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Glass Gems

10 years ago

Glass Gems
Glass Gems

What is a good lens for Canon 50D for taking photos of gems and gemstones?

I assume one would need a macro lens, so which model (compatible with Canon 50D) is best?

Another related question, if the gems are behind a display glass in a museum, what lens and which model (compatible with Canon 50D) would be ideal? I went to a gem exhibit, and sadly most of my photos were crappy. 🙁

My purpose is to create a gem website using all original photographs.

Your advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you very much.

A 50mm macro should do the job–depending on how much distance is between the gem and the glass case in which it’s contained. Last I checked, 50mm macros didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I use an old (non-autofocus) Nikkor 50mm Macro on my old but reliable D200 myself.

I’m sorry most of your images didn’t turn out as you had wanted them to. When you say “crappy”–were they out of focus? Were they blurry? If either/or were you shooting in automatic (program) mode? Were you getting reflection off the glass? Were you using a tripod or were you hand-holding the camera? Were you using a flash? All of these can affect the quality of the shot.

Generally speaking, when using a macro lens, you need to use a smaller aperture because the depth of field is very narrow to begin with, Furthermore, and depending on the ISO and/or lighting (especially indoors), you’ll have to use a slower shutter speed and a tripod. Proper focus and preventing camera shake is crucial for the environment and type of macro work you want to do.

Also–another thing to keep in mind is that a the purpose of a macro lens is to get up close and magnify small objects, so if the glass case limits how close you can get to the gems, a macro lens might not help you here. If so, camera shake, improper focusing, inaccurate exposure and/or color balance could be the culprits.

To summarize, here is the list of equipment you’ll need to do your gem photography:

– Macro Lens (provided you can get pretty close to the gems, despite the glass case)
– Tripod
– Polarizing filter (if unwanted glass reflection is an issue)

Notice that I didn’t include a flash here. Using a flash (either the built-in or hot shoe versions) will–more often than not–cause glare when shooting through glass cases, so I go with the ambient in these cases.

Finally–if you’re shooting in automatic mode–for either focusing or exposure (which I don’t recommend)–make use of your camera’s “autobracket” feature. Sometimes what looks acceptable in the digital preview can disappoint once it gets to the computer or lab.

Anyways–I hope this helps, and good luck to you.

How to Choose Glass for Glass Art : Using Glass Nuggets & Gems for Glass Art

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