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09-25-2013, 03:35 AM   #1
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Need Help to sell Jewelry-New K-30 Owner is confused

Basically all I'm really looking for at this time is a starting point for taking photos of jewelry with our new K-30. Once I have that I can post a photo and tweak via your advice from there. So IF anyone has a K-30 and is into taking jewelry shots, please let me know what settings you are using that deviate from the default settings of the K-30. Thanks in advance! (I have been trying to figure this out for 3 months now. Really... no... really.) :P

So... here are my main questions:

1) We bought the K-30 and it came with these two lenses. Are the following macro lenses? If not, can you recommend a moderately priced macro-lens for jewelry shots?
SMC Pentax DA 18-55mm
SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm

2) Suggested Settings that deviate from the default settings, specifically for jewelry. This camera has been reset to the defaults it came with as in my frustration I clicked, prodded, poked, and check-marked many settings to experiment, but to no avail.

3) f-stops for shooting jewelry? 11 to 13 okay? How do I set the f-stops on this camera?

4) File Format? JPEG, RAW or RAW+ for taking shots that will be posted onto Etsy.com? (if anyone has experience doing so) Also any info for helping me post on etsy.com would be appreciated.

5) Shake reduction on or off if I have tripod?

6) Distance from object (jewelry-earrings, necklaces, bracelets mostly) For some reason I cannot get a very close-up shot yet.
We have not had success in getting very close up shots but the camera has a FOOD setting that has allowed closer shots, though not yet crisp.

7) Lighting. We have 2 tiny flood lights that came with a photo tent, and one art light. Would we also use a flash from the camera?

8) is there anything else I need to know? ie, pixels, formats, etc??? (hey man, I'm just a jewelry crafter whose trying her bestest. hee hee)

Oh PS: I don't yet have any photos to show yet as my husband reset the video card to start over. I am so sorry if my lack of knowledge is a burden. I really have invested many hours trying to find answers, so please bare with me and know just how grateful I am for any help.

09-25-2013, 03:42 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
1) We bought the K-30 and it came with these two lenses. Are the following macro lenses? If not, can you recommend a moderately priced macro-lens for jewelry shots? SMC Pentax DA 18-55mm SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm
Those aren't macro lenses. You should look at the Tamron 90mm Macro IMO, as it's a great value:
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Autofocus Lens AF272P-700 B&H
Tamron 90mm Macro vs Pentax 100mm WR: Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
5) Shake reduction on or off if I have tripod?
Off

QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
3) f-stops for shooting jewelry? 11 to 13 okay? How do I set the f-stops on this camera?
Set the camera to AV mode then simply use the rear scroll wheel to adjust the aperture. I would stay in the F8 to 11 range (best IQ is usually around F8).

QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
2) Suggested Settings that deviate from the default settings, specifically for jewelry. This camera has been reset to the defaults it came with as in my frustration I clicked, prodded, poked, and check-marked many settings to experiment, but to no avail.
I think as long as you understand how exposure works, you'll be good to go.

QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
4) File Format? JPEG, RAW or RAW+ for taking shots that will be posted onto Etsy.com? (if anyone has experience doing so) Also any info for helping me post on etsy.com would be appreciated.
Any raw files will have to be processed by you before being uploaded. So, assuming you get the exposure right from the start, jpeg would be fine.

QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
7) Lighting. We have 2 tiny flood lights that came with a photo tent, and one art light. Would we also use a flash from the camera?
No need for the flash

Adam
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09-25-2013, 04:09 AM   #3
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ADAM!!!!! Oh thank you, thank you, thank you soooooo very much for helping me! It's 4am now so hopefully I will set these answers in motion as soon as caffeinated properly!!!
May I ask one last thing?
Once I take a shot using these parameters, how do I post them on here to gain more insight?
Do I need to use a photo-type of website or can I post them from my very own computer file called Pictures? Hey, I'm ancient and still don't own a cell phone (by choice).

Again, THANKS SOOO MUCH!
09-25-2013, 04:49 AM   #4
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Congratulations on getting your new camera! Its pretty awesome.

QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
8) is there anything else I need to know? ie, pixels, formats, etc??? (hey man, I'm just a jewelry crafter whose trying her bestest. hee hee)
Sure. Set colour space to sRGB, shoot jpeg with highest quality, but only choose the number of megapixels you need. 16MP is really big (you basically only need it for prints) - for internet, facebook, and email you can use a smaller resolution. When you are using tripod, use the 2 sec timer or a remote. White balance needs to be set according to the light in the room (indoors its probably "tungsten")
Use a white background, try to strategically place lights so there are as few shadows as possible.
Jpeg should be okay to start with, but if you want your photos to look as professional as in adverts, you will need to shoot raw and then manually adjust the settings in a raw editor software (like Lightroom, Aperture, FastStone, Capture One, Gimp or many others. Some are free, most at least allow a free trial)

Macro lenses: Good ones can be expensive. Adam listed some great options. Pentax also makes a couple macro lenses. If you are on a budget, you can buy a 30 year old fully manual Pentax macro lens. No AF, but in a studio setting, it should give you everything you need. Look on the marketplace on these forums, ebay or keh.com (or your local websites) for M or A series Pentax macro lens. But! For your purposes, the 50-200mm should give you enough magnification. Macro just means "near focus" and therefore "high magnification" btw. So just zoom that lens to 200mm, set MF on the camera body, then twist the focus ring all the way (in the opposite direction of infinity). Now just move closer and further from your product until it gets in focus. That lens is not true "macro", but it might be close enough.
Um, with macro lenses focal length can very important. They focus very near, and the wider the focal length, the nearer they focus. This can be a problem because if you have to put the camera very close to your product, it might block light and cast shadows. That is why its probably best to look for macro lenses that are at least 50mm, ideally around 90-105mm. These are the easiest to use for beginners. If you are using a zoom lens, its probably not true macro. Some zoom lenses are marketed as macro, but they dont actually have macro magnification. But generally speaking, macro is always at the minimum focus distance (nearest focus) and at the longest focal length (though, there are some odd exceptions to the focal length rule)

Also, there are some threads on this forum about how to get macro capabilities on the cheap (extension tubes, macro filters, lens reversal, etc.), and even on how to make a home studio for product photography. I remember recently there was also a thread specifically about jewellery. Oh, and this forum has a lens review database, so feel free to take a look at it and just search for "macro" or whatever you need.

Edit: About uploading photos.. you can add them as attachment to your post, but make sure its not too big (again, 16MP on a forum is unwieldy, and attachment space is limited until you donate). A lot of people get an image hosting website, like a Flickr account, or 500px, smugmug, picasa, etc. Some are free, some have a limited free account, others you have to pay for, but they basically give you a pro online gallery.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 09-25-2013 at 04:55 AM.
09-25-2013, 05:42 AM   #5
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You'll probably find the kit lens is pretty good around 35mm. Adam has all the right advice. If you need more light, I'd look at some LED panels with diffusers, but really if you're shooting Av with a 2-second timer on a tripod you should have plenty of light with your current setup. If you want directional light, look for a small LED spot desk lamp. This would be to provide some shiny points or jewel diffraction effects.
09-25-2013, 07:08 AM   #6
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I used to help my wife with such pictures, often needing tiny detail in maker's marks and such, which means getting in very close. I found it much easier to use an old manual focus macro lens. You can find the SMC Pentax-M 100mm f4 macro quite cheaply, and this focal length moves the lens back enough so that lighting is easier. Using a 35 or 50mm the lens is so close it is hard to light the subject without shadows from the lens.
Except for working closer, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f2.8 works very well on Pentax digital cameras, and is a bit easier to use than the older "M" lenses.
09-25-2013, 08:14 AM   #7
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More Info?

Hello Donya, Welcome to the Forum!
As you've seen, there are many helpful and friendly folks here, we'll try to get you rolling as painlessly as possible. Just keep in mind, you're diving headfirst into an aspect of photography that requires great patience and skill. There will be bumps in the road ahead!
First off, try the tips and settings you've already been given and see how the results turn out. Of course, you will continue to have questions as new problems occur and you'll find that your 'eye' for better quality photos will become sharper, more critical. That means you're on the right track!
Now, if it isn't completely clear from the info posted so far, one of the differences between a true 'Macro' lens and any other close-focusing lens is the magnification ratio. A 'True' macro (at closest focusing) renders an image of the subject (your jewelry) on the camera sensor of 1:1, in other words, it's life-size or full size ON THE SENSOR. This means that when you enlarge the image to print or post it, it will have the greatest detail, sharpness, contrast, I.Q. (image quality) possible.
I am disregarding extension tubes, diopters, reversing rings and other devices that can produce images greater than one-to-one, for the time being. Just plain lenses for now!
Moving down one step, some lesser-priced macros are 1:2, meaning the subject is half (life) size on the sensor. It would have to be enlarged twice as much as a 1:1 ratio shot to have the same reproduction size. Generally, the more you enlarge a photo, the less the overall quality.
Now we move out of 'Macro' to close-focusing lenses. Some zooms will advertise 'Macro' capability at full (longest) zoom and closest focus. This is ad-speak for close focus, not macro. The best I've seen is 1:3 mag ratio (one-third life size), many are 1:4 or 1:5. Obviously, if you enlarge a photo five times as much as one taken at life-size, the image will suffer.
So, after you've evaluated the results taken with your zooms at closest focusing, you may decide you do want a true macro lens for better photos. It will come as no surprise when I tell you that 1:1 macros are about twice as expensive (new or used) as 1:2 macros. Makes perfect sense, really.
If you can live with 1:2, the M-series Pentax 100mm f/4.0 mentioned earlier is a good choice. This is a fully manual 1:2 macro lens which sold for about $100 until recently. Now, as I see on eBay, it's up to the $150-$200 range, the word is out!
Another good choice is the Pentax FA 100mm f/3.5 1:2 Macro. This is the less-expensive sibling to the 1:1 FA 100mm f/2.8 (one-half stop faster) Macro. The f/3.5 version can be found for under $200 used. It is auto-focus, auto aperture and quite sharp. I've posted many photos using this lens, mainly flower shots.
And, it has a less expensive, nearly identical cousin, the Cosina 100mm f/3.5 1:2 Macro. This is simply a re-badged version of the same lens with a few cosmetic changes. The Cosina version normally sells (in Pentax or PK mount) for $125-$150, a great bargain macro.
It you feel that a 1:1 macro is needed, the price will roughly double, as mentioned. You get what you pay for!
Hope this helps,
Ron
09-25-2013, 08:45 AM   #8
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OH GOSH GUYS!!! I'm reading these replies out loud to my husband (and dog) and we are just sucking it up like 2 parched desert dwellers looking to get the last beer at an imaginary tail-gate party oasis! I mean it! I am soooo so grateful for this starting off point and the 101s of learning in laymen terms what things like IQ means and such!!!!

I am goose-bumped excited! The bad news is, I have not been to bed yet and my head feels as if it will explode if I dare open another search tab on my browser for this endeavor to learn more! lol I will reluctantly log of and likely be dreaming of this information, nice shiny lenses and dollar signs that will finally be funneled into our fridge by being able to sell my stuff! lol

I am very grateful to each and every one of you. Another great thing is thru all this researching I found a local camera shop that rents lighting and such! I cannot wait to take our shots and see what needs to be done next! Thanks again!

09-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #9
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Update: Sorry for the delay. We meant to go shopping for the macro lens on my husband's weekend (wed/thurs) but we couldn't. We both find going out before 5pm challenging as we are on night shift so it is quite the adjustment. I don't suggest ANYONE ever taking a nightshift job but kudos if you have and have endured it! hint: Vitamin B12, and D3 will help!

So I will try to keep on my human wallet (husband) without nagging him too much, I hope. Please forgive this postponement.
09-27-2013, 07:19 PM   #10
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How big is the jewelry you're looking to photograph? With your current kit, the most magnification you can get is with your 18-55mm lens. Set it to 55mm and manual focus to the minimum focusing distance. Move the camera closer and further away from your subject until it's in focus. It can hit 0.34x magnification, which may be enough for dangly earrings, necklaces, or a ring for a gorilla. If you're mostly looking for pictures to go on etsy, you can get away with a significant crop from your cameras 16mp files, and can probably manage even smaller stuff.

I'd suggest you try this out to get an idea of what 0.34x magnification looks like, to get used to manual focusing (imo the easiest for small scale stuff), and to see what you can do with 'just' the kit lens- it may surprise you. A dedicated 1:1 macro makes stuff about 3 times as big, or conversely can photograph stuff one third the size.

I'd also suggest you get used to the Manual exposure mode. When photographing multiple similar things but with the same backdrop and lighting setup, it is by far the easiest way to keep your exposures consistent for a uniform look to the photos on your site and to make any post processing simpler. Once you set up a shot for one pair of earrings, it's mostly then swapping in a new pair and clicking the shutter, swap in a new pair and click the shutter,...
09-27-2013, 08:09 PM   #11
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The Tamron macro is indeed a nice lens, for macro or medium telephoto.

However, most macro lenses are pretty good. Further, you frequently manually focus a macro lens for exact placement of the zone of focus. So...buying a manual-focus macro lens makes some sense - especially if you can find a used one in the forum Marketplace for maybe $100 :-)
10-01-2013, 11:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
How big is the jewelry you're looking to photograph? With your current kit, the most magnification you can get is with your 18-55mm lens. Set it to 55mm and manual focus to the minimum focusing distance. Move the camera closer and further away from your subject until it's in focus. It can hit 0.34x magnification, which may be enough for dangly earrings, necklaces, or a ring for a gorilla. If you're mostly looking for pictures to go on etsy, you can get away with a significant crop from your cameras 16mp files, and can probably manage even smaller stuff.

I'd suggest you try this out to get an idea of what 0.34x magnification looks like, to get used to manual focusing (imo the easiest for small scale stuff), and to see what you can do with 'just' the kit lens- it may surprise you. A dedicated 1:1 macro makes stuff about 3 times as big, or conversely can photograph stuff one third the size.

I'd also suggest you get used to the Manual exposure mode. When photographing multiple similar things but with the same backdrop and lighting setup, it is by far the easiest way to keep your exposures consistent for a uniform look to the photos on your site and to make any post processing simpler. Once you set up a shot for one pair of earrings, it's mostly then swapping in a new pair and clicking the shutter, swap in a new pair and click the shutter,...
Since I am so antsy, I'm going to take your advice while waiting for a macro lens. I'll try the 18-55mm lens set at 55mm with all your suggestions. I'm copy/pasting this entire font of information along with every else's posts and printing them out to take downstairs with me. So crossy fingers! lol I won't expect even close to perfection out of the gate, but I'm excited just to be trying with some great pointers from you kind people! I just hope I can figure out how to set the settings and exposure modes etc. Thanks again and hopefully I'll be uploading some pics real soon!

Last edited by donya; 10-01-2013 at 11:57 AM. Reason: mispelled word
10-01-2013, 12:04 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
http://500px.com/Stolpulus <<= My 500px page.
Last edited by Na Horuk; 09-25-13 at 04:55 AM.
OH and I forgot before but, Na Horuk, I went to this page of yours and might I just say OH EM GEE! (it warranted spelling omg out the longer way your pics are so spectacular!) I'm so honored by all of you guys helping little old me. I really hope you know how grateful I feel for all your helps!
10-01-2013, 06:39 PM   #14
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I wanted to familiarize myself with the camera settings, lighting and so forth so I took pictures in groups, making changes to compare them to each other.

Group 1 through 16 are with lights about 8 inches away from subject and nothing more than F8 and ISO 100.
Group 17 through 28 I added Custom Image Settings labeled below each picture.
Group 29 through 62 I explored different Digital Filters + different Custom Image settings
Finally, Group 63 through 78 I narrowed down what I felt was the best I could do so far without using a remote, excellent lighting and so forth. This group of pics is utilizing the Digital Filter: RETRO along with VIBRANT Custom Image settings. I chose these because they were the most true to color of the subjects.

I know I have a long way to go and hope you will join me in my new experiences as I work to get my jewelry sold online!

Here is the link for Photobucket.com where my recent photos have been uploaded: SpeckofSmeg's Library | Photobucket

Additional information: Jpeg and 8m instead of 16m size. (was guessing)

I am not sure if this is how to post access to these photos so I'll add some more link options: Library Slideshow by SpeckofSmeg | Photobucket

I went with Photobucket only because I had already had a free account with them and I don't trust my memory to cancel a free trial once the trial time is up.

Last edited by donya; 10-01-2013 at 06:50 PM. Reason: added information
10-01-2013, 06:56 PM   #15
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Attempting to "manage attachments" to upload final 6 photos I chose after optimizing settings as best as I could. PS: I still need to polish these up some!
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