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[again] Digital camera


#1

Hi, I was hoping that someone out there might be able to lead me
in the right direction. I am trying to gather on
digital cameras, suitable for photographing gemstones.
Specifically, any you might have regarding digital
photography systems, that could be used in conjunction with a
microscope. We are looking at better ways to document our diamond
inventory. The microscope we are using is a Leica, stereo zoom
model. If anybody has had any experience in this arena, I would
love to hear from you.

Thanks in advance,

Kim


#2

Dear Orchid members,

I am thinking about a new digital camera for taking photos of stones
and jewelry from a medium range of say 1 meter. .

I have an older Sony which just doesn’t get the kind of clarity at
that range that I want. Has anyone been researching lately and
purchased something very good for this purpose as well as macro
shooting that is not terribly expensive?

Derek Levin


#3

I researched for nearly a year (I was reluctant to spend so much
money) for a digicam to shoot jewelry and my handmade glass beads. I
finally narrowed it down to the Fuji Finepix S602 and the Olympus
Camedia C4000Z. It was dumb luck that I found the Olympus on Ebay
with a nice grouping of accessories right at the time I had the
right money available. I’ve had my Olympus for 2 months now, and I’m
very pleased with it. It takes excellent, detailed, color-balanced
closeups (supermacro is within a few inches), nice full-sized
jewelry pix, and as an added bonus, beautiful landscape pix. I live
in “shoot it before it gets away” country (if you like thunderstorms
and interesting clouds and sunsets) and keep my camera with me
almost always when I’m outside. In addition, I’ve completely gone
over to using my camera for my auction and promotional pix (I used
to scan my beads and jewelry on a flatbed scanner). The camera is
very easy to use, has a wonderful feature of 4 possible customized
combinations, and I believe it’s an excellent value.

KarenK


#4

Hi, I use a Minolta Dimage 7i. I also have a Nikon Coolpix 990, but
I prefer the Minolta over the Nikon. The Nikon seems to be tougher to
operate. The Minolta has a higher megapixel than the Nikon also-5MP
compared to 3.3MP. With either I would suggest purchasing a set of
macro lenses to go with it,especially if you are going to shoot
gemstones closeup. You’ll also need somekind of way to diffuse any
lightsource that you use, to avoid glare off the surface of the
stones. A cheap way to do that is get a large plastic salad mixing
bowl with a frosted finish, about 12" diameter x 8-10" deep, and cut
a hole in the bottom big enough to fit the camera lens in plus enough
space for you to see past it to the item being photographed. With
the bowl upside down, place the stone, or item , on the background
surface with the bowl placed over it. Use a couple cheap halogen
desktop flexible lamps aimed from opposite sides toward the plastic
bowl. The frosted plastic will diffuse the light and avoid glare from
the stone facets surface, while still providing ample light for a
good picture . Be sure to use a tripod on macro shots, and either a
timer or a remote, since it is impossible to handhold the camera that
good for a macro. Stillness is of the essence when shooting this
close. Or you can spend lots of money and buy a professionally made
macro studio from any number of jewelry supply houses. Rio Grande
carries a ready made unit, as well as Kassoy, and also the photo
supply houses such as Calumet, 47th ST Photo, etc… Ed


#5

I just bought a Nikon Coolpix 5700. That is my vote. It rocks for
all distances. 5 megapixel and 8x zoom standard.

Cheers-
Carree


#6
   Has anyone been researching lately and purchased something very
good for this purpose as well as macro shooting that is not
terribly expensive? 

Derek, It depends on what you consider expensive. I just bought, and
am extremely pleased with, a Nikon Coolpix 5400. It’s a bit less
expensive (you can find them on ebay or on the web for just under
700 now) than the 5000 for which it’s the replacement, but has a
better lens (low dispersion glass), greater zoom range, slightly
higher resolution (5.1 megapixel), a bunch of possibly useful
shooting modes, and other features, as well as what might be one of
the best macro capabilities in cameras of this range. Can focus down
to about an inch if you need it to. As with other Nikons, the menu
system is somewhat less intuitive, but the amazing feature set make
it, in my mind, worth the complexity. If you want less cost, and
can use less resolution, such as around 3 megapixel, the earlier
coolpix 995 and it’s predecessors, the 950 and 990, are also very
capable cameras. At this point, they may be hard to find, as they’re
now discontinued, but as a result, they’re sometimes now closed out
for very cheap prices compared to what they first sold for just a
couple years ago.

Peter


#7

Hi Derek, I recently bought a Fuji S607Z. It has macro and 6 x zoom
and gives excellent close up pictures of jewellery. I thoroughly
recommend this a camera for your needs Richard


#8

I have a Sony CyberShot DSC-F707 I bought on eBay. It is a GREAT
camera! Check out the reviews… Super sharp, 5 megapixel, 10x
zoom…

Jeffrey


#9

My new cam is a Nikon Coolpix 3100, and I love it. We needed a cam
that made a bunch of good compromises, and this one filled it best.
It needed first to be budget conscious. It needed to have good macro
(this will focus down to under 2 inches), reasonable zoom (about 10x
with optical and digital combined) and be practical for both our
business use and personal use. It is tiny, reasonably well behaved
with batteries, uses CF cards that are both readily available and
inexpensive. Resolution is over 3 megapixels, and there are plenty
of options for pic quality. There are some better at jewelry photos,
I’m sure, but we can’t afford to have a dedicated one, and this one
is ideal for family use as well. Jim


#10

Nikon has a few digital models with interchangeable lenses. I
understand that they introduced a model last year that, while still
relatively expensive, was quite a bit less than their
top-of-the-line Pro models. Does anybody here in Orchidland have any
experience with this model? I’d love to be able to use my Nikon
lenses on more than my 35mm. I am also wondering if it is possible to
still use strobe lighting with these cameras. Has anyone using these
high resolution digital cameras tried producing slides from digital
images?

I have been using a Sony for a couple of years, and it works great

for close-up shots that I use for appraisals or for the internet.
What I don’t like about it is that I have to get so close to the
jewelry just to fill the frame. When I shoot film, I use a 105mm
macro or a 70-210mm zoom on a bellows and can get back about 18".
This allows me to control reflections better. Having the film
digitized is easy and cheap.

Douglas Zaruba


#11

I don’t know what terribly expensive means to you, but I use a Nikon
Coolpix 5400 which costs here in Europe about 1000 dollars and
probably less in the USA. It performs perfectly on every distance and
can focus up to as little as 1 cm distance. Because it has a lot of
possibilities you have to study somewhat to find the most perfect
settings for your purpose, but it has all the abilities to reach your
expectations.

Best,
Patrick.


#12

Well, this thread was done to death many months ago so it should be
in the archives, but since I kind of started the thread back then,
I’ll just take this opportunity to thank all the people who submitted
camera advice and say that I ended up buying a Sony Mavica CD400. It
takes beautiful photos and one of the main selling points for me
(besides the Zeiss lens) was that it saves the images onto
inexpensive CDs right in the camera. It takes a while to save each
image, but I’m only using it for jewelry photos so that isn’t a
problem. You can view my photos at:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/agoldin/Jewelry.html

Alan


#13

From what I’ve heard, the best macro lense is on the Nikon Coolpix
camera…I’ve been looking at them online for a while, thinking
about maybe getting one at some point, but noticed that there is a
really big price jump between the newest version and the one before
it, and I’m not really sure how significant of a quality difference
there is between the two models.

Someone else can probably give you more specifics…

– Leah
www.michondesign.com
@Leah2


#14

We get professional quality photographs with a Nikon 995. The
lights are both diffused and direct on acrylic type surfaces or
glass.

Our most recent photographs of loose sapphire and jewelry can be
seen at the following link:
http://www.kashmirblue.com/Sapphire/kbsapphire.html

Ed Cleveland
KashmirBlue


#15
  it, and I'm not really sure how significant of a quality
difference there is between the two models. 

Durrently the best macro in the coolpix line is the 5400. It’s use
of ED glass sets it above it’s direct predecessor, the 5000, and it
suffers slightly less distortion, as well as doing better in macro
mode, than the more expensive 5700, since the 5700 lens is asked to
be capable of a much much higher optical zoom range than the more
modest 4x zoom of the 5400. The higher price of the 5700 is also
because they needed, due to the zoom range, to use an electronic
view finder, which means the viewfinder is another tiny LCD screen,
like the larger display on the back of the camera. For me, I much
prefer the more traditional optical viewfinder, since it doesn’t
have the lag / refresh behavior of an electronic viewfinder.
Nikon’s web site suggests that the macro on the 5400 is also a bit
better than the 5700, but frankly, having looked at both, I’d say
the differences are small. Both Cameras do a supurb job with macro
work. There’s little reason to choose the 5000, which is now being
phased out, over the 5400, other than perhaps a very good price, if
you’re offered one on the 5000. It lists for more than it’s
replacement, the 5400, and has fewer features, and not as good a
lens. But if someone offered a drastic price reduction, it might
well be worth looking at seriously. As with the differences between
the 5400 and the 5700, they are relatively small in terms of image
quality. The 5000 was, and still is, a supurb camera.

Do note that the coolpix line is noted for being very feature rich,
but at the cost of a somewhat complex control system. While you CAN
use this as a point a shoot camera, that would be a waste of the
camera. You’ll have to take some time to learn to use it. It’s
rather more complicated than much of the competition, and some of the
menu system is a bit cumbersom. Still, for the features they fit in
as a result, this is one amazing system for the more serious
photographer, or one needing the complex abilities for the best
possible shots of difficult items like jewelry. If you’re only
occasionally using it for quick macro photos of your work, and mostly
using it for tourist and household shots of the kids and the dog,
this may not be the best choice, as there are simpler cameras out
there that will meet your needs, perhaps for less money and less
difficulty in learning to use the camera.

Peter


#16

A few moths ago, I got my first digital camera. I’ve not had much
experience with photography, but after doing some research, I decided
that since I’m only emailing images, a higher resolution digital
camera would be overkill. I need to email pictures of milled waxes
and models to my CAD customers and prospective customers of the
milling system I represent.

I thought it would be nice to have a camera that would also be
suitable for portraits and landscape shots, so I chose the Olympus
Camedia C-700 Ultra-Zoom. It has a 10X zoom lens and is 2.1
mega-pixels in resolution.

The focus of the Camedia is good enough to show tiny tell-tale tool
marks left on a wax when I’m inadvertently cutting with a tool that
has a miniscule chip on a .003 inch tip, so I guess the images are
sharp enough!

If I was printing out 8 x 10’s of finished jewelry I’d want higher
resolution, but for my purposes, this works. I got it from a web site
that specializes in refurbished products, but as the sales guy
pointed out, it’s a brand new camera, but just not the latest model.
He said manufacturers unload previous models as “refurbished” to get
a write off on them. It has a full warranty and came with an extra
64 MB memory card for $279. (The card is worth about $50). Now I just
have to figure out what all these little buttons and lights are for!
:slight_smile:

I’m not reccommending this camera for everyone, but unless you
absolutely must have the state of the art in digital cameras,
“refurbished” can afford quite a cost savings.

Jesse
CAD/CAM Technology
Handcrafted Originality
www.jdkjewelry.com


#17

I also use the Sony CD400, and I like it a lot. It has fine macro
capability, and the fact that it burns directly to cd means that the
images can be uploaded to any PC regardles of operating system.

You can see my photos, taken with the CD400, at

http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com

Lee Eienr


#18

Well, this thread was done to death many months ago so it should be
in the archives, but since I kind of started the thread back then,
I’ll just take this opportunity to thank all the people who submitted
camera advice and say that I ended up buying a Sony Mavica CD400. It
takes beautiful photos and one of the main selling points for me
(besides the Zeiss lens) was that it saves the images onto
inexpensive CDs right in the camera. It takes a while to save each
image, but I’m only using it for jewelry photos so that isn’t a
problem. You can view my photos at:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/agoldin/Jewelry.html

Alan


#19

Hi Derek, I did a lot of research into the digital cameras on the
market before and ever since I bought mine. I settled on the Sony
DSC-F707 camera, it is a 5 megapixel camera with many different
features including a macro that can focus as close as 2cm away from
the object. Sony dont sell this model any more, they have a newer
model with more features, DSC-F717, which is available now for a lot
cheaper then what I paid last year for mine. Most Jewellers around
that I have seen use the Nikon Coolpix range but the features and
macro function arent any better than the Sonys, but the Nikon is
considerably more expensive. There are some cheaper 5 megapixel
cameras on the market but their macro just doesnt compare, and with
these 2 Sony cameras you can get wide angle, telephoto, and
supermacro attachment conversion lenses and filters.

Since buying my camera I could not be happier with the results of
the photos I have taken of jewellery, but I recommend you use a
tripod, a cheap one would do, as this stops any wobble from yourself.
With camera models like these the such high resolution that you can
print full A4 pages with crystal clear clarity and the depth of field
is usually fully adjustable.

The Sony DSC-F707 or DCS-F717 are about closest you can get to
professional without making the jump to a Digital SLR which tend to
be around twice the price. If you take the leap with the cost, you
certainly wont be disappointed.

Hope this doesnt make your choices any harder
Ray Lees


#20
     I just bought a Nikon Coolpix 5700. That is my vote. It rocks
for all distances. 5 megapixel and 8x zoom standard. 

I have recently purchased a Nikon Coolpix 3100–it is not as
expensive as the 5700, and has 3.2 megapixel as opposed to the 5
megapixel that the 5700 has, but I am very happy with the quality of
the pictures I have taken with it. It has a 3x optical zoom, and 4x
digital zoom, and a close-up capacity of 1 1/2". The retail price
is about $350, but a friend also recently purchased one on-line, and
paid abut $260 for it.

Melissa Veres, engraver