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Sapphire pictures - camera lens makes a difference

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riogems

Shiny_Rock
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I decided to try a higher-end camera and lens to see what difference it can make in the picture quality. And wow -- I think it makes a big difference. I''m curious if everyone agrees?

I''m going to post two photos (I think I can only do 1 per post). One photo is a side-by-side (I copied and pasted a photo with my old camera) next to one I took with this new camera. The second post is a larger version of this new picture, and it is amazing the color and detail it captures.

sa-cushion-new-old.jpg
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Yes, those are great pictures and very helpful to those who can''t see the stones in person!
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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OOooooh, what are the specs on the camera?

You wouldn''t mind popping up to Idaho and taking a couple of snaps of my tsavorite that Wink''s looking after for me do you? I don''t get to see her till the autumn so I''d be very grateful


Beautiful sapphire as well - what size is it?
 

riogems

Shiny_Rock
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I picked up the Canon Digital EOS XTi yesterday. And this morning I rented the Canon 100mm Macro Lens. The lens is so long (like 8 inches), I''m going to have to change my set-up to take pictures of bigger stones. The cushion shaped one is 9.8x6.9x5.35mm, and the round one is 7.9x7.9x5.5mm. So, I think the photo of the round one is about 20 times the diameter of the actual stone (on my screen - but it sure seems bigger than that). That would make the area over 300x the picture (using the formula a=pi*r^squared). Wow, seems so crazy.

Pandora - buy my ticket and I''ll pop up to Idaho anytime (haha). Anybody else looking after stones for you? I''m game for a world tour.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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rent the sigma 150mm macro before buying the canon 100.
They are 2 of the best out there and the longer 1:1 distance with the 150 is sometimes better for some applications.

With macro depending on what your doing a good p&s is actually better than a dslr.
The p&s are often 4x-5x out of the box and getting that kind of optical magnification in a dslr is very expensive.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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Is the Canon Digital EOS XTi the same as the Canon EOS 400d in Europe? The new Canon Digital SLR basically?

If so I promised my FI this as a joint xmas/engagement present, but have been waiting to buy it as the price comes down a lot after March. The best I can find at the moment is £439 for the body and the standard lense, which should be around $900.

How does this equate to prices in the USA? FI''s brother is over there at least twice a month and I might be better giving him the $$ and getting him to bring it back for me.

The lenses are soooo expensive


Of course, if I wasn''t buying this a ticket to Idaho would have been no problem!


Do I have gemstones in other places - fraid not. However we are planning on going to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon and I have been promised that we can spend a day doing sapphires - visiting a mine etc. I really want to buy some nice stones while I''m there so I will be asking for recommendations at some point. Meanwhile I am reading everything I can on sapphires.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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check out http://www.bhphotovideo.com/ for some of the best US prices.
If you can dont get the kit lens and get the sigma 17-70 instead.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=Search&A=details&Q=&sku=419582&is=REG&addedTroughType=search


The tamron 17-50 2.8 is the other option both kick the kit lens fanny.
The tamron is a little faster but a little shorter and doesnt do marcro.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=Search&A=details&Q=&sku=423714&is=REG&addedTroughType=search
 

jeffwhite

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
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39
I just invested in an XTi too and love it!! What a great camera. I have been shooting for years and had high quality lenses for EOS already, so it was a no-brainer for me. I would definitely agree with the poster who suggested avoiding the kit lenses. They may look attractive from a price standpoint, but if you value image quality, avoid them. Spend a little extra and go for the better lenses.

B&H Photo out of New York has a pretty good deal on them right now. I''ve dealt with them for years, and they are a rock-solid, reliable supplier of photo gear in general. I don''t even look anywhere else anymore...
 

riogems

Shiny_Rock
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Pandora - costco (a big us discount retailer) sold the canon xti in some kind of a kit with a basic lens, memory stick, etc.. for about $799+tax (not the cheapest price around -- but it has a 90-day cash back return policy).

Jeff - what kind of lens are you using? I rented the canon 100mm macro yesterday, and they also make a 180mm macro too (but I think that may be overkill). My challenge is how to set the camera so that the colors are accurate. I''ve never had an slr before, so this is the first camera where I really have full control over a lot of settings. So far, I''ve found I can change the ISO, Exposure Time, Aperture Value (f-number), and I have briefly tried to figure out the white balance and color profiles (where you can set sharpness, saturation, etc...). I''ll definitely look at B&H when I figure out what lens I want to buy.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Shot in AV mode.
Use RAW file mode and set the white balance in software...
this helps:
http://www.rawworkflow.com/products/whibal/index.html


Id start with iso 100 and f-8 then let the camera pick the shutter speed if its under 1/60th then up the iso to 200 wash rince and repeat but keep the iso 400 and under.
If your not using a light tent you should be.
Then once you know the proper settings from AV mode set it to M and lock them in.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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the canon 180 is a beast of a lens, to long and heavy to hand hold and takes a high end tripod to use well.
The canon 100 or the sigma 150 would be my choices.
The canon will give you a working distance of ~15cm and the sigma ~20mm
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 3/21/2007 6:00:56 PM
Author: strmrdr
the canon 180 is a beast of a lens, to long and heavy to hand hold and takes a high end tripod to use well.
The canon 100 or the sigma 150 would be my choices.
The canon will give you a working distance of ~15cm and the sigma ~20mm
no edit button is a pita...
That should be ~15cm and ~20cm not mm
 

riogems

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
194
Thanks - I don''t have a good lens to shoot with today, but I took a RAW image file and messed around with the RAW image converter. Now I understand why RAW files are the way to go when shooting. I''m looking into getting one of those white/gray/black cards to use. Thanks for the link -- very good info.
 

jeffwhite

Rough_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Date: 3/21/2007 5:13:53 PM
Author: riogems
Pandora - costco (a big us discount retailer) sold the canon xti in some kind of a kit with a basic lens, memory stick, etc.. for about $799+tax (not the cheapest price around -- but it has a 90-day cash back return policy).

Jeff - what kind of lens are you using? I rented the canon 100mm macro yesterday, and they also make a 180mm macro too (but I think that may be overkill). My challenge is how to set the camera so that the colors are accurate. I''ve never had an slr before, so this is the first camera where I really have full control over a lot of settings. So far, I''ve found I can change the ISO, Exposure Time, Aperture Value (f-number), and I have briefly tried to figure out the white balance and color profiles (where you can set sharpness, saturation, etc...). I''ll definitely look at B&H when I figure out what lens I want to buy.
I have some Canon EF lenses, but my favorites (and the least expensive, interestingly enough) are my Sigma EX lenses. This is Sigma''s high-end line of lenses, and while not cheap, they are much less expensive than the equivalent Canons. The quality is excellent as well. In fact, the high end lenses from third parties such as Sigma typically match or beat the performance of the manufacturers lenses in sharpness and distortion tests.... So, when it comes time to buy, my advice is to not turn your nose up at these (or let anyone tell you they''re inferior in optics).

My experience is that the XTi''s "auto" white balance doesn''t do the trick all of the time, especially in heavy tungsten lighting. However, I''ve found that the built in "manual" white balance corrections work pretty well for most situations. You can switch between tungsten, fluorescent, and several others with ease. If you have a really complex lighting problem, you may have to go the custom white balance route, but this is pretty unusual.

Photography is one of my passions, and you''ll probably find it addictive too! Have fun....
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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23,295
also look into adobe lightroom for the batch editing software.
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/?sdid=RNHW
free trial is available.

You still might need a heavier duty editor like photoshop or paint shop pro from time to time but lightroom rocks for batch processing a lot of pics.
 

Richard M.

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
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All,

Sometimes low-tech works pretty well too. I''ve been experimenting with using natural light only and captured this image with nothing but my standard Nikon Coolpix 4500 standard lens. The only photo-editing was cropping and sizing.

Sometimes everything old is new again: this was the first gem-photography technique I experimented with but the resolution of my previous camera was too low to capture this kind of detail. I could probably do better with something newer but for the moment I''m happy with the results I''m getting.

Richard M.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 3/25/2007 3:01:07 AM
Author: Richard M.
All,

Sometimes low-tech works pretty well too. I''ve been experimenting with using natural light only and captured this image with nothing but my standard Nikon Coolpix 4500 standard lens. The only photo-editing was cropping and sizing.

Sometimes everything old is new again: this was the first gem-photography technique I experimented with but the resolution of my previous camera was too low to capture this kind of detail. I could probably do better with something newer but for the moment I''m happy with the results I''m getting.

Richard M.
Thats not shocking the 4500/4600 are 2 of the best macro shooters ever made.. dslr or p&s.
 

Richard M.

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
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Date: 3/25/2007 3:21:15 AM
Author: strmrdr

Thats not shocking the 4500/4600 are 2 of the best macro shooters ever made.. dslr or p&s.
My bad. I thought the thread was about long auxiliary lenses and not standard macro.

Richard M.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
Date: 3/25/2007 12:02:35 PM
Author: Richard M.

Date: 3/25/2007 3:21:15 AM
Author: strmrdr

Thats not shocking the 4500/4600 are 2 of the best macro shooters ever made.. dslr or p&s.
My bad. I thought the thread was about long auxiliary lenses and not standard macro.

Richard M.
its about taking kicken photos of gemstones as far as im concerned and you showed it can be done without spending $1200 in camera and lens.
 
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