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A Beginner's Coin Photography setup

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Pillar of the Community
Canada
1727 Posts
 Posted 12/13/2011  6:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add coincollect1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not bad pictures
Valued Member
United States
135 Posts
 Posted 12/29/2011  12:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add reports67 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
great information for me as a biginner
New Member
United States
40 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2012  03:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add eastriding4310 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi LOBBY, I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Vivitar 55mm macro, in M42 mount, to you. You can buy it for about $100 on eBay, like I did. It is a sharp 1:1 macro that will far exceed your current set up. M42 to Olympus adapters are also cheap on eBay. The lens and adapter work fine in program mode on my Oly 510.

M42 lenses can also be used on Sony and Canon cameras. It you want make your old Oly sing with your regular photography, then buy a nice old Carl Zeiss (East German Jena) lens with manual focus for about $120 on eBay.
Pillar of the Community
United States
543 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2012  12:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Lobby to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Tell me more, East. Cause I'm about to buy something else. In a few hours. Maybe.

I don't have much experience with camera hardware, so all these discussions about mounts, etc go in one ear....

New Member
United States
40 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2012  6:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add eastriding4310 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Lobby, the M42 mount was an early mount used for years. The Vivitar 55mm macro 1:1 lens was made in several mounts. The M42 is very versatile because it will fit modern Olympus, Canon, Sony and possibly Pentax Dslr cameras, but not Nikon. They can be found at auction on eBay for about $100. Be patient and you will get one. Be sure that the lens has an M42 Mount. The M42 lens adapters for these cameras are abundant on eBay and can be had for $10 to $20 or less. Search for M42 lens adapter to OM mount. Take your time to buy the right equipment and you will save money in the long run. Good luck.
Pillar of the Community
United States
543 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2012  6:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Lobby to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1527 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  08:58 am  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you go with a dedicated macro lens, I'd recommend 90mm or longer. Working distance with a 55mm lens is pretty short so it's difficult to get lighting in there between coin and lens. It is possible, but you'll go to great lengths to get lights at high enough angle to properly illuminate the coin. And being so close to the coin changes the perspective as well. Of course if you get that 2x Macro Converter, and put it with the 55mm lens East recommends, you'll have a wonderful 110mm SuperMacro lens...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Edited by rmpsrpms
01/10/2012 09:00 am
New Member
United States
40 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  3:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add eastriding4310 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi rmpsrpms,
You may not have considered that his Olympus camera is in 4/3 format, which gives the 55mm lens a 2x multiplier already from the camera, making it 110mm. Also Lobby, your camera may have in camera live view with magnification capabilities, which may greatly assist your focusing sharpness. Check your manual.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1527 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  3:37 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
East...You make a good point, since even though the actual focal length of the lens is not changed, it requires less magnification to fill the sensor with the coin and thus a larger working distance. My recommendations are based on experience with an APS-C sensor, not full frame, so the factor is not 2x but the trend is the same...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Pillar of the Community
United States
543 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  4:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Lobby to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, guys. Ya'll helping a bunch.

Let me tell you the problem I'm trying to solve. I'm generally happy with the setup I've got. I can take entire coin pics of a reasonable enough quality to post here and on eBay.

Closeups are a problem, though. For example, detail on Morgans that capture VAM errors is difficult for me. Even if I screw on a 10x filter to my stock lens, the edges of the photos are out of focus. Sucks, really.

And having a 4/3's camera, I've been somewhat cautious to try many of the wonderful bellows / lens suggestions that Ray and others have made.

So I just purchased an Olympus Digital Extension tube (EX-25) to use with my stock zoom lens. Hopefully, this will give me the zoom I need to capture the detail I want.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-EX-...em4ab27ec78f


Yep, my camera has live view, although I hadn't noticed the magnification capabilities of it. With manual focus, even live view didn't give me sharpness I needed to determine when I was in focus. But if I can magnify it....

I'll of course post pics when the adapter arrives.
New Member
United States
40 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  8:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add eastriding4310 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Lobby, I was surprised by your move to buy the automatic extension tube. Most of my macro work is fully manual, therefore an expensive extension tube is not necessary. I just bought a full set of M42 extension tubes for $6. Your Olympus kit lens will never be as sharp as a good macro lens, which will work fine on your camera in Program Mode. With a manual lens you will have the ability to select your f stop, which controls your depth of field. The magnification filters you use actually degrade the sharpness of your lens. The extension tube will reduce your depth of field, but give you greater magnifiction.

I noticed, when I looked at your photos that they seemed soft and flat with very little 3D look to them. These are all greatly improved with a sharp lens set up.

On my Olympus 510 to get the 7x magnified view, I turn on the live view screen and then push the OK button once. I also use a cheap $20 focusing rail for better focus. You will see why when you turn on the magnified live view. You will be amazed how unsteady your camera actually is. I also recommend using the 2 second timer or a remote shutter release device. If you do all these things your photos will be greatly improved. If you don't already sharpen your jpegs after you shoot, you should. By the way, I learned most of this advanced stuff by reading this forum. Good luck and good shooting
Pillar of the Community
United States
1527 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  9:13 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Lobby...The 25mm extension tube won't do much for you toward taking higher mag images for VAM details and such, it's just not long enough. You will need a bunch of them to make it work.

If that's your main goal, I suggest the following:

50mm f2.8 EL-Nikkor like this one ($41):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/El-Nikkor-5...em27c154d79a

52mm to 58mm Reversing Ring like this one ($3.50):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Male-52mm-5...em2a022cdb55

52mm to 40.5mm Step-Down Adapter like this one ($2.75):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-40-5-52...em27b7268ca6

For less than $50 you will be able to take top-quality closeups with your existing lens. The setup is:

Camera -> Zoom Lens -> 58-52 -> 52-40.5 -> Nikon Lens in reverse

You set the camera to infinity focus and wide open aperture, then adjust the height of the lens above the coin to focus the shot. This is about the cheapest, and up there in quality with the best, high mag setup you could put together. The magnification is:

M = FLZoom / FLEL

So if you set your Zoom to 135mm, the magnification will be a nice and workable M = 2.7

...Ray

edited to add: oops, I looked at tershaffer's setup not yours. What is the focal length of your lens? And your lens filter mount diameter? You'll need to replace the 58-52 with whatever you have to 52, and your max focal length into the equation above...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Edited by rmpsrpms
01/10/2012 9:20 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
543 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2012  9:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Lobby to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This place is just blasted amazing!

East: I'd noticed the lack of sharpness in my coin pics, and I'd attributed that to the cheap magnifying filters I've been using. Thanks also for the camera settings advice. I'll play with that.

Ray: I prob need to bite the bullet and get a full bellows arrangement with a good prime lens to take the quality pics I want. But for that I'd need a good copy stand.



I'll probably proceed that way in the short term future.

Pillar of the Community
United States
3033 Posts
 Posted 01/11/2012  01:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add aladinslamp to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This place is amazing!...just my 2 cents as I have little time to post...But the reality of user hear say comments to those who do this daily, are a far cry from what is published....Photography is quite a topic.. and yet macro is another turn of the coin....Yet coins are a WHOLE differefent animal...There is a science and mathmatics that are being explained on this web site that makes a difference.....

One should not argue. but step back and begin to see the light of understanding.....soak it in to your preconcieved ideas and still have an open opinion to offer...
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