Okay, photographing cartridges…
Firstly, if you haven’t already done so have a read through the guide entitled ‘Scanning Cartridge Images’ on the home page. Although this is aimed at scanning rather than photographing the principles are largely the same.
This is my set-up and as you can see it’s nothing too elaborate but it works a treat;
My camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. It’s not a particularly expensive camera nor is it a basic ‘point & shoot’. It’s somewhere in between and a good alround compromise. It doesn’t have interchangeable lenses - although I think the newer version probably does - nor do I use a close-up filter. The camera has a superb macro ability which allows me to take a picture from less than two inches. Any closer and you won’t get the whole cartridge in the shot.
A little table-top tripod is essential to keep the camera steady and a cable release is a big help too.
I believe the secret is in the lighting. Flash is worse than useless when you’re this close to the subject and mine is switched off. The lighting is provided by two very cheap and basic desk lamps and it’s the bulbs which make all the difference. You need a special ‘daylight’ bulb with a rating of about 6500K. These are generally used for craft purposes (needlework, fine drawing, intricate electronics) as the replicate bright daylight and enhance the natural colouring. They’re readily available on E-bay.
For the seamless background I use a piece of white acryllic sheet (again from E-bay for a few pence). Acryllic can be easily bent if placed in boiling water for a couple of minutes. You can probably see in the picture that I’ve bent a couple of inches at the end of the acryllic to about 45 degrees. This forms a shelf for the cartridges to stand on and allows the rest of the sheet to point back towards the horizon and disappear from view. I’ve glued a supporting leg to the back of the sheet so it will always sit at the correct angle. A piece of white paper or card is just as effective however over time it’ll get creased and marked - the acryllic just wipes clean. Paper will also need fixing in position everytime you need to use it.
I use Picasa 3 for editing my photos. Very easy to use and produces excellent results. It has a very precise staightening tool to get your image perfectly upright. A good cropping tool cuts away all that background. The lighting can be easily adjusted to give a nice bright image and then it’s finally ‘sharpened’ to make the picture really crisp.
I’m going to post a couple of pictures on the current thread on the .577 Snider blanks which I have just taken using the above method and these are good examples of how clear pictures can become with a bit of extra effort.