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07-02-2018, 08:49 PM   #16
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See that thread I posted earlier. Reversing works well. I recently saw someone posting about reversing the standard DA18-55 with excellent results. A reversing ring would be a great place to start and lighting will be important too so keeping the budget low will help.

07-02-2018, 09:22 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoldMountain Quote
Wow, lots of great responses. Thanks - much appreciated all. My main usage is close ups of vintage brand name jewelry I will be selling on eBay. So it's important that the tiny stamp of the brand (in the back) is clearly visible.

With that said, what would be the best sub $200 and $100 macro or close focus lenses for such a purpose? Also, any actual tips on lighting and such for the best results would be appreciated.

Thanks again folks!
Definitely something in the 100mm range on APS-C. This will give you ample working distance. When I was doing this sort of thing I bought a small camping tent at a garage sale. It was a white rip stop nylon shell with a separate fly. The fly was no good for what I wanted but the white nylon shell and tent poles gave me the raw material required to make a large shooting box.

The product went into the tent and I used my studio flash heads on the outside to provide very soft illumination. I arranged to be able to put a flash head underneath which made the product appear to float in mid air. It was quite effective.

Another method to try would be to bounce flash off of an umbrella that has been lined with crumpled and then flattened aluminum foil. This will provide soft light with some specularity. Very effective.

A combination of the two methods can also be quite effective, though the logistics can be a bit of a pain.

You will struggle with depth of field no matter what. Study up on focus stacking and learn how to do it. This is the easiest way to acquire deep depth of field in macro product work.

Have a gander at this link. It’s a dozen or so images stacked.
Images

Reversing lenses is a great way to get really close:
http://pug.komkon.org/01feb/pixels.html
07-02-2018, 09:29 PM - 2 Likes   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoldMountain Quote
Wow, lots of great responses. Thanks - much appreciated all. My main usage is close ups of vintage brand name jewelry I will be selling on eBay. So it's important that the tiny stamp of the brand (in the back) is clearly visible.
OK...perhaps you do need 1:1 and excellent lighting, at least for those detail views. Ok...on my shelf I have:
  1. Couple of reversing rings
  2. K-mount bellows + several lenses that might work well with it
  3. Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro
  4. Tamron 90/2.8 Macro (72B)
  5. Several flash capable of both on-camera and off-camera usage
  6. A very sturdy tripod capable of low-angle work
I can attain 1:1 reproduction (means 1mm on the subject = 1mm on the sensor) with any of #s 1-4, but if I were to be doing production work on jewelry I would also like to have:
  • Tabletop shooting setup (See LINK to Cool Stuff for examples at B&H). The intent is to provide flexibility for diffuse lighting, backdrops, and subject stage in a small space.
  • Focus rail. It is not immediately obvious, but conventional focus using the lens focus ring is rather difficult at or near to 1:1. It is easier to move the camera/lens as a unit to approach the subject at a fixed magnification than to vary magnification at a fixed distance. A focus rail provides this.
  • Focusing stage (optional). This is similar to a focus rail except that it is the subject that is being moved. Positioning is a major challenge.
  • Turntable...aids in positioning and easy means to get front, sides, and rear views
  • Product support jigs appropriate to your goods
The first item is important as is the last. The second is important for allowing repeatable setups. The others may be added as they become needed. Yes, this is fairly involved, but such is fairly standard for work with small collectibles and other small stuff of value.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-03-2018 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Don't remember the focal length of my own lenses!
07-02-2018, 10:25 PM   #19
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Great points by Steve. My own collection of macro gear includes bellows, dfa 100 wrong, enlarger lens, Raynox close up lenses, Nikon and Canon close up lenses, reversing rings, ring flashes, extension tubes, tripods, focusing rail, more lighting... etc.

07-02-2018, 11:31 PM - 4 Likes   #20
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Thomas Shahan is a well know macro photographer and he happens to use Pentax. Check out his setting and technic.


07-03-2018, 12:17 AM   #21
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I really like my Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 it was $150 mint from a member on here.
I had macro tubes first (cost me $5), but it was just too tedious, because I'd alternate quickly between "tube range" and just out of tube range.
07-03-2018, 01:21 AM - 1 Like   #22
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Jewelry doesn't tend to flee so you don't need the 100mm reach. In my opinion a M 1:4 50mm Macro lens (1:2 "magnification") in combination with a set of extension tubes (for more magnification) would be a suitable and cheapish combination. But I have successfully used a Pentax-A 1:1.7 50mm lens and also a Cosina Cosinon-T 3.5/135 lens with extension tubes for macro work, so basically every decent prime lens (preferably with aperture ring) in combination with extension tubes or a reverse ring will be useable for your intended purpose
07-03-2018, 01:51 AM   #23
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+1 for the shooting box. I got one from Amazon (I think) for very few bucks. Chinese of course and quite small but probably large enough for jewellery.
Diffused light is your friend and it could be flash or any other source you may have as a starter.

07-03-2018, 02:49 AM - 1 Like   #24
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A ring light and highly reflective surfaces such as shiny jewelry is not a good combination. Too many specular hotspots. But then you want some reflection to emphasis how shiny it is. A light tent is probably the better way to go. A longer lens than 50mm will get lessen the chance of any pesky shadows on the objects.
07-03-2018, 03:35 AM   #25
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The sigma 105 f2.8 can be found at the upper end of your range
07-03-2018, 04:01 AM   #26
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As the other posters have already mentioned, there are various methods and macro lenses that can be used. You could read up on photographing jewellery on the net, plenty of tips there on what to use and what props, as has already been mentioned, lighting is very important!
Good luck to you finding a solution you like within your budget without having to splash out on a new and expensive lens.
07-03-2018, 05:09 AM - 1 Like   #27
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Multiple recommendations for the 90mm Tamron macro, and for a dedicated macro lens, that is definitely the bargain. It has had an excellent reputation going way back to the Adaptall 2 version, and it has been very popular, so good clean used copies are almost always available at excellent prices. DO NOT hold out for an AF version. The vast majority of us who do macro regularly use MF.

BUT ANOTHER RECOMMENDATION: The least expensive way to get into quality macro is the RAYNOX MACRO EXPLORER system, less than $130 brand new. These quick-attach close-up filters work very well on many lenses, both SFL and zoom (performance on zoom lenses a little unpredictable, work extremely well on some, not-so-hot on others). There's a thread here on PF devoted to images taken with the Raynox units. LOOK AND SEE how a simple attachment can provide IQ indistinguishable from images taken by dedicated macro lenses that cost five times as much. LOOK AT my post, #2867 in the macro lens thread. Especially look at the detail on the nail, and keep in mind, that image has been cropped.
07-03-2018, 05:56 AM   #28
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since the OP is from the US, there is the possibility of spending some money and renting equipment to try it out before buying

I have used


LensRentals.com - Rent Lenses and Cameras from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Leica, and more

with good results

there are other companies
07-03-2018, 08:14 AM   #29
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Response to SteveBrot - Reverse Rings vs Bellows vs Dedicated Macro Lens

QuoteQuote:
OK...perhaps you do need 1:1 and excellent lighting, at least for those detail views. Ok...on my shelf I have:
  1. Couple of reversing rings
  2. K-mount bellows + several lenses that might work well with it
  3. Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro
  4. Tamron 100/2.8 Macro (77B)
  5. Several flash capable of both on-camera and off-camera usage
  6. A very sturdy tripod capable of low-angle work
So should I just get a reversing ring to use with the standard 18-55mm lens that came with the camera? Would that be enough? Or do I need a K-mount bellows? What does a bellows do differently or in addition to reversing the lens? And would that same standard 18-55mm lens work with the bellows? Do bellows come with lens mounts or do I need to buy those as well? Can either of these 2 options do the trick alone or together or should I spring for a used Sigma or Tamron mentioned above?

And what do you recommend for lights?

QuoteQuote:
  • Tabletop shooting setup (See LINK to Cool Stuff for examples at B&H). The intent is to provide flexibility for diffuse lighting, backdrops, and subject stage in a small space.
  • Focus rail. It is not immediately obvious, but conventional focus using the lens focus ring is rather difficult at or near to 1:1. It is easier to move the camera/lens as a unit to approach the subject at a fixed magnification than to vary magnification at a fixed distance. A focus rail provides this.
  • Focusing stage (optional). This is similar to a focus rail except that it is the subject that is being moved. Positioning is a major challenge.
  • Turntable...aids in positioning and easy means to get front, sides, and rear views
  • Product support jigs appropriate to your goods
For this other equipment above, I have the tabletop shooting setup, but nothing else. Which of these items would be most necessary - and if it depends on what equipment I use in the above, can you please specify? Thanks. I think I def need product support jigs or some way to hold the jewelry pieces esp to get them at specific angles.

Thanks again!
07-03-2018, 08:25 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoldMountain Quote
Wow, lots of great responses. Thanks - much appreciated all. My main usage is close ups of vintage brand name jewelry I will be selling on eBay. So it's important that the tiny stamp of the brand (in the back) is clearly visible.

With that said, what would be the best sub $200 and $100 macro or close focus lenses for such a purpose? Also, any actual tips on lighting and such for the best results would be appreciated.

Thanks again folks!
Diffusion of whatever light you use will help a lot. I found the biggest improvement in the quality of my images was a result of this. I use a home-made Pringles tin flash extender with diffusion (paper towel) at the end. I've used this with the pop-up flash with great success. Here are other people's versions of the same thing.

1:1 will be merciless in showing any dirt, scratches or defects in the items you're shooting. I 've read somewhere (HA! Useful, I know) that shooting jewellry with a macro lens is sometimes disappointing because of this. Portraiture with macro can also be very unforgiving, as not all subjects are well served by crystal clear sharpness. Certainly the maker's marks will show up better, but so will any wear, much moreso than with inspection by the unaided eye.

If you're shooting your items on cloth backing, be sure it is clean and lint free, as lint will be much more obvious.
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