Digital cameras?

Hi Gang,

Does anyone have any experience using digital cameras to
photograph jewelry? In concept, I like the idea, although I
can’t find anyone who rents therm so I can try one out. I’m
concerned about macro capabilities… whether you can actually
get close enough to do justice to a piece of jewelry (and get
acceptable image quality). I want it for more than just
insurance/inventory purposes, it want to be able to use the
images as a sales tool.



Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC

David, it’s my understanding that the resolution on digital
cameras is not as high as that of regular “film” cameras. I’ll
ask a photographer friend of mine for you, see what he thinks–

A. Stickney

Hi Gang,

Does anyone have any experience using digital cameras to
photograph jewelry? In concept, I like the idea, although I
can’t find anyone who rents therm so I can try one out. I’m
concerned about macro capabilities… whether you can actually
get close enough to do justice to a piece of jewelry (and get
acceptable image quality). I want it for more than just
insurance/inventory purposes, it want to be able to use the
images as a sales tool.



Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC

Hi, Dave,

I just bought one last week. I don’t think the technology is on
the par with scanners, but I found one that does a pretty good
job. I checked out several by going to computer and camera
stores. Many of these places have them set up so you can try
them. Just take your jewelry with you and shoot!

After I found the one I wanted, I ordered it off the Internet at

The camera I bought was $1299 in the stores. Got it for $850 at
this site. Only mistake I’ve determined I made so far is that I
didn’t buy the adapter or a memory card. I definitely need the
former, and maybe the latter.

I tried the highly recommended Olympus DL2000 in the store,
didn’t think it compared with the Ricoh RDC-2 that I purchased.

If you want to see some examples, try these URLs. Keep in mind,
I used the “point-and-shoot” method. That means I wasn’t set up
with proper lighting, backgrounds, etc. When I get around to
that, I think I will really be pleased. Sorry these may take a
minute or two to load…I haven’t learned about dpi and pixels
and all that stuff yet!

You can see on this one my first attempt at editing the image.
Not bad for my first try, huh??? :slight_smile:

If you have any other questions about this camera, I will try to

Candy Glaze


You are invited to check out my WebSite to see photos of
gemstones produced by digital instrument cameras: or just
(Posted prices are retail for everyones info). Most cameras in
this class will do macro work. The gemstones photos were made
with the camera about 60 mm from the gemstone. Watch our for
depth of field in this case. Use lots of light.

I will be crafting jewelry soon and posting pictures. Also
looking for pieces on consignment if anyone is interested.

Opals with white base do not photograph at all well because of
the glow of the background. Remember the the spectral response is
not the same as the eye. While classical “wet” photography is
more sensitive to the blut-violet side of the spectrum, CCD
cameras are more sensitive to the Red/Near IR side. This will
tend to make reds more crisp than blues.

You may send me direct E-Mail if you have other questions.


Yes, I use them all the time KODAK DC 40 with closeup lenses
for my jewelr y and my Internet Business
Development Company, please review the Custom
OPAL “Art” Jewelry graphics I think you will agree the quality is
good. It takes ALOT of practice…trial and error etc and unless
you have a very good printer…photo quality you will not be able
to give anyone pictures for great detail…but there is a
company that will take your digital files and make
slides…I use d this Internet Service to get in the TULSA
ARTS SHOW in 1996. Whee the power of technology.

Hope this helps

Jeff Thomson
Aussie Opal
and Chisholm Trail Internet Business Services

Hi Dave

I’ve used a digital camera four months ago. The value was
$1,000. So, I think that this camera was of good quality. I
made some pictures of people around me, not small objects as
jewelry or precious stones. When I saw th e result, I’ve already
understood that I could’nt use this kind of equipment to
photograph jewelry. The color is not very good and the macro
capabilities are of low interest. I know that there is much more
expensive equipment. The quality should be better. But it seems
that this kind of equipment is not conceived for people like you
and me (the value is around $30,000). And as these are new
products, I don’t think that they will be for rent before some
years from now.

Good luck Claude Marc-Aurele

I’ve played a little with both still shots with video cameras
and the chinon digital zoom camera that a friend owns. Digital is
fine for web page shots- the image is limited to 72 dpi on your
screen. I went back to my trusty Nikon/105/60 micro lenses and
scan the photos into Photoshop at 300 dpi. In general unless you
invest $10,000 or so in a high end digital camera the results
don’t match the image resolution that you can get with a flat bed
or better yet slide scanner. If you wait a few years the cameras
will get cheaper. Relative to film photography, digital has a
ways to go.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D Hamilton, Jr.

I have been thinking about getting one as well. We have been
scanning photos of our work to file, but the camera seems like it
will cut out that step. I have seen software that creates a file
for the image as it is loaded to disk. Sounds good !!

– Ringold’s Jewelers since 1908
9865 Bustleton Ave/ Phila, PA 19115 215-671-8190 Fax: 215-969-1803 Http:// Manufacturing /
Mining / Product Development

I use a video camera with image capture software and also a
high resolutio n photo scanner. The photo on my web site of the
clip-out piece in a scanned Poloroid photo. My 35mm Nikon using
25 speed color film seems to work the best with the pho to
scanner. I use a close up attachment or macro lense. I am in the
process of making attachments for my digital camera from Connec
tix to use real time Images in gray scale. I just set the item
under the camera, save the image and go to the next item. My
project for the first half of the year is to organize our mold
inventory and add all patterns to a database. I can then view or
print the image with; wax weight, metal weigh t, stone
requirements and labor cost. I have the software to handle the
and print th e catalog, just need to find the time
in the evenings to get the image work done.


Roger W. Kitchens

Hey all!!!

Look in current issue of PC week(?) for a discussion and review
of the crop of digital cameras.

Harry Butterfield
HP Trading Co.

Wow, Candy! Great images… not at all what I expected! Much
better quality! They didn’t take long to download, either. :slight_smile:

I think you picked a good camera! The camera shop I was talking
to had a Mac crash (big surprise…) and couldn’t actually allow
me to download anything from any of the cameras they had. The
LCD display on the back of the camera was understandably weak.

Does the Ricoh camera have a “macro setting” that you used, or
was that zoomed, or something else?

As far as image editing, there’s a shareware program called
LView Pro that I like (even though I have several other
commercial packages). It even saves images as interlaced, so
they build in layers when being downloaded from a Web site. I’ll
see if I can find a URL where it can be downloaded from the

Dave Sebaste

I fall more in love with this camera daily! The images are
especially good when converted to black and white. It doesn’t
have a “macro” mode, but a “toggle” switch to switch from
"standard" to “wide angle”. Naturally the “standard” gives a
closer view.

Yesterday I photographed an old black-and-white picture that had
been copied from an original dating back in the early 1900s. It
really turned out well. I was surprised.

The software that comes with it is quite versatile. I have just
played with it and haven’t taken the time to study and learn it.
Is LView Pro easy enough for those of us who aren’t computer
idiots, but not in the “geek” category either?

Candy Glaze

I’m not the jeweler in the family, but I my work is in computers
and in photography. I agree with Claude in the sense that lower
end digital cameras ($1000 - lower end?..sheesh!) do not produce
the greatest color or sharpness. They are generally good for web
pages, etc., but for real quality (at least for the next couple
of years until they get this techology a little further along)
nothing beats an old 35 mm camera or medium format. You can then
take the negs into many camera stores, and have a Kodak Photo CD
created from them (about $1.35 per pic where I am). The CD will
hold about 100 pics, and each pic is saved in 6 different
resolutions. The low end res is for web pages, etc., and the
high end can actually be used to reproduce your picture in
prints, slides, etc. I find this method to be the best, and
least expensive way to solve the problem. Good luck in your
endevor! Jim

I have researched digital cameras somewhat, and have decided to
wait to purchase for a while. I rented an early Apple dig.
camera from Kinko’s, but the lense quality seemed to be lacking,
and it was actually much easier to take a roll of film, have it
put on a disk, and manipulate the images from that. It’s just
not as convenient, espec. when you want to document a piece, on
the day you have to ship it out. From what I understand, the
macro possibilities aren’t great, but you can do so much editing
via computer, that one may compensate in that way. I haven’t
used a macro lens even with a 35mm. camera. I used the lens
doublers, etc,. that screw onto my lens, like a filter, and
adjust the camera on a copy stand. I’ve heard that in order to
use a digital image on a web page, you don’t need super high
resolution, especially since the file size would be so huge, and
viewing time would be quite lengthy. Also, most people can’t
even see a very high resolution on the typical VGA screen.
Anyway, if you get other info, please pass it along. It seems
like a very nice toy to have. By the way, there are photography
stores that rent really high end dig cameras, with
interchangeable lenses, however, the lens rental is extra, and
the rental fees are exhorbitant, upward from $150.00/day!!

As far as digital cameras go (I’m a professional graphic
designer by the way, 25 years in the pits) what most of you are
talking about is these “point and shoot” cheapo jobs in the
computer catalogs. Their quality is very LOW. They tend to burn
out highlight detail and most are only 640x480 pixels at 72 dpi.
Highly detailed jewelry and sparkly gemstones won’t show up very
well at all. Web graphics and pictures are all 72 dpi, but you
need to start with a good high res scan before you interpolate
down to that pixel level. There ARE some digital cameras that are
starting to be reasonably priced that will hold good detail, for
instance a new Polaroid camera that will produce a five megabyte
image for a little over $3000. Good jewelry photography is an
industry specialty among photographers and highly specialized.
However you CAN do pretty decent work with two flash units, a
flash meter and a simple tent setup. My work on my page is a
good example of this. Why flash? Flash, or strobe photography
makes an exposure at the rate of flash or very high shutter rate
. (Actually your shutter speed is set low but its the flash that
makes the exposure). Tim McReight’s Complete Metalsmith book has
a depiction of the studio setup. You can use photoflood lights
but you MUST have your camera mounted on a tripod or you’ll get
soft, unsharp pictures. The best way to get your shots into
digital form, then is Kodak Photo CD. Its very cheap to do this
these days, though your pictures will come back with a slight
blue cast which you’ll need to correct in Photoshop. The work on
my page is done on 35 mm using Velvia film which is very slow at
ASA 50, slow films capture more detail and require alot of light.
I have a Nikon slide scanner and thats how I produce my images.
All this is a bit of a pain in the butt to do, but you can set up
a little studio place to shoot and leave it up if you need
frequent photography. Wait a year or two and digital cameras
will come up to speed for the general public but right now
they’re still toys unless you get a serious camera for serious
bucks. Even then I’d wait as there’s new cameras every month and
whats cool now will be osbsolete tomorrow…Dave

Art Jewelry for Conscious People

Personally, of late, I’ve been using Ratz Camera to produce
digital images from my 35mm film. Seattle filmworks does it too.
Good enough for web pages. Better than scanning them myself.

E-mail: WWW: Snail: POB 7972,
McLean, VA 22106


I have shopped a little for digital cameras, and even the more
expensive ones will probably not give you satisfactory results,
if you want real quality detail. I think that you would be
happier with results if you use a good 35M camera and then get
the photos put on disks, which you could then upload into your
computer. I have not used the service, but it probably would
give better results. There are quite a few photo processing
centers which perform this service these days. You would also
have the images on hand for other uses, and in compact, organized
and easy to find format. Worth looking into! Jan

I think I am adding to this thread to justify my purchasing my
Ricoh RDC-2, which I still like alot. I believe the quality is
good for websites, plus I am finding other uses.

hat I like about the digitals, even tho’ the quality isn’t up to
film photography (at the level I can afford), is the convenience.
I don’t have to take pictures, wait for them be be developed to
see if anything is usable, then take them to be scanned (or scan
them myself if I had purchased a scanner instead of the camera).
I think I will mostly use it for putting my pictures on disk for
inventory purposes. Also will be able to email or put on disk to
send to potential customers.

Candy Glaze

I looked at the cameras and decided instead to use a Snappy and
my video camera. I’ve compared my images to several friends
camera shops and my still shots are better than the most
expensive cameras output. I guess the multiple scan feature of
the Snappy helps it out a lot.

Ken Wetz
Be sure to check out my rockhound web site at be sure to leave your own
rockhound related listing in my rockhound links.