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Old Dec 6, 2003, 11:44 PM   #11
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P.S. -- For my quick tests, I used a 100 watt soft white bulb (small table lamp about 1 foot tall), which should approximate the way you're currently lighting your jewelry. In a store environment, you'd need to make sure the lighting was similiar, to get fast enough shutter speeds at an aperture giving you adequate Depth of Field.

It's easier than it sounds, and using Best Shot Selector will help you get sharper hand held photos at the shutter speeds I was using.

I'll e-mail you my phone#. If this looks like a good option for you, and the salesperson doesn't understand how to do this (putting the camera in Macro Mode, varying the Aperture/Shutter for a little better Depth of Field, and using Best Shot Selector to help get sharper photos at the shutter speeds you'll use); then have him give me a call, and I'll talk him through the settings. Then you can see if this will work for you (I personally think it's your best option).

Using a small tripod would work even better, but I don't want you to have to vary your technique too much.
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 3:50 AM   #12
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I personally prefer using closeup diopter lenses on cameras rather than using the macro function...with the closeup lens you can use the camera's zoom to blow up the item (with normal macro you are stuck at full wide angle). Here's an example I took with a +7 (+4, +2, & +1 combined) and the zoom at 300mm...I was about 13cm/5" away from the coin:
http://img4.photobucket.com/albums/0...up/uspenny.jpg

The only thing is depth of field is paper thin...you can see the coin is sharp but the table is blurry.
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 9:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_PEAT
I personally prefer using closeup diopter lenses on cameras rather than using the macro function...with the closeup lens you can use the camera's zoom to blow up the item (with normal macro you are stuck at full wide angle).
Not with the Nikon Swivel Bodied Cameras (Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 4500). Although they work just as well at wide angle (with some barrel distortion, as in most zoom lenses), you can fill the frame with an object as small as .75 inches across, even when using zoom.

It even has a built in feature that lets you find the perfect sweet spot at around half zoom (macro icon even lets you know when you're there by changing colors), so that you know where you'll get no distortion if the perfect macro is desired.

No other digital cameras can even come close to their "straight from the box" macro performance, not even other Nikons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_PEAT
Here's an example I took with a +7 (+4, +2, & +1 combined) and the zoom at 300mm...I was about 13cm/5" away from the coin:
http://img4.photobucket.com/albums/0...up/uspenny.jpg

The only thing is depth of field is paper thin...you can see the coin is sharp but the table is blurry.
That's why I did some quick tests last night to see how a camera would perform, tryihg to simulate his lighting conditions to check exposure (I used my little Konica to see how lighting would impact exposure and DOF).

At F2.8, the Depth of Field looked too shallow for his typical jewelry photos. When I stopped down to F4.7, I got better Depth of Field for a typical shot of jewelry like he has in his listings, and was still able to keep the shutter speeds up to 1/30 second under a 100 watt soft white bulb (about a foot above the subject).

This should approximately simulate his lighting. He said "I take the photos under a regular 60 watt bulb that is right above the jewelry, and an additional one with the flex neck so I get it from all sides."

The Nikons also have a unique Best Shot Selector Mode that works great for Macros. I've even used a Nikon 950 by holding the eyepiece of a Nikon directly to a Microscope Lens (with 600x Magnification), taking 1/4 to 1/2 second shots.

With this mode set (Best Shot Selector), you simply hold down the shutter button, letting it snap off multiple consecutive photos. When you release the shutter button, it automatically saves the sharpest photo. When you take a series of hand held photos at slower shutter speeds, it's a super feature (I wish all cameras had it).

It most likely works by keeping the photo with the largest file size (which indicates more detail is captured).

Although it's probably not necessary at the shutter speeds he should be able to get to insure adequate DOF for most of his photos, it does help to get sharper photos; especially when trying to use zoom at slower shutter speeds (I used 1/30 second at F4.7 and ISO 100 for my quick tests)

With ISO 200 (which is probably where the camera will go to anyway unless ISO 100 is set at slower shutter speeds), he could stop down even more if needed (simply by spinning a wheel in Programmed Auto Mode (while the camera steps through different aperture/shutter speeds, in case you decide that it's default exposure needs a change).

Of course, once he figures out the best settings for his lights and DOF desired, he could switch to Aperture Priority later.

I think this solution would have a very low learning curve for him (if the salesperson can follow my instructions for him to try it -- put a jewelry piece under similiar lighting, switch to macro mode, turn on BSS, use "P" Mode, spinning the wheel and taking test shots at different aperture/shutter speed combinations).

At only $349.99 at Ritz for a Nikon Reconditioned Coolpix 4500, I think it's a "steal" for his needs -- no add-on lenses needed.

You'll find lots of macro photos from the swivel bodied Nikons here in Steve's closeup examples gallery, too. The models in this series (Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 4500) all have the same "straight from the box" macro ability.

Steve even took some of the shots himself with older models like the 950 in the gallery (all of the swivel bodied Nikons have this ability, including the new 4500):

http://www.steves-digicams.com/closeups.html

So, a used older model would also serve his needs fine, too.

I think Phil Askey (owner/editor of dpreview.com) says it best in his CP 4500 review:"...the 4500's macro capabilities go way beyond any other prosumer digital camera"
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
And the CD's are re-writable, and I can use them for permanent storage.
Ok, rewritable cds should not be used for permanent storage.
the same dye that makes them rewritable, also tends to make cdrws kinda unsable:P
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 3:48 PM   #15
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Very good information. I am reading, thinking and researching all of it. Once I make my decision I will post it here. I am going to know by the morning since I need this camera fast. Also Ritz is offering free shipping (can't go wrong there!).

Very kind of all of you to help me out.
Talk soon.
Kat
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 7:16 PM   #16
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Kat:

Ritz also has a 10 day customer satisfaction guarantee (with some restrictions -- you can't open any shrink wrapped software, etc.) But, you won't need the software to use the camera anyway.

See their web site for information on their return polices.

If you decide to get it, feel free to give me a yell if you need some help with the camera settings. You may not be able to test it in a store (depending on the lighting available, etc.).

Good Luck with your decision!
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