Numismatic and History Discussions > Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage

Looking for Opinions on Photo Tests

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Virgil H:
Looks like my camera is a generation too old (2005) to have this option. A couple years later, Canon started provided this "Live View" option.

Also, to Jay, I forgot to ask, when you say I could get better pictures, I just assumed you were talking about focus, but did you mean something else, such as lighting? I should have asked before, but just thought of it. The raw images all needed more post processing than I expected, they were a bit dark even with the bright lights on them.

Thanks both of you for the feedback.


Ron C2:
B looks best but is not sharp enough an image for my taste. 

 I know you feel you can't afford a macro lens, but consider reading up on reversing manual lenses for macro shots and see if your camera can do that with a cheap adaptor.  Might be a reasonable budget fix.

Virgil H:
I am going to update this in case anyone has more suggestions or maybe is going through similar travails. It really is frustrating trying to get decent coin photos when 1) I am a photographer and have prided myself as such for decades (obviously not a macro photographer) and 2) When I see so many others who are creating great coin photos, not just dealers and pros in the business. Why can't I do it? So some additional thoughts.

As noted above, my old camera does not have a computer connection capability. I think this would be a super nice feature.

I ordered a cheap set of extension tubes, which I believe is what Ron was suggesting or something similar. My biggest worry with what I got is I will easily break them. Their manufacture quality reflects their price. Otherwise, they do what they are supposed to do, allow me to focus closer than the lens by itself will allow. And they were super cheap to the point of it not mattering a bit if they didn't work at all. Especially compared to a real macro lens for my camera (Canon mount).

My tests revealed I could get a photo as good or a bit better than what I posted in the OP. Still not good enough. The only advantage is I can fill the frame more. I am not going to post any of these here because I know they still aren't good enough.

I think I have figured out that my biggest problem is getting a crisp focus. It is a bit easier to get focus with the tubes because I can see more coin. The field of focus is, of course, super narrow. But, still not good enough. I think the biggest issue I really have is the camera's focus screen is just not good enough. The camera itself is a Canon, but a low end SLR. I think the focus has always been this hard and perhaps not even truly possible to get the detail I need for coins. It just never mattered before. My old film cameras, Nikon and Nikkormat, had split focus screens that are more precise.

So, even buying a true macro lens would probably not solve the problem. Part of it is the focus screen and part of it is my old eyes. I am very sensitive to lack of light and need a lot of it or I think it is way too dark (I have cataracts, but not at a level requiring surgery). What I think is normal lighting others think is floodlights. Plus, I can't see without glasses and this gets progressively worse over time. Here is where the computer hookup would really be helpful. In any case, at least all this testing and trying cheap remedies has saved me from dropping a few hundred on a macro lens when I am not sure that would solve my problems.

I am going to start looking at maybe a newer camera. Or something that isn't pure junk that will allow me to see my image on the computer. If you were going to buy something for coin photography and not totally break the bank, what would you recommend? I know some folks like smartphones, but I haven't really liked the digital artifacts I have seen introduced, especially with zooming, although at first I thought the smartphone had solved my issues. Plus, good smartphones aren't inexpensive. Is there a camera out there that "specializes" in macro, again, without being super expensive? This is one on those things I am starting to get obsessed with because I really want to solve my problems that have been existing with my attempts at photographing coins since I first tried to do it. But it has also never been high on my budget priority list because coin photos are used pretty much only for my gallery.

Thanks all,

Ron C2:
If you are going to start over and it's for coin photography, look at Olympus pen cameras in the micro 4/3 format paired with their 60mm macro lens. This would be a 120mm macro equivalent in full frame.

On a budget look at a used e-pl8, or if you have more to spend, a used e-pl10 or e-m1 series camera are better choices with more resolution.

Don't buy the cheaper 30mm macro lens for coins, it doesn't leave enough room between lens and coin for proper lighting. Get the 60mm.

Virgil H:
Thanks Ron, will look at all those options. Will do some more experiments with the tubes, as well, but focus is so critical and hard to get.



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