Following on from this question from cunim, I thought I'd start a new thread rather than reply in Technical Camera Images.
My shot -
100% crop detail -
Shot on the manufacturer's website of the same watch -
The end game here for me is relatively simple - large prints of watch faces and watch movements with everything in focus.
I'm shooting watches in high resolution (typically in the 1:1.2 to 1:1.5 magnification range, with the watch face or movement pretty much filling the height of the IQ180 sensor), and focus stacking with the focal plane set parallel to the watch.
With the CAPcam, I can do what I believe no other camera can - and that's move a tilted, swung, and shifted focal plane perpendicular to the plane of focus. Having tried more traditional focus stacking options in the past (such as the Stackshot), there are two main advantages to this approach. Firstly, I need far fewer images to focus stack - in some set-ups I can capture in maybe half a dozen images what could take 50 or so with the Stackshot; and secondly, it seems to me that the focus stacking software works a lot better when presented with a set of images where the subject matter's primary axis is parallel to the focal plane. With the Stackshot approach and the focal plane parallel to the sensor, I was always having to deal with many nasty artifacts from the focus stacking. With the CAPcam, I get none.
I can find very few examples of watch photography that shows high magnification with deep depth of field - especially if the watch is presented at an angle to the camera. The Lange website image that I linked to is probably one of the highest resolution images I've come across, but what I find interesting about it is that it's just shot straight-on.
It's clearly part of the whole design of the website to present the range in this way, but I think it's an incredible shame and doesn't do justice to the watches. You really do have to see them from an angle to start to appreciate the incredible complexity and three-dimensionality of the watch movements or faces (Lange make some of the most impressive movements out there - both from a functional and aesthetic perspective).
If you look around the website you will find examples of higher magnification macro shots - here for example A. Lange & Söhne / Inside our manufactory - but then when they do present a shot of the movement at an angle, the depth of field is tiny. Why? Because shooting very high magnification images of watches and capturing the full depth of the movement in focus, when the watch is at an angle to the camera is - I believe - extremely difficult to pull off.
Obviously if your end product is a relatively low resolution image for the web, you don't hit a lot of the problems that you would if you want high magnification for big prints. It's a bit like my old job in project management really.
With projects there are always three competing constraints - scope, time, and cost. Pick any two, and it's (relatively) easy to deliver, but by compromising on the third, you affect the quality of the outcome. People simplify this to "fast, cheap, good". You can have fast and cheap, but the outcome will be poor. You can have cheap and good, but it will take forever. You can have fast and good, but it will cost you a bomb.
Same with shooting watches. The three constraints are magnification, depth of field, and angle of the watch. Pick any two of those, and it's relatively easy - that's what everyone is doing as far as I can see.
You want high magnification and everything in focus? You've got to have a flat on view of the watch.
You want everything in focus and a nice angle on the watch? You've got to have low magnification.
You want high magnification and a nice angle? Depth of field is going to be miniscule.
All three are hard.
I set out to do something that I couldn't see anyone else doing, and that was maxing out on all three, because I think when you nail it, the end result - the print - looks amazing.
The one major thing that I have been struggling with in the 4 months or so that I've been exploring this is light. Lighting watches is also very hard, and a lot of my efforts that I've shared ( https://instagram.com/watchdxb/ ) have been pretty poor. I'd like to think I'm getting better though.
One thing that I learned along the way is that I HATE shooting with flash. Absolutely detest it. It is especially a pain for small subjects like watches. So I recently took a new approach to lighting and bought one of these - Microscopy - LED light source - KL 2500 LED | SCHOTT AG . The Lange was one of the first shots I did with the new lights, but modifying the light coming out of the Schott was still a challenge.
Yesterday I received some custom built modifiers that I'd specced up, and for the first time, I now think I have a lighting solution I can enjoy working with, and can get the results that I've been striving for.
Here's the first test shot with the new lighting solution (ignore the background) -
(That's actually with the IQ250. I do most test shots with it whilst I wait for my IQ380 to arrive.)
Wow. That turned into quite a brain dump. Hope it didn't bore you too much!
The CAPcam on a Cambo studio stand - another relatively recent arrival that has made a huge difference!
In the background you can see a test print showing the size I'm after (the watch one, not the lightning one!)