I use a Sony CyberShot DSC S75. It is 3.3 megapixels with a Zeiss
lens, 6X zoom and uses Sony Memory Sticks. It also came with MGI
Photo Suite software and a USB cord. I didn’t get it for jewelry
originally, but I was surprised at how well it works for all kinds of
close in work. I don’t use the macro feature, I manually focus it to
0.1 meter, zoom to the maximum mechanical zoom (the digital zoom
reduces the resolution) and manually adjust the F stop (to f 8.0) for
best depth of field, set the shutter to give about +1.0 exposure
value and adjust the white balance using the “One Push” feature. I
don’t have any extra lenses. I haven’t found a need for them with
If you would like to see the quality of the photos it takes, there
is a photo on the Bench Conference website (benchconference.com, 2008
Award Winners, Finished Jewelry, Ladies Ring, page 33) that I took
with it. The only modifications I made were adjusting the size to the
contest parameters (900 by 600 max), correcting the color (it was
slightly green), and removing a couple of specks of dust and fuzz in
the background. The pdf format degrades the resolution a bit on a
monitor, so if you want to see what the photos really look like,
print it out. This photo is 800 by 600, the camera goes up to 2048 by
1538 resolution, which is pretty huge.
Thanks to Paul Reilly for helping me figure out a little Photoshop
(Orchid Rocks)! Maybe one day I’ll have time to play around with
BTW, if you want to learn a little about Photoshop and get a chuckle
or two at the same time, search “I Suck at Photoshop” on youtube.
As others have said, lighting, lighting, lighting. I have found that
the EZ Cube with the optional lights works very well. I think you
would have to spend a whole lot of money to be able do much better
than this setup is capable of, especially with the included image
editing software. It is certainly capable of more than I am.
The camera cost about $350 new, I got it about five (?) years ago. I
would think you might be able to find one used somewhere for quite a
bit less. The new CyberShots are pretty good also I’m told, but I’ve
never used one. The EZ Cube is relatively inexpensive until you start
to add all the lights, backgrounds, tripod and all the other little
gizmos. I’m into that for about $650, but I got along OK without it.
Best money I’ve ever spent for keeping a record of my custom work,
before and afters and incoming jobs was the CyberShot. It also does
great appraisal and jewelry-on-pets photos.