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Defining Terms And Questions About Many Different Aspects Of Taking Picture

 
 
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 Posted 11/16/2019  02:30 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This thread is for novices (of coin photography) like me.

In this thread, I am NOT looking for information about the best setup for under $400. There is already an outstanding discussion by Ray & other at this link: http://goccf.com/t/158182

I am also not asking for a long discussion back and forth for more advanced combinations of software and equipment. The following thread started as my questions about basic coin photography and morphed into a much more technical discussion than I can get my arms around (yet) due to my inexperience: http://goccf.com/t/359636

However, that second thread is the very reason I created this thread. There are many terms there (and a few from other places) that lead me to this point. I need to have definitions of terms and questions answered about the pros & cons of different approaches (at a basic level).

That being said, I highly recommend the threads above for deeper & more advanced discussions. Ray (rmpsrpms), JW (JustWalking) and pepactonious are quite knowledgeable and have had a lively technical discussion in the second link. Very glad for their input and anticipate the same in this thread.

so........

I am only going to address one question at a time most of the way through here. I want to be able to get final answers in place before moving on.

Question 1: Lighting. I am looking to find the ideal brightness (either in wattage or lumens), plus the type of beam (e.g. standard bulb, diffuse floodlight, etc). And finally the source of the light. I have seen light rings. I watched a video showing an axial setup and the light came from an old slide projector. And there is conventional lighting.

With conventional lighting, I could use a wide architect's light, or several lights placed at different angles to the subject area, so as to eliminate shadows. There is the common incandescent bulb, fluorescent, "daylight" bulbs, halogen, LED, and ?

I guess I will also ask a secondary question: is the best type of lighting is conditional based on whether you are taking B&W photos or color? From my understanding (correct me if I am wrong), sometimes B&W gives you more accurate images than color, while color (if done right) can help to show where pennies or other American or foreign coins with color fall within a desirability range (e.g. the place on the Red-Brown continuum a penny falls).
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 Posted 11/16/2019  04:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
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 Posted 11/16/2019  06:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The best lighting for coin shots will vary deepnding on the coin, so it's best to have a lighting setup that's flexible. What I use is a lens-attached diffuser, with a pair of Jansjo lights shining on the diffuser. Some lighting discussions:

http://goccf.com/t/324472

http://goccf.com/t/328528

This thread mentions Mark Goodman's book "Numismatic Photography", which has extensive sections describing various lighting strategies.

http://goccf.com/t/290147

http://goccf.com/t/265639
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 Posted 11/16/2019  10:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I usually use either a lens-mounted diffuser or sections of a ringlight. I will occasionally use pseudo-axial lighting or even a pair of Jansjos diffused at the head for certain situations.

As pepactonius says, flexibility is key. I developed the lens-mounted diffuser concept as a way to implement the "smile directors" in a more easily-adjustable way. The smile directors work great, but they are very picky about positioning. The lens-mounted diffuser is naturally more diffuse than the smile directors, but it can be modified to give similar results if desired through masking, though this reduces flexibility.
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 Posted 11/16/2019  12:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
OK....since it looks like the lighting link & your input Ray will give me plenty to chew for a bit, I will move onto another topic.

I looked at a few YouTube videos showing landscape stacking & situations in which that works beautifully (the wings of a fly under a microscope for instance) and instances where it does not work at all.

Can I get some input as to the pluses & minuses of stacking when discussing coin photography. I realize that there are trade-offs with various aspects such as aperture, but before getting deeper into the trade-offs, just instruct me on what benefits we are trying to achieve and what pitfalls we are trying to avoid. Thanks!
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 Posted 11/16/2019  12:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Edited to add: wrote this mostly after you went to next subject...Webs...your last question about B&W vs color, while maybe a good academic exercise, doesn't seem appropriate for coins. The only time I have published in B&W is occasionally for variety attribution where the color of the coin might get in the way of properly visualizing the details. That said, it is instructive to think about what makes a good B&W photo. Beyond the basics of focus and composition, there is a critical factor in any photo: exposure. You ask at the beginning about "ideal brightness" of a light. This is not a valid question except in the extremes. At one end, if your lighting is "too dark" then it may cause increased image noise in the shadows. Very long exposures also give more opportunity for vibration to cause problems. On the other end, if your lighting is "too bright", it can cause excessive heating of the areas around the lights. Many folks say "the brighter the better", but I've often hear folks say they can only keep their lights on for a few minutes before causing the coin and areas around it to be too hot to touch! Between these extremes lies a wide range of acceptable brightness. The thing that varies due to brightness is exposure time, ie shutter speed. But the shutter speed is adjustable over a wide range such that nearly indistinguishable images can be produced with a big dynamic range of light intensities. Bottom line, don't worry about the light intensity.
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Edited by rmpsrpms
11/16/2019 12:44 pm
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 Posted 11/16/2019  12:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Regarding stacking, don't ponder it unless you plan to do very high quality images at high magnification of things like dates and mintmarks and such.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
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 Posted 11/16/2019  6:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Besides closeup shots, stacking is required for shooting high-relief coins or very small coins. Examples are:

- curved coins (example: 2014 baseball coins)
- very small coins, where the magnification exceeds 1.0x
- ancients, especially small ones, like the early electrum staters. Even the typical Roman AR denarius requires stacking
- extra high relief coins (2009 $20, for example)

There's talk of an upcoming 83MP Canon full-frame mirrorless camera. Stacking becomes more important with cameras like that, if you want to take advantage of all those pixels.
Edited by pepactonius
11/17/2019 02:23 am
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 Posted 11/16/2019  11:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Love the input! Now a few comments on the comments.

Ray, I would never use a light that was going to make the coin hot, although I am speaking from ignorance when speaking about light when using a microscope. I don't have any information experientially that would tell me if this would be an issue. Nor do I know if axial lighting has a heating issue. My thought process was more with the idea of multiple fluorescent lights removing shadows from a high position. And the thought of the floodlight would be from about two feet above. But......all of that became a moot point after your discussion of exposure time.

And given the discussion from you two on stacking, I guess I can say that it is not an issue "for now". There are two main reasons I want to know about taking pictures of coins at all:

1. I want to be able to photograph all the coins in my collection for the purpose of comparison with other coins for upgrading coins in my collection. While coins in a book are relatively easy to take out and compare side-by-side, I have a large percentage of coins that are either in cardboard flips or Airtite capsules. I want to have pictures available that are easier to compare than comparing the coin side-by-side while still in the flip or capsule. I want to avoid the annoyance of having to take coins out of those holders, plus I want to handle those coins as little as possible to maintain their condition. I imagine though that no matter how good the pictures are, I will lose too much in the process of printing pages of their on my laser printer, so my comparison would have to be with a phone screen or a computer monitor.

2. At some point, there will be some coins that I will want to sell online. I will want the best pictures possible. So in some cases, I am sure that I will want to get the additional quality you talked about concerning daters, mint marks and error points elsewhere on the coin.

(Also.....if I could get a first name for pepactonious, it would make addressing you easier (like I do Ray instead of rmpsrpms.)
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 Posted 11/18/2019  09:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Perhaps first step to get other's names is to give you own? I assume neither your first nor last name is Webs, but if I am wrong, let us know.

Regarding hot lighting, any incandescent or especially halogen light has strong potential to overheat the system or subject. Folks have a tendency to put lights fairly close, say within a foot or two, of the coin and under those conditions things heat up. Just put your hand at that distance in front of the light and see if you feel heat. I was surprised myself at how hot things could get. Will melt plastic.

Also, exposure time makes no difference to heating. Only way that would matter is if you use flash instead of continuous lighting.

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http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 11/18/2019  2:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
No problem Ray. I'm Jamie.
Live in Chillicothe, OH.
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 Posted 11/18/2019  2:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh....and to clarify....I was talking about the relation of exposure to the brightness of the light, which is what you talked about. Did not mean in any way to link exposure and heat directly.
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 Posted 11/18/2019  4:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
(Also.....if I could get a first name for pepactonious, it would make addressing you easier (like I do Ray instead of rmpsrpms.)


Usually people on this forum just use pep, pepa, @pep, etc. as a short form for @pepactonius. Pepactonius is named after the town of Pepacton, NY, which was flooded out when they built the Downsville Dam, creating the Pepacton Resevoir. (My summer place is in the drainage basin of the East Branch of the Delaware River, which flows into the Pepacton Resevoir.)
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 Posted 11/18/2019  5:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
OK Pep....thanks!

All my life I have preferred first names or nicknames as much a possible. I hate formality.

So Pep as a nickname fits fine.

Webs
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 Posted 11/24/2019  7:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Jamie...did you get all your questions answered?
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Valued Member
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 Posted 11/24/2019  8:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Webs to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ray.....I think so at this time. I have to shift my focus to other thing for a few months, but will probably get everything for a setup in late Winter. I am sure I will have more questions then. Thanks again (all of you) for all the information here and in the $400 setup thread. It's a major help!

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