I've often seen these items, but never really understood what they are used for. Doesn't a tripod do the same thing?
Just one of those curious questions I've been dying to ask for ages.
Same question goes for a studio stand really!
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#1. "RE: Why use a copy stand? " | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Thu 28-Feb-13 07:44 PM | edited Thu 28-Feb-13 07:51 PM by nrothschild
A copy stand...
- avoids the problem of the legs getting into the field of view.
- Is usually easier to move up and down. If you raise a center column to do that, then the legs interfere even more
- Besides getting into the field of view, leg angle locks don't allow precise height control, a further twist on the above two items
- The footprint of the splayed legs of a tripod can require a lot of table space, depending on the leg angle lock used.
- at least in the normal leg lock position, the tripod is not its most stable when the head is tilted down 90 degrees, with the camera hanging very off center.
- the multiple light arrangements of some copy stands can make life much easier, especially when lighting large paper documents. Trying to get even light spread over a document, especially one larger than 8x10 or so, can be very frustrating. Smaller subjects are easier to deal with.
One solution to the height problem is something like the Kirk or RRS long rails, allowing a lot of vertical position adjustments. But those bars alone can cost more than a good used copy stand.
I may have missed a few; the above is just off the top of my head, thinking about trying this with a tripod.
If you just have occasional needs, a tripod may work, and I have tried it just in the interest of science even though I have a fairly decent copy stand.
Once you have tried a tripod, you will quickly find out if the points above are a problem for you with your specific shooting subjects, subject size and distance requirements. Then you know the solution.
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#2. "RE: Why use a copy stand? " | In response to Reply # 0avm247 Charter MemberThu 28-Feb-13 09:18 PM
To add to Neil's response, a copy stand allows you to keep the camera film/sensor plane parallel to the subject (assuming its not a book) to keep keystoning distortion from creeping in.
Some tripods that do allow for a center column to be mounted horizontally can be used in the same way, but a dedicated copy stand has provisions for lights typically at 45 degrees to the subject allowing for even lighting, with a tripod, you'll another piece of equipment for even lighting.
Some lenses, like the old 60mm Micro are great flat field lenses with minimal distortion. Used to be said that it was a great copy stand lens because of the lack of distortion, close focusing and angle of view, wide enough to get a good subject in, but not too long that the camera couldn't get far enough away to fill the frame with a larger subject. I think the 40mm Micro does the same for DX bodies.
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#3. "RE: Why use a copy stand? " | In response to Reply # 0benveniste Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Thu 28-Feb-13 11:02 PM
If you want to shoot fairly small object from above a copystand is far more convenient than a tripod.
I'm also a coin collector so it shouldn't come as a shock that I like to photograph coins. Sometimes the coin is simply loose, but often it's in a cardboard or plastic holder of various sorts. To put it simply, it's a heck of a lot easier to put a flat coin on a horizontal surface than to rig up ways to hold it vertically without having the coin tumble at the slightest bit of clumsiness or having the support block part of the coin.
So let's say I want to photograph a shilling that is 24mm in diameter. I want to have it fill as much of the frame as possible. These days, I typically use my D800 and a 105mm VR for this task, which means shooting at close to a 1:1 magnification. The end of the lens needs to be about 15cm from the coin and the camera body about twice that.
You can work out the mechanics of doing that with a tripod. Or you can take my word for it, even when you mount the camera underneath the tripod on a geared center column it's not fun. One typically ends up in the middle of a room with the camera rig (and possibly a focusing rail) hung off the side of a tripod head. You then kneel down (deftly avoiding tripping over light holders, cords, and splayed out legs), compose by tweaking shooting distance, focus and shoot.
With my copy stand, I swing out the light arms, mount the camera on the platform (using a shoe mounted bubble level), turn on the lights, lightly loosen a knob to allow the platform to move on a counterweighted column, compose, tighten the knob, focus and shoot. Varying the lighting is easy, and overall it's a far less precarious setup.
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