Ideas for shooting Jewelry...NOT bugs.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jamesjems, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. I already have a 105/2, but I don't have a macro lens in my arsenal. Client has asked me to photograph some jewelry, which means more than a bug/coin sized focal point for which the 105/2.8 was designed. I need something wider. I've got a 24-120 (yuck) and a 28/1.4 (yum), both of which, with enough light will yield enough depth of field, but I still can't get close enough?
    Question: different lens? Or perhaps an extension tube? Anyone tried something like this with an extension tube? Considerations/Gotchas I should be aware of?
  2. Extension tubes work just fine. I set up a half dome tent over a table, set jewelry (earrings and necklaces) at 45 degrees with 45 degree reflectors pointing back up to the art. No need for any costly material here, just foam core. Turn off your auto focus. Set your light power at about 22.5 and shoot at 22. Depth of field should be sufficient. If you are shooting on black surface, try black opaque plexiglas.
  3. 60/2.8 micro or 85/2.8 PC if you want to do it well, extension tubes if you want to get the job done simply but not with the highest quality. Beware that regular lenses suffer significant losses in quality when going close to 1:1 magnification so that you don't end up with pictures of too low quality.
  4. The 24mmF2,8 and ex. tube is a classic, 28F1,4 is no good at 1:1. I would agree with Oskar, 60mmF2,8 is the best quolity for this kind of job.
  5. Or a PB-6 with an 80mm enlarging lens. Really, just get a 60mm Micro and be done with it. I'm not big into using a light tent, just because it evens out the light too much for shiny objects and particularly gemstones.
  6. If the 60mm f/2.8 is a good option for this type of work, why is the 105mm f/2.8 not a good option? You would/should be able to get a bit farther back for better lighting... Or is there something different about the two lenses?
  7. The Nikkor 85/2.8 PC lens is nearly ideal for table top and product photography. You have precise control over the depth of field not possible with a fixed macro lens. It is also one of the sharpnest lenses in Nikon's fold. The real trick of photographing jewelry is lighting, not hardware, however. Get a copy of "Light - Science and Magic" by Hunter, Fuqua et. al. for principles and pointers.
  8. Tim: the 105 is simply too long for a lot of such shooting. No reason you can't use it, but plenty of reasons why it's not nearly as convenient as a 60mm.
  9. Matt -- isn't a longer lens better for DOF? DOF is always my achilles heel when shooting macro shots.
  10. Macro will always have big problems with DOF because image size is so large. The 85mm t/s lens was designed for product photography. Could use a Canon 500D on it to get closer focus and magnification. Otherwise the 60mm or similar macro should get you close focus.
    Have you considered focus stacking software for DoF? I assume you subjects are just lying on a table.
    Kent in SD
  11. "Too long," Tim, in the sense that at 105mm, you can find yourself needing to shoot a 12-inch necklace from well over six feet away. If you're having to do a shoot-down arrangement (because of lights, or other logistical things), you could end up on a ladder, shooting products on the floor. So, 60mm can be a lot easier to deal with.
  12. Ah, ok. Makes sense from that perspective... Thanks.
  13. I do a lot of product orientated macro shots. The best and easiest I've found is using a Coolpix 990 or 4500. The optics and images from these cameras a superb. And you have your depth of field. They are still available on eBay for a couple of hundred of dollars or less. I think Nikon quite making these cameras because nobody wanted to spend over $1000.00 for a point and shoot.
  14. After thinking some more, on objects a bit bigger than what we consider macro, I use my 18-105 VR. Minimum focus is 12 inches through out the zoom range. It's sharp.
  15. The extension tubes, your chosen lens' resolution sweet spot (with tubes diffraction sets in quicker) and focus stacking software, I like Combinezm - it's free, but allow good overlap between the exposures - otherwise lots of halos, wide open lenses contribute to these errors. Don't / (sharpen very little) the raw before the stack.
    Lighting - i've heard that too diffuse light is OK, not good, but haven't tried jewelry just flowers and bugs.
  16. I shoot jewelry for my wife w/ a Nikor 50mm 1.8 and a Nikor 20mm 2.8. Both on a D80.

    We use a plastic egg-looking light tent that was pretty cheap ($50?) to control lighting, and use a nikon speedlight triggered off-camera with the camera's commander mode.

    It isn't perfect, but it is quick and works reasonably well.
    You can see some shots in my profile, I think, and certainly at
  17. I shoot jewelry for my wife w/ a Nikor 50mm 1.8 and a Nikor 20mm 2.8. Both on a D80. We use a plastic egg-looking light tent that was pretty cheap ($50?) to control lighting, and use a nikon speedlight triggered off-camera with the camera's commander mode. It isn't perfect, but it is quick and works reasonably well. You can see some shots in my profile, I think, and certainly at
  18. Try one of the sparkle filters that put a star on dots of light. They were a big fad 20 years ago. They make everything shine like a diamond.
  19. You don't mention whether you're shooting on DX or FF or film. I too have a 105VR and find it excessively long for photographing necklaces and larger pieces with my D300. I'd quickly snap up the new 60mm length macro if I did more of this sort of work. But you might also try the a 50mm f/1.8 with either a set of auto extension tubes (or a closeup diopter if the final use isn't going to be blown up huge). A major point to the longer f/l macros is not only do they work for skittish live subjects like butterflies, but they also isolate the subject better from the background due to a narrower field of view and limited depth of field. As a class they tend to have excellent bokeh as well as a distortion-free flat perspective for macro and copy work. Too, there's more flexibility with light modification than with short lenses (e.g. shadows cast by the equipment being too close can be a problem). Getting the lighting right for gemstones and polished gold to pop-- without specular highlights flaring and ruining the shot-- is often a much, much more complicated matter than the subject of lens selection or simply using a diffusion tent.
  20. i was asked by a jewelry maker about photographing the work. i told the guy it was out of my expertise and i probably couldn't help him. but still think about it from time to time.
    there's a 35mm camera called a 'yashica dental eye' that was sold to dentists in the '70s and '80s to photograph teeth. these are on the used market for under $200 now and they are being used for all sorts of macro applications. seems like nice results [sharp detail and color rendition]. it has a fixed focal length, and a focusing range of 1:10 to 1:1 magnification. bulky, non-removable lens with a built-in ring light. and a separate focusing light. the first version had a 50mm lens and the II and III have a 100mm. there's a digital version, too apparently.
  21. Thanks, Everyone. Everyone, for weighing in.
    I've decided I'm going to go with extension tubes, so for you extension tube users, here's another question:
    Will "non-AI" tubes work with a D3? I know I'll have to sacrifice autofocus (yeah, big deal.) But will I have two questions: Will a non-AI product even mount on a D3, and second, will I sacrifice metering or the ability of the camera to I don't need to ask that: I don't own "G" lenses. I can stop down manually. One question only: will a set of "non-AI" extension tubes mount on a modern FF D3?
    Thanks, everyone for helping.
  22. I can give you a 99% "Yes" answer. I purchased an M2 extension tube for my D300 in order to mount a Pre-Ai 55mm 3.5 macro lens. The Extention tube itself is "Pre-Ai", which is normally of course a big no-no for lenses, but the tube doesn't have any of the dangerous connectors that the pre-ai lenses do.
    So - an M2 "non-ai" extention tube mounts safely on my D300, and there should be no difference between the D300 and D3 in this regard. Someone with a D3 will probably fill in that last 1% for you.
  23. Hmmm...
    Thanks, Josh...that answers my question (I think) that I asked here:
  24. James, Your better off buying a new lens. You will anyway after you throw those extension tubes in the trash. That's what I did.

Share This Page