Please help!!

reneepreneep Posts: 2Member
edited October 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I am a jewelry designer and I'm looking to take pictures of models with the jewelry on and of closeups of the jewelry. I minored in photography, but that was back in the dark room, enlarger realm. :)

I received a Nikon D700 as a gift (hell of a gift!) but WAY too much camera for me. I have two kids so I have to work quickly and I need something that is going to take very decent pictures on an auto setting (I'll be using natural light) and a macro lens and something where I can do self-portraits. (remote shutter release)

I love the D90 but I cant spend it. What do you think will take great pics outside on auto setting and also what macro lens would go with it along with a remote shutter release?

Thank you thank you thank you in advance for your time and any assistance!!


  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited October 2014
    The 105 f2.8 macro would be perfect for the models with jewelry and close up of the jewelry. Will do 1:1. I love mine for portraits. If you want some easy the new d3300 or d5200 or 5300 are all great. But lens and any body is going to run you $1000+. I say use the d700 and get a macro lens.

    I am on my phone so can't really post the pictures but I took some jewelry shots at the wedding I just photographed and they were some of my favorites. D5000 and 105 f2.8.
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,003Member
    This is just impossible to answer/give advice for. It's just far too broad and unlikely to help all that much. If the photos are important I suggest that you either hire a photographer or hire someone to advise you while you have a hand at it; otherwise, your photos are unlikely to leave you very pleased with the results.
    Follow this advice.
  • reneepreneep Posts: 2Member
    how does the D5200 fair?
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 398Member
    I'd suggest taking on the D700. It can be setup like a point and shoot or entry-level DSLR, but has potential to take better pictures. What lens/es do you have with it?

    a) set it up for Program Auto
    b) auto-area AF
    c) metering mode set to 3D Color matrix
    d) auto iso

    Ask here if you need someone with a D700 to give you exact pointers on how to make those settings.

    Once you have those settings, just point and shoot. It will allow you to work faster than most other cameras, making all the adjustments for you on the fly. No need to fiddle with aperture, shutter from shot to shot. It'll get the shot 95% of the time, which is at least as good as other gear. And the results will be 4x as good as any other camera you'd pick up for $500.
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    edited October 2014
    This might be one of the best examples for the fact that it's really not about your equipment, but about what's on the picture.

    In order to get "decent" photos, no camera, be it a small point-and-shoot or a 80MP middle format, will be enough or actually "do" anything for you, no matter if it's in auto or manual mode, or if you choose the "jewellery" and "fashion" preset. It's WHAT you shoot.

    Especially with the product shots, it is really all about the light, there is about 1% of the things involved that you learned in your minor in photography. The best idea is to get someone who is good at this to build you a small setup that you can use over and over when you have new products to be photgraphed, and don't have to hire the photographer to come in for just one shot.

    If you want to get an idea about how to light jewellery (or if you don't believe that this is the key), watch some tutorials on the net, some are even very accessible for beginners as well. is a good place to start, there are also courses specifically on jewellery, this oneis free for example.
    Post edited by FlowtographyBerlin on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited October 2014
    how does the D5200 fair?
    The D700 is a "pro" level camera but can be set up to be like the D5200. See @KnockKnock's advice. The issue is if you set it blindly and then accidentally change it then you will be back to square One. The D5200 wont be much better. You will need to invest time in learning this, if you want to take your own photos.

    Remember taking the photos is one thing .. there is also the processing and editing that you will need to learn as well if you want good quality pictures.

    Otherwise buy the services you need. Capitalism is great that way! You do what you are good at and love doing, the rest you can buy.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    edited October 2014
    If you do not wish to learn how to use the D700, I would think you may not find any camera will give good results The camera techniques are easy. The lighting is more difficult but handling models will be even more so, and what you will find is results will be better if you simply hire someone to do the job
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    The D700 is perfect for what you want. Do what @KnockKnock advised.

    The D90 is really old at this point - I wouldn't suggest anyone getting one unless it was free.

    If you want to do macro on the cheap, look for a used Nikon 60mm F2.8 AFD lens. They can easily be had for under $200 on e-bay. I still use mine and it never disappoints. There is the older Nikon 105mm AFD as well. A third option is the Tokina 100mm or the Tamron 90mm. Both are amazingly sharp. Just note that any zoom (under $1,000) that says it is a macro really isn't. It is a marketing ploy that just means it focuses a bit closer. For jewelry, you want a true macro that can do 1:1.
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    Your first try should be something like this: Put D700 on tripod. Set a 10 sec delay. Put D700 in P møde. Press shutter and step in fron of camera. Do that untill you have the picture you want.

    For modelshots you do the same only this tim no tripod or time delay. See how it goes.

    Only one problem with the D700 compared to more modern cameras is the Jpeg output. You might be better off using a D5200 for that reason. Jpeg = you dont have to do any postwork - the camera does it for you.

    Nikon 105 micro is a good lens but expensive.

    Good luck
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited October 2014
    As others have said it is not about the camera it is more about the lighting
    Try the D700, do a two button reset then set it to P and post us some results
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,415Member
    Let me suggest you look into a used D5100 with an 18-55mm kit lens (set it as 55mm and it will focus close enough for jewelry and work also for portraits) as a place to start. A new D5200 would also be fine, just more expensive. A manufacture refurbished one is just fine. The reason for the D5100 or the D5200 is your desire to photograph yourself. They both have swivel screens which you can swivel around to face the front. This allows you to stand or sit in front of the camera and pose yourself while seeing yourself in the LCD. You will need to learn how to set the camera in what is called Live View which is actually just activating the LCD screen while taking a photograph. You also need to purchase a remote control so you can activate the camera while you are standing or sitting in front of it. or Both the Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D5200 have an Auto setting which allows you to get an image without knowing anyting. They also both have a self-help menu and dial system which allows you to set the camera for shooting a close up (it is the flower icon on the dial) or portrait (the head icon on the dial) and the camera then sets the other settings such as shutter speed and f-stop. This type of beginner menu system may be helpful to you. Do some on-line research about these two Nikon bodies. There may even be some YouTube videos which illustrate what I am saying.

    Next, you will need some nice lighting. Get a tripod to put your camera on. Try standing with a window to your side but not in direct sunlight. Buy a while foam core board and place it on the side of your body opposite to the window. You can also get one of these reflectors. This will bounce some light back to fill in the dark shadows. Of course, all the same lighting applies to photographing just one piece of jewelry. Try standing outside in the shade, not in direct sunlight. Only stand in direct sunlight outside on a day when the sun is covered by a thin layer of clouds (this is known as hazy bright). Try using the pop-up flash on the camera in the house (you will find it casts harsh shadows). Try using the pop-up flash outside while standing in the sun on a hazy (not clear) day (you will find it automatically fills in the dark shadows). A hazy but bright day uses the cloud cover to soften light. Eventually you will want to use lighting which comes from about a 45 degree angle to your subject, not from the camera. This is called off-camera lighting. You need two light stands to put your off-camera lights on. When you get to the point that you want to have your own off-camera lighting you will have two options: flash and continuous lighting. Nikon flashes work with what they call the CLS (Creative Lighting System) to automatically produce the correct amount of light. It is too complex to discuss here. View some YouTube videos on it. Continuous lighting is like a light bulb; always on but weaker than a flash. Commonly used continuous lights are CF (compact fluorescent bulbs) or LED lights. CF is much cheaper. You can purchase kits like these. and
    The problem you will find with such kits is that they don't have as much power as you would like to have. You can deal with this by setting your ISO to 800 or 1,000 (look in the owner's manual so search on line to learn what ISO is and how to set it).

    I think this is about as much information as you can handle right now. You can see why many people here just say to hire someone.
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    I don't want to spoil your fun with this, but since, apart from repeated comments of "hire a professional", there are also repeated comments on the right lens, mode etc., I just want to again emphasize how ridiculously small the part of the equipment is for your plans. Seriously.

    And it's not "more" about the lighting, it's really pretty much ALL about it. There is nothing else in your shot than the contents. It won't matter what mode you use, or what lens. It's what's on the image, your camera only captures that.

    If this point doesn't come across, imagine recording a band. Will it matter how much the drumkit and the guitar amp was, ? It won't, if your band is crappy, it doesn't make any difference. And does it matter whether the microphones were 300 or 6000 bucks each? If you don't even know where to put them when you record the drums, it won't make any difference.

    If you want results that bring across that the jewelry is desirable, hire someone for the job, or watch some tutorials.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    Hi reneep. You've got lots of good suggestions here to help you get off on the right foot here. As some have mentioned there are more questions to be answered than can be reasonably be asked in a single post. Just to pick an area ... Self portraits can be frustrating until you get the details down - like your look, pose, where the focus is, how the image is lit, where're the shadows falling, etc. If you want to highlight the jewelry then these things must be worked out in order to make your product stand out. Bringing on someone who can see you from the camers's view would be a tremendous help here.

    If you truly intend to start out alone then another suggestion is perhaps you can designate a small area in your home to shoot these photos. For the self portraits pick a wall that will be your backdrop or use white foamcore or a low cost backdrop ordered from Amazon and pinned to the wall if you only intend to shoot views from the waist up. Make your results repeatable by marking where everything is - like your tripod, lighting, and where you're standing. For product shots, depending on how DIY you are you could build or buy a light box thru which you could shoot your products but you'd need light sources for the sides and/or back and top.

    Lenses: tcole1983 recommended the Nikon 105 macro which is excellent. You could also consider the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 macro as well. Cost less than the 105mm and it's excellent for portraits as well.

    D700 as a gift ... you're so lucky/loved!! Spend what time you do have and learn it as much as possible - at least enough to get your desired settings down. Then once again, set things up as mentioned above so that your results are repeatable. Even if you bring in models to pose with your jewelry you'll have good ideas as to where they shoud stand relative to your camera in order to render repeatable results.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • GreenwiseGreenwise Posts: 34Member

    The D90 is really old at this point - I wouldn't suggest anyone getting one unless it was free.

    The D90 maybe an older body but a good camera will always be capable of taking good photos regardless of age. This were taken with my old trusty D80 and whilst composition may not be the best the quality the older nikons are capable of i believe is fine.


    Rings 01
    Rings 03
    Rings 05
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    edited October 2014
    @Greenwise - I didn't make a comment on whether or not it could take good images, I said it is not worth buying one. If you work within any camera's base settings, they all can produce great images. The problem with that is that 99% of the time, we don't use them in the most ideal situations.

    The D90 was released/announced on August 27, 2008. The D80 August 9, 2006. That is 6 & 8 years old and two full generations of upgrades. Buying any used technology that is 4 years or more old is just not smart at all. Especially when it is not of a pro caliber build quality. Not to poke fun but just making a point, I can crop any image by 85% (D800) and still have HD file (720p) out of it which still prints a nice 5x7 image. If you were to do that, you would just barely 380pixels on the short end which is barely web quality. There is also dynamic range, ISO capability, AF speed, metering, etc. There is a lot that has been upgraded. In between major updates, (between the Pro updates - D3, D4 or every 4 years.) or the normal 2-year upgrade cycle, there usually isn't much change. Between the major updates though there is. A D90 is on the edge of being two full cycles out. The D80 is 3 generations back. I owned a D80 and I can easily say it is no where close to my D300 in quality, and my D800 just runs circles around it. It was a good camera and I got many good photos from it, but when I go back and look at the old images, I want to re-shoot everything because the new bodies IQ has surpassed by so far, when printing the images, the old D80 (and even D300) just don't look as good at all. You posted some great images, but looking at them, I can see major differences and if those were taken with a D800, that would be astounding. Sorry to say it, but it is true.

    Those are great images though ;)
    Post edited by Bokeh_Hunter on
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • GreenwiseGreenwise Posts: 34Member
    I just feel if the OP feels more comfortable with a consumer body that has slightly more ' automatic' controls, i.e. different scene modes etc, then maybe its a case of 'if the cap fits' situation, and as we have both stated the older bodies still have the capability to 'do the job'

    I do agree the image quality has improved through generations tho :)
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    I think it would be helpful if the OP gives us more information. The idea of a D700 being too much camera suggests understanding how to use a macro lens is inconsistent with this level of personal investment in the entire process.

    My suggestion would be to enroll in a photography course, learn how to handle the D700 and all the other factors involved in capturing good images, including the post processing in the computer, then come back to the forum for more specific inputs.

    As best I can tell, the only way to learn all this stuff is to do it. And, with some knowledge learned in a formal teaching venue, maybe some spark from the past can be reignited.
    Msmoto, mod
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,415Member
    Yes, you should also learn some basic post processing. It will make a big difference and is one of the great advantages of digital photography.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    My only input...if you don't have the time and are not willing to do your "due diligence," then the problem is not the gear you own. Hence,

    +1 PitchBlack
    +1 Msmoto
    +1 Bokeh_Hunter
    +1 FlowtographyBerlin
    +1 KnockKnock
    +1 Rx4Photo

    All that needs to be said...has been said. At least from my perspective.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,748Member
    Great Summary @Golf007sd. I was thinking this as I read down the post and was formulating a response and you went and said it so well...nothing else for me to add.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I think it would be helpful if the OP gives us more information.
    seems to be another AWOL or MIA
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Maybe we scared the OP off….
    Msmoto, mod
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    I think Msmoto is right - we scared the OP off. If you are still with us try to take some pictures like I suggested. Then you will probably run in to some problems or you wish to do some part of your pictures better. Thats fine. Then ask a new question.

    Take it step by step. Best of luck.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,415Member
    I do think our advice tends to be too expensive and too complex; not everyone wants to learn all the details we like to know. Some people just want a simple way to take good photos for facebook postings. Our advice can intimidate such a person.
  • GreenwiseGreenwise Posts: 34Member
    I do think our advice tends to be too expensive and too complex; not everyone wants to learn all the details we like to know. Some people just want a simple way to take good photos for facebook postings. Our advice can intimidate such a person.
    yep i agree not everyone wants or needs expensive or complex advice or cameras, for a lot of people the quick 'auto' photo more than suffices.
Sign In or Register to comment.