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Old May 25, 2018, 05:21 PM   #1
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What kind of lens for your gun close up shots?

I occasionally see some good photographs of your guns, replete with closeups of the muzzle, manufacturer's markings, etc. I've even seen pictures of the rifling in the barrel.

I want to catalog and maybe update my collection and would like to take pictures such as I've described. I don't have any camera gear except a dying point and shoot Nikon that is inadequate for the task, so I'll be buying a digital SLR and necessary lens.

"I say, boy, I say, you're doing a lot of choppin', but no chips are flyin'."
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Old May 25, 2018, 08:16 PM   #2
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I have an older Sony Alpha Dslr camera and use a Sony 30m/m F2.8 macro focus lens for tight closeups like that it's min. focus is something like 5 inches. Also use a defusing light box with photo lights mounted outside the box left right and above to limit, if not remove shadows, also mount the camera on a tripod. And get a decent photoshop program, the freebies are weak but you don't need the absolute top of the line unless you plan to process RAW format information rather than Jpeg.
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Old May 25, 2018, 08:40 PM   #3
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If that is the route that you are taking, get ready for some cash outflow.

Good DSLR cameras ain't cheap and the lenses are even more expensive.

I started out easy years ago, and now I have as much invested in camera & lenses etc as I do firearms.

Get a good book to read before you get started.

Scott Kelby has some books on Amazon.

Knowing before you get started will save some money on un-needed purchases.
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Old May 25, 2018, 10:10 PM   #4
Don Fischer
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B&H and Adorama in NYC both sell reconditioned cameras and lens's. Mostly Canon and Nikon but great saving's. I bought my Nikon 7000 refurbished and saved a ton of money. I think it was a display model as it only had to frames fired when I got it. Look for maybe a D3400 Nikon and a super lens for me was an 18-106 Nikon. For what you want there's no need to break the bank. I don't know Canon's mod number's as only DSLR's I have ever owned are Nikon's. I'm sure Canon is every bit as good. In fact you might even look at Sony's, lot of good thing's being said about them. The only camera and lens I buy anymore are refurbished
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Old May 25, 2018, 11:40 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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I have used both a Canon DSLR with the standard (50mm? 55MM?) lens, and also a Canon point and shoot for gun photos. To be honest, the newest point-and-shoot does just as well as the expensive DSLR. The two keys are (1) be sure to use macro mode for detailed close-ups; and (2) use adequate lighting, don't rely on the camera's flash.

If all you're after is decent photos to catalog a collection, you don't need any special lenses, or a super-expensive camera. The suggestion for a light box is a good one; they can be fabricated, or purchased on the Internet.
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Old May 27, 2018, 08:31 PM   #6
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Add KEH to the list of good used equipment suppliers. KEH is actually better than B&H or Adorama IMO. I've bought equipment from all of them.

A good macro, or in Nikon notation micro, lens is the best for closeup shots of small parts of guns. Both a wide angle and a narrower angle lens come in handy for different shots.

A good wide range zoom lens is good for overall type shots.

Then there's the lighting portion of good shots and I'm lacking in knowledge there.

There are a few point and shoots that have good macro functions. I have an Olympus that would be to the task for most work.

A big aperture lens(f1.4) can be fun for artsy phartsy shots.

ETA- A less expensive solution to closeups is the use of a Canon 250D or 500D closeup adaptor lens. They are a 2(or3) piece lens that looks like a simple single piece lens add-on. They come in various diameters and screw on to the front of your existing lens and shorten the minimum focus distance. IIRC the 250D is the closer focusing of the two(Better check me on that though).

Last edited by 1MoreFord; May 27, 2018 at 08:46 PM.
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Old June 24, 2018, 11:27 AM   #7
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Short answer after 20 years of experiences in the industry:

SONY A7R II and SONY FE 90 mm F2.8 Macro lens.

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Old June 26, 2018, 12:49 PM   #8
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I went down this path a few years ago. I think most digital cameras out there will be okay. I bought a Canon EOS, not too expensive, with the standard lens. What I found and I think you will too is that photographing firearms is not easy. Two major problems, uneven surfaces and round corners is first. Lighting and reflections are the other. I wrote to a website that I thought has some of the best photos I have seen. He was very nice and gave me a lot of detailed info on his technic. What it came down to was that he had more money invested in lighting equipment than cameras.

As long as you have a good many pixels you'll be okay. A lot of the pics you see of serial numbers and barrel stampings are not necessarily closeups or anything special but have been enlarged greatly and cropped. That software will probably will be included with the camera.

You're going to find this very challenging and you may not get as good of results as you want, I know I didn't. But it is fun and after your initial investment it is pretty much free.
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