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aarslan

Lens suggestions for RTI dome

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Hello,

 

We decided to build a light dome at my university, but we are having some difficulties with the lenses. We have a Nikon D7100 camera. One of our options is Sigma 70mm macro lens, it has some good reviews at different websites. However, when we asked a photographer, he suggested that we should use Nikon 105 mm instead. We are planning to photograph fingerprints on clay objects. Since our budget is tight and we don't know much about lenses, any suggestions or reviews about these or possibly other lens options is more than welcome. Thank you all!

 

Aysel Arslan

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Aysel,

 

The lens choice should be based on the size of the material you will shoot, and the distance away the camera will be.  Also, do you have  the ability to moe the camera to different positions in your dome environment, or is it fixed?  The domes we have built put the camera on a slider that allows a lot of different positions (including inside the dome) which allows for a broader range of options with lenses.  We prefer prime (single focal length) lenses. We generally use a 50mm macro or a 100mm macro when performing RTI.  This is on a full frame sensor Canon camera.  

 

You can also look up reviews of lenses online at dpreview.com which might give you more insight into specific lenses and their characteristics.

 

Carla

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Hello,

 

We decided to build a light dome at my university, but we are having some difficulties with the lenses. We have a Nikon D7100 camera. One of our options is Sigma 70mm macro lens, it has some good reviews at different websites. However, when we asked a photographer, he suggested that we should use Nikon 105 mm instead. We are planning to photograph fingerprints on clay objects. Since our budget is tight and we don't know much about lenses, any suggestions or reviews about these or possibly other lens options is more than welcome. Thank you all!

 

Aysel Arslan

@aarslan

 

 i'm a nikkor 105 owner, mainly used on nikon D5100, (which has the same processor with the D7000), which equates to 135mm f4-8 lens. Tamrons and Sigmas are better as cheaper alternatives of flagship nikkor lenses: 24-70mm/f2.8, 70-200mm/f2.8, etc... or wides. The 105mm is one of the more affordable lens by nikkor and has min. focus at 4-6cm and decent low-light performance. The MTF charts of the lens speaks of its capabilities for sharpness and contrast. I think it is the ideal match for the D7100, just get the G model v2, as the AF is better. along with a 55mm macro for wides, you should be all set. 

 

As your subjects are photomacrography, i would actually suggest that you stick to the nikon system, rent the 105mm, initially, if necessary.  The better colors of Canon systems are always tempting and the canon bodies have upped their game as of recent, mostly benefitting the color-concerned and/or the video-maker . However, Nikon is still the largest producer of microscope elements, which i believe is the core of their optics manufacturing concern and sport the largest ecosystem of compatible accessories and parts for the SLR and DSLR lineup, esp. suited for technical imaging. 

 

Hope this helps. 

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If you are still looking for the lens, I'd suggest either the Nikkor 105 micro, or the Nikkor 200 micro. As Carla said, you need to base the lens choice on the camera to subject distance, and fingerprints are generally no longer than an inch square. A 60 or 70mm lens is going to place the camera too close to take advantage of all the lights from your dome; or it will cause you to place your camera farther away and you will not fill the frame with the print.

 

I am curious to know more about your set-up and what you are photographing. I am a forensic photographer, and those in my field use RTI for fingerprint imaging (as well as footwear, tire impression, tool marks, etc.). 

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If you are still looking for the lens, I'd suggest either the Nikkor 105 micro, or the Nikkor 200 micro. As Carla said, you need to base the lens choice on the camera to subject distance, and fingerprints are generally no longer than an inch square. A 60 or 70mm lens is going to place the camera too close to take advantage of all the lights from your dome; or it will cause you to place your camera farther away and you will not fill the frame with the print.

 

I am curious to know more about your set-up and what you are photographing. I am a forensic photographer, and those in my field use RTI for fingerprint imaging (as well as footwear, tire impression, tool marks, etc.). 

Hi, 

Thank you for your suggestions. We indeed ended up with Nikkor 105 micro lens and it seems to be doing the trick. I am an archaeologist working on clay finds, and I use RTI for photographing fingerprints as a part of my Ph.D. project. Since most of the materials I examine are small finds no larger than 10 cm wide and not so high, so we built a dome based on Willems et al. 2005's specifications (link to the article below) and according to my needs. I do not really know much about photography and consider myself a beginner, so it is good to know that professionals use the same method for a similar purpose. 

http://public-repository.epoch-net.org/publications/VAST2005/shortpapers/short3009.pdf

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