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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 02 Jun 2011 (Thursday) 08:25
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Whats best lens for taking pic of cars?

 
Stone ­ 13
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Jun 02, 2011 11:34 |  #16

The 15-85 is my go-to for car shots. I generally prefer a wide angle.

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but at times a somewhat narrow dof can be good

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0.0f
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Jun 02, 2011 11:44 |  #17

i use a 10-22 for the wide angle shots and interior shots and my 70-200 for the longer range pics. will also be using my 17-55 now having just taken delivery of it :)


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Fligi7
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Jun 02, 2011 11:46 |  #18

There are two elements to taking good shots of a detailed car. One involves focus and composition, and one involves showcasing the paint. From one detailer to another, you may have a well-composed shot that looks great but you aren't catching the sun properly to show that the paint is defect free then it tells nothing of your abilities as a detailer. It depends what you're going for here. I see plenty of "after" shots from "detailers" that show nothing of the paint's condition (which might be what most are actually going for if they don't know what they're doing).




  
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denoir
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Jun 02, 2011 11:59 |  #19

Generally speaking in terms of focal lenghts, I prefer moderately wide or moderately tele. 28-35 or 75-90 on FF.


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Of course, in a pinch a 50mm can work as well:
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On a 1.6 crop camera as the T2i, that would mean something in the range of 17-21mm on the wide end and 45-60 on the tele end.

You also want a lens that produces as little purple fringing as possible in high contrast areas. Glossy car exteriors are usually torture tests for lenses in that respect.

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g0ldenb0y55
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Jun 02, 2011 12:06 |  #20

I like this shot a lot. I did notice the leaf on the top front grill and some other stuff on the bottom grill. The reflection of that arch on the side is a little distracting also. Sorry, I'm just being a little picky because I really like the what you captured here. Can you give us more detail on the PP side of things. I have the Sigma 18-250mm and I haven't gotten anything this clean without major PP.

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rick_reno
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Jun 02, 2011 12:07 as a reply to  @ g0ldenb0y55's post |  #21

Ed,

Beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing them.




  
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ckkone
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Jun 02, 2011 12:15 |  #22

I like to use my Tokina 11-16 2.8 for outdoor car shots:

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katodog
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Jun 02, 2011 12:26 |  #23

Thanks for the comments. I didn't pay any attention to the leaf until after the image was already on Flickr, and by then I said screw it. As for reflections and stuff like that; one thing you learn about car shows is that you're at the mercy of the show, people get reflected, people get in the way, light poles get in the way and get reflected, etc.. Sometimes you just gotta take what you can get, and since I process for the car the rest of the stuff just fades away to me.


Give me a few and I'll take that image from start to finish and show my process. It's easier to show examples than it is to type it out and explain it.


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katodog
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Jun 02, 2011 13:05 |  #24

Okay, the quick and dirty. This is for outdoor car shows, sun or overcast makes no difference. If it's bright direct sun you wait for the right light for the shot you want. If it's overcast it's ideal, no harsh shadow, no glare, etc.. In any regard, my processing is pretty much the same for outdoor shots...

I use Paint Shop Pro X2, and within that program there are a few things I use that can be done with Photoshop and similar, but I don't know how you would duplicate the effects. I'd have to run through Photoshop (I have CS4) to see what the appropriate adjustments are.

Basic workflow usually goes Free Rotate (if necessary), Crop (for better framing if necessary and to remove dead space from the rotate), Clarity, Noiseware, Fill Light or Curves (depends on the shot), USM...


This image I Free Rotate to the Right by 2°...

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Then I crop to get rid of the dead space (the red corners) and for framing...

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Then I resize by 50% to make the image easier to work with, and also because it seems to be the best size for uploading to the web without losing any detail. I then use the "Clarity" adjustment, and normally it's set to the highest, which is 20...

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This boosts the dynamic range of colors, brightens shadow, evens out lighting. It also boosts noise in certain shots, but that's not a problem because I use noise reduction anyway. Noiseware set on the Default setting will smooth the paint, giving it the glossy fluid look, and on the Default setting it won't kill fine detail. If it gets rid of any finer details I either duplicate the layer and adjust the opacity, or it's not enough of a loss to notice...

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After that it's basically just an adjustment here or there for lighting, brightness, whatever, and usually it's either the Fill Light adjustment or an adjustment in Curves or the Histogram. USM for detail and edge separation and there you go...

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Most of the time you won't see much difference from start to finish except for the better color and detail, and this shot isn't similar to the other one, I did a fair amount of cloning and copy-paste to remove the yellow striping, and I'm sure my adjustments were off by a little bit with the lighting and whatnot. However, that's basically it. Not that hard, and for any image it takes about 30 seconds to run through the steps from start to finish, unless I have to clone stuff out or whatnot.

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katodog
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Jun 02, 2011 13:10 |  #25

Indoor shots get basically the same processing, but I underexpose on purpose, especially under accent lighting. The lighting that's good for cars visually generally sucks for cars photographically. Spot lighting is used to give you more refections, which makes cars look great visually, clean, polished, bright. For photography though, it sucks, big-time. My "trick" for that is to purposely underexpose so I can keep glare and reflection to a minimum while still accenting the detail and color of the car.


Basically this...

And this...


Simple stuff, underexpose and recover in processing. Keeps the glares and reflections to a minimum while maintaining that "accent lighting" effect, and it keeps detail and color as well. My preference is to underexpose rather than use flash or use a tripod. The reason is that on a tripod you're gonna use a longer exposure, which means those reflections and that glare is going to be more obvious, and using flash gives you flat fill, which means your color tones won't be the same. Plus with a flash you could accidentally give yourself another glare or reflection, from the flash, which may make the shot look different too


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g0ldenb0y55
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Jun 02, 2011 13:22 |  #26

^^ Thanks for the details on the PP. What stood out to me on the original version was the clarity and exposure of the headlights and front rim. With your explanation and seeing the original gives me a good idea on how to accomplish the same look or similar.

Edit: Your underexposed results are great!


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Jun 02, 2011 13:34 |  #27
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Jun 02, 2011 13:42 |  #28

You're welcome, and thanks. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a great starting point for finished effect on cars. Plus, there's a lot of other tricks you can use, like a sharpening brush, the Dodge brush, etc..

The single greatest thing for brightening headlights, and eyes, is a sharpen brush. set it to around 50% opacity and 25% hardness and run it over the headlights or a persons eyes and it will make them pop. For headlights it's great because it gives you that deep reflective look, like if they were on. For eyes it can make the difference between "Meh" and "Holy Crap!!".


Like I said though, if you can get things the way you want them in-camera, then diddle with things in processing, it won't matter what lens you use. Funny thing about cars is that you can always stop down to make your lens sharper, or use a higher ISO and faster shutter to "fake" detail with a little noise. It's all about the composition and the lighting. Lighting can easily be faked in processing, composition's not as easy.


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aboss3
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Jun 02, 2011 13:51 |  #29
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katodog wrote in post #12523441 (external link)
You're welcome, and thanks. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a great starting point for finished effect on cars. Plus, there's a lot of other tricks you can use, like a sharpening brush, the Dodge brush, etc..

The single greatest thing for brightening headlights, and eyes, is a sharpen brush. set it to around 50% opacity and 25% hardness and run it over the headlights or a persons eyes and it will make them pop. For headlights it's great because it gives you that deep reflective look, like if they were on. For eyes it can make the difference between "Meh" and "Holy Crap!!".


Like I said though, if you can get things the way you want them in-camera, then diddle with things in processing, it won't matter what lens you use. Funny thing about cars is that you can always stop down to make your lens sharper, or use a higher ISO and faster shutter to "fake" detail with a little noise. It's all about the composition and the lighting. Lighting can easily be faked in processing, composition's not as easy.

I'm going to try the "eye tip". Thanks!


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leemik
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Jun 02, 2011 15:03 as a reply to  @ aboss3's post |  #30

I mostly like wide angles for cars.. on a crop sensor I'd go with a 10-22 since I see you've already got the telephoto all set

On my 5DII i usually use a 17-40L for rolling & rig shots or stuff that's moving and close by.. This is because the AI Servo autofocus helps a lot...for panning shots or further away motorsports I use a 70-200f2.8 IS..

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For still images, I use a Zeiss 21mm Distagon ZE.. because it's the sharpest and best wide angle I own..

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For a telephoto or close up shots (because it makes vehicles look so much more hunched down and aggressive I use a Zeiss 100 Makro-planar or 135L .. they are both fantastic lenses..

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For bikes because they are just small enough, i find the 50mm focal length is the only thing I need.. I use either a Zeiss 50mm Makro-planar or Sigma 50mm f1.4.. a 35mm might be best for your cropped sensor..

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Whats best lens for taking pic of cars?
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