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Please Critique My Setup.

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Pillar of the Community
United States
699 Posts
 Posted 02/20/2020  12:20 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Looking at what you guys were doing, I put together a setup. It is pictured below.

I did get the macro lens that I asked about earlier. I can't tell much difference . . .

That diffuser is the Opalux stuff. Seems to reduce the light so that I either have to open the aperture or slow the shutter quite a bit.

I place the items on a "gray card" so if I change my lights up, I can do a white balance real quick.

Am I doing anything wrong that you sages can see?

Oh, and don't worry about that copy stand. It the only thing about the setup that I am sure about. I welded that up out of real steel. It weighs four pounds and is solid as a rock. Maybe a boulder. #128513;

A question about the Jansjos, should I remove the lens? I did that on one of the old lamps, and it seemed to be a good thing, but these are two new lamps, and I wish to be careful. As there is no going back once they are removed. Unless there is some technique that I do not grasp.

Thank you!!

Bedrock of the Community
Australia
16664 Posts
 Posted 02/20/2020  4:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Post what you think is your best picture with this setup.
Valued Member
United States
65 Posts
 Posted 02/20/2020  5:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JeffMTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Is the white circular thing around the lens a diffuser?
Pillar of the Community
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7770 Posts
 Posted 02/20/2020  7:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looks sort of like my setup. In my case, I made the Canson Opalux lens-attached diffuser conical in shape, so that it wouldn't flop around. (I didn't remove the lenses from the Jansjo lights.)
Pillar of the Community
United States
699 Posts
 Posted 02/21/2020  10:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Jeff, yes, that is what I am using for diffusion.

Pepactonius, would you post a photo of your diffuser?

Do you just let it rest on the table, under the lense?

I will post some photos later today.

Thank you guys.
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 Posted 02/21/2020  12:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Pepactonius, would you post a photo of your diffuser?


Here's a link to an earlier thread with some photos of my diffuser: http://goccf.com/t/324472#2767615
Pillar of the Community
United States
699 Posts
 Posted 02/27/2020  5:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Whew!! I spent the last week trying many different setups. Really.

I have tried to do the diffuser disc as pictured, I build a nice Opalux cone, I made another nice Opalux cone.

I used Jansjos, desk lamps, flashlights. In all sorts of configurations.

I even threw together an axial setup. I found that a slabbed coin with an axial setup is difficult if not impossible. I completely failed in my attempt, and if anyone can give me a clue as to how to execute Axial without the reflection from the plastic blowing a hole in it, if would be much appreciated. Axial does intrigue me.

Ah, I am rambling. I do that . . . .

I am using the definition of the breastfeathers as my benchmark. This piece has nice (not super) breastfeathers and I made it my goal to get them captured.

So here is my best shot. F-8. ISO is 100. 1/80 shutter. Exposure compensation is -0.7 on the camera.

White balance is the "one touch" setup, and looks pretty true.

Lights are two Jansjos looking staight downn at approximately 2 and 10. One is a new Jansjo with a yellow cast to the light. The other is an older Jansjo with very white light. I have popped the lens out of both.

After spending hours trying to get the diffusion to look right, I chucked the diffusers and shot without any diffusion at all.

Straight out of the camera, it has been cropped only.

So here ya go. And thank you so much. I would like to know what the sages think should be tweaked.


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 Posted 02/27/2020  7:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I found that a slabbed coin with an axial setup is difficult if not impossible. I completely failed in my attempt, and if anyone can give me a clue as to how to execute Axial without the reflection from the plastic blowing a hole in it, if would be much appreciated. Axial does intrigue me.


I've had problems with this, too. A partial solution (only for very shiny proofs, etc.) is to have the axial light source be very uniform across the whole coin in the slab.
I use a floodlight shining on a piece of Edmunds Optics "opal glass" for the uniform light source. I use the usual 50% transmission beamspiltter, also from Edmunds.

Then, you can subtract out the uniform glare off the slab using the Photoshop levels tool, revealing the coin details. Of course some/much contrast can be lost when you do this. Sometimes sharpness is poor using axial, too, for some reason.

Also, it might be better to have two Jansjo lights with the same color (i.e. buy another and hope it matches one you have).
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 Posted 02/27/2020  8:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pepactonius

I was terribly disappointed when I turned my shiny new Jansjos on and they emitted this sickly yellow light!

That light made the silver look incredibly bad. I could not (or did not know how to) get it back with my white balance, and when I attempted to pull the yellow out in post editing, I pulled all the "life" out of the coin.

I am certain that someone with proper Photoshop skills could buff it right up, but I am far from that person.

I had one of the old Jansjos that still worked, so pulled one of the new lights out and used my old one in its place.

I agree that it would be to my advantage to have another white Jansjo . . . . spending (more) money of a light that may or (most likely) be no better than what I have now is not particularly appealing.

But I will do it if I have some idea that it is an old model light. I have some desk lights (biguns) but couldn't get them in the positions that I can get the Jansjos.

I will keep you apprised.
Edited by Jon K
02/27/2020 9:20 pm
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 02/27/2020  11:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's easy to white balance across a wide range of color temps, from very warm to very cool. Most important is to make sure all lights used are the same so that you have a consistent lighting color. Mixing colors makes it impossible to do a proper white balance.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Pillar of the Community
United States
699 Posts
 Posted 03/03/2020  01:11 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As you can see, I walked away from it for a week. I was so frustrated and disappointed (in myself) that I needed a break.
I came back to it tonight, after studying up on the white balance and seeing what I was doing wrong. Yup, it was stupid. But now I have the white balance like I want it.

I also swapped out so that I have two matching Janjos. Both yellow, but as above, the white balance is right now.

Still far from happy.

Also see below, my setup now. Using the Opalux cone.

As you see below, the diffuser photo lost all of its luster. That is the cone of Opalux that seemed such a good idea. F-8 straight out of the camera. Cropped only. ISO 100. Shutter was maybe 80. I can find no redeeming qualities.

Edit- Both shots the exposure compensation was set at 0.

Also below, the same shot with no diffusion. Harsh. Stark. But by golly the luster is evident!

So I am lost. I will probably pull out the ping pong balls next . . . .

But if anyone can point me in (even vaguely) the right direction, I would be most appreciative.








Edited by Jon K
03/03/2020 01:39 am
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 03/03/2020  07:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Try moving the jansjo lights closer to the conical diffuser, so that there are twa small spots of light visible on the cone.
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699 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2020  01:16 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I got another five or six hours into it and finally gave up on the Opalux (two cones and a lens mount) completely. I positioned those Jansjos in every conceivable configuration.
Nope, everything was dulled, and no luster.
So I am back to ping pong balls. And now that I have my white balance figured out, it looks better. Not great, but better.
Lights at approx 10 and 2. ISO100. F-8. Zero exposure compensation.
Very little post processing, cropped and I increased contrast by whatever "10" is.
Critique?
Oh, and is there a "breastfeathers" button in Photoshop?


Edited by Jon K
03/07/2020 01:18 am
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 03/07/2020  7:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How are you doing white balancing, because the image still looks very magenta-tinted to me. What is your process for setting and verifying the white balance?

If you're looking to enhance surface detail, bring your lights to a lower angle to horizontal. I can see the light reflections off the slab surface at 10 and 2, at a fairly high angle. Try moving them slightly farther from the lens such that they don't show any reflection and see if that helps with the surface details. The two reflections also show that you're putting both lights at about the same distance from the coin, but that can also be varied. I like to think of coin features as actual natural subjects, and light them as if they were. In this case the Eagle is facing left, so I'd put the left light closer to the coin, and right light farther, maybe much farther. This is more than an aesthetic thing, since single lights (or dual lights with one dominant) will show surface details and luster presentation better than equal dual lights. Try moving the lights around a little at a time, snapping a shot at each location while noting what you did, and you will hopefully find a combination that gives you what you're looking for.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Pillar of the Community
United States
699 Posts
 Posted 03/07/2020  10:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Mr. Ray,
The Olympus has a "one touch" white balance. I get my lights positioned close to where I want them, then lay in a white piece of paper, make sure the aperture is what I am going to lose and push the fn button the screen comes up that asks you to push the shutter. Boom. It gives you a look at what it shot, if you like it, push the OK button. The image that it shows is dark, but looks pretty white to me.
I also have a "grey card" that I have trouble getting enough light on for the one-touch to work.
I am certain there is nuance to setting white balance that I don't have any concept of.
I really appreciate your suggestions on the positioning of the lights. I have seen "as high and as vertical as you can get them" so often, that I tend to stay in that direction. I was mostly interested in getting the cartwheel (probably the wrong term) looking right.
And absolutely tried to keep them symmetrical.
I will shoot a few more with the suggestions in mind and post them up.
And if you have any tips on white balance I am wide open to suggestions.
Edited by Jon K
03/07/2020 10:35 pm
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 03/10/2020  12:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jon K to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Okie Doke

I reset the white balance with a grey card rather than a white sheet of paper (sorcery!!) and the difference is profound.

Also moved the lights to about a 45, backed them up a bit, the right light more so than the left.

Yeah . . . . those sort of suggestions.

Edit: Left image received nothing but a small crop in post editing.

Still F-8.

Manual Focus with a legacy Macro Lens





Edited by Jon K
03/10/2020 01:01 am
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