Having the right photography
equipment is very important in conveying both the look of the stones and
jewelry I photograph, but also in conveying the environments I
visit.I've always been interested in photography, more from the travel
perspective, and had my start with manual focus film photography at a
Today, in the digital age, photographing gems, jewelry, and travel have become a great deal easier. Moreover, having the ability to see what you get in the LCD panel, right after snapping a shot is really a godsend.
the last few years I have used a combination of equipment, but was
never really satisfied with my travel equipment until now. At home, and
in the studio I always had a a Nikon DSLR at my side. It's great to have
a large ,machine, with wonderful quality, to take shots of jewelry and
stones. Because of the slow nature of macro photography, I never needed
autofocus to shoot gems and jewelry, and have always defaulted to my old 1970's nikon 55mm macro lens. This lens, that my dad used for his photos on a film camera, has worked amazingly with my DSLR for digital shots. It
even has a nifty extension tube, which allow bigger and more detailed
images from really small objects, and gets me really close to the
One of the problems with a DSLRs however is lugging it around all over the place. So as a compromise I always traveled with a compact Canon camera. While good for some types of shots, and very convenient, the image quality never really broke out - especially for macro shooting of small stones, rings, or minerals.
past year I switched over to the Fuji XE-1 mirrorless system and have
not looked back. It's just about the perfect system for taking
everywhere, shooting everything, and getting amazing results. Paired with either it's "Kit 18-55mm" (28-85 equivalent lens) or my trusty Nikon macro with adapter, it's just a great combo.
The advantage to mirrorless cameras are their larger sensors, and, you guessed it, lack of a mirror. In a DSLR, the top of the camera houses a large mirror which allows you to see through the lens. When it takes the shot, the mirror flips up out of the way to allow the sensor to see through the lens. With a mirrorless camera, the photographer sees the image from the sensor directly, on either an LCD screen (like on an Iphone) or small viewfinder (similar to a video camera). Without having that mirror, the camera can be made much smaller, yet still have a large sensor. The fuji xe-1 has a sensor about the same size as then Nikon D7000 or Canon 7D, but is less than half the weight of either - making it a breeze to carry. It's also very discrete, and not very intimidating to people you might want to shoot.
Having used this camera exclusively over the last 9 months I am superbly satisfied. There are some quirks, and a bit a of a learning curve for those not familiar with classic film photography, but the results are wonderful. Below are a collection of photos taken mostly in Thailand and Myanmar over 2 recent trips. There are also a few from the Tucson gem and mineral show, taken this February. Most of the other photos on this website were also taken with the XE-1.