Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is an inexpensive lens OK for jewelry photography?

We frequently receive questions like this one from Gary M.:

"I just purchased a Canon Rebel XS with EF-S, 18-55mm lens. I will need some of your items such as the EZCube and other products. First I need to know if this lens is sufficient for jewelry photography."

This question comes up a lot because the entry level digital SLR cameras like the Canon Rebel, Nikon D40, D40x and D60 series are often bundled with inexpensive lenses. These are really nice cameras which are now selling for very affordable prices, including a basic lens.

Quality wise, the inexpensive bundled lenses should be OK, especially if your are shooting images that will end up on a web page. The main issue with lenses for shooting images close up is the minimum focusing distance. As long as the lens can focus on a subject which is about a foot away from the front of the camera, it should be fine. (It needs to be able to focus that close when it is zoomed out to 55mm, not when it's in wide angle mode.)

If you aren't on a tight budget, then a 60, 100, or 105 mm macro lens can deliver better images. But considering that a good macro lens often costs $500 or more, many of you will want to stick with the lenses already bubdled with the camera.