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Product shooting - fisheye distortion problem

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

As an illustrator, I’m trying to update my web site to show some CD cases on which my work appears. In using our household digital camera’s macro setting, I get a fisheye-lens-like distortion around the outer edges of the image.
image of distorted jewel case
As you can see, the edges of the case appear curved. I suspect this distortion is due to the 28mm wide angle lens of the camera. Is there a way to avoid this distortion? (I used Photoshop’s polygonal lasso tool to drop out the background and then added a drop shadow.)

Oh, it would help if I specified what camera I’m using: Minolta Dimage A1 — I think it was purchased in early ’04.


Thanks in advance for any advice.

—Retsu



by [an unverified member] at 2005-10-26 11:38:55 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Brooklyn , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Reshoot at a longer focal length. 28mm will surely distort if your shooting real close. Zoom it out, and step back as need be.

by Jethro Soudant | 26 Oct 2005 11:10 | Buffalo, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Yes, the longer focal length will work. Weird enough I learned of this when shooting 3/4 views of horses. Shooting from further back helps get rid of strange proportion distortion.

by Jennifer | 26 Oct 2005 12:10 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I have used that same type camera on many product shots, and as the others have stated, did need to step back some to get the image right.  It does nicely with the right amount of lighting, but the disadvantage with the A1 is that it is a fixed lens.  There is only so much one can do with it.
Best of luck to you!!

by Matthew C. Lamb | 26 Oct 2005 12:10 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
Thank you all for your insight. I was convinced I had to use the "macro" function, so hadn’t considered stepping back. Per your advice, I set up the shot using a tripod and the self-timer. (You’re right; I had to pull back much farther, but that seems to have taken care of the distortion.) There’s a marked improvement with these new rounds of images!

Cheers!
—Retsu

by [unverified member] | 26 Oct 2005 13:10 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
An update.
Here’s a link to the final images on my web site (http://www.retsu.com/projects.html).

Thanks again for all your help!
—Retsu



p.s. Now I know how they take those fish-eye lens pictures of dogs.


by [unverified member] | 27 Oct 2005 12:10 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
They look great, Retsu!!  

by Matthew C. Lamb | 27 Oct 2005 13:10 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Retsu Takahashi, Retsu Takahashi
Seattle, Wa , United States ( SEA )
Jethro Soudant, Photographer Jethro Soudant
Photographer
Buffalo, Ny , United States
Jennifer, freelance artist Jennifer
freelance artist
New York City , United States
Matthew C. Lamb, Photographer/Writer Matthew C. Lamb
Photographer/Writer
Los Angeles , United States


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