dslreports logo
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
1090
share rss forum feed

Speedy Petey

join:2008-01-19

Photographing coins

Can anyone help me with lighting coins?
I can't seem to get it right.

I'd like to do it on a small scale, but if I have to use two hot softboxes I will. Should I invest in a tabletop light box?

I keep getting nasty glare and not as sharp as I'd like. I don't want close up macro shots, I just want display shots showing high detail.

Most likely I'll be using a 100m/2.8L macro lens, but the 24-70/2.8 might work as well.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
When I used to photograph oil paintings I used two photo-floods with polarizing gel in front of each, oriented the same way. Then you use a polarizing filter on the lens. This resulted in amazingly rich detail with zero glare. I don't see any reason why you couldn't use a strobe head(s) as long as you had modeling lights to adjust the camera filter with. »www.adorama.com/LTP8.html Rosco sells raw gel too in larger sheets, but it isn't mounted. I've never photographed coins, but this might work well for you.


JTM1051
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-08
Moorpark, CA
kudos:1
reply to Speedy Petey
said by Speedy Petey:

Can anyone help me with lighting coins? I can't seem to get it right. ...

Just do a Google search, there are a lot of inexpensive light boxes you can do yourself:
»www.wrotniak.net/photo/tips/tabl ··· top.html


stev32k
Premium
join:2000-04-27
Mobile, AL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Mediacom

2 recommendations

reply to Speedy Petey
Photographing coins can be very challenging. Some are like trying to photograph a mirror, others have an extreme dynamic range, and it takes a lot of practice to learn to "read" a coin and know what parameters to start with.

If you are serious you need a copy stand preferably with built in lights something like this:

NIKON D70
26mm 1/125th +0.6ev F5.6



The globe is a frosted light fixture from Lowes and is very useful for some coins like this:
The black fields are really mirror like and using diffuser like the light fixture or a white lamp shade makes them look black.


NIKON D70
60mm 1/250th F16



NIKON D70
60mm 1/250th F16



Copper coins require a different setup:





You will definitely need the macro lens and the 100mm, f2.8 would be ideal. You also need a remote shutter release and if you can tether your camera to a PC it will save a lot of unnecessary work.

You will be focusing very close and any camera movement at all will result in blurred details. That's the reason for the copy stand and remote shutter. You could use a timer, but that gets tiresome after a few hundred shots.

One of the most challenging coins to photograph is a very bright & shiny coin that is toned. The image must pick up the brightness, colors, and detail. On top of that the coin will most likely be encased in a plastic holder that is also reflective. Again the copy stand is your friend.

NIKON D70
60mm 1/250th F11



stev32k
Premium
join:2000-04-27
Mobile, AL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Mediacom

1 recommendation

reply to Speedy Petey
I'm not sure what camera you have, but if it has a mirror lockup function that will help a lot. The mirror slap can cause blurred details that are important.

Another item that will be needed from time to time is a black box. This is simply a box with four sides and a bottom made from wood or cardboard and painted flat black. The top is open for the lens and light. Its function is to eliminate stray reflections from the surroundings. A variation of this is a black box with a black top with only a cut out for the lens. Then cut out square holes on each side, cover them with white cloth, and direct the lighting at the cloth.

This technique is especially useful for modern proof gold. Those are particularly hard to photograph accurately because of the finish. Any stray reflections can alter look of the coin significantly.


NIKON D200
105mm 1/100th F16 ISO100



NIKON D200
105mm 1/100th F16 ISO100





Sweet Witch
Be the flame, not the moth.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-07-15
Gallifrey

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to Speedy Petey
said by Speedy Petey:
Should I invest in a tabletop light box?
I actually just built two About a yard of Rip-Stop Nylon fabric and some 3/4" pvc pipe and eight three-way corners and eight adapters (since the corner pieces were 2x 3/4" and 1x 1/2" screw I had to get a 1/2" to 3/4" adapter and take two inches out of the vertical measurement). I attached the fabric with bits of sticky velcro.

Oh, point the lettering on the pipe outwards. You can use CLEAR, not purple, pvc primer to get rid of most of it but the purple primer will stain the pipe a lovely shade of purple. Just keeping the lettering outwards is much easier.
--
"While you can teach an old dog new tricks, you simply can't teach him to be a cat."

"Are you my Mummy?"