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How Do You Photograph Your Coins?

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New Member

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 Posted 04/10/2019  6:58 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Sgtyork2690 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I was wondering what setup you use for taking closeups of your coins?
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Canada
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 Posted 04/10/2019  7:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mcshilling to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a Canon camera on a copy stand that is only used for coins.
Valued Member
United States
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 Posted 04/10/2019  9:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mmansell45 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I use my phone at the moment. Which takes half decent photos.
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United States
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 Posted 04/10/2019  9:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thisistheshow to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I use my phone at the moment. Which takes half decent photos
Me too-the trick was finding a phone that takes half decent ones, because not all of them do.
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 Posted 04/10/2019  9:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dave700x to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I use a Canon body mounted on an old microscope stand. I'll either crop images taken with a 70mm or 50mm enlarging lens.
1883-O Nut
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 Posted 04/11/2019  11:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add srs77 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My setup is expensive but this is also my line of work now. But I use a Pentax K1 Full Frame DSLR along with two Elinchrome strobes. Sitting on a tripod pointing straight down at a 90 degree angle. Coin sits on a black platform. I use both a wired trigger and a wireless trigger depending on what's on the table when I start. There are way less expensive ways to get great photos of your coins. I would not suggest my setup unless you are doing more than just coin photography. This forum lists many options so I would suggest looking through these threads for the setup that works best for you. If you'd like to know more about mine just message me... I'd be happy to explain further if that's what you wish. Good Luck!
ANA Member 3171274
Vamming? What's that?
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United States
700 Posts
 Posted 04/11/2019  4:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NDBirdman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Most any decent camera/cell phone will take a decent coin pic, I find the hardest part is to get the light right. For me so far, mid-day light, no shadows, through a double pane window gets me best, so far. It's a work in progress. I use an olympus 4/3 camara on a tri-pod pointed straight down, coin on a #18 gray scale card. My biggest problem is getting a day not raining/snowing/cloudy, all which makes for a bad pic. Good luck!
Rookie with bad eyes, take what I say with a grain of salt and call an expert in the morning!
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 Posted 04/11/2019  6:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I use a Canon T2i with a Pentax Bellows, and various lenses depending on magnification and resolution needed:
- For full-coin images (single) I use a Schneider 85mm Macro Varon
- For variety detail shots I use either a Nikon 5x MM or 10x MM objective, focus stacked with an automated Z-axis rail
- For high resolution full-coin images I use a Nikon 95mm Printing-Nikkor, with an automated XY stage to tile the panorama, and focus stacked with an automated Z-axis rail

The 85mm Macro Varon is a bit of overkill for the small sensor in the T2i. A good alternative is the 75mm Rodenstock Apo Rodagon D 1:1, but even the 75mm Nikon EL-Nikkor can produce excellent full-coin photos. I generally recommend the 75mm Nikon for folks trying to do high quality full-coin photography on a tight budget.



Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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Canada
1817 Posts
 Posted 04/11/2019  8:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rocky to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
i like to use the sony A7R mark II. attached to enlarger stand. that stand is about to change. I am going to build a unit to shoot horizontal. my lens of choice is the rodentstock 90mm N . mounted on a nikon pbs 6 bellows. I also have a 10 x mitutoyo. these are alway ready to go. see if you put the right adapters on the end of your bellows. you can switch lens in seconds from 1 to 1 mag. to 10 times mag.
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 Posted 04/11/2019  9:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
rocky has described the big advantage of bellows for macro photography. With standard macro lenses, you are generally limited to 1:1. But with bellows you can make a quick lens change and go to most any magnification you want.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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United States
8661 Posts
 Posted 04/12/2019  1:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For most full-coin shots, I use something functionally equivalent to the CCF "$400 setup", but with a Pentax M42 bellows, a Canon T6s, and the 75mm APO Rodagon D1x lens.

For full slab shots and for very large coins, I just use the Canon T6s with an Olympus 50mm f/2 macro lens attached by EOS-OM adapter (no bellows).

For very small coins or closeups, I use a bellows-attached Canon 35mm macro/bellows RMS-threaded lens. Manually-stepped focus-stacking is usually required.

For real closeups, I use 4x, 5x, or even 10x infinity-corrected microscope objectives attached to the Canon T6s via a Thorlabs tube containing the 200mm tube lens. (It goes without saying that focus stacking is required.)
Edited by pepactonius
04/13/2019 12:29 am
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 Posted 04/12/2019  9:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
pepactonius...what do you use for manual focus stacking?

FYI for anyone interested in adding automated focus stacking to their system, internet seller mjkzz has a voice coil motor system which works perfectly for coins. I have put this system to good use at 20x and it is the best (and cheapest) stacking solution available for small movements appropriate for coins.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 04/13/2019  12:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
pepactonius...what do you use for manual focus stacking?


My setup uses a microscope focusing stage from an old Zeiss Ultraphot. There are two ways to measure the focus steps:

- Use the 2-micron markings on the fine focus knob. The fine focus has a travel of only 2mm on the Ultraphot, so this doesn't work well for curved coins like the Apollo or baseball coins.

- Attach a depth gauge which has 25 mm or so readout range, but only 10 micron markings. Then use the fine and coarse focus knobs to do the focus stepping, basewd on the dial readings. I've never needed anything close to 25mm of focus stack travel.
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 Posted 04/13/2019  08:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
2mm is usually sufficient. This is similar to what the VCM system can do. Also note that you don't need calibrated steps unless you're doing 3D rendering. When I am doing 2D manually I just watch the screen and step focus until I get the key features in focus. At 5x this usually means focus on 4-5 planes. Sometimes this even works better since it guarantees that my areas of interest are in best focus.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 04/13/2019  09:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
2mm is usually sufficient.


In all but a few cases, yes.

It looks the curved 5-oz Apollo coin will need several mm of focus travel. The coin is about 75mm across, so magnification will be somewhat less than 0.2x, meaning that at f/5.6 with the 50mm Olympus, a 2mm stack increment should suffice.

Note - I usually step by computed stack increment, rounded down to something that's easy to step manually. I look at the screen to get the start and end positions on the depth gauge, and then quickly step from start to end without looking at the screen. I don't do more than 2 stacks per month, on average.

This coin will be hard to get a decent image of, since it's a proof. Perhaps some form of low-angle, well-diffused lighting will work? Let's hope the mint doesn't come out with more of these curved coins.
Edited by pepactonius
04/13/2019 09:11 am
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United States
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 Posted 04/13/2019  12:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm with you on hoping the mint does not make any more curved "coins".

For sure something like that will require more diffusion. I hate to say it, since in most cases they are not a good solution, but in this case a traditional light tent might do well.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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