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Old Jul 31, 2002, 6:01 PM   #1
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Default Jewelry Digital Photography Advice

Hi all, this is my first post to this forum. I am a diamond wholesaler/jeweler in Vancouver, Canada. Currently we use a professional to photograph our jewelry. I know people are using digital camera's for jewelry with great success. I was hoping for some advice.
1) What digital camera model is recommended? Keeping in mind price is important.
2) Any suggestions on photography technique? I've heard using a light box can be usefull.

Thank you for all your help.
John.
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Old Jul 31, 2002, 6:35 PM   #2
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With subjects like that I would say the most important thing to look into is how the camera performs on Macro focus.

Some cameras just can't focus on subjects that are inches away from the lens and you don't want to take a picture from further back and then try to zoom in afterwards with software.

Another thing to keep in mind is your background should probably be all black, like the felt tablets some jewelers use to show off a piece to a client, so there is a sharp contrast between the background and subject.

Lighting is not a strong subject for me, but I would guess any strong and direct light would cast shadows and reflections where you would not want them and that is something you wouldn't want.

My new camera is a Nikon 4500 and it actually has very good close Macro focus and I can catch great details on nature subjects and I am sure it would do a good job in this task, so at least look into the camera.

I'm not sure how much you paid the professional, but I am sure with a decent computer, ok editing program, and decent camera you will recoup the expense and your results should be outstanding.

Besides, you can always use the camera in other shooting situations.

Best of luck.
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 1:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information.

A fellow jeweller recommended the Nikkon Coolpix 4500 to me for the macro capability. I've seen others use the Nikkon 950. It seems that the Nikkon has good close up capability.

Anyone have any suggestions for lighting. I'd prefer to shoot on a light (white) background. I've seen some white dome diffusers advertized on the internet to prevent hotspots.

Cheers!
John.
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 1:07 PM   #4
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well, i would lean more torard the 5700 or the D7i. i own the D7i. this is because of their slr type qualities. a light table is a definate plus. look into a ring strobe also. if your fine art shooting. your entering another specialty realm. specialty lighting to bring out the quality of the product. you will make a "small" investment in gear for that.
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 1:18 PM   #5
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Default Nikon 4500

The Nikon Coolpix 4500 will do you quite nicely! They also have the Cool Light SL-1 which is just perfect for taking those closeups without casting a shadow. The SL-1 is a ring light.

Good luck!
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 2:01 PM   #6
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John,
I think that you are the one who know what lighting is the best for those articles.
Personally I did not have big success with flashes in some diamond photography , but I did not have digital cam yet to judge immediately . I saw that (front) flashes makes the diamond look "flat"

I also suggest using the smallest aperture to have maximum "star" effect .
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 8:26 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the great info.

Couple of questions:
What's a ring diffuser and where do I get one? I'm assuming its similar to the dome diffusers I've seen on the net.

How did you like the Cool Light SL-1? I've heard that for jewelry (like shiny platinum) the LED lights may be visible on the picture. That's why I'm guessing people are using the dome diffusers.

Cheers!
John.
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Old Aug 2, 2002, 12:41 AM   #8
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sl1-thats quite possible due to the leds being a point source type of light
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Old Aug 3, 2002, 1:26 AM   #9
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1. definitely go with a camera with thru the lens viewing. Rangefinders, e.g. nikon 99X series or the 4500, are subject to paralax errors at close distances.

The camera's LCD CAN be used for thru the lens viewing, but for this to work yu need either the Nikon 990 series twist design or something similar since the camera may be at an anlg that is awkward to view the screen.

2. A ringlight is probably NOT a good idea for diamonds. Ring light provide a good lighting source on smooth, dull surfaces, other wise you may see an image of the ring or sharp highlights where you do nto want one.

An ideal choice is a fiber optic illuminator, available from Edmund scientific. This will let you mimic room light or light from the sun so the diamond sparkles.

You may also want a light table so you can light the diamonds from below.

3. I would definitely buy a camera with manual focus and manual control or aperture priority. These features allow you to control depth of field ... a critical feature in photgrpahy of small objects.

4. If you are doing this regularly, you are liley to want a copy stand or some sort of very flexible tripid system to hold the camera steady. One nterestiong approach is to get a small LCD TV able to take your camera's output (a cheap color set is even betetr!). That way you can move the camera around as you want, view thru the lens, and see quite abig image.

Please send three small (1/2 carats is OK) diamonds to me if these instructions help! <laughs and giggles>
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Old Aug 7, 2002, 4:59 PM   #10
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I thought all digicams with a LCD monitor is "thru the lens viewing"? Yes, almost all have parallax errors, but only if you use the optical viewfinder. And even then, most have markings in them to indicate such.
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