February 11th, 2010
We receive a very large number of images from customers trying to identify various parts. Often these are small parts and often they are terminals or connectors. Many of these images are out of focus and / or have poor lighting such that we have to ask for improved images. This is often frustrating for customers because the parts are often not easy to access and taking photographs of small items can be difficult without experience.
The quickest way to explain this issue is to say that yes, your inexpensive $100 point and shoot digital camera can take an excellent shot of a part for us to identify. It is not about how much you spend but rather about the technique. A good photographer can take amazing shots on a disposable camera.
Here are our basic steps to take a high quality image on a digital camera:
1. Focus – Set the camera to macro mode (often a flower button) setting.
2. Focus – If the camera won’t focus on the object but chooses objects nearby, change the camera focus setting to center point focus rather than averaged or automatic focus. Then place the part in the center of the field of view.
3. Focus – If you still have trouble after step #1 & 2, you are probably too close to the object. Move the camera away from the object 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 0.9 m) and crop the image after the picture is downloaded.
4. Some cameras will bounce between chosen focus zones. Steps #1 – 3 above typically help but if they do not solve the problem, keep letting the camera choose zones until you get the desired one. Try different angles, distances, etc.
5. Lighting – Use LOTS of flood or ambient general lighting for your shot and use spot lighting on internal part features. A flashlight is a great tool in a confined space.
The important issues here are focus, focus, focus, focus and lighting. Please send images that are in focus and do not send images that are out of focus. This may seem obvious but we receive MANY images that are out of focus while requiring recognition of small detailed features that are difficult to discern even with a good image.