Need a new camera for jewelry - no more than $500. Suggestions?

I can’t seem to work out how to start a new topic.
So I am asking this on another topic, I hope that is OK?

I need new camera that takes good pictures, easily, of my jewelry. It will
be used
in a white box with three led spotlights.

It needs to be under $500. as I don’t have the money for more right now.

Also do any of you use a phone camera instead of a camera? Which do you

If you like a phone camera which phone is it?

I did some research a few months ago and came across Panasonic Lumix
as good. Does anyone use this and are you happy with it?

Thank you for any help in this matter.

Sharron in sunny central Mexico where it is starting to cool down to our
Winter temps.

I moved this to a new topic for you.

Thank you!!!


Hi Sharron,
I have been using Nikon "Cool-Pix) for rears. New they were around 900.00 (10 rears ago)… they don’t appear to have great specks , but I’ve found then to be really clear and easy to adjust for light balance. I get them off ebay for about 100.00 . You’ll know when to replace them when a pixel goes out, though that can be cleaned up in your photo program. (are you on Mac or Windows ?),
You must use a tripod, best if you use highest rez. & set on timer for pix, (no hands)
There is one model on Ebay now for 19.00 !

I would also look into a used camera store in your area.
Good luck,

I just use my phone camera, with a cloud dome and phone mount. I had a Samsung Galaxy for quite a while, and I loved the camera, but there were other issues I didn’t like as well. Now I have an iPhone 6s, since Apple’s camera caught up to the Samsung with this model. I still have the Samsung and sometimes still use the camera. For a while I had a Nikon and an Olympus digital camera, but the phones surpassed them a while ago and I’m very happy with the images I get. I use natural light, and my deck has a cream colored stucco wall which gives the images a yellow cast. So I tweak them and clean them up in Photoshop.

What type of camera you need depends to an extent on what use you will put the photos. If you’re only using them for a website then you can get by with lower resolution and fewer controls. If you’re planning on using them for print, you should get a camera with higher resolution, manual settings and good control of white balance. If you’re planning on making poster sized images for shop or craft fair display you should get the best equipment you can afford.
Also, don’t skimp on the lighting. It’s better to get the color of the light right than to have to correct it in post.

The camera probably isn’t as important as how you use it. You can spend a lot of money on a camera body and lenses, to include a macro lens or just buy a middle of the road consumer or prosumer camera. I have had good luck with a couple of decent single lens Fujis, Canons and Nikons. The trick it to learn how to color balance, adjust your f stops to get some depth of field, turn on the macro settings if you want to get real close, otherwise use your software to get close and crop. The most important thing is to get a tripod and use a time delay setting so that, after you focus, it stays in focus. Spend a little on lighting. I use 4 - 5700K CFLs that I bought on Amazon and shoot thru a cloth cloud dome. My latest addition is a wireless SD card that allows me to send the picture to my computer without having to remove the card from the camera to see what I got. Some higher end cameras come already wireless capable. You have to experiment and write down what works and doesn’t.

My current setup is to shoot on manual with the F stops in the middle of the range. Let the lights warm up and then color balance on the background of the cloud dome first. If what I am shooting won’t stand up on its own, I either use a support or museum wax to support it. You can remove the support or wax from the image later with software. I use a tripod and a time delay to stop any vibration and the resulting impact on focus. I usually bracket my shots so that I have a couple to chose from. Once they are in the computer, I use software to crop, rotate, adjust the exposure and clean up any unwanted spots.

My software is nothing special. I use a chromebook and a couple of free software apps that serve my purpose just fine. If you are photographing silver, you are in for a real challenge as it is very reflective and you will get hot spots unless you control for them. Again, experiment and write down what works. I know that I spend a lot more time photographing some pieces than it takes for me to make them. Think of it as an extension of your art or at least a learning experience. I hope this helps. Good luck…Rob

Somehow the all the info about how I will set up and take the photos did
not get through.

So here it is: I have made a white light box and have three LED lights to
shine through the
sides and top. I will use a tripod and will only use the camera for taking
jewelry pictures.
It will not be used for anything else.

The photos will be used to print up for advertising photos and some for
large blow ups at a gallery and not for a web site.

Thank you for your help.

In this case it’s critical that you have a camera that can capture raw data. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras all can, and some point and shoots; the Canon G series, f’rinstance, can as well.
When investigating the camera’s resolution keep in mind the DPI (dots per inch) needed for good prints. For magazine size photos 300dpi is standard. For poster prints 150dpi is likely plenty, though you should check with your graphic service, as what is optimal varies with the model of printer.
So, if you’re going to print an 8"x10" photo at magazine quality you need a camera that can capture at least 2400x3000 pixels ( 8" x 300dpi = 2400 pixels, etc.) And you want to save the image as a RAW file, because JPEG files are lossy. Data is lost at any level of compression and cannot be regained.
Another advantage of SLRs and mirrorless cameras is changeable lenses, so you are not stuck with one all-purpose zoom lens. And since the lens is the most important piece of the camera, you can upgrade later as budget allows without having to buy a new camera.
KEH has some very good deals on used kit. They are photo specialists and have a good return policy.

I have a Lumix FZ45, I also have a Nikon D7000 fitted with a 60mm Nikkor Micro lens, I was asked a similar question on another forum and I took these photos to show the quality of the Lumix’s Leica lens alongside that of the Nikkor Micro.

Some of the images on my Web site and the PUK review site were taken with the Lumix FZ200. Check out this image: It has great reviews. The macro feature enables me to actually touch the object with the lens. I purchased it at my local camera store 10 months ago for $280 (MSRP $550). You can find it discounted all over for under $400.

I guarantee you’ll love this camera!

Jeff Herman

I have an old Nikon D40x DSLR and a newer Canon DSLR, but I use my iPhone 6 and it takes really great shots. I have downloaded a couple of free apps that can boost the features. I can even use it for good macro. I do use a tripod from time to time to help with camera shake. I have heard that the iPhone 7 camera is really wonderful, but I’m not ready to upgrade. My website is still under construction, but I have photos on an Etsy shop ( all taken with my iPhone 6. I also use a small tabletop studio with LED lights like you describe. I have decked it out with some tile and river rock from my yard as props. I just went to a Gem and Lapidary show yesterday and I took some quick photos of my new loot with my iPhone 6 just a little while ago. I will upload one…

If you decide to look at my shop, please don’t judge my work too harshly - I’m a newbie at metal work.

I also am appreciating the camera recommendations as our main one stopped working correctly .
But I wanted to add my agreement on the benefits of using a light box ( and tripod).

As others have described you can make one , but you can also nowadays buy one relatively cheap , lights and all on Amazon

Live Oak Studios

That’s really amazing. What they have these days! I use a cloud dome, although I can see its limitations. I fiddled around for years with various homemade contraptions, and I so wish they’d had these back then.

I second the vote for Nikon Cool pix - I have used the 995 for years. Just purchased a 4500 for back up - under $100. Easy to use, while the pixel count is low, the quality is superb - I have a 20 x 30" enlargement that shows no pixelation. Plenty good for web and casual print stuff. I use a cloud dome.

Judy Hoch

This is taken with a Samsung 6 on pro mode. I have a tripod for it as well
but this was just braced and handheld. It’s in my pocket all the time and
it out takes video. I have a digital slr cannon and I get better results
with this. I’m no pro though.

Hello Sharon,
I’m going through the same process myself. First I went to You Tube and looked at reviews of best cameras of this year. After I narrowed it down, I started watching a buying site (“” is a good one). I’m seeing prices going down as it gets closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Also larger sites like B&H Photo has a used section that may help.


Thank you, i would be interested to know which iPhone 6 app you downloaded to enhance picture taking. I have iPhone6s.

Anyone using Fujifiilm FinePix S7000 for jewelry pictures? It was a pretty decent camera when I bought it. It has Macro features and pretty good resolution. Whatever I tried - I cannot make good pictures. Cannot do any pictures on pure white background or on a black background, they are not coming sharp. For some reason the object should be on some kind of patterned background, like piece of fabric or textured paper. I have a light box and a tripod - still not working well. Coming too dark for some reason. If I add more light - it’s not sharp. Any suggestions?

Janet, I use my smart phone and the “Cloud Dome”. See it demoed “ dome”. I purchased mine from @RioGrande .

My two-cents…………