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Digital photgraphy for jewelry


#1

Can anyone give me an idea of how close one needs to be when
photographing jewelry? I am looking at purchasing a digital camera
and am undecided between one that can do macro shots up to 0.8 inches
away and one that can get as close as 2.4 inches away. Everything
else on the two cameras is about equal, except the 0.8 one is about
$150.00 more than the other and I don’t like the ergonomics as well
on it as on the other (2.4) one. Thanks! Anne


#2

THE NEW ONE IS NIKRO–995 Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold Sales- Tools
Supplies Specialist Phone 337-262-7700 ext. 94194 Fax 337-262-7791
e-mail @Andy_Kroungold


#3

It’s not so much about how close you can get as it is about the
resolution of the camera. A camera that can’t get as close, but has a
higher resolution (pixels) may be better than a camera that can get
closer, but with a lesser resolution. The reason I say this is
because you can always crop the photo to get what you want, but you
can’t add to the image. I’d be happy to talk to you offline if you
want. I’ve been doing photography for about 20 years, both digital
and film.

  • Wendy
    Stinky Dog Jewelry

#4

It depends entirely on how big the pieces are that you want to
photograph. If the object that you want to photograph is 1 inch or
larger, the 2.4 camera will fill the entire frame with your image. If
you want to photograph tiny gems, you may need the 0.8 inch unit. If
you have access to the cameras, take a finely scribed ruler to the
store with you and see how small a field of view you can capture with
each camera at its closest setting. If the 2.4 camera will capture
the smallest object you are likely to photograph, go for it…Bob Williams


#5
    Can anyone give me an idea of how close one needs to be when
photographing jewelry? 

It’s not how close you can get the camera to the piece being
photographed, but how large your piece will be in the photo. Getting
within an inch or two of the piece will cause lighting problems. You
end up with shadows from the camera, your head, etc. Your best bet
is a camera that will allow you to keep back at least 8 to 10 inches
and still get your piece to consume the frame.

I use a Sony Mavica FD91 to which I added a set of close up Lens
(Filter style). They cost me around $25 for a set of used ones and
they give me 1,2, and 4 diopter magnification and they can be stacked
for a total of 7. While my camera is old iron now (it’s almost 1 1/2
years old), it still gives me great close ups for web work. In your
search for a camera, be sure to get one that you can attach filters
to.

Don


#6
    Can anyone give me an idea of how close one needs to be when
photographing jewelry?  undecided between one that can do macro
shots >    up to 0.8 inches away and one that can get as close as
2.4 inches away. 

G’day Anne. For photographing jewellery and other detailed things
that need to fill the screen, what is wanted more than ultra ultra
close ups is the highest definition you can afford. But supposing
you can shoot at 0.8 inches; how are you going to avoid the camera
getting in the way of the lighting? Unless you are photographing
transparencies such as slides which would be back lit. The same goes
for shooting at 2.4 inches, only to a lesser degree.

I have a Canon S20 with a resolution of 3.3 mega pixels, and macro -
but at full zoom and macro, it is 7 inches from the object; yet it
gives excellent pictures of a ring, which, because of the very high
resolution can be cropped and resized to more than fill the screen
without any degradation of the image visible to the naked eye.

By the way, I do have a ‘digital zoom’ but seldom use it except at
the very highest resolution because digital zoom simply throws away
some of the resolution to accomplish the increase in apparent size and
one can get a better job by using a good graphics program to do that.
– Cheers now,

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ


#7

Wendy, You are absolutely correct about resolution being more
important than how close you can get. I have been working with macro
photography for well over 30 years and use it daily now in my design
studio. One thing that is often overlooked when buying a digital
camera is the quality of the compression algorithm used by the camera
to reduce that very large image to a more usable size. For instance:
The Mavica line can automatically reduce the image so that it fits
on a floppy disk, which the users love. But the quality of that
compressed image leaves a little to be desired. Nikon has the same
capability (who doesn’t) but a critical examination will show that
the algorithm Nikon uses is far superior even at similar
sizes/resolution. Result? Better image, hands down, every time. In
addition, much testing has shown large differences between white
balance capabilities, very important, but the beginner never asks
about it. Personally, I wouldn’t own a camera that doesn’t offer FULL
manual control of aperture and shutter speed. If anyone has any
questions on using digital or film cameras, ask away, I’ll try to
help.

Wayne Emery
Author, “Jewelry Photgraphy Made Easy”


#8

Anne, One of the biggest mistakes an amateur makes is buying the bells
and whistles. You will probably never need to focus down to 0.8
inches, although it is fun and impressive to do so. If you are
photographing jewelry for the Web, you never need to fill the frame
over about 1/3 to 1/2. The closer you get the more difficult it is
to light the subject properly and the depth of field decreases as
well. That means it’s is very difficult, if not imposiible to keep
everything you want in focus, in focus!

There are much more important differences. Storage is an important
issue, as is shutter delay, white balance , manual operation options,
etc. All are more important than focusing extremely close up. One of
the great difference (seldom mentioned) between digitals is the
algorithm used to compress the image to an easily handled size when
you take the picture. Most cameras let you choose your image size
and resolution, but you will soon find that you don’t need huge
rsolutiuons or sizes especially for the internet. They are
cumbersome to store and adjust, and can take forever to up or
download. Choosing a smaller resolution simplifiers life, BUT each
manufacturer uses their own math to reduce the size in the camera,
and some do a poor job. Sony Mavicas and some Panasonics have been
panned for this reason (I’ll get letters!!), but they are not TOO
bad. In a word, Nikon rules. Almost any Nikon, but certainly the
new 995 is tops. The 990 before it has just about attained legend
status. Yes, I own one, but I own other digitals, too, and moderate
digital camera discussions elsewhere. Without offending, I’ll say
the Nikon can’t be beat, has the best compression algorithms, great
service and support and a world of aftermarket accessories to choose
from. Whole books have been written about it. And, yes it focuses to
0.8 inches.

Wayne Emery


#9

How do you know what compression algorithm a camera has. I have a
Sony S50, and am just beginning to learn to use it. I am open to
all and help.


#10

Dear Wayne, Where is your book for sale, "Jewelry Photography’? I am
very interested in getting a copy if its available.
Sharron in Saigon counting down the days till I leave next week.


#11

There is an opal cutter on the web who has the most GORGEOUS photos
of his cut stones. I know from experience that very close-up photos
are quite challenging to take and I asked him how he got such great
results. His trick was to put the stones on cheap flatbed scanner and
scan them! He said he played with the resolution and settings until
the scans accurately represented the real world appearance of the
stones. I haven’t tried this trick yet, but the resolution you can get
from even a $60 scanner these days is amazing. I suspect it would work
just as well for any small piece of jewelry.

Best of luck,
Dan


#12

The compression algorithm(s) used by the Sony S50 will surely be in
the manual that came with the camera. The most commonly used output
formats used by digicam manufacturers are RAW, Tiff and jpeg. RAW and
Tiff are usually uncompressed formats whereas jpeg (Joint Photographic
Experts Group) is BY FAR the most commonly used compression format.
Jpeg comes in many “flavors”. In digicams, there are usually three
different degrees of compression: Superfine, Fine and Normal (or
similar terms). As you probably know, these user selectable
compression algorithms that allow the photographer to choose between
improved image quality or improved storage capability. Regards …Bob


#13
  There is an opal cutter on the web who has the most GORGEOUS
photos of his cut stones. 

Dan, Just out of curiosity, what is this opal cutter’s URL?

Beth


#14
  There is an opal cutter on the web who has the most GORGEOUS
photos of his cut stones. 

Dan, Just out of curiosity, what is this opal cutter’s URL?

Beth


#15

Dan, Yes, a scanner is a quick and easy solution to many photography
problems, as long as the subject is reasonably flat, because there is
VERY little depth of field available on a scanner bed. There are other
secrets for photographing opal which allow the beauty to burst forth.

Wayne Emery


#16

Bob, Sorry to correct you but the compression algorithms used by the
manufacturers are not listed in their manual. That is highly
protected proprietary with each manufacturer creating
their own compression algorithms. Some are much more “lossy” than
others, and Sony’s is more “lossy” than most.

Wayne Emery


#17

Wayne… I have been trying to photograph jewellery for quite some
time now. (somewhat half heartedley also). I always found the need of
a guru or a spcialized book as the one you wrote. Where may I purchase
the book. Please help. Thankyou… Pradeep


#18
 Bob, Sorry to correct you but the compression algorithms used by
the manufacturers are not listed in their manual.  That is highly
protected proprietary with each manufacturer creating
their own compression algorithms.  Some are much more "lossy" than
others, and Sony's is more "lossy" than most. 

I did not mean that the actual mathematical algorithm was given in
the manual. No one would understand it anyway. But manufacturers
typically save the image, using an industry standard FORMAT such as
Tiff (Tagged Image File Format) or Jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts
Group). Each FORMAT allows manufacturers considerable freedom in the
actual (often proprietary) algorithms they use to comply with the
particular format protocol. That’s why Company A’s finest jpeg
setting may have a higher compression (and hence more lossy) than
Company B’s finest setting.

What I did mean is that the Manual will say what FORMAT the images
are saved in. (I think that is what the original poster wanted to
know). It will also give an approximation of how many images can be
saved on a certain sized memory card, using the camera’s various
resolution/compression settings. For instance, with the Canon S20, a
picture taken at the highest resolution and lowest compression will
generate a file size of about 2.10MB. At the other extreme, an image
taken at the lowest resolution and the highest compression will
generate a file size of about 0.08MB. In terms of storage, a 32MB
memory card can store only 15 of the high resolution/low compression
images. Whereas, it can store a whopping 400 of the low
resolution/high compression images. Regards…Bob Williams