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"Final" Configuration

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rmpsrpms
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 Posted 01/19/2012  2:20 pm Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I'm finally happy with my photo setup, at least "happy enough". My latest work developing the "Smile Directors" has paid off and they are giving me a method to equalize the differences between raw and slabbed coins; maximize angle from horizontal to bring out color; provide diffusion to minimize hotspots; yet still provide a small enough illumination spot to set-off a luster response. I covered over about 1/3 of the radiating area compared with last published result to tighten the pattern and give better definition to the ends of the "smile". Result shown below.

A major factor in making this setup "final" is the ability to "calibrate" the lighting using the now permanently-installed stage mirror. Before, it was all guesswork as to how the lights were shining on the coin. With the mirror I can accurately position them at the same incident angle for every photo, so if I bump the lights or shift over to high mag and back I can get right back where I was.

Here is my calibration photo of the lighting setup. Note that I stopped-down to f22 for this to show a better definition of the size and shape of the illumination slots.



As you can see, I'm not shifting very far from the traditional 10-2 arrangement that seems to work so well. Only real difference is that the size and shape of the sources are tightly-controlled with the Directors and positioning is made repeatable with the calibration method. By the way, try doing this with halogens and you'll start a fire!

And of course, first photo I took is of my old favorite 57D toner.



This coin has been through a lot since I first photographed it. It's been my primary coin for comparing lighting techniques, lenses, vibration reduction methods, tilting, etc. Every setup I've built has been verified with this coin. But 99% of the photos taken of this coin have been the obverse. Well...tada! Here is the reverse in all its glory:



Now my plan...I am going to take photos of the rest of the toned Lincolns from this same roll and publish them in this thread. I will do this over a bit of time, taking down the setup between photos in order to ensure the calibration method works well and gives repeatable illumination.

By the way, I settled on a height of 100mm from coin surface to the faces of the Directors. This gives what I think is best shadow detail on the coin.

And of course there are other details...

Camera: Nikon D7000
Shooting modes: RAW; Aperture Priority
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/13sec (+/-)
Bellows: Nikon PB4 (no tilt or shift used) with BR15 M39 adapter
Lens: 75ARD1 (Rodenstock 75mm f4 Apo Rodagon D M1:1)
Aperture: f5.6

Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 01/19/2012  3:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ContraJame to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'd like to see photo of your setup for reference. (:

I've had a 1957-D Lincoln on keyboard sitting on top of the scroll lock and pause break keys for over 4 years. It hasn't failed me yet.
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 Posted 01/19/2012  4:42 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sure...here's a recent photo showing the reversible stage plate on top of the calibration mirror:



Here's an older photo of the setup, no mirror, but better overall view:



Don't get hung up on the stand or the bellows. I'm using them because I own them, not because they are the best solution. In fact I don't like the cheap Chinese stand much, it tends to creep downward and I can't figure out how to tighten it. A standard Bausch & Lomb A-Stand works better and is smaller, lighter, cheaper, more precise, and supports much more weight without creep.

The Nikon Bellows is a wonderful instrument, but is supreme overkill on cost, function, and most importantly size. Even with the big Chinese stand I'm way over center using this bellows.

Instead, take a look at this thread for ideas on a simpler setup that works as well or better all around:

http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/...PIC_ID=87392

Oh, and finally,here's a photo of a "Smile Director"

Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Edited by rmpsrpms
01/19/2012 6:04 pm
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 Posted 01/19/2012  9:48 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here is coin #2...Ray



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 01/19/2012  11:51 pm  Show Profile Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One thing you could do to keep the downward creep on the chinese stand would be to drill some holes through the stand and use a pin to stop it, only if the metal is thick enough and it wouldn't cause structural integrity to weaken. In telescope shooting we use an item called a parfocal ring to slip over an eyepiece and tighten it down on the barrel, this allows for an eyepiece to be in focus with another eyepiece or camera (if there is enough room). If your stand has a round tube this would work, my Stereoscope uses one for the body of the scope on it's stand.

Just a thought.
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
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 Posted 01/20/2012  5:07 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This one is transfixing my gaze...here's #3:



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 01/20/2012  7:57 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
And #4:



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 01/20/2012  9:49 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
OK, here is #5 and the last one I'll post for a while. I love the reverse on this one...Ray



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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United States
452 Posts
 Posted 01/20/2012  11:08 pm  Show Profile Check brg5658's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add brg5658 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ray, holy buckets! The quality of that #5 is stunning. Are these all from the same roll? Poor numbers 3 and 4 suffer from "weak-O syndrome" on the reverse word "ONE". But, they have some gorgeous toning to make up for it.
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 Posted 01/21/2012  10:38 am  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Brandon...yep, all from the same OBW roll I lucked upon about 15 years ago. The coins in the roll ranged from mostly untoned to very heavily toned; central-clear to central-dark; mottled or streaked to smooth; and everything in between. I kept the best 19 coins from the roll and have them lined up for photographs with the new setup. I haven't even made it to the really nice ones yet, though #5 is up there pretty high...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 01/21/2012  4:52 pm  Show Profile Check SsuperDdave's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You've done it, man. This is the solution.
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 Posted 01/23/2012  11:33 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here's #6...Ray



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 01/23/2012  11:39 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, by the way...I've come to realize that what I've created with the "Smile Directors" are small segments of ringlights. I've effectively adjusted the diameter of the ringlight to give a segment of direct reflection circle just bigger than the coin, allowing illumination without glare if the coin is in a slab. While folks think of ringlights as being "shadowless", that is really only the case when the incident angle is fairly low. For higher angles, such as the approx 80-deg I'm using, and with the ringlight a good distance away from the coin (like the 100mm I'm using here, ringlights will cast significant shadows around the peripheries of the devices. But since they come from all directions, contrast is greatly reduced and luster is eliminated. But if you use only a couple small segments you can get back a good portion of the luster and still keep many of the good qualities of the ringlight...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
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 Posted 02/06/2012  2:13 pm  Show Profile Check brg5658's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add brg5658 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ray, when do we get to see more of your 57-D beauties?
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 Posted 02/06/2012  3:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add CaptainFwiffo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
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 Posted 02/07/2012  12:09 am  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
OK, next up...57-D #7. This latest coin was an exercise in repeatability. I had changed lenses multiple times, bellows length and height, and shifted over to non-diffused Jansjos. Back to the 75ARD1, Bellows calibrated for extension, with the Jansjo's at 100mm above the coin, Smile Directors adjusted according to the calibration photo. Here's the result:



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Edited by rmpsrpms
02/07/2012 12:18 am
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