Last weekend I bought a new light source for 15 GB pounds. It's a desk lamp
with a flexible goose
neck, a 20 watt halogen bulb and a frosted glass
shade. This turns out to be brilliant:
The colour temperature is close to natural light and the bulb is brighter than other desk lamps
. This means that you stand a better chance of getting the correct colour in the photo (even using custom white balance), and the presence of some natural light as well (from a window) will not tint the coin blue on one side
. But I still
recommend drawing the blinds.
The long goose
neck allows the source to be placed quite precisely. Its length and flexibility allows the source to be placed high up next to the lens, giving a better view of the coin and more of a 3-D effect.
The built-in diffusion provided by the shade is very handy. What prompted me to look for this in the first place was that when I tried an overpowered incandescent bulb in my other lamp
(60 watts in a 40-watt limit lamp
) and put tissue over the end to diffuse it, there was an interesting smell of burning.
The only drawback is that it's a touch-sensitive lamp
with 3 levels of light, so the light level flips
as I adjust it!
This combination is working well for some tricky-to-photograph coins. Here are 2 examples: a very shiny assarion
of Septimius Severus
from Markianopolis, and an almost as shiny Sep
. Sev denarius
. Look how 3-D the denarius
looks, and the colour response is accurate enough to show its cabinet toning
. On the assarion
, I'm happy to see any detail at all! It's almost like a mirror with my other setup, though in the hand the detail is clear enough.
Any comments on the photos (as opposed to the coins) would be welcomed. I'm sure the assarion