Table of Contents
- Why Choosing the Right Camera Matters
- Top 7 Cameras for Jewelry Photography
- 1. Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
- 2. Nikon Z50
- 3. Canon EOS Rebel T7
- 4. Sony Alpha A7R III
- 5. Canon EOS M50
- 6. Fujifilm X-T4
- 7. Panasonic LUMIX S5
- Key Features to Consider When Taking Photos of Jewelry
- 1. Image Stabilization
- 2. Resolution
- 3. ISO range and camera settings
- 4. Wi-Fi connectivity
- 5. Battery life
- Additional Equipment for Jewelry Photography
- 1. Lens
- 2. Lighting
- 3. Jewelry holders and other props
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- What type of camera is best for jewelry photography?
- What is the best camera for jewelry photography?
- Is DSLR or mirrorless better for jewelry photography?
- Do jewelry photographers need macro lenses?
What’s the best camera for jewelry photography? We’ll answer that in a few…
Google Insights revealed that 85% of polled consumers relied on product photos when making a purchase decision; thereby, highlighting the critical role that jewelry photography plays in your jewelry business. As a company in the jewelry industry, we know first-hand the challenges that many jewelers face when it comes to selling jewelry both online and offline. While they are varied and encompass different aspects of running a business, the concern about the quality of jewelry product photos emerges as frequently as expected, so join us as we recommend seven of the best cameras for jewelry photography.
Why Choosing the Right Camera Matters
Safe to say, if you’ve got the best camera for jewelry photography, you’ve got half of your job done. The right camera produces high-quality photos which will then help you sell your products online.
Product photography used to be one of the most neglected aspects of ecommerce, especially in the infancy of online shopping. But times have changed. Time has tested jewelers’ resilience, especially during the pandemic, and thus, proved that digitalization is a necessity; thereby, shifting our attention from just winging it online to “how can I take quality jewelry photos that will make consumers buy?”
Choosing the right camera to produce product photos that sell is challenging for jewelers who often do not have the expertise and knowledge that professional photographers have. There are a lot of factors to consider like your goals, budget, flexibility, ergonomics, and so much more. Added to this list are the overwhelming options available in the market and the type of products you photograph.
Jewelry is one of the most, if not the most, difficult products to photograph. It poses technical challenges due to its highly reflective materials and other properties that you couldn’t capture in photos but are unique characteristics critical in a sales pitch. For example, tanzanite and alexandrite are pleochroic gems.
Knowing these challenges will help you select the best camera for jewelry photography. Needless to say, the right camera matters because it will produce stunning photos leading to increased sales, save you time and money in the long run, and free you from the overwhelming stress of the process.
Top 7 Cameras for Jewelry Photography
1. Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
A product that requires technical skills demand professional photography equipment, and there’s nothing more pro than choosing an industry-standard device.
Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless camera is a versatile camera designed to meet every jeweler’s needs. Canon EOS R6 has a DIGI X Image Processor that guarantees sharp photos and videos with minimal grain while its chunky body endures long jewelry photography sessions. Packed with powerful features and functions, this choice takes your photography and videography to another height.
Camera Sensor Resolution: 20 Megapixel
Photo Sensor Size: 35mm (Full Frame)
Special Feature: Brightness Control
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Screen Size: 3”
Shooting Mode: Scene Intelligent Auto, Flexible priority AE, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Bulb, and Custom (x3). Movie: Scene Intelligent Auto, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Bulb and Custom (x3)
ISO Range: 100-102400, expandable to 204800.
2. Nikon Z50
If you’re looking for something more portable and easier to use, go for Nikon Z50.
Z50 is another mirrorless camera that’s not only insanely small but also pretty simple to use. It allows you to shoot and edit photos and videos on the fly and connects to your camera effortlessly. This is super convenient for when you want to post a quick social media update; thereby, keeping your followers in the loop.
Offering a time-saving process, having Z50 is like having two cameras in one body as it lets you save two different camera settings—one for photo and another one for video—and shifts between them with the flick of a lever.
Effective Pixels: 21 Megapixels
Maximum Resolution: 5568X3712
Photo Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5×15.7mm)
Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec
ISO Range: Auto 100-51200, expandable to 204800
Screen Size: 3.2”
3. Canon EOS Rebel T7
Ideal for beginners, Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a great camera to pick up for jewelers who just started venturing into jewelry photography.
Packed with essential tools every jeweler needs to take their DSLR photography skills to another level, Canon EOS Rebel T7 takes quality photos even in low-light environments and is equipped with Wi-Fi and NFC technology; thereby, making uploading and sharing photos on social media dead easy.
Type: APS-C DSLR
Effective Pixels: 24.10 Megapixels
Image Format: 22.3mm x14.9mm
ISO Range: 100-6400 (H:128000
Shutter Speed: 1/4000
Screen Size: 3”
4. Sony Alpha A7R III
Offering reliable performance and superior speed, Sony Alpha A7R III is one of the best cameras for jewelry photography. It boasts of high-resolution imaging, pro-class operability, and quick precision, all packed into its compact but durable body. Jewelers will surely enjoy the process that showcases potential at every click.
Type: Full-frame mirrorless camera
Effective Pixels: 42.4 Megapixels
Sensor Type: 35mm full frame (35.9x24mm)
ISO Range: 100-32000, expandable to 102400
Screen Size: 3”
5. Canon EOS M50
Canon EOS M50 is another jewelry photography camera ideal for jewelers looking to boost the quality of jewelry photos and videos. Featuring an interchangeable lens, this mirrorless camera is a perfect companion when running an online jewelry business as it allows you to capture photos and videos of your jewelry pieces and gemstones from different angles.
Effective Pixels: 24.1 Megapixels
Sensor Type: Canon CMOS Sensor
Image Format: Approx 22.3×14.9mm (APS C Size)
ISO Range: 100-6400, expandable to 51200
Screen Size: 3”
6. Fujifilm X-T4
Google ‘King of APS-C Mirrorless Camera’ and you’d likely stumble upon Fujifilm X-T4. From retro to a modern hybrid, this camera impresses professionals and photography enthusiasts with its cutting-edge technology in both still photographs and videos, the highest resolution sensors, and color science expertise—awesome for when you’re photographing and taking videos of colored gemstones. With this incredible imaging tool, there’s no reason why you won’t achieve the best camera settings for jewelry photography.
Type: APS-C Mirrorless
Effective Pixels: 26.1 Megapixels
Image Sensor: 23.5mm x15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 4 with a primary color filter
Maximum Video Resolution: 4K 60 FPS
Battery Life for Still Images: Approx. 600 frames (Economy Mode). Approx. 500 frames (Normal Mode) When XF35mmF1.4 R is set.
Screen Size: 3”
7. Panasonic LUMIX S5
With an ergonomic body that produces exceptional results, this hybrid mirrorless camera not only meets your jewelry photography needs but also promises all the flexibility you will need when taking videos of your jewelry pieces. Panasonic LUMIX S5 is an irresistible purchase, especially when you want to take videos of your pleochroic gems.
Type: Full-Frame Mirrorless
Effective Pixels: 24.2 Megapixels
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS sensor (35.6mmx23.8mm) with dual native ISO technology
Battery Life: Approx. 440 images
Screen Size: 3”
Key Features to Consider When Taking Photos of Jewelry
There’s no shortage of cameras when it comes to choosing the best camera for jewelry photography. The options could be overwhelming at times, especially for many jewelers who often do not have the technical knowledge for it. The key here is to identify what you need and the budget you have. You don’t need to buy the most expensive and most advanced jewelry photography camera, especially if you won’t be using the advanced features present in them simply because you won’t be needing one or some of them when photographing jewelry. The right camera is still the one that fits your budget while also being functional.
Let’s identify the important camera features to consider when photographing jewelry.
1. Image Stabilization
- Image Stabilization
Nothing screams poor product photography more than the blur in your image because of the camera shake. There are many ways to reduce camera shakes such as using a tripod or a smartphone stand similar to the GemLightbox smartphone stand if you’re using a smartphone, but if you’re already investing in a professional camera, you might as well go for those that have in-lens or in-body image stabilization feature.
Camera resolution, expressed in megapixels, refers to the size of the image that your camera produces. Suffice it to say, a higher camera resolution means better quality photos as more pixel information creates sharp and crisp jewelry photos.
It’s also smart to know how resolution affects your photos based on what you plan to do with them or use them for. For example, low-resolution images will become blurry when printed while high-resolution images will give you more freedom when it comes to fixing noise and focus issues.
3. ISO range and camera settings
ISO refers to how sensitive your camera sensor is to light. If you’re photographing jewelry, try to keep it as low as possible, best to stay at 100 or 200, to avoid noise or graininess in your image.
ISO is just one of the three main camera settings in jewelry photography you need to consider. Others include shutter speed and aperture which also affect the overall exposure or brightness of your jewelry photo.
4. Wi-Fi connectivity
A wi-fi enabled camera not only gives you the freedom to remote control but also keeps you connected seamlessly to a smart device. With this feature, you can immediately transfer photos to another device or share them directly with your prospective buyers and followers on social media.
5. Battery life
Are you going to photograph jewelry pieces and gemstones in bulk? If so, you might want to consider the camera’s battery life before purchasing. A camera with limited battery life can interrupt your process and cause major delays.
Additional Equipment for Jewelry Photography
Now that you know the best cameras for jewelry photography and the essential factors to consider when purchasing one, let’s look at the things you will need further before you get down to work.
The issue with buying cameras like DSLRs is that too often, you’re only buying the body and you need to buy the lens separately. After all, you won’t be able to take photographs without the lens.
The most popular lenses are:
- Wide angle
Knowing the result you want to achieve and the type of subject you will photograph is the key here. For example, you won’t be needing a fisheye lens because abstract photos or those with strong visual distortion are not good for selling jewelry online. However, you might want to consider getting a macro lens to capture the intricate details of your jewelry design, especially when photographing a diamond as it gets too complicated with all the inclusions and scintillation to consider.
This is the idea behind the GemLightbox Macro without the technicalities or expertise that DSLRs demand. The Macro, engineered using market-leading technology, allows jewelers to capture magnificent 10X magnified images and videos of loose diamonds and other gemstones, ranging from 0.1 carat to 50 carats using only the device and a smartphone.
I guess we all know by now that without light, there’s just no photography. Lighting is the be-all and end-all of photography and just like in any other subject, jewelry photography lighting is often the cause of frustration among jewelers.
There are two main sources of light.
- Natural lighting is the use of natural light from the sun (or moon!)
- Artificial lighting involves light fixtures such as strobe lights, bulbs, tungsten, and more.
Each light source has a different color cast. For example, fluorescent light has a blue cast while tungsten light produces an orange or reddish cast. Aside from the color cast, you should also consider the intensity of the light.
Hard or soft?
Hard light or direct lighting produces harsher shadows while soft light produces diffused shadows as the light wraps around the subject. The use of diffused lighting is very common in jewelry photography as it helps provide an even light distribution while also eliminating harsh shadows and reflections. But don’t be quick to dismiss direct lighting. This type of light has its advantages, especially if you’re photographing a gemstone that exhibits a cat’s eye effect.
In the video below, you will see how we photographed a necklace using the diffused lighting built inside the GemLightbox Pro
The GemLightbox Pro comes with two adjustable lightings—Sparkles and Yellow Light. The Sparkles Light, which sits at 5500K, is a direct light source that brings out the natural sparkles of your jewelry piece while the yellow light, which sits at 3500K, mimics a natural sunlight environment. This type of light is ideal for bringing out the true color of colored gemstones like emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and opals.
Taking away the hassle of controlling lights to produce quality jewelry photos, the GemLightbox Pro ticks all the right boxes for the best camera jewelry photography kit. You just have to plug it in and click.
3. Jewelry holders and other props
While flat-lay photography is commonly popular on social media, this may not be the case in ecommerce. Jewelry comes in different styles, designs, and shapes. For this reason, you will need jewelry holders to hold the piece properly so that buyers can view them from the most flattering angle.
- Earring holder
When photographing earrings, remember that different types dictate different requirements. For instance, a pair of dangling earrings would look more pleasing when photographed from an earring holder than flat-laid. It’s supposed to dangle, after all, and you have to allow the buyers to visualize how it would dangle on their ears through the holder.
- Ring holder
While it’s possible and perfectly okay to photograph rings without a holder, as in the case of a front-angle ring, it would convey a special touch if you would photograph a ring standing up for the buyers to see or assess the band, the shanks, the gallery, the sides, the prongs, and the hallmark, if there is any.
To make the ring stand, you can use a holding wax, putty, or a ring holder.
- Necklace holder/stand
The length of necklaces varies and so should your stand and holder. Photographing necklaces using a necklace holder rather than just letting it lay flat on the ground or a board all the time creates an impression that you know what you’re doing and you’re taking your jewelry business seriously.
A necklace stand like a bust stand works; however, if you’re photographing a necklace on a white background, it would look more organized and clutter-free if you would use a holder that either blends well into the background or complements it.
- Watch holder
Admittedly, there’s nothing wrong with photographing a watch in a flat-lay composition. This allows the buyers to see different parts of the watch—bezel, dial, crystal, case, hands, and hour marker—from a clear top-down angle. However, watches, especially closed-strap ones, are best viewed when it’s photographed as if they are worn around the wrist. This will give the buyers an idea of how the watch would look when worn while also giving them a quick view of the side sections of the pusher, the crown, and the straps. In this case, you will need a watch holder. If you’re struggling to look for the right watch holder, it’s not the end of the world. Think of a composition that will showcase the most interesting part of your watch and photograph it from that angle.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What type of camera is best for jewelry photography?
There’s really no right or wrong in this case because you can capture high-quality jewelry photos using many different types of cameras. Regardless of the style, always go for the one that allows you to tweak the camera settings.
What is the best camera for jewelry photography?
As the award-winning photographer Chase Jarvis said, ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you.” In this case, the ubiquitousness of smartphones makes this device the best camera for jewelry photography. It is convenient, captures high-quality photos and videos, and is accessible to everybody.
When looking for a jewelry photography camera, consider all the factors we discussed above. Go for the one that’s functional while also time and cost-efficient.
Is DSLR or mirrorless better for jewelry photography?
DSLR or mirrorless, which is the best for jewelry photography? This actually depends on what you’re after. If you’re after a lightweight, portable camera body, the mirrorless camera is the right one for you. However, if you want reliable autofocus, interchangeable lenses, reliable low-light shooting performance, and longer battery life, then the DSLR should be your go-to.
Don’t be too quick in choosing one or the other, though. Remember that just having a mirrorless or a DSLR camera doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get stunning results. You also have the lighting and techniques to factor in. Consider your business as a whole before jumping into a high-ticket purchase commitment.
Do jewelry photographers need macro lenses?
Yes and No.
Most cameras with normal and a telephoto length would do a great job of capturing decent jewelry photos; however, if you want to capture close-up details and patterns present on your subject, then investing in a macro lens would benefit you.
What Camera Do You Use When Photographing Jewelry?
From this discussion, we can say that the best camera for jewelry photography is the one that meets your needs and supports your business goal. The idea that you should choose between DSLRs or mirrorless only is rather limiting because you can capture stunning photos using so many different cameras and devices. You can even do it with your smartphone in a fraction of the time and cost, in the long run.
As for us, smartphones are excellent go-to jeweler’s companions in jewelry photography. It’s convenient, easy to use, and with the right lighting environment, produces jewelry photos and videos that sell!