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Archive 2012 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?
  
 
aero_ub
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p.1 #1 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Aside from photography, one of my hobbies is collecting coins and bank notes from Vietnam (along with Laos, Cambodia & French Indochina). I would like to start meshing these two hobbies! I would like to get a setup and procedure for getting good high quality photos for cataloging my collection.

For a few reasons, many will be getting slabbed and I would like to get the pictures before they are forever encased in a plastic holder, to help assist me in estimating coin grades of raw coins after seeing what they graded as (many of the older coins are very crudely/primitively struck and can grade higher than what people would expect who are used to US coinage for ex.), and to possibly use for a future website focused on Vietnam coinage information, varieties and high quality photos.

All photos below are shot in the same manor with the same setup. A 5DII with a 150mm f/2.8 Sigma Macro, (2) diffused 430 EXII flashes from the top and with a 4 sided white poster board box around the coin that is sitting on a matt black plastic background.

I think this works for some and not for others. The biggest problem coins will be the many newer proof coins that I have in my collection, coins with mirror like fields. This method just turns the backgrounds black and Im thinking that these coins might need to be shot on angles and/or with the lighting at an angle?

After using the flashing, Im thinking that maybe a source of continuous lighting will be better? Perhaps there are some table top setups that would work better for this kind of photography?

Im wondering what you think of the quick pictures that I did take already and ideas on what I could/should do? I would like to also come up with a setup and method that is easy to repeat and keep consistent, which I dont think I really have right now. Of course I will have to practice and play around some, this was just a quick first try. Im now out of town working for several weeks so Im going over the pictures and thinking about it.

Each coin was photographed twice, front & back, then combined in photoshop.

Setup:






Setup with (2) OCF's, 5DII, Sigma 150mm Macro, Tubes






(3) Vietnam 1946 5 hao KM2.2 Coins - (6) Shots Combined






1943 5 Cent French Indochina Rotated Die






Vietnam 1946 1 Dong Aluminum




Sep 17, 2012 at 02:50 AM
aero_ub
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p.1 #2 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


5-8




Vietnam 1953 10 Su






Vietnam 1988 Silver 100 Dong Dragon Ship






Vietnam 1986 Silver 100 Dong Soccer






Vietnam 1989 Silver 20 Dong PROOF mirror finish fields




Sep 17, 2012 at 02:54 AM
LordV
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p.1 #3 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Can't help with the setup but suspect there are a few guides on the net.
Can only say the shots look very good to me but perhaps with too many highlights though. Guessing lower flash angles would help with that.
Brian v.



Sep 17, 2012 at 06:45 AM
SteveF
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p.1 #4 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


These look good.

I agree that softer light with less highlights might help.



Sep 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM
plsand
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p.1 #5 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Hi -
I tried a new penny - No luck - Seemed to have bad refledtions - Changed both camera and light locations - Didn't help - I think that you are doing very well -
Paul



Sep 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM
aero_ub
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p.1 #6 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Just a thought and maybe someone will have input on it. Do you think it's possible that a polarizing filter could be of any benefit in reducing highlights and glare from coins? Of course I have polarizing filters but for my Canon L's, not that would fit the Sigma 150mm Macro...


Sep 21, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Sharks123
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p.1 #7 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Maybe it is useful;

http://www.naturescapes.net/042004/wh0404.htm



Sep 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM
gregfountain
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p.1 #8 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


LordV wrote:
Can't help with the setup but suspect there are a few guides on the net.
Can only say the shots look very good to me but perhaps with too many highlights though. Guessing lower flash angles would help with that.
Brian v.


Have you tried cutting holes in the sides of the box to allow the flash to bounce from a lower angle? That said, I think these look pretty darn good, but I think Brian's point about lower angles is pretty a pretty good one. One the tricks in shooting paintings is to fire the flashes from the sides to allow the texture in the paint to create natural shows, which in turn, crates depth. Just a thought....

As far the coins go, what a marvelous collection!

Greg



Sep 21, 2012 at 03:54 PM
 

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Bernie
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p.1 #9 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Not a coin collecter, but I shot a collection before selling it for a family member. I used a copy stand that had lights on either side that allowed a lower angle (45 degrees or closer to the table top). As Greg said, lower the angle of your light source. You shouldn't have to use a polarizer, but you always could if necessary.

I also took a large translucent Glad food container and cut a hole in the bottom of it and shot through it. The container acted as a diffuser, along with some white sheets of paper. I also used a gray cardboard to place the coin and slide it under the setup. The cardboard also was used for WB.








Edited on Sep 24, 2012 at 09:19 PM · View previous versions



Sep 21, 2012 at 04:11 PM
aero_ub
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p.1 #10 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Sharks: Thank you! Even though I'm not shooting "Moist, soft bodied creatures", I think it may very well apply lol...and I'm going to read it now.

Greg: I agree, Brian's comments are useful and certainly something I will give a try. I'm also going to try continuous lighting, I have a feeling it may work out well and a setup that is more easily repeatable and constant. Part of my goal is to have a setup that is more consistent that what I used on this 'test' shoot. In the end, I want to be able to take pictures of new additions to my collection in a year from now that look like they were taken at the same exact time with the same equipment, not have it look like a mix and match of random shots.

As far as the collection, thanks! These are just the tip of the iceberg though! I'm amassing quite the collection. compared to any US coins (that are obviously much more popular) these tend to be much more rare with mint runs as low as 110 and 500 but many many with only 1k-10k. As a comparison, the very famous 1909 S VBD Cent, that can be worth thousands, had nearly 500k minted! It's a hobby that I enjoy as much as photography and it's time to mix them! I just want to do it as best as possible, I've got the equipment, now I just need the knowledge and experience to go along with it. I'm planning to put together a website strictly related to the coinage (and notes/bills as I have several hundred of them also) of Vietnam mainly but also including Cambodia and Laos. Kind of a reference on these obscure and relatively rare coins with data and high quality photos.

Bernie, thanks for the input. I will certainly be testing out different ways to angle and diffuse the light. After the thought of using a polarizer popped into my head, I think I'm going to HAVE to play around with it even if not needed, I'm just too curious now lol.

Ken



Sep 21, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Nancy Asquith
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p.1 #11 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


What you want is a light box or light tent kit. Although very much an amateur, I happen to have gotten one at a garage sale two days ago for $15. You can get something of the sort on Amazon for $37 [look up CowboyStudio Table Top Photo Studio Light Tent Kit in a Box - 1 Tent, 2 Light Set, 1 Stand, 1 Case by CowboyStudio]. Also check B&H and Adorama for options.
If you don't want to spend the $ just google using a lightbox and copy the setup.

Nancy



Sep 24, 2012 at 07:49 PM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #12 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Wondering if cutting holes in the side of the box shooting the flashes through there and covering the top with a white piece of cardboard with a hole for the lens would work. Nice coins!




Sep 25, 2012 at 11:08 PM
aero_ub
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p.1 #13 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Thanks to the last two for the input. Ambient, that is definitely something going to give a shot, to get the flash angle lower. I'm also going to play around with continuous lighting to see if it's a setup that I can make more consistent and controllable.

Nancy, I have been looking into setup like that also. My one issue with most of these set ups is, I want a solid black background which makes it a little more difficult with those. It's easiest to shoot straight down with a black background but that is not something that would be easy to do with most table top setups that I have seen...though I plan to research them some more.



Sep 26, 2012 at 01:48 AM
ambrola
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p.1 #14 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


Heres one I took that just sold on ebay. Nothing special, just my 105 Macro lens.
http://i458.photobucket.com/albums/qq305/ambrola/DSC_00055.jpg



Sep 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
aero_ub
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p.1 #15 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


ambrola wrote:
Heres one I took that just sold on ebay. Nothing special, just my 105 Macro lens.
http://i458.photobucket.com/albums/qq305/ambrola/DSC_00055.jpg


Whoa, you're just showing off now lol. I'm more impressed with the coin than the picture though! The pictures not bad, certainly shows great detail but I'm looking for a little more of an artistic element to the pictures, if that makes sense. I think a big part of that is the lighting and boarders, I need more even lighting I think.

The coin is awesome though, the famous 1955 DDO. Is that a PCGS holder? and what did it grade, 63? That should be good for $3k all day long.



Sep 29, 2012 at 01:35 PM
aero_ub
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p.1 #16 · Coin Photography C&C, setup, options, ideas?


I had a thought of trying to make a background that will make my pictures standout a little more and be recognizable. I thought about trying to make them appear a little more 3 dimensional and as if the coin is floating in the air even thought they are photographed laying down flat. I am by no means a Photoshop expert or artist and felt like I was fumbling around a bit to make these but would like to know what you think about these?

I realize that this is not a Photoshop forum and you are most likely not graphic artists lol but I'm not sure where to even get input on this aspect of it? Perhaps I should join a Photoshop forum and get suggestions? Anyway, what do you think about these and do you have any input/suggestions? I think I like the red better and it would probably go better with 'Vietnam' since that is basically 'their' color...




1953 Vietnam 10 Su






1988 Vietnam 100 Dong Dragon Ship




Sep 30, 2012 at 01:21 AM





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