Let’s admit it, who does not like looking at a nice piece of jewelry when walking down the main street. There seems to be something inherent in us, that makes us attracted to small shiny objects. Jewelry has always represented luxury, status symbols, or simply objects of great esthetics. It is no wonder that a ring is an iconic symbol of marriage. Due to modern internet technology and great photography, people can browse through thousands of jewelry pieces online. Some people spend days looking at jewelry online before visiting a local jewelry shop. More and more often, people even buy jewelry online since closeup photography has improved so much in the last couple of years.
A client requires a lot of trust when buying an expensive item online, especially when it is based on how it looks in the picture. In this article, we will look at what are the most important factors, when it comes to close-up photography. In the end, we will also provide a few cameras, that we have had the most success with when taking close-up pictures. These cameras will fit all outlined criteria mentioned in the article. If you would like clients to see your product at its best, or you are just interested in taking pictures of rings due to an upcomming wedding, then this article is for you.
For those of you who have no time to continue reading, we have compiled all our thoughts & conclusions in the next section. For those of you who would like to understand our decisions, please feel free to keep reading, and find out what are the crucial factors and the best cameras for jewellery photography.
If you want to read about our camera of choice for jewellery photography click here.
What is important when choosing the best camera for jewellery photography?
The most important factor to consider, when buying a camera specialized in jewellery photography is, to make sure the camera you choose is suitable for close-up photography, also known as High-Res Macro Photography. Sure buying a lens specialized for taking pictures of a small object is good to have, but having a proper camera for this is also a factor that can’t be ignored. In order to get the best results, both a great camera and lens are needed.
In the table below, we have compiled a series of cameras that do a great job of producing High-Res Macro photos and are therefore great choices for jewellery photography.
|Ricoh GR III||Sony Alpha A7 III||Canon EOS R||Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||Nikon Z7|
|Sensor size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm||36 x 24 mm||36 x 24 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Max. image resolution||6000 x 4000||6000 x 4000||6720 x 4480||6720 x 4480||8256 x 5504|
|Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon|
What are the best cameras for jewellery photography?
You may think that just about any high-quality camera can do a good job at shooting great pictures of jewellery, but that just isn’t always the case. Imagine an oil painter trying to paint an oil painting with watercolor paint and bristles. No matter the skill of the painter, the watercolor painting will have no chance to achieve the desired oil style. So the style that we want to achieve is strongly dependent on the tools that we use. And this holds true for photography as well. If we want to achieve great jewellery photos, we need to consider some key features & components of the camera.
Most compact cameras these days already have a macro shooting mode in the camera’s operating system. This does help when it comes to taking pictures of an object from up close, but the most important factor to consider is the specifications of the lens inside the camera. There are a few factors to look for:
The key consideration when choosing a good close-up camera is the focal length of the lens. Unlike buying a regular lens, it is not a true wide-angle coverage or telephoto range. Instead, the minimum focus distance is used. A macro lens with a longer focal length has a correspondingly longer minimum focus distance, which leaves more working space between you and the object to be photographed when you need to maximize the magnification.
Many cameras nowadays have image stabilization built into the camera. This makes close-up shooting more effective, as they correct for vertical/horizontal shift in the camera as well as the more usual vibration or ‘wobble’ associated with handheld photography. But while stabilization is nice to have for general and moderately close-up shooting, it’s of negligible benefit for extreme close-ups. In the case of taking photos of jewellery, you might prefer a fixed camera setup like a tripod, then having to hold the camera in your hand. This way you will rule out any kind of wobble, when taking pictures.
Our team handpicked the best cameras for jewellery photography. In the following paragraphs, we will look at 5 different cameras that fulfill all the necessary requirements needed for a great High-Res Macro camera. The cameras are listed in ascending order by quality/price ratio.
Ricoh GR III
Ricoh GR III is a great camera for beginners when it comes to the field of close-up photography. It’s a super small package, has a fantastic APS-C sensor, and the layout and button placement is top-notch. The touch screen is pretty nicely implemented as well. Snap focus is the highlight of the GR cameras and the inclusion of the touch to focus makes it much easier to use. The lens is super sharp as the macro mode is improved to as close as 6cm.
Another great benefit of this powerful little camera is, that it fits in a small bag and therefore it is very easy to carry around. For its size, its performance is quite impressive.
Some downsides of the camera are that it doesn’t have a flash, the battery life is subpar, and that it doesn’t have TAv (Time and Aperture value).
We highly recommend this camera for anyone who is looking for a great beginner’s camera. Ricoh GR III is a sort of jack of all trades camera, that can easily fit in any bag.
Sony Alpha A7 III – Our recommended camera for jewellery photography
Reliable and professional are the words to describe Sony Alpha A7 III. For less than 2,500 euros, it provides a 24-megapixel 35mm image sensor that records ten images per second and has a whopping 693 phase-detect autofocus (AF) points covering 93% of the frame. In addition, the sensor-shift image stabilizer promises up to 5 exposure value (EV) longer exposure times without blurring. The camera is also capable of recording astonishing 4K videos.
The camera is made out of magnesium alloy and therefore offers robust protection against dust and water. The camera is not fully water-resistant, but compared with the previous models, Alpha 7 III has a waterproof seal covering the battery compartment. Despite its compact size, the camera feels good in the hand. The handle is conveniently large, and therefore offers a great grip so you can easily hold it with one hand.
With the 2.36 million pixel resolution viewfinder and the 921,000-pixel resolution folding touchscreen, the camera can compete with some of the higher end cameras. Thanks to the proximity sensor, the viewfinder is activated automatically as soon as it identifies an object of interest.
This camera has all the necessary features that make it a perfect fit for the best digital cameras for jewellery photography.
Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R is a great mid-price range camera with a resolution of 30 megapixels. YOu can immediately notice that the camera is of high-quality, as its housing is made out of a robust and lightweight magnesium alloy. The housing is protected with several different seals that protect the camera against water and dust. The handle is perfectly shaped so you will have no problem holding the camera in one hand, even when you have a big lens attached.
The shortest exposure time the shutter can achive is 1 / 8,000 of a second. In contrast to the competition like Sony and Nikon, Canon EOS R does not have a movable image sensor for image stabilization. You will have to rely on the optical image stabilizer of the lenses, which Canon does not build into every lens.
Canon EOS R records moving images at a maximum of 4K resolution at up to 30 frames per second. In Full HD and HD, the possible frame rates double to 60 and 120 frames per second, respectively. The dual-pixel CMOS autofocus from Canon works really fast in the new EOS R. With the appropriate lenses it can autofocus within approx. 0.2 to 0.3 seconds. Canon EOS R autofocus is faster than that of Sony Alpha 7 III, but both cameras are beaten by Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Nikon Z 7. Nonetheless, In practice, the autofocus still feels really fast.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a high-end camera that will satisfy almost any photographer. All its features are of high quality, but where it really stands out is its whopping 30 megapixels with a resolution of 6,720 x 4,480 pixels. The images are razor-sharp and very rich in color.
The shutter feels soft and quiet compared to many other cameras of the same price level. The viewfinder phase detects AF has no problems with lenses 24-70 II, 70-200 II, 135 or 85 1.8 at maximum apertures. The new metering sensor enables great face detection and tracking through viewfinder AF.
The camera’s autofocus works flawlessly. It works especially well with lenses such as the Canon 16-35 mm L, the 24-70 mm L, and the 70-300 mm L. The autofocus works very well even in difficult lighting conditions.
Up to ISO 1,600, the noise is virtually non-existent The camera can also be used at ISO ranges between 1,600 and 6,400, as the noise is so minimal, it can easily be removed with post-processing methods. These traits make it a great candidate for jewellery photography.
The camera enables 4K video recordings with up to 30 full frames per second or Full HD video recordings with up to 60 full frames per second. For me this is completely sufficient for what I need.
One downside of the camera is, that in the case of 4K recording a crop factor of 1.7. This causes a lot of the captured view to be lost. 5D Mark IV is not a pure film camera. We, therefore, recommend the Full HD mode. It is completely sufficient and allows you to record great videos.
The ergonomics of the camera are great as with other Canon cameras.
And last but definitely not least we will loot at Nikon Z7. This is definitely the best digital camera for close-up jewellery photography. It fits all the mentioned criteria that we have talked about.
It is a mirrorless, full-length camera that works perfectly with almost any lens. Nikon Z7 is a high-end camera, as it offers a sensor with 45.7 MP that can push 9 FPS and an autofocus system with a total of 493 focus points. The 45 MP sensor is perfect for shooting landscapes because it can make large prints. The files do become very big though. The Nikon Z7 only has one memory card slot – two are common in this price range.
The camera comes with a high-resolution viewfinder that works with 1280 × 960 pixels. Viewfinder has about 3.69 million pixels.
In the previous Nikon cameras, the image stabilizer was in the lens, but in Z7 it is in the camera housing. Therefore, the lenses can be a bit smaller. As a result, the image stabilization now works with all lenses, regardless of whether they have a stabilizer built-in or not.
We believe Nikon Z7 is a fantastic product, that outshines all its competitors in the same price range. We would, therefore, without second thoughts recommend it to users who are seeking high quality and are willing to spend a little bit.
All these recommended digital cameras will do a great job of taking close-up pictures of your jewellery. There is no wrong decision, it is merely the question of quality that you want to achieve. One simple rule I apply many times in my life is, you get what you pay for.
Have fun taking great B&W photos, and make sure to enjoy it, as the best shots usually happen when we are in a calm and playful state.