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Coinhunter27's Phone Photography Setup: What Equipment Do I Use?

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 8 / Views: 546Next Topic  
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 Posted 07/03/2022  5:20 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CoinHunter27 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've been asked fairly frequently about my photography setup when I post. I decided to make this post to explain in detail how I take my pictures and what equipment I'm using! I hope this is helpful to some.

I use an IPhone 11 to photograph my coins using the base camera.

The most crucial part of my photography is the clip-on macro lens I use with my phone. It's Apexel brand and has been serving me for years:




The lens kit comes with multiple lenses of different varieties including this 12x macro that I pictured above. It comes with a second 12x lens that screws onto the first, creating a 24x lens for extreme close up images. I NEVER combine the two into the 24x. I find that the base 12x alone is perfect for my photography needs. In the image pictured below, you can see my primary 12x lens that is already screwed onto the clip and the second 12x lens that I never use on the left:



Once again, I only use the one base 12x lens. 24x is too close so I highly recommend removing the second 12x from the other and using just one. Close up images can be achieved easily with the lens just by zooming in on your phone camera. They come out like this:



Here is the Amazon link to the closest example I can find to the one I bought years ago:

https://www.amazon.com/APEXEL-Attac...2C146&sr=8-4

Second most important is my ottlite. This is the only light source I use for my photography. It has 3 different levels of light, and I use the first and second levels most frequently to prevent glare off of shiny coins and provide accurate color:




I angle the light above the coin but do not put it directly over the coin, more of a diagonal bend. If you try to photograph coins with this setup and put the light directly over the coin, all you will see is dark shadows. The light should hit about 3 inches directly above the coin you're trying to photograph and this will help avoid the shadow casted by your phone:





For my background I just use a standard cardboard 2x2 "Mylar". I find that the dull background is able to bring out very accurate color in photos and oddly enough it's the best background I have found thus far:



The 12x macro lens will be able to fully capture whole coin images for cents, dimes, and anything smaller than or equal to the size of a nickel. Quarters, halves, dollars, etc are all too large for the macro to capture in full size. Do not zoom in with your phone's camera when photographing full coin images with the macro lens, only zoom in with the lens for close ups.

Raw coin images come out like this (once cropped to enlarge the coin):




You could stop here, but I also take it a step further and use a circle crop app to fit the coins perfectly and size them all equally to each other. It eliminates the ugly background and barely affects image quality. I use an app called 'Round Photo' to fit my coin images into a black circle to provide a clean background. After fitting the raw images within the provided circle (and downsizing the image size with pixlr photo optimizer provided by CoinCommunity), they look like this:




Here is a link to the app:

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/round...id1403764917

https://www.round-photo.com/

So that's it folks. My entire setup and process for photographing and cropping coin images. I hope this is clear and helpful to you all and if you have any questions about it, drop them below! I've been experimenting with different equipment and setups for a few years and I am content with this current setup. I'll do my best to check in on this post and respond where I can. Thank you for taking a look and for reading through what is undoubtedly my longest post.

-CH27
Collector of U.S. Coins, Varieties, and Colonial Coinage
Edited by CoinHunter27
07/03/2022 5:27 pm
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 Posted 07/03/2022  7:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good post. I just checked the bay and there are a bunch a little cheaper.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
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 Posted 07/03/2022  8:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinHunter27 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks John! I didn't even think of that. Good point, eBay is another good place to look for lenses like this.

-CH27
Collector of U.S. Coins, Varieties, and Colonial Coinage
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 Posted 07/04/2022  11:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your results are good, but you may do even better by rotating your light 90-degrees, to spread the light out more across the coin. Then to reduce the amount of light hitting at 12:00, try covering the center of the light with dark tape to essentially create two light sources when the light is rotated 90-deg.

And don't be afraid of post-processing. A little bit of levels adjustment can go a long way to improve the look of the image and make it look more like the coin.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 07/05/2022  04:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
essentially create two light sources

I think it was coop that says one light source works best and I find that to be true. But I am not very good at taking coin photos.When I use a scope, I block off all but one LED and put a filter over it.When I use a point-n-shoot camera I put the coin on a windowsill and use natural light no flash.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
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United States
3444 Posts
 Posted 07/05/2022  11:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know anyone else who believes one light source is best for full-coin photos. It is true that for variety photos, one light source creates the best shadow and highlite contrast so that the variety is most visible, but one light does not illuminate the coin effectively.

Perhaps you're thinking of "axial" light, which is essentially one light coming from straight above?

Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 07/05/2022  12:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add datadragon to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the information. Yes, these are on ebay for only around $12 'APEXEL 12/24x Macro Phone Camera Lens Kit Clip On for iPhone Android Smartphone' so worth trying if you are having trouble with coin photos as one option. Certainly cheap enough to recommend to newer posters to help put up better photos, and perhaps for those who are selling also. I bought one from ebay seller "apexel" which shipped same day to see shortly how it compares to the methods I have been using along with comparing software options others may have to what I've been doing (for circle cropping, adding pointers such as for errors, and image enhancement).
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 Posted 07/07/2022  1:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinHunter27 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everyone! rmpsrpms, I have tried two light sources before and I have also tried diffusers. With this setup, the lowest light setting is perfect and does not need to be diffused IMO. I find that especially for varieties and errors you might need magnification for, one light source is best.

-CH27
Collector of U.S. Coins, Varieties, and Colonial Coinage
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