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-   -   Camera for photographing jewelry & gemstones. (

langleau Oct 3, 2005 4:39 PM


Hi there,

Can anyone recommend a good reasonably priced not to expensivemacrocamera for taking photographs of jewelry and gemstones?

Must have good white balance adjustment.

Thanks for your help.

Cheers Langleau.


JimC Oct 3, 2005 4:46 PM

A used Nikon Coolpix 990, 995 or 4500 would be my recommendation.

The can fill the frame with a subject about 2/3" across, with virtually no distortion (since the "sweet spot" for the lens is at around half zoom).

Most other cameras force you to use the wide angle lens position for closest focus for macros (where you'll have the most barrel distortion and edge softness, not to mention lighting difficulties trying to get close to a subject like small gemstones, since the camera and lens can cast shadows).

Here is a recent thread on this subject you may want to read through, that also touches on lighting issues, etc.;forum_id=87

langleau Oct 3, 2005 6:19 PM

Hi there again,

Thanks very muchfor your very prompt reply your blood is worth bottling.

Out of the 3 cameras suggested which would you recommend? Do you sell these cameras if not can you suggest the best place to buy one.

Thanks again for your help.

Cheers. :-)

JimC Oct 3, 2005 6:45 PM

No, we don't sell cameras. We do partner with a price search engine (see ). But, watch out for scam artists and make sure to check out customer reviews for any vendor you consider using

If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

But, these models are no longer available new (they are all discontinued now). That's why I suggested used. ;-)

IMO, these modelshave the best macro mode in the business.

What are you going to be using the images for? Ebay listings or something else?


I see that you're in Australia.

I guess it's possible that you may be able to find a vendor that still has a new Coolpix 4500 in stock (even though it's a discontinued model now). This one is the newest of the 3 models I mentioned. But, you'll need to make sure it's not "gray market". Nikon USA will refuse to service acamera that is not intended for sale in the region you are located in, even if you are willing to pay them for the service. So, sometimes users buying camerashere don't find out about them being "gray market" (not intended for sale in the U.S.) until later (you can't trust some vendors). ;-)

I don't know if the same policy applies in Australia or not (if Nikon in Australia would service a camera not intended for sale there).

I'd let members here know what the images are going to be used for (for example, if not just for online use, at what sizes will you need to print these images).

langleau Oct 3, 2005 11:02 PM

Images from the camera will mainly be used for auction listings and fora new website that I'm currently setting up.

My previous camera was a Fuji Finepix 7000 -whichI must say Iwas a little dissapointed with when Iused itforphotographing gemstones and jewelry. Particularly considering the hype and high pressure salesmanshipthat came with the camerawhenIpurchased it.

Thanks again for all your help.

Cheers. :cool:

JimC Oct 3, 2005 11:09 PM

For Ebay use, any of the older Nikon Coolpix models should work fine (for example, the Nikon Coolpix 990, 995, or 4500). The used market is probably your best bet.

But, lighting is probably going to be your biggest issue, and you'll want to use a tripod or other similar device so that you can stop down the aperture for greater depth of field (selecting a smaller aperture, represented by larger f/stop numbers in Av Mode).

Read through the posts in the other thread I posted a link to. It also touches onthis part of the solution (lighting), and also contains a link to a "canned" product designed for photographing small objects like jewelry if you don't want to try and make something yourself to diffuse the light better.;forum_id=87

langleau Oct 3, 2005 11:22 PM

Wow! you must be on your computer 24/7.

I have a second handDhanish light box any suggestions or trickswhen using aNikonCoolpixwith these?

The light box didn't work real well with the the Fuji Finepix 7000 - thoughtwe had wastedour money and had put it to one side.

As always thank you for your excellent advice.

Cheers Suzanne & Allan.

JimC Oct 3, 2005 11:48 PM

langleau wrote:

Wow! you must be on your computer 24/7.
Nah, of course not. I try to sleep an hour here and there. ;-)


I have a second handDhanish light box any suggestions or trickswhen using aNikonCoolpixwith these?
Well, that's probably the most important thing (using one of the older Nikon Coolpix "Swivel Bodied"models with it). LOL

I'm not familiar with their products. But, it looks like they have good advise on their web site, which says this:


We recommend to use Nikon Coolpix 4500 (4Mega Pixels) Digital Camera with Dhanish Imaging Box
[/quote][/quote] :-)

It appears that there is a cutout for the lens in the top of it (hard to tellfrom it's photos). It shows a photo with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 on top.

That may serve as a stable enough platform for the camera if you're careful with it so that you don't get any motion blur from camera shake while taking the photos.

The Nikon Coolpix models I mentioned (Coolpix 990, 995, 4500) all have a great macro mode. When you select it, you can zoom in or out until the macro (flower icon) changes color for the lens "sweet spot", where you'll get the least distortion. But, you can use other focal lengths with it to if that's not "just right" for this particular light box for the desired framing of the subject.

You'll need to experiment for best results. You may also want to use the custom white balance feature usinga white card in the lighting you'll use to set it for better results.

Are you already familar with using an editor to crop your photos and make basic enhancements? That can come in handy, too.

JimC Oct 3, 2005 11:57 PM

P.S., regarding this comment in my last post:


That may serve as a stable enough platform for the camera if you're careful with it so that you don't get any motion blur from camera shake while taking the photos.
Another thing that I've found useful on these models is BSS (Best Shot Selector). It's unique to Nikon. In this mode, you can hold down the shutter button while the camera takes multiple photos in rapid succession. When you release the shutter button, only the sharpest image is stored. So, if the platform is not perfectly stable, this feature can come in handy.

langleau Oct 4, 2005 12:02 AM

Well there you go...... did not think to check the Danish site out .

Certainly proves that you are more thanspot on with your advice and that you are a lotsmarter than the average photo bear out there.

With the photo editingwe have beenusingMicrosoft DigitalImaging Suite but I know that there areother programs out there that do a farbetter the risk of our friendship and taking up to much of your valuabletime - any suggestions?

Is there some small way that we can reimburse you for your very kind advice?

Pitty that you don't sell cameras.

Cheers Suzanne & Allan.

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