Christmas is coming, and you’re thinking about that new camera you’ve been wanting, right? And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get a dSLR so you don’t have to deal with those crappy compacts anymore, right? Yep, no more excuses — it’s time for great photos. Whoa, not so fast!
I’m not going to repeat what’s already been written hundreds of times about the pros and cons of point-and-shoots versus SLRs (do a quick search and you’ll find a pretty nice selection of helpful articles). What I am going to do, however, is make one irrefutable statement for all you jewelry (and other small item) sellers out there:
Don’t spend your hard-earned money on a dSLR unless you have even more hard-earned money to invest in a good macro lens.
Yes, it’s that simple. Compacts have some pretty nice macro features built-in. SLRs do not (sorry, that little flower on your EOS Rebel is worthless). Here’s one new term you need to learn:
Reproduction Ratio – The ratio of the size of an image projected on the camera sensor (or film) to the size of the subject itself.
So if you want to shoot something at “life size,” then you need a lens that gives you a reproduction ratio of 1.0 (sometimes denoted 1:1). 60 mm and 105 mm macro lenses from Canon and Nikon have reproduction ratios of 1:1. If you buy a dSLR kit, it’ll probably come with a nice, all-purpose 18-55 mm lens. Great lenses, they are, but with reproduction ratios in the 0.3 to 0.35 range (about 1/3 life-size). What that means is that the full-size image of your 15 mm beads is only going to be about 5 mm.
Make sense? Good. Now you know what to ask your camera salesperson when you go shopping for that well-deserved gift for yourself.
Until next time … Happy Shooting!