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Old Oct 12, 2005, 10:56 PM   #1
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I need to photograph gemstones for a web application. These are unset cut stones as small as 1 carat (about 5 mm in diameter). Very tiny subjects.

I know there are many issues associated with this application. The first question I'm trying to answer is whether my current camera will be suitable to the task. It's an Olympus D-550 zoom. It has a macro feature, but will only focus to 0.2m (about 0.7 ft). My initial experiments lead me to think that I need to buy a camera with better macro capability, but I'm looking for advice from experts here whether better technique or add-on equipment will allow me to use this camera for the application.

If I need to invest in a new camera, any advice will be appreciated. Since the photos will be displayed on the internet, resolution is not an issue, but I need good detail and accurate color.

Many thanks for your advice.
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 1:18 AM   #2
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Even though it says that you can only focus .7 feet away. You can mount your camera on a tripod and then use the zoom feature to get closer. It depends on the color of the stones, but try putting then against a white background and see how it turns out. Post your results!
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 10:58 AM   #3
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The canon S2 has a "Super" marco feature that allows you to focus on things that are touching the lens. I suspect with gemstones, you could light from underneath and get some sweet photos. Just make sure you dont scratch the lens....
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 3:51 PM   #4
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There are a very few exceptions, but most digital cameras will capture the smallest area in macro at full wide angle. The closest focus distance increases faster than the zoom with most cameras.

Your Oly D550 will capture a minimum area of 3.3 x 2.5 inches. If you crop to an area that is an inch wide you should still have enough resolution for a post. You might get an inexpensive tripod and try some shots at 8 inches to see how they look cropped.

There is a good discussion that might apply to you here: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=87 JimC's suggestion to consider a used Nikon 990, 995 or 4500 is I think a good one. And the point is also made that external lighting should be your biggest consideration. For gems I would think hard lighting might be best rather than the diffused sources suggested in the thread. Even a little desktop high intensity light might work fine for that.

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Old Oct 13, 2005, 4:03 PM   #5
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Here's an article on setting up lighting for photographing jewelry that may be relevant to your needs:



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