- DVCollectorModeratorJanuary 26, 2015 at 11:06 pmPost count: 103
Here’s a variety I picked up the other day on eBay. The photos weren’t very good, so it got overlooked–but I caught it. 😀
I shot two this coin with two different lighting techniques. First, shot with directional light.
This method shows the details as they appear in hand, but it tends to exaggerate color variations.
The second shot is using an angled coin, focus-stacking, and my lighting technique to bring out details:
This method works best with coins that have mint luster and few hits. In this case, the technique picks details like LIBERTY, but also a lot of damage to the coin, including a hit that crosses the die gouge. The tonal range and color is better under control.
A 100% detail of the eye area. For a mid-grade coin such as this, this technique doesn’t really capture much more detail. This technique works best for higher-grade coins that have similar reflectance (luster) overall and details preserved on the highpoints, which are gone on lower grades.
DVCollectorModeratorJanuary 27, 2015 at 12:56 amPost count: 103
- This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by DVCollector.
I’m always experimenting…I took one more photo of this coin.
This was also stacked, but shot with my 105, magnification is 1:1.2–slightly under max resolution.
Because the lens is further from the coin, it allowed the lighting to be further too.
This resulted in better lighting on Liberty and the most accurate color of the 3, (using a better white balance setting)
RussKeymasterJanuary 28, 2015 at 5:49 pmPost count: 117
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by DVCollector.
Wow, those are some great photos! The first one is no good, but I’m glad to know how your lighting technique brought that out. The second image looks the most natural to my eye as far as tone – the third almost looks cleaned. Very interesting to see how the different techniques bring out different tones.
What are you using for a light source?
Collecting Flying Eagle and Indian Head pennies never made more cents!DVCollectorModeratorJanuary 28, 2015 at 9:48 pmPost count: 103
Yeah–the second one looks more “natural”, but more of a color I expect for an earlier date?
It seems to me there might have been different alloy mixes over the years. I think it’s safe to say this coin has gotten some degree of cleaning–but the color is better than the 3rd pic too. I can’t complain for $7 🙂
For lighting, I’m using an IKEA Jansjo LED light with some diffusion. I’d like to point out–it’s much easier to light an area like the date to bring out maximum detail, than to get the same effect on a whole coin.
RussKeymasterJanuary 29, 2015 at 5:03 pmPost count: 117
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by DVCollector.
Ah, okay cool. Yeah, nice pickup at that price. I noticed that when shooting my coins under a microscope, a bulb provides the most natural lighting. One of my scopes has LED lighting, which I had to add three layers of diffusing material – the light was just overwhelming and flushing everything out. Then, I had to play with the settings to get the most natural color. However, the old school bulb provides a softer, more even and natural tone. I didn’t have to add a diffuser or alter it – just point and shoot.
Only the most highend LED lights put out the wavelengths that mimic natural sunlight. I believe these are called full spectrum LED bulbs. Typical white LED lights put out only like 2 or 3 frequency ranges, where as the higher end ones put out more like 7-8 color frequencies. It seems possible that objects shot with LED lighting wont reflect their true colors because they are not being illuminated by a full spectrum. I’d be interested in what you know, because I really am kind of shooting in the wind here.
Another thing to consider is that LED emits light in a single direction from a very tiny single point. Omni-directional LED bulbs exist for reading lamps, etc. The old-school bulb in my microscope on the other hand illuminates along the filament, kind of providing a blanket of light even though it is from a single light source. For these two reasons, I haven’t found a decent way to use LED lighting when shooting coins.
Collecting Flying Eagle and Indian Head pennies never made more cents!DVCollectorModeratorJanuary 30, 2015 at 10:43 pmPost count: 103
I agree, there’s a high level of acutance from LED lights, especially on highly reflective surfaces like metal. That’s why I usually have considerable diffusion between the source and the subject. That said, I’m hardly sold on LEDs. These IKEA Jansjo lights very convenient due to their flexible goose-neck, but single point light is less than optimal. I’m going to experiment with other sources.
Color can be an intricate thing to control. Our eyes are sensitive to a different spectrum than a camera’s collector. For example, our eyes see blues to greens far more intensely. Minerals, which includes metal patinas, can look completely different to our eyes, in different light sources, or to the camera. Emeralds, for instance, always look washed-out blue to a camera. Metals are usually on the monochromatic end, but copper/bronze is a tricky one to capture because of its distinct color, how our eyes perceive it, and how the patina responds to different light sources. “Red” copper coins are easiest to capture for their color, but the color w/ high reflectivity makes controlling the tonal range a challenge.
The first wave of coin shoots will involve a lot of experimentation, with the hope I can devise a “formula” for shooting bronze coins with accurate color. I have tonal range solved, especially when I use my lighting technique. Next, will be color.RussKeymasterJanuary 31, 2015 at 10:53 amPost count: 117
Cool stuff, I didn’t know that about cameras and capturing colors. I know that each of my eyes capture color differently, or my brain is processing the images differently depending on which eye I’m using. When I look through my left eye, the colors are slightly different than when I only look through my right. And when I look with both my eyes, it blends both pallets together into a third, ‘richer’ color. I discovered this only about a year ago looking at coins under a microscope.
Collecting Flying Eagle and Indian Head pennies never made more cents!DVCollectorModeratorFebruary 1, 2015 at 11:41 pmPost count: 103
Yeah–I noticed the same from using a scope–one eye sees everything in warmer colors, the other cooler.
I’ve made good progress on solving the bronze color conundrum, in terms of photographing coins. I’ll post a thread in the next day or two.
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