8MP)

So for most of your uses, you will be resampling the images to a lower resolution. You may also be cropping images (1/4 of the frame seen by a 16MP camera is still 4MP, so you may not need a Macro lens if the subject will fill enough of the frame to be usable after cropping).

Things you may not have thought about: LIGHTING. You will not want to use the built-in flash -- the effect will be too harsh and unnatural. A decent shoe-mount flash (in Canon, the 430EX-II or higher) with some sort of diffusion hood can be used from a few feet back to provide more natural shadows. Getting lighting in place if you DO use a macro lens is more difficult -- a ring-light or low-powered twin-flash rig may be needed (low-powered since you are so close). You may also want to investigate portable diffusers/reflectors and stands -- these let you reduce direct sunlight (the light comes through the diffuser, creating less harsh shadows and reduced contrast) or let you bounce sunlight up into the shaded side (reflectors).

A pair of 5-in-1 reflector/diffusers and stands for same will be cheaper than one shoe-flash.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Collapsible-Reflectors/ci/1327/N/4062040412
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/272945-REG/Impact_3218_Multiboom_Light_Stand_Reflector_Holder.html

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2013 9:41:49 AM PST
® says:
Many brands offer the same setup, I use nikon so here is my perspective. Nikon D5200 24.1 MP or Nikon D5100 16.2MP. The D5200 has 1 advantage for landscape over the latter and that is the megapixel (good for detail). It also has more autofocus (AF) points for sport from the d7000, but that isn't a real benefit for landscape or macro. Both has built-in high dynamic range (HDR) option which is also good for landscape as you get more detail and color pulled. Nikon usually have great DR sensors but HDR will give you even more. Plus most people don't own photomatrix, a photoshop CS or any decent hdr software to stack, merge their photos, so the built-in one will do.

Close up like other said can be done with a macro lens 1:1 is the general one. So zoom lenses clain 1:2 but that isn't true macro. Or if you are cheap use a point and shoot. I prefer longer macro lens like 90-100mm. 40-60mm is a tad short and you have to get too close. Bees will fly awya or your body block too much natural light. You might have to change position or get a flash.

Smaller apeture and long-exposure will require a tripod. Also a Macro ring flash is another thing you might want to pick up later. Both of these will help with getting a sharper and more details photo. Most kit lens that comes with the body like a 18-55mm is wide enough for landscape.

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 10:54:51 AM PST
Ratnakar N says:
I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks. ~William Shakespeare

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2013 9:15:46 AM PST
EdM says:
For gardening, the specific camera is less important than having good, high quality lenses, including a macro lens just as ® says, to shoot fairly close to specimen plants and especially blooms. To have a better lens might suggest using one or more prime lenses, rather than a consumer grade zoom.

Still, the most important thing about your photos is your skill and hard work, rather than which specific camera. Learn about photographic composition, although a nicely kept garden is wonderful subject material for great photos. Here is one book about close ups: Understanding Close-Up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with Or Without a Macro Lens

There are more books, like Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera for learning about properly exposed photos. I also like The Photographer's Eye, a great composition book.

There is also another book The Art of Garden Photography that I have [I have all these books in my photography library] which is specific to your interest for photography, and which has many ideas for the types of photos and photo compositions which are attractive and tell the story of your plants, show their blooms to great advantage, etc.

There are many other books and sources of photographic ideas and inspiration, some of which might be the plants and garden landscape that you have at hand. The list of books above might be a bit overwhelming, but the point is that you can go out and shoot a snap-shot of a nice garden, or your can go out and work at finding the best angles, a fine composition, with good lighting, and end up with great photos that will draw the audience in and catch their attention with the artistic merit of your photos.

There's an old saying that applies - the camera is the third most important thing to a good photo, a good lens is the second most important thing, but the photographer who makes the shot is the most important thing. Some of these books may be available in a library or used, even, and their are similar books with merit.

There's also photo-editing to polish your photos, but the best photo-editing goes on in the camera itself, your eye and brain working to get that great shot in the first place. A camera does not a photo make, it is the photographer who figures out where to stand and when to push the button.

A basic class in photography, perhaps through a local community college or adult education source, or maybe even through a local gardening club, park, or public garden [if you have one locally], would be worthy. Perhaps there is something like this in your area, as an example for finding photography classes about gardening.

http://living-in-washingtondc.com/botanicgarden.php

"U.S. Botanic Garden - Washington DC"

"There is an annual orchid exhibit, gardening and photography classes, and a variety of walks and tours throughout the year..."
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Discussion in:  Digital Camera forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  Feb 12, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 13, 2013

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