Could be one (or more) of several things:
(A) camera shake. You are shooting from a tripod, right? If not.
This is the usual culprit.
(B) Camera shake caused by hitting the button. Try shooting with a
cable release, or IR remote. Failing that, set the timer, and let it
© Crap on/in the lens. Try focusing on something normal, and see
how the picture comes out. Make sure there’s nothing on the lens.
(D) Bad diopter adjustment. Are you manually focusing? Does your
camera have a diopter adjustment for the viewfinder? If you are, and
it does, make sure the diopter adjustment isn’t cranked in. You
could be focusing to what looks right to you. through the diopter
compensated viewfinder. Which will screw things up if it doesn’t
(E) psychotic autofocus. Modern AF cameras are pretty, good, but not
foolproof, and jewelry targets are some of the hardest for them to
deal with. (the high contrast and bright specular reflections drive
them nuts.) The problem is that modern cameras junked all the fancy
split prism focusing aids, so manual focus with a modern AF camera
is a real pain in the tail. But it can be done. Try it, and see if
that doesn’t solve the problem. Alternately, get a good, solid AF
lock on some part of your piece, and then turn the AF off, so it
won’t move, and then take the shot.
(F) auto mode. Rather than shooting in full auto, try shooting in
aperture priority, where you have control of the F-stop. Don’t let
it set the lens to wide open. That’ll give you minimum depth of
field (focus depth) Since you’re on a tripod anyway, you can afford
the long exposures required to get down towards the bottom of your
lens’s range, say f16, or f22. That’ll give you a much deeper area
of focus, which should help with many of these possible problems.
For whatever that all was worth.
Ps–>$1/sqft (USD) is northern California, for what amount to
industrial sheds. Big sheet metal buildings with roll up doors, and
empty concrete floors. If you’re lucky, they have a bathroom. For us
and our machines, that’s just fine. The machines aren’t really
housebroken, and they tend to do bad things to carpet.
You could turn one of those into a pretty nice jewelry school, if
you were of a mind. Lee and I are pondering moving, and one of the
spaces we’re pondering has an area that could double as an area for
workshops once or twice a year, so it’s a subject near to the top of
what passes for my mind at the moment.