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Cameras for shooting jewelry

Can someone recommend a great digital camera for great shooting of
wax models and jewelry. For use on website, etc.

Thank you very much.
Judith Frey

Hello Judith,

You ask for recommendations for good digital cameras to photograph
your wax models and jewellery. I would recommend that you check out
the Panasonic Lumix cameras. I have photographed my work and friends
work for the past 35 years and I have an array of various cameras.
Since moving into digital cameras I have chosen a Nikon D70 SLR,
with a 65mm Nikkor Macro lens. I also use a Lumix DMC-LC5, which is
an old model Lumix. Being a photography nut I have always been told
that a good photo only comes when taken through a good lens. Most
Lumix cameras have Leica lenses, which many of us who take photos
regard as the best. I bought the Nikon because I have a full range
of Nikon lenses that were for film cameras, but they also fit on the
Nikon digital camera body, but I would be happy with only having the
Lumix. I have sent you a couple of photos with a seperate email,
photos actually taken with my Lumix and only using daylight from a
window as a light source.

I took the photos shown on my Orchid Gallery, but with a film camera.
I use a Mamiya RB67 with a 90mm lens and Nikon SLRs with a 65mm macro
lens for film photography, I use Adobe Photoshop7 for digitally
organising and saving my photos.

Regards James
James Miller Design


Can someone recommend a great digital camera for great shooting of
wax models and jewelry. For use on website, etc. 

I use a Nikon D50, SLR digital camera and I get pictures like the
one seen here

It should be noted that I have extremely shaky hands :slight_smile: especially
when I am under pressure. I’m very happy with this camera. It takes
great pictures of my jewelry (I think) and we can also use it as a
really great all-around camera as well

Kim Starbard

Judith - I use a Fuji FinePix A340. It’s a 4.0 megapix and I’ve had
great results. Most of the pics on my website were done with it. If
you try to photograph my DeepDetail wax in indirect sunlight and turn
off your flash you’ll get some fine images. And the price for this
camera included a cradle and a memory card !

Margie Mersky

Hi Judith,

I have an Olympus Camedia and just love it. I got one back in '99 and
used it PLENTY in the 6 or so years I had it before I decided it
needed replacing. One of the directional buttons had stopped working
(still functioned otherwise just fine, but the lack of that button
was bothersome) and, most importantly, I decided I needed better
resolution- the quality had advanced a lot and the prices had
dropped a lot in those years. One of the main reasons that I chose
that one back in '99 was because it had good macro capabilities-
extremely important for jewelry photography. Also, I didn’t want
one with everything pre-set on it. I wanted control, and this gave me
everything I wanted. When I decided to get a new one a couple years
ago, I went for the Nikon Coolpix. I’ve always had great trust in
Nikon for 35mm stuff, and I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Basically,
I liked the fact that the lens retracted into the camera, so I didn’t
need to worry about losing the lens cap (which I had done long ago
with my Olympus). Well, I had it for about a week & returned it. Too
many pre-set things, no real control. I couldn’t get the depth of
field I wanted. It seems that although Nikon makes good digital
products, you need to pay a lot more to get any real control. Their
camera in the same price range as the Camedia was really just a
point-and-shoot variety. Actually, with all those preset things,
there’s way too much thought involved in taking a picture, IMHO! Is
this fast action? Is this portrait? Is this a party? Too much! With
the Camedia, you get full control even at that lower price range.
Happiness! So, now I’m the owner of my second Olympus Camedia. Once
again, a very satisfied user.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

The topic of “Which camera?” seems to be a common and recurring one
here, but it’s usually the wrong question.

The camera is simply a tool used to capture the image; it does not
improve or degrade the image, by itself. “Good” images are a product
of proper lighting, composition, camera use, and post-processing;
the camera is only a part of it.

It’s sort of like “What’s the best torch?”. That seems like a
reasonable question, if you are new. Those with experience know that
there are a variety of torches that can “do the job”, but success is
more related to gas choices, flame control, stoichiometrics, and
experience than it is to brand of torch.

Having said that, there ARE some features that are either necessary
or desirable in a digital camera intended for jewelry photography,
and they are often overlooked.

Within the next two weeks (shameless promotion here) my jeweler’s
guide “Jewelry Photography Made Simple” will be available on CD.
Based on 47 years of photographic experience with small objects,
including jewelry, flatware and loose precious gems, I think it’s a
good one, and so do others who have reviewed it.

I would be happy to provide an excerpt that addresses the features
to look for in a digital camera (for photographing jewelry) here, if
that’s appropriate, or alternatively, you could contact me and I can
forward that section to you.

In short, it’s about the lighting, not the camera, but some camera
features sure help make it easy…and, no, light tents are not
always the best, or even a good choice, for objects with shiny

Glad to help if I can…

Wayne Emery


I was happy to see your response to the query about cameras because I
am in total agreement. There are so many cameras out there that can
adequately do the job - but the lighting really is key. I have been
struggling with getting the lighting right on my shots and am still
having great difficulty. Any specific advice in that area would be

Grace Stokes

I got a Canon Powershot G5 which was highly recommended by
Stevesdigicams for its macro capability, lack of purple fringing

You might want to check Stevesdigicams, as this site contains a
complete and thorough review of all cameras—pages and pages of

I also got the cloud dome and leave the camera attached to the
bracket for quick shots.

The Canon is a little on the big size, so I got a small Olympus
stylus for regular use—and use the Canon for photographing my
jewelry and other art pieces.


Hi Grace,

Indeed, lighting is key!

I devote a fair amount of explanation to that end in my CD “Jewelry
Photography Made Easy”, whether it be flash or other illumination.
It’s important to understand the role of diffuse and reflected light
and how to very easily control it through easy to make diffusion
screens and reflector boards.

One of the big mistakes I see is the use of a light “tent” with a
light on either side. This is okay for most small matte objects, but
for reflective surfaces, it creates multiple and unusual highlights
and reflections which look anything but natural. One light is
sufficient, usually from above and in front of the object, through a
diffusion material, plus the addition of reflector boards between
the camera and the object. Makea huge difference!

Lots more in the CD!!!

Wayne Emery

It’s all about the lighting. I use a Canon PowerShot A85. I like it,
but the hard part is the lighting. I use the blue photo flood lights
and a light tent. you can see my pictures at


There are so many cameras out there that can adequately do the
job - but the lighting really is key 

Yeah, when I first read this, I thought, “Here we go again…” We
use the Canon powershot A-80, which has a computer controlled shutter
when you want it (and Zeiss lenses). The good shots on our website
are taken with that - the others were taken with whatever camera was
handy at the time over 30 years of time. I think the only issue
really is whether to go digital SLR or just snapshot. Which is to
say, do you want to spend $200- $500 or $1000 and up? The BEST camera
for shooting jewelry is either a Nikon or Canon digital SLR - even
Hasselblad or whatever - the best camera. Any of the point-and-shoot
cameras out there will do a good job for the under $400 level,
though. You’re just not going to get $3000 results with a $200
camera, just don’t think about it. And yes, lighting and staging is
at least half of it - we’re not especially set up or good at that
either, but we’re not looking for publication shots anyway.

Actually, if I may, I’d like to also ask a camera related question.
I’m perfectly happy with my old Pentax 35mm SLR (as opposed to my
Pentax 110 SLR, which while cuter than cute isn’t quite as
useful…but I digress.) However, I am looking around for
suggestions on a macro lens for said camera (an old Pentax ME Super
with a bayonet mount.) Since this camera does pretty much everything
I need, I see no reason to upgrade. However, my current "macro"
lenses are absolutely lacking. They say macro right on them, but they
are merely telephotos. I can’t get closer than about 3-4 feet to my
work with my current lenses, and even at 3-4 feet, the items aren’t
very large in the view finder-and if I am taking slides, it’s a
little difficult to blow up and crop the images. For the
uberimportant stuff, I’m willing to spend the $$$ for a pro, but for
the day to day stuff, it’s just not worth it to me to have to haul my
carcass to a pro, every time I need new “baby pictures”. Also, I’d
really like to be able to do some of this stuff myself some day, as I
really do enjoy photography and even do some of my own developing and
printing (B&W only, of course.)

Any thoughts out there?

I have a Pentax ZX-M SLR. I bought a Sigma macro 2.8 for it which I



You might want to investigate using extension tubes. These are just
tubes of various lengths that are inserted between your lens and
camera. They increase the distance from the lens to the focal plane,
effectively magnifying the image. Because there is no glass or lens
in the tube itself, there is no optical degradation as is found when
you use lens add-ons.

If you contact any of the larger dealers such as B&H Photom Ritz
Camera, etc., they can guide you.

You can, of course, buy any number of true macro lenses with the
appropriate mount for your camera. That solution will provide the
optimum quality, but the extension tubes are much cheaper and will
probably give you all the quality you need.

Good luck!
Wayne Emery

Yes, there are many cameras out there that can be used to shoot a
high quality image, but LIGHTING is in fact the key, as lighting is
what makes up 97% of a photograph. Therefore, in order to correctly
photograph a product one must use diffused lighting that wrap-around
the product to evenly illuminate it. In fact, all of our photography
lighting systems were designed to provide wrap-around diffused
natural daylight to provide the perfect environment for photographing

As far as cameras goes, you need a camera that has the following 3
things in order to properly function with our lighting systems: 1.
Custom White Balance Capability- This feature allows you to have a
perfect white background in your photographs. 2. Ability to adapt
close-up lenses- See you camera manual or check if there is a button
next to your camera lens (not all cameras are designed the same) 3.
Have a Manual Mode (Drive)- This feature allows you to control the
aperture and shutter speed in your camera.

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Phone (800)877-7777 Ext. 4194
Fax (337)262-7791