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Old Apr 17, 2011, 7:23 AM   #1
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Location: South Florida
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Default Don't you mind sharing your macro setup?

Don't you mind sharing your macro setup when you photograph table top, jewelry?
- Tripod
- camera
- digital back (if applicable)
- lens
- macro rail
- lights
- did I miss anything?

Thanks a lot!
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,175

Most of my macro is outside, but I tried jewelry idly once or twice. Depending on the type of jewelry pictures you are taking (selling items on ebay or doing detail shots), you may or may not need a 1:1 macro lens. If you are going to be taking pleasing pictures of items to sell on ebay you could probably get away with 1:2, unless you are photographing small gemstones.

Lighting is critical with jewelry, in my opinion/experience. I didn't solve it with what I have, too much reflection from the lights, too many hot-spots. I think a lightbox would be the way you'd want to go so you don't have the hot-spots that I experienced. But since I don't have one and have never tried to use one, I don't know what else you'd need to know about using one. Whatever you end up doing for lighting, you will not be using the on-board flash. I wasn't impressed with the results I got using one one flash off-camera.

Another thing to consider is what you will be using for a background - i.e., what the jewelry will be resting on.

I'm not so sure you'll need macro rails, though they will make things easier. They make life much easier outdoors where you are limited where you can put the the tripod in relation to your subject. In your case, you will have far more flexibility with how you set things up (you can always move your subject slightly, as well as the tripod) so I think I'd buy what else you need first, before investing in macro rails. I still don't own any macro rails, though I keep fondly looking at RRS's rails every time I get one of their catalogs.

My tripod was bought for dragging around on hikes etc. so that one of my highest priorities was weight. Since you aren't going to be dragging your tripod on trails, you don't have to worry about weight and can buy a less expensive, heavy-duty aluminum model. Make sure that you can adjust the legs to where you'll want it to stand (some cheap models are very limiting, they have something connecting the legs together to provide more support than they would otherwise be able to carry). While I love my tripod and it would work well for your application, I wouldn't recommend it because it was very expensive and you don't need it's specialty. So save your money and buy something cheaper.
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