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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage  |  Topic: My first coin photo 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Cleisthenes
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« on: April 26, 2008, 02:07:30 am »

Here's my first photo.  I used a Nikon D40, 18-55mm Nikkor lens, and a flourscent light.
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Arminius
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2008, 02:11:56 am »

 ... and a fine coin.
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slokind
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2008, 12:49:47 pm »

Really your first?  Marvelous.  But try with the lamp farther from the coin, and from upper left (about 10h or 11h).  Doug Smith has a Philetairos that he rightly loves, but regards as exceptionally hard to photograph.  His latest one is on a photo page: http://www.pbase.com/dougsmit/image/91798514
But there's decades of work and many loving attempts behind that image.  And he may have been using one of those ring lights--I don't know.
I don't have a Philetairos.  Maybe I can try with my Philip Arrhidaeus.
Pat
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slokind
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2008, 02:59:14 pm »

@Cleisthenes, but also just to celebrate.
Look, this is how it is:  I got this camera in February.  Now, ten weeks later, I finally got a photo, this obverse, that makes me really happy--and not just because the Tertullus die of c. 198 AD is, in my opinion, a great Julia Domna (and her first tetrassarion-size one in Moesia Inferior: is it any wonder she gets portrayed as wrapping SS around her little finger?  I got this coin for my Tertullus dies page, in progress.
Anyhow, with a better camera be prepared to become a better photographer.  This is with Nikon's 60mm AF Macro lens which with its camera, a D80, is devoted to taking as nearly definitive images of my coins as I can learn to do.  This is f 11 at 1/5 sec, copy stand, electronic cable release, AND delayed shutter release.  The rest of the learning process is lighting.  Sharpness + nuance + rendering of relief: none can be sacrificed for the other(s).  The coin is darker, but on many monitors it needs to be this light.
Pat L.
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James Anderson
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2008, 03:17:16 pm »

You might like to try bumping up your camera's ISO setting by a notch and using a dimmer (the kind that has a slide control on a long cord) if the flourescent you're using allows for that. I've found this to be a very effective way of reducing glare on coin images.
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Cleisthenes
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2008, 09:19:32 pm »

. . . try with the lamp farther from the coin, and from upper left (about 10h or 11h).  Doug Smith has a Philetairos that he rightly loves, but regards as exceptionally hard to photograph.  His latest one is on a photo page: http://www.pbase.com/dougsmit/image/91798514
But there's decades of work and many loving attempts behind that image.  And he may have been using one of those ring lights--I don't know.
I don't have a Philetairos.  Maybe I can try with my Philip Arrhidaeus.
Pat
@Cleisthenes, but also just to celebrate.
Look, this is how it is:  I got this camera in February.  Now, ten weeks later, I finally got a photo, this obverse, that makes me really happy--and not just because the Tertullus die of c. 198 AD is, in my opinion, a great Julia Domna (and her first tetrassarion-size one in Moesia Inferior: is it any wonder she gets portrayed as wrapping SS around her little finger?  I got this coin for my Tertullus dies page, in progress.
Anyhow, with a better camera be prepared to become a better photographer.  This is with Nikon's 60mm AF Macro lens which with its camera, a D80, is devoted to taking as nearly definitive images of my coins as I can learn to do.  This is f 11 at 1/5 sec, copy stand, electronic cable release, AND delayed shutter release.  The rest of the learning process is lighting.  Sharpness + nuance + rendering of relief: none can be sacrificed for the other(s).  The coin is darker, but on many monitors it needs to be this light.
Pat L.

Pat,
Thank your for the advice.  I'll definitely give it a shot (sorry about the pun Smiley)  Your Julia Domna is beautiful.  I plan to get a macro lens--but doing research on the net (as usual) is a little bewildering.


James A2,
Thank you for the advice.  I appreciate it!

Jim
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2008, 09:27:21 pm »

I also just recently took my first digital picture of a coin using my Nikon Coolpix. There is definitely a bit more of a learning curve than using the scanner!

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slokind
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2008, 11:28:14 pm »

Victor: Was that issued for the Constantine exhibition, since it seems to show the Porta Nigra, too?  It photographs spectacularly.  Although more work than the scanner, the camera is worth it, I think, though the scans more than suffice for my accession catalogue.
Cleisthenes: the 18-55mm lens should do very well.  The macro lenses are the luxury.  I have a one-piece non-SLR Nikon 8800 that takes wonderful ordinary photos, though the Nikon macro lens will focus from here to infinity, itself.  What it will NOT do is zoom to take a close-up of a magnolia without climbing the tree.  The 8800 is great for that or for zooming in on a child's face without causing the child to grin at you like the kid in a cookie advertisement on TV.
P.S. The medium and large bronzes are the easiest to photograph and the most responsive to good sensors for getting nuances of color--and they don't shine too much, unless someone has coated them with something.  I forgot to say that I also took Bill Welch's advice (moonmoth) and worked with the mirror locked up.
Pat
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moonmoth
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2008, 05:53:39 am »

Macro lenses may be a luxury, but they are designed for exactly this sort of work, and are not necessarily all that expensive second hand, especially of you look for older types, good third-party second-hand lenses that don't need to have autofocus.  I am using a Sigma lens on my EOS D60 and the autofocus broke years ago.  (Anyone saying "that explains a lot," see me later ...)
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vic9128
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2008, 08:35:55 am »

Victor: Was that issued for the Constantine exhibition, since it seems to show the Porta Nigra, too? 

Yes, it was issued as part of the celebration in Trier, and yes, that is the Porta Nigra on the reverse.
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slokind
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2008, 07:09:50 pm »

I promised to try a bright silver.  Philip Arrhidaeus is at the bank, but I still have Demetrios I at home.  No matter which camera, and with not a single warm light source anywhere, the camera just emphasizes the 'golden' cast of the metal.  The sfumato effect of the obverse is due to soft strike, but the tiny flecks and pits are sharp.  Like Philetairos (though not as much), this coin is rather convex on the obverse and slightly concave on the reverse.  I had to have that throne with a tritoness supporting it!
Pat L.
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Cleisthenes
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2008, 08:14:32 pm »

Beautiful photo; the tritoness is quite wonderful!

Jim
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2008, 02:26:44 pm »

Sicilian Coin Æ Litra, 21 - 23mm
Syracuse - Agathokles Period III 304/289BC
Artemis Soteira

daylight and lamp...
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moonmoth
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 05:35:19 pm »

That's pretty good, specially for a first attempt.  Maybe the background could be more of a contrast to the coin, to help it stand out.

I would suggest some sort of reflector to lighten up the shadow at the bottom of the coin.  Something as simple as a piece of white paper works very well.

That's a nice coin type, too.  Did you also photograph the thunderbolt on the reverse?

Those spots of green look almost like bronze disease.  I hope they are as dark as the photo seems to show, and stable, and not fluffy or loose at all.
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"... A form of twisted symbolical bedsock ... the true purpose of which, as they realised at first glance, would never (alas) be revealed to mankind."
slokind
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2008, 09:30:01 pm »

Though not, of course, for a catalogue or a scholarly publication, I think that nothing is finer than the natural colors of mineral  materials together.  If you can find it, silver on basalt is richer and more suggestive of the real properties of both substances than silver on velvet or on white; bronze and brass offer endless possibilities, and I especially liked wie-wolf's combination, particularly since it was taken, evidently, in real sunlight.  I agree that to show every detail for study a studio set up works better, but to express visual understanding of ancient metal and of stone, carefully chosen, I could only wish that I'd done it myself.  And, of course, it's a beautiful coin.
Moonmoth is dead right about examining and watching that green on the coin, especially the spot at the pit of Soteira's neck.
Pat L.
P.S. If you could get more depth of field, the coin could actually hold its own more effectively if the grain of the stone were equally in focus.  Like an English Horn and a Viola in complementary solo work in a piece of chamber music.  Did you use a tripod?
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wie-wolf
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2008, 01:07:42 am »

thanks for your kind answers. i use no tripod, free hand style with my little parasonic lumix DMC-FX30. i know, that is no documentary foto, more an impression to show the beauty of the face and the coins colors. i am very fascinated by this face...yes, the coin has indeed very few spots of bronce-desease. i have this coin now since 7 years, but fortunately they are not growing.
greetings
wie-wolf
here is the "not" so beauty reverse
http://flickr.com/photos/14868225@N04/sets/72157607312061663/
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