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Old May 5, 2004, 12:51 PM   #11
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Thanks very much for the advice! I will be going for the Nikon 990 or Nikon 995 and hoefully it should do the trick. I have also considered steve's suggestion of the Cloud dome but the whole works is a bit pricey.
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Old May 5, 2004, 1:07 PM   #12
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One of the problems with indoor photography is noise (similiar to film grain). That is what is causing the multi-colored dots in your photos (noise from the sensor).

In lower light, digital cameras need to increase ISO speed by turning up the gain from their sensors. This helps the camera to use a faster shutter speed to prevent blur. However, turning up the gain also turns up the noise (and you don't want photos with lots of noise).

So, for macros, you will need to worry about things like lighting. You'll also want to use a tripod (to prevent motion blur from longer exposures needed). For the "cleanist" photos, you want to keep ISO speeds set low (user adjustable in the Nikon Coolpix models you're looking at). The downside is that a lower ISO speed requires a slower shutter speed.

So, the trick is to use good lighting with a tripod, setting ISO speed to the camera's lowest setting. You will also want to use a smaller aperture (higher F-Stop Number)for greater depth of field (also settable via the camera's aperture priority mode). This will allow more of your subject to be in focus (very important at close ranges).

Using a smaller aperture also requires slower shutter speeds (again, you'll want a tripod -- and using the self timer is also recommended to prevent camera shake from pressing the shutter button).

Harsher lighting will cause glare and reflections. That's one of the reasons Steve offered some suggestions on lighting. After all, you want your products to look their best for selling 'em.

At a minimum, I'd probably go with something like the Cool-light SL-1 (about $100.00). Even though it is specifically designed to evenly illuminate small objects for closeups, some people still want better lighting for jewelry.


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Old May 5, 2004, 2:24 PM   #13
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Jim - Would it be better to purchase a cloud dome for lighting and a normal digital cameraor a Nikon 990 with the Cool Light SL-1? I really dont care about price as long as it is not phenomenally expensive. Basically as you said, the pictures are what sell these watches and a want the cleanest pictures without getting too professional.



Thanks for your great advice!
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Old May 5, 2004, 2:43 PM   #14
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The Nikon Swivel Bodied modelscan focus much closer, with a much better field of view than other models can "straight from the box" without expensive special purpose lenses.

They can focus at less than one inch away in macro mode, and "fill the frame" with an object as small as 3/4" across.Because the Macro "sweet spot" is at about half zoom (macro flower icon will change colors to let you know when you are at optimum focal length whenusing zoom), you also have virtually no distortion.

Other digicams don't even come close to this capability.

You also have the ability to use Aperture Priority Mode to increase depth of field. This is important in photographing objects at close range. Many "basic" models will not have this feature. As a result (with many digicams), only part of an object is in focus at very close ranges (due to a wider aperture being selected by the autoexposure mechanisms).

I'd definitely go with a Nikon if I were you. The swivel bodied Nikons are known for having the best closeup ability in the business.

As for lighting, you may be able to experiment with other options. The problem is that most lighting will cause excessive glare and reflections (especially on shiny metal surfaces, glass, etc. -- as with the watches you'll be photographing). I have seen posts of users successfully using homemade light tents from Tupperware Containers with holes cut out for the lenses.

You may be able to experiment with techniques to make the lighting softer, and see what you think. You could always purchase something for better lighting later if the results are not as good as expected.


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