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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage  |  Topic: Useful Software for Coin Photography 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Gilgamesh
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« on: November 01, 2008, 10:14:37 pm »

I have finally given up intending to replace my poor coin scans with good digital photographs by taking the leap into actually doing it. I went digital just over a year ago with the Nikon D40X DSLR. I do a lot of photography so have been using it quite a bit.

I've been a long time lover of Photoshop but have recently become enamoured of its younger sister, Lightroom. Lightroom is essentially a digital version of the old film Darkroom. It allows multiple images to be loaded in organised folders, etc and digital darkroom manipulations to be made in bulk. It does much more of course, including cataloguing. Suggest you check it out on Adobe's website and download a trial. I will be using it to fine tune my coin images.

The other new love in my life, for those of you with Nikon DSLR's, is Nikon's Camera Control Pro. This interesting piece of software controls my camera from the computer with the camera attached via usb. It allows setting the likes of aperture, shutter speed, etc from the software, taking the photo by clicking an icon and the images are capture straight to a designated folder on the hard drive. Suggest you check it out if you are going to do a lot of photography of coins and similar items. If Nikon have done it, perhaps others manufacturers have a similar product.
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slokind
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008, 12:23:25 am »

Thank you.  I'll look into these things (I have the Nikon software).  I use a D80 with a Macro lens on it.  I love mine, too.  Pat L.
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Gilgamesh
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2008, 03:59:31 pm »

I almost went with the D80. Same specis as the D40X but more robust body. Haven't stretched to the AU$700 for a macro lens yet though. Temptation wears me down little by little each day. The results with the 18 - 55mm aren't bad but I'm sure the macro would make a real difference. Have you done any comparisons that might tempt me to 'require' the macro? Any little temptatiom will do.
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acluguy
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 06:41:49 pm »

I know this thread is rather old and it turned more to cameras but i have a hint for cheapskates such as myself.

I used photoshop for years when i was doing web-design but "lent" and subsequently had my photoshop install disks stolen.

Thus, i began searching for comparable software at a lower price.  What i found, to my surprise, was a program as close to photoshop as you can get and it's free to boot!

The program is called paint.net and i would describe it as an homage to (i.e., a rip off of) photoshop.

I suggest my fellow cheapskates check it out.

With the hope that someone finds that useful,
AG

Postscript: It uses plugins just like PS.
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slokind
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2008, 12:50:57 am »

Well, I finally am learning to get consistent results using the Macro.  Mine is the 1987 AF f.2.8 60mm MICRONIKKOR.  Last night I rephotographed my best Sabina (attached).  Once you learn the camera, all the rest is lighting and distance.  You lose depth of field if you get too close.  Lighting is very important.  I use 2 Ott Lites that are about 7-8 inches from the coin with the camera lens about 5 inches from the coin.  That's for denarii and smaller.  For big aes, I move the camera about 1.5 to 2 inches higher and the lamps about a foot above the coin.  The lamps are roughly at 10h and 2h and turned inward.  Sometimes I use a third Ott Lite, a standing one, farther away, and not pointed directly at the coin, for sestertius-size dark coins and in other cases where without it I might get a shadow by the lower edge.  At present, I am working with a photographer's Gray Card, neutral, 18% reflectivity, in the bottom of my milk-glass baking dish which supports the glass that the coin rests on.
But it's the lamps, the distance and direction of them, that is critical.  For me, I don't quite like axial lighting.  I want the details but I want light that looks a little less unnatural.  I hope the reduced image is OK.  CLICK FOR FULL SIZE OF FILE
Pat L.
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Johnny
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 10:54:06 am »

you do take beautiful pics.........ahh  someday,  I'll be as good.  but  for now,  I'll keep using  " colorful words "  when trying  and failling   Smiley
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Gilgamesh
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2009, 08:01:45 pm »

Interesting information Slokind. I have completed taking the 3,000 + shots of my coins without a macro lens but with reasonable results (Nikon 18-55mm). Still have to finish cropping. Definitely better than my old scanned images but still have the shadow problem because my lighting system is primitive. I prefer to use a white background so the images can be clearly printed without consuming a lot of ink. Unfortunately this makes shadows more visible and it is very time consuming to remove them in Photoshop.

The whole process was made much faster using the Camera Control Pro software and it means I now have much better quality images to use in my database. I always travel with a pdf file of my coin database in my pocket on a flash disk to aid recovery in case of theft. Also very quick to make any adjustment of lighting with Lightroom. I would be nice to do the cropping in Lightroom too but it is rather clumsy and less accurate at that than Photoshop.

I shot evrything using the RAW format. I would definitely recommend doing that if the camera uses it. I can store these uncompressed images as originals and output to whatever format seems appropriate.

One day I will sell some nephews and invest in a good macro lens and proper lighting and repeat the whole process.
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