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Premium Member
20,421 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Have been meaning to do something like this for a while!

When using your camera assuming that you have a medium grade digital compact camera and above the following settings work very well.

  • Flash Off*
  • Focus (macro) this is often symbolised as a little flower
  • as most cameras tend to have some degree of aperture control nowadays throw this wide open i.e f4 and below.
  • Autofocus

*Flash can of course be used on its own without a brinkman or sungun and can even be used in conjunction with one to great effect. However it can also add too much light and cause over exposure which can bleach out some swirls.

The below series of pictures are taken of a swirly black panel using a 3M sun gun.

In the first pic we have the sun gun very close to the paintwork. The camera is held close to the sun gun about 30cm from the panel. The camera was focused by aiming it half on the light and half on the dark panel and then pressing down the shutter half way until focus lock (often symbolised by a green frame in the viewfinder) was achieved. The shutter was then fully pressed.

The resulting image just shows a close up of the light source and does indeed 'look good' but does not show any defects at all. In fact a classic of the camera lieing! Why has this happened? Well the sun gun is very bright and taking a close up shot has just bleached any swirls that may appear in the image.

Next we hold the sun gun approximately 75cm from the paintwork. This allows the beam to focus properly on the panel. The shot is taken using exactly the same tecnique as above, however this time I myself am positioned a little further back say a metre from the panel and I zoom in slightly to compensate.

Here we can see swirls that are quite sharp and clear.

Next we repeat the above but hold the sun gun approximately 1.5 metres from the panel and again zoom in to compensate. The picture again nicely shows swirls but tbh no better than the pic at 75cm which really tells us that the sun gun can focus its light source quite happily at shorter distances - The brinkman can't see the next series of shots.

The Next Series of shots are taken with a Brinkman using the same swirly panel

Again using the same tecnique as the close up sun gun shot we have a brinkman close up. Agin the light source bleaches the swirls but as its not as powerful as the sun gun you can see a few what look like RID's. Again the camera has 'lied' as the panel is indeed quite swirly but it doesn't look perfect although looks much better than it actually is!

Next up we hold the Brinkman approximately 75cm from the panel, tuck the camera in behind it so again as with the sun gun shot the camera is about a metre from the panel. And zoom in slightly focusing on the reflected ight source itself.

And as if by magic swirls appear - albeit not many!

Ok so struggling to capture the swirls what can we do? The brinkman needs a good 1.5 metres to focus its power properly so step back, aim fire, zoom, focus on the reflected light image and shoot!!!!

And what do we have? erm swirls and lots of em!!!!!

So to conclude

Take a step back allow your light source to focus properly
Focus on the image of the reflected light source - you may need to zoom in to compensate for stepping back.
Use the macro function if needed as this will help the camera focus at short distances.
If you are having trouble focusing try and focus on half the light source and half the panel as autofocus works on contrast.

Happy Hunting!

Next Week holographic marring

6,629 Posts
A top guide explaining a very difficult technique. Just goes to show what an advanced piece on optically engineering the human eye is :thumb:

74 Posts
This should definately be a sticky.
I was going to post a question about how to get the best out of my mid range compact digital/brinkmann combo as I was struggling....
....I now have all the answers I need...great guide thanks :thumb:

Master of Disambiguation
8,016 Posts
Why head on with the light source - shooting it across the area at an angle would yield a better highlight of the defects from closer range, especially on the Brinkmann.
Speaking of which, did you use a single light or the pair of them? Looks like both were on.
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