Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

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philzucker
philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)
1

Quite hard to photograph these, especially if they are really tiny (somehow hadn't access to any big ones ...). But I got a small one to play with - at about 3mm diameter it was really a challenge to capture it nicely even with macro gear.

So I took my K-1 with a Tamron 90mm macro, and put a 25mm tube between those two for some extra magnification. Everything was mounted on a macro rail, a geared head and a very sturdy tripod.

But the lighting to get that "shiny diamond look" was not that easy. All shots presented here taken at ISO 100.

My first results with some light from left and right were - well - downright ugly (f10):

Could be a shard in some tin - definitely doesn't look like a diamond, and not appealing at all.

Changing the background to something nicer and modifying the perspective helped a little (pic included here also for the metric scale visible) - f9:

Now it begins to look like some piece of jewelry at least!

After some further experimenting it was very clear that I needed very close lights coming directly from the front - f8:

Now we're talking!

And after that success let's close with a somewhat moody, shallow DOF shot - f4:

All pictures are crops. Even with the 90mm lens at 1:1 (fully extended) and with the extra 25mm tube it was of course not possible to get the tiny gem to fill the frame.

Enjoy!

Phil

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MightyMike Forum Pro • Posts: 40,840
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)
1

I appreciate you put the effort in, now here is a thought I don't usually care for but that could help. Unless you're printing big, why not drop down to 0.25x magnification, get the extra depth and settle for a lower resolution image? Either that or focus stack.

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

MightyMike wrote:

I appreciate you put the effort in, now here is a thought I don't usually care for but that could help. Unless you're printing big, why not drop down to 0.25x magnification, get the extra depth and settle for a lower resolution image? Either that or focus stack.

Hi, Mike!

Thanks very much for looking and for your suggestion!

The post was more about the difficulty of *lighting* the gem; I was satisfied with the DOF, and I was going for some really fine detail, so I was looking for that kind of resolution - and these are crops! I was prepared to do some focus stacking (camera was on a macro rail) but didn't saw the need for it after all.

But I'll keep your advice in mind for the next time I want some extra DOF and am willing to loose some resolution.

Phil

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GossCTP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,506
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)
1

I don't know how well it would work for macro, but i know my wife's diamonds tend to be the most sparkly in rooms with lots of small overhead lights. Often, that's what they have in a jewelry store.

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Plakanina Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

I used to (film days) photograph jewelry catalogs for a living. Diamonds need hard lighting to sparkle.

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Plakanina Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

Plakanina wrote:

I used to (film days) photograph jewelry catalogs for a living. Diamonds need hard lighting to sparkle.

Yes you can wash it with directional soft light then add the spot hard light that is known as the 'kicker'

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Fotoni Contributing Member • Posts: 993
Exposure bracketing

When there is too much contrast, shooting multiple photos with 1 EV or 2 EV steps helps to preserve highlights details and same time darker parts have less noise. You need a software to do the merging. I just use a GIMP plugin to do averaged merge, but there probably are better ways. Also pixel shift shoots four photos fast and gives about 1.5 EV more room for contrast, but it requires continuous lighting because of slow electronic shutter.

Static subjects are great because there are so many options to increase image quality far beyond what usually is possible with motion.

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M R Padmaraju Veteran Member • Posts: 5,378
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

Reasonable and a decent effort  . Some where to start with . Flat lighting may not yield the desired effect in my experience ! Perhaps K-70 may be good enough for very small subjects ....!

Regards ,

mrp .

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

GossCTP wrote:

I don't know how well it would work for macro, but i know my wife's diamonds tend to be the most sparkly in rooms with lots of small overhead lights. Often, that's what they have in a jewelry store.

My observation is that they really sparkle with movement - hard to catch with still photography. But as Plakanina has pointed out in this thread some hard light as a kicker could add this sparkle missing even from my best attempt.

Thanks for looking and for your suggestion! Much appreciated.

Phil

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

Plakanina wrote:

Plakanina wrote:

I used to (film days) photograph jewelry catalogs for a living. Diamonds need hard lighting to sparkle.

Yes you can wash it with directional soft light then add the spot hard light that is known as the 'kicker'

Thanks a lot for your professional advice!

Have to change my light setup to build on it. I used two small LED panels for my setup, and there is no chance to add a spot hard light using those. Have to think about that ... A strong focusable LED flashlight might do the trick, but I'd have to borrow that somewhere. Will see ...

Thanks again!

Phil

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Exposure bracketing

Fotoni wrote:

When there is too much contrast, shooting multiple photos with 1 EV or 2 EV steps helps to preserve highlights details and same time darker parts have less noise. You need a software to do the merging. I just use a GIMP plugin to do averaged merge, but there probably are better ways. Also pixel shift shoots four photos fast and gives about 1.5 EV more room for contrast, but it requires continuous lighting because of slow electronic shutter.

Static subjects are great because there are so many options to increase image quality far beyond what usually is possible with motion.

Thanks very much for looking and for your advice! I did use continuous lighting, so pixel shift would've been possible, but contrast and resolution were already good enough for my purposes. And the obviously missing "diamond sparkle" is not a contrast issue, I think.

There was another reason I didn't try pixel shift: The setup with the K-1 on a macro rail, a fully extended macro lens with an added 25mm extension tube was very sensitive to the slightest disturbance - just walking behind the really sturdy tripod with its geared head (alas standing on a carpeted floor) made the setup respond with some mild wobbling - so I stood very still, used either electronic shutter or mirror up before releasing shutter (in either case of course with a remote) to avoid any movement blur. I didn't risk trying pixel shift because of that - but I may have been too cautious ... could give it a try next time for checking that out!

Phil

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

M R Padmaraju wrote:

Reasonable and a decent effort . Some where to start with .

Good choice of words! Thanks a lot. I absolutely agree with your second sentence.

Flat lighting may not yield the desired effect in my experience !

Any other suggestions? I'd like to hear of them!

Perhaps K-70 may be good enough for very small subjects ....!

Has some more resolution in the center, I do agree. Don't have one though, could try my Tamron 90mm on my Sony APS-C, which also has a 24 MPix sensor.

What I also could try is my Q7 with the Tamron 90 - could be interesting!

Phil

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miles green
miles green Veteran Member • Posts: 7,706
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

philzucker wrote:

GossCTP wrote:

I don't know how well it would work for macro, but i know my wife's diamonds tend to be the most sparkly in rooms with lots of small overhead lights. Often, that's what they have in a jewelry store.

My observation is that they really sparkle with movement - hard to catch with still photography. But as Plakanina has pointed out in this thread some hard light as a kicker could add this sparkle missing even from my best attempt.

Thanks for looking and for your suggestion! Much appreciated.

Phil

GossCTP is right, there is a very goor reason that jewelry stores have hundreds of tiny spot lights installed on the ceiling.

That and focus stacking, and a pure white background i think. The texture of the cloth is distracting.

Diamonds are indeed NOT a photographer's best friend!

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

miles green wrote:

philzucker wrote:

GossCTP wrote:

I don't know how well it would work for macro, but i know my wife's diamonds tend to be the most sparkly in rooms with lots of small overhead lights. Often, that's what they have in a jewelry store.

My observation is that they really sparkle with movement - hard to catch with still photography. But as Plakanina has pointed out in this thread some hard light as a kicker could add this sparkle missing even from my best attempt.

Thanks for looking and for your suggestion! Much appreciated.

Phil

GossCTP is right, there is a very goor reason that jewelry stores have hundreds of tiny spot lights installed on the ceiling.

That and focus stacking, and a pure white background i think. The texture of the cloth is distracting.

At that magnification any cloth's texture can become distracting ...

But I heeded your advice, used something white and tried again with the Tamron 90, this time via K-to-E-Mount adapter on a Sony alpha 6000 (higher resolution in the center, no mirror slap). Best result was this one:

Sparkles a bit more. But all in all I have to say with a thing tiny like that one my lighting capabilities really hit a limit.

A last shot shows it near to the tip of my index finger. Just measured the gem directly, and that little diamond has a diameter of even slightly less than 2 millimeters ...

I also tried the Tamron 90 on the Q7, but focusing with this setup - even using the macro rail - was almost impossible. Of course with that tiny sensor the little gem almost filled the frame. Here one of the underwhelming, not really sharp results - but at least uncropped this time:

That's it. I think I'm giving up on that little one now. At least I tried!

Diamonds are indeed NOT a photographer's best friend!

Indeed they aren't.

Thanks for looking, Miles, and your comment and suggestions!

Phil

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M R Padmaraju Veteran Member • Posts: 5,378
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

philzucker wrote:

M R Padmaraju wrote:

Reasonable and a decent effort . Some where to start with .

Good choice of words! Thanks a lot. I absolutely agree with your second sentence.

Flat lighting may not yield the desired effect in my experience !

Any other suggestions? I'd like to hear of them!

Perhaps K-70 may be good enough for very small subjects ....!

Has some more resolution in the center, I do agree. Don't have one though, could try my Tamron 90mm on my Sony APS-C, which also has a 24 MPix sensor.

What I also could try is my Q7 with the Tamron 90 - could be interesting!

Phil

Q-7 is quite a possibility . ` have tried with Sigma 105 . ( not diamonds ) . Handling the combo is very difficult ! All the Best .

Regards ,

mrp .

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Dan Paris Senior Member • Posts: 1,013
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

The last one especially is well done Phil, bokeh, composition (with the diagonals), etc.... are spot on.

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

M R Padmaraju wrote:

philzucker wrote:

M R Padmaraju wrote:

Reasonable and a decent effort . Some where to start with .

Good choice of words! Thanks a lot. I absolutely agree with your second sentence.

Flat lighting may not yield the desired effect in my experience !

Any other suggestions? I'd like to hear of them!

Perhaps K-70 may be good enough for very small subjects ....!

Has some more resolution in the center, I do agree. Don't have one though, could try my Tamron 90mm on my Sony APS-C, which also has a 24 MPix sensor.

What I also could try is my Q7 with the Tamron 90 - could be interesting!

Phil

Q-7 is quite a possibility . ` have tried with Sigma 105 . ( not diamonds ) . Handling the combo is very difficult ! All the Best .

Regards ,

mrp .

See my reply to Miles with some sample results done with the Tamron 90 on a Sony APS-C and with the Q7. Difficult indeed!

Phil

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philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Diamonds are ... not a photographer's best friend! ;-)

Dan Paris wrote:

The last one especially is well done Phil, bokeh, composition (with the diagonals), etc.... are spot on.

Thanks very much, Dan, for looking and for your kind comment!

I like especially the mood it conveys.

Phil

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