Numismatic and History Discussions > Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage

Asking for help on smoothing surfaces in photos

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Ken W2:

Hello all: I’m hoping to finally start a gallery here on FORVM but I’m having trouble getting good pics using my iPhone, or maybe more accurately  using the editing tools. Took pics of 24 RSCs, the two below are representative. While some of the coins have some porosity, the coins are much better in hand. Other than the graininess I’m ok with these pics. The editing tools on my iPad and iPhone don’t seem to have an adjustment which will smooth out or flatten the surfaces. Am I missing something on how to use them?  Anyone have a suggestion for an iOS app that will smooth the surfaces?  Other suggestions on how to improve welcome too. Thanks in advance.

Ron C2:
Almost certainly whatever app you are using to import the photos (or possibly a phone setting?) is using software interpolation to "enhance" the perception of sharpness.  In generaly photography, this can make your photos looks crisper and can make a craptacular cell phone tiny lens appear better than it really is.  In coin photography it's the kiss of death, because "sharpening" filters add noise and pixelation that makes the coin surfaces look frosted.

If you enjoy the hobby, I highly recommend a decent digital camera (not a phone) with a decent macro lens with some telphoto capability (i.e. 100mm to 120mm focal length with 1:1 macro in 35mm equivalent).

Ken W2:

Thanks Ron. That may be my next upgrade in the hobby, but was hoping get decent quality pics with the iPhone camera and editing apps. These were taken in medium sunlight per Ken P’s suggestion. I’ve also tried diffused daylight bulbs and get that same “frosted” look, as you say.

The photos are fairly good as far as iPhone photos go.
I'd try experimenting with varying the lighting a bit to see if that might improve the way the surfaces look.

Jay GT4:
I agree, pretty good for phone pics.  Like Callimachus said try different sources of light and direction of light.  The fun is in experimenting.  Each coin will require a different set up for best results.


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