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Author Previous TopicReplies: 5 / Views: 2,039Next Topic  
Valued Member
United States
453 Posts
 Posted 10/19/2014  6:33 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Necer149 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've been into photography for the past 2 years, and have learned a lot of stuff. My setup is a Canon EOS 550D with the 18-55mm & 75-300mm kit lenses. I love working with these lenses, and honestly don't see any reason to invest in all of these professional lenses. Until I ran into coin photography...

My pictures are not very good, especially when I compare them to all the other forum members here. I don't know if it is my lighting (only use natural daylight through the window), or the lens. Here is one of my better images.

I cannot manage to capture the luster on this beauty, or any of the redness. For my background, I use an old wooden desk. Also, to get a more zoomed in image, I shoot through a magnifying glass, otherwise I can't get any of the details. Here is another sample...

So do you guys have any tips on how to improve my photos?

Edited by Necer149
10/19/2014 6:33 pm
Valued Member
440 Posts
 Posted 10/19/2014  6:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CherreePicker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pics are a little blurry which leads me to believe you are hand holding the camera. Daylight coming in through the window is impossible to control. I used to try this and results were a crap shoot. My pics were never where I wanted them to be. Then I found this forum and started listening to those who know a lot more than I do regarding coin photography. Start searching the forum and you can find a lot of advice on how to correctly set up for coin photography.Here is a good place to start>>>

Ray (rmpsrpms) can help you get set up correctly. Trying to shoot coins with a hand held camera & using a light source that cannot be controlled is an exercise in frustration.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4735 Posts
 Posted 10/19/2014  7:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yeh, as others have mentioned use either a tripod or camera stand.
If you can adjust for "white balance", do so.
Lighting is generally the biggest problem getting right.
Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
Learn More...
United States
23521 Posts
 Posted 10/20/2014  08:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's your lenses. To achieve images of this size, you are closer to the coin than the lens' minimum focusing distance can accommodate. In my work with an 18-55, I was only able to get to a minimum of about 15" from the coin to achieve sharp focus, and that made a Morgan considerably smaller than your Cent.

Lighting will also be a concern, because natural daylight is only available at one angle at any given moment, and you might (probably will) need differing lighting for some coins.

So, the Big Four things for coin photography:

1) Solid camera mount with camera and coin parallel. Looks like you've got that already.

2) Delayed or remote shutter activation, so you don't vibrate the camera when triggering the shot.

3) Adjustable lighting enabling you to get the light source as close to the lens, pointing straight down at the coin, as possible.

4) A lens capable of better than 0.5:1 magnification.

You can solve that latter problem via any number of ways: A bellows/duplicating lens arrangement, cheap, highly capable (both magnification and focus are adjusted manually) but requires a strong learning curve; a "regular" fixed focal length lens mounted with spacers (to increase magnification) directly to the camera, which limits you to a specific magnification based on spacer length; a fixed focal length lens reversed on the camera (you attach it backwards - this is a thing - and it then magnifies), which again fixes you at a set magnification; or a dedicated Macro lens, easiest to use but by far the most expensive, with lenses costing upwards of $500 when you can implement the other options for $100 or less.

Yes, you have White Balance problems. This is an easily-corrected non-issue, and we'll wait until later to get that fixed.
Valued Member
United States
453 Posts
 Posted 10/20/2014  7:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Necer149 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I am holding the camera, so I was looking at some overhead camera mounts, which I'll probably end up buying one after I look into it more. My Dad and I went to Walmart today and I got a couple of lamps to use, cheap but hopefully effective.

SsuperDdave, I'm willing to have to learn and do my research, just the cheapest option that still produces better results will be good. My goal is to try and get the most out of my 18-55 assuming the 75-300 won't be able to get the job done.

Valued Member
United States
453 Posts
 Posted 01/17/2015  6:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Necer149 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Got some new toys for coin photography. I ordered 2 Ikea Jansjo desk lamps, and the Raynox DCR-150 lens mount. Below are the results on a very baggy Morgan. Any more tips you can recommend? I have the lights positioned at 3 and 9 o'clock, and they are touching the end of the camera lens. Also to note, I picked up a cheap but sturdy tripod at a garage sale for $10, and it works like a charm.

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