Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

General discussions about conservation and classification.
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dans40
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Joined: Sun May 30, 2021 5:52 pm

Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by dans40 » Mon Dec 26, 2022 10:09 pm

I want to start photographing all my coins (I have about 1,000+) to put them all on my online catalogue. I've done this already but I'm not happy with the way I'm doing it and I am not getting the quality that I want. I have a PVC tube with a small selfie light on the top which has a clip on it so I can clip in my cell phone, which is horizontal and points downward to take a picture of the coin from the top. This has worked OK but it is not ideal and am looking for ways to improve how I photograph my coins. (Yes, it's an iPhone 4 and works well for quality, but if my coin is already in a holder I get some occasional glare from the cellophane which is not good).
20221226_185039.jpg
20221226_185039.jpg (827.81 KiB) Viewed 48387 times
I've been looking on Amazon for horizontal tripod mounts and coin microscopes and I just cannot decide on what I want or how to approach this. I'd like to get one that allows proper lighting such as this one but I don't need to zoom that far in on the coin, I want to take a picture of the whole coin, both the obverse and reverse. I don't know if these types of microscopes will allow one to take a photograph of the entire coin.
Screenshot 2022-12-26 185519.png
Screenshot 2022-12-26 185519.png (45.31 KiB) Viewed 48387 times
How are you doing it? How would you suggest I do it? If I can keep the price below $150 I'd like to know how to improve the way I photograph my coins. Any suggestions would be wonderful!

Thanks,
Dan

dans40
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun May 30, 2021 5:52 pm

Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by dans40 » Mon Dec 26, 2022 10:56 pm

I just bought this, I hope it'll do what I want, the description says you can take photos of the whole coin and not just zoomed in parts of it.

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08913 ... _qh_dp_hza

I'm very concerned about the length of the metal tube and especially the diameter of it, so I can go out and get another tube if needed from Home Depot, and be able to zoom way out and get a picture of the entire coin. The 1965 Churchill British Crown is a huge coin, I wonder if it will fit in the viewing area!!!

It'll be delivered by Jan 5, so I will report back here and let you know how it works.

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CanuckCoinGirl
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Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by CanuckCoinGirl » Sun Jan 08, 2023 11:05 pm

I am curious to see how you find that. It looks like it could be a bit unstable, but it would depend on what the mount is made of and how heavy that part is.
Good luck.

dans40
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Joined: Sun May 30, 2021 5:52 pm

Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by dans40 » Sun Jan 15, 2023 2:44 am

Ok, here to post an update. I can't express it enough, I LOVE this camera! Though it suits me, it may not suit everyone who is trying to achieve high quality images of their coins. BUT, I'm attaching a few samples of what it does. I would appreciate any feedback.

Part of the biggest problem is that because it's an open-air camera, meaning, it's not enclosed in any case of any sort, it will snap a picture and include surrounding lighting. I have the camera sitting on my dining room table under a three-bulb light fixture with Wi-Fi LED bulbs that I can control with my Alexa. I have found the "soft white" mode to be among the light settings that make my coins look good (to me). There are LED lights inside the camera that can help with lighting but if you have any coins already encased in coin holders, you have to tilt the holder slightly to avoid getting too much glare in the photo. I can't turn these LEDs off. It's just something I'll have to get used to. There are also two external LED flexi-lights attached to the base of the camera that I don't use because they cause too much glare, but it is a nice feature to have if you need it for looking at something other than coins. Getting the focus just right is a bit of a challenge, but you do not have to touch the camera to take a photo, there is a remote control that will allow you to take the photo without touching the camera, avoiding any shaking and blurriness.

Overall, I'm happy with my purchase, but that means now I have to re-photograph all my thousand or so coins. Ugh. Comments welcome and appreciated.
1989 Canada 1 Cent (1 of 2) - o.png
1989 Canada 1 Cent (1 of 2) - o.png (864.66 KiB) Viewed 48287 times
1989 Canada 1 Cent (1 of 2) - r.png
1989 Canada 1 Cent (1 of 2) - r.png (840.95 KiB) Viewed 48287 times
1997 Canada 25 Cents (Specimen) - o-test1.png
1997 Canada 25 Cents (Specimen) - o-test1.png (608.85 KiB) Viewed 48287 times
1997 Canada 25 Cents (Specimen) - o-test2.png
1997 Canada 25 Cents (Specimen) - o-test2.png (620.73 KiB) Viewed 48287 times
Attachments
2022 Canada 2 Dollars (1 of 2) - o2.png
2022 Canada 2 Dollars (1 of 2) - o2.png (1.01 MiB) Viewed 48287 times
Last edited by dans40 on Sun Jan 15, 2023 3:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

dans40
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Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by dans40 » Sun Jan 15, 2023 2:49 am

Sorry, I'm limited to 5 attachments. Here's the other side of the 2022 toonie.
2022 Canada 2 Dollars (2 of 2) - r.png
2022 Canada 2 Dollars (2 of 2) - r.png (1.81 MiB) Viewed 48282 times

dans40
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Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by dans40 » Sun Jan 15, 2023 2:52 am

Another interesting thing is that photographing coins this way brings out all the spots and scratches and shadows on raised elements. The 2022 toony is an AU (About Uncirculated) coin pulled out of the wild as soon as it came out... but I see that it still has several flaws. Maybe this will help me determine what the true grade is of any other coins I photograph.

Earlier, I photographed this coin... so much better than my original scan using the plastic tube method. It also allows me to see the finer details such as date, and variations on a coin such as Holly Leaves, beads, denticles, etc., with greater detail.
1913 Canada 5 Cents - o.png
1913 Canada 5 Cents - o.png (670.03 KiB) Viewed 48281 times
1913 Canada 5 Cents - r.png
1913 Canada 5 Cents - r.png (616.44 KiB) Viewed 48281 times
No more squinting though a jeweller's monocle!!!

q60driver
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri May 12, 2023 10:39 am

Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by q60driver » Sun May 21, 2023 4:21 pm

That's awesome!

Have you tried doing graded coins through thick plastic (ICCS, PCGS, etc)? If so, How did they turn out?

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castor
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:44 am
Location: Chicoutimi

Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by castor » Sun May 21, 2023 9:31 pm

Hi

Here are links that talk about photographing coins.

It's in French but easy to read with Google translat

https://www.numicanada.com/forum/viewto ... c+tablette

https://www.numicanada.com/forum/viewto ... la+monnaie

https://www.numicanada.com/forum/viewto ... otographie
BYE. Image

q60driver
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri May 12, 2023 10:39 am

Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by q60driver » Wed May 24, 2023 1:21 am

castor wrote:
Sun May 21, 2023 9:31 pm
Hi

Here are links that talk about photographing coins.

It's in French but easy to read with Google translat

https://www.numicanada.com/forum/viewto ... c+tablette

https://www.numicanada.com/forum/viewto ... la+monnaie

https://www.numicanada.com/forum/viewto ... otographie
Thanks for the links!

SP67
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:01 am

Re: Coin photography - Conflicted on how to do it properly

Post by SP67 » Sat May 27, 2023 3:30 pm

There's no single way for coin photography. Many tricks are required depending of your coins and what you want to show.

I don't like USB microscope to grab the full coin espacially on MS grade. Internal LEDs create hot spots. But you can improve the rendering by adding a paper diffuser on the tip of your microscope. See some examples here (in french):

https://numicanada.com/forum/viewtopic. ... ur#p234075

I can help you to get the best shape for the conic diffuser for your microscope if you need.

For the full coin photography of MS coin, I prefer the "axial lighting" configuration. See this link for an axample:

https://numicanada.com/forum/viewtopic. ... ur#p234075

If you google "coin photography axial lighting" you will find the typical configuration.

But USB microscope is perfect for close up views. If you want to take pictures of faint error such as Die Clash you can use this setup to maximise the rendering.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8271

I have some sets in stock but the price is now 23$.

I hope these informations help.
There no secret. You need to experiment a lot. With time you will find some good configurations for your needs.

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