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alexbq2

Do I need a new camera?

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I have a basic Sony Coolpix camera - point and click interface. But I can't get it to take the same picture twice. These picture were taken at the same time, under the same conditions. But the camera manages to auto-adjust differently, and the color of the two photos is quite different:

987040.jpg

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I have a basic Sony Coolpix camera - point and click interface. But I can't get it to take the same picture twice. These picture were taken at the same time, under the same conditions. But the camera manages to auto-adjust differently, and the color of the two photos is quite different:

987040.jpg

It is a matter of white balance setting. Maybe you could try to change it from "auto" to whatever best suits the kind of lighting you have? With auto settings, you never know what part of the image the camera is using to calibrate the setting.

 

I am guessing that you are using sunlight, and that when the picture on the left was taken, there was a cloud which passed over momentarily ... it can make a big difference.

 

Are you sure it isn't a NIKON Coolpix? That's what I used before I bought my Nikon D-60. But I'm still very happy with a lot of the pictures I took with the Coolpix, and sometimes wonder whether it was worth the $$$ to buy the Nikon (used almost exclusively to take pictures of my coins)!

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I would suggest investigating your camera first, assuming that you haven't already, before looking for a replacement.

 

What model is your Sony camera?

 

It appears that your camera chose different white balance settings even though you used the same light. I may be able to look up the user manual and help you with the settings if I know the model.

 

One thing that I have noticed with point and shoot digital cameras that I've used. If the light source is good and bright I usually get consistent settings when using automatic modes. I don't know if it will make much difference with your camera, but it may be worth a try.

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Yep. Looks like White Balance for sure...you can tell that easily from the change in background color...which looks like it was probably rendered pretty good in the first and way too warm in the second.

 

Many cameras will let you set a manual white balance...typically you take a shot at a white piece of paper and it sets the white balance for subsequent photos. And, most all cameras have presets for sunny, cloudy, incandescent light, fluorescent light, etc. So, even if your camera doesn't have a manual setting, it may have a preset that will get you consistent output. I'd suggest finding a manual and looking under White Balance to see what your options are.

 

You can also adjust some color issues (to a certain extent) in software.

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Keep in mind a fluorescent light will cycle across colors, and no amount of automatic or manual white balance setting will solve that issue. Sports photographers have issues in gymnasiums where one photo out of every 5 or so images will be a different color, like yours above. If that's the issue, you can't fix this in the camera, you just shoot some extra images to make sure you catch the light in its "normal" color.

 

Dave

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First off, my camera is CyberShot not CoolPix:) I have switched it from the automatic setting, and I see 3 fluorescent light options. I guess I'll need to try them out. I'll post an update on the results. Thanks!

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Keep in mind a fluorescent light will cycle across colors, and no amount of automatic or manual white balance setting will solve that issue. Sports photographers have issues in gymnasiums where one photo out of every 5 or so images will be a different color, like yours above. If that's the issue, you can't fix this in the camera, you just shoot some extra images to make sure you catch the light in its "normal" color.

 

Dave

 

If the light source is consistent then the white balance should also be consistent. When using artificial light I use flourescent exclusively. I've never noticed any shift in white balance. I have run across inconsistent white balance if there is sunlight as well as fluorescent in the image. If two light sources with different color temperatures are illuminating the subject then is it practically impossible to get a consistent white balance. Did the gymnasium you spoke of have any sunlight shining into it?

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Keep in mind a fluorescent light will cycle across colors, and no amount of automatic or manual white balance setting will solve that issue. Sports photographers have issues in gymnasiums where one photo out of every 5 or so images will be a different color, like yours above. If that's the issue, you can't fix this in the camera, you just shoot some extra images to make sure you catch the light in its "normal" color.

 

Dave

 

If the light source is consistent then the white balance should also be consistent. When using artificial light I use flourescent exclusively. I've never noticed any shift in white balance. I have run across inconsistent white balance if there is sunlight as well as fluorescent in the image. If two light sources with different color temperatures are illuminating the subject then is it practically impossible to get a consistent white balance. Did the gymnasium you spoke of have any sunlight shining into it?

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If the light source is consistent then the white balance should also be consistent. When using artificial light I use flourescent exclusively. I've never noticed any shift in white balance. I have run across inconsistent white balance if there is sunlight as well as fluorescent in the image. If two light sources with different color temperatures are illuminating the subject then is it practically impossible to get a consistent white balance. Did the gymnasium you spoke of have any sunlight shining into it?

 

No, this effect is purely the cycling of fluorescent lights. Here's a link with a couple pictures, you'll find many like it if you scan photography forums for "fluorescent"

 

Dave

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No, this effect is purely the cycling of fluorescent lights. Here's a link with a couple pictures, you'll find many like it if you scan photography forums for "fluorescent"

 

Dave

 

OK, I think I understand what you mean. The problem, as I understand it, occurs a shutter speeds higher than 1/60 of a second. That explains why I have never encountered a problem with it. When I have used fluorescent lighting for photography I use a fairly small aperture F8 being the fastest, and quite often F16, F22, or F36. That requires me to use a slow shutter speed and a tripod. I appears that slower shutter speeds don't have a white balance problem with fluorescent light.

 

Thank you for the information! It is alway good to learn something new.

 

Here is a link I found: Problem with fluorescent lighting and sutter speed

 

P.S. Now I have another reason to prefer natural light.

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Ah, I wasn't thinking about slow shutter speeds either. Yes, you're averaging all the colors coming out of a fluorescent light, and the net is going to be pretty consistent across photos, I suppose. The slower the shutter, the more consistent.

 

Dave

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What background color do you prefer for copper coins, and what would work better for silver?

I like pink for copper and gold, and dark blue for silver and nickel. Black is also pretty good for just about anything, but I like a colored background better (just my personal preference).

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I like pink for copper and gold, and dark blue for silver and nickel. Black is also pretty good for just about anything, but I like a colored background better (just my personal preference).

 

I have not experimented too much, but I noticed that copper coins on black look lighter than in real life. But of course I will need to try it again with the new camera settings.

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If your camera can take more than 3MP, or at least 5MP and I'm not talking about mobile phones, you should be able to take reasonable photos.

 

First set your white balance - it's important to pick a good "white color" as there's many shades of white. You must balance your color contrast under the light that you are going to shoot and it should be done before you take photos. Try to have a bright area so that you can lower your ISO - I usually use ISO 200 or 100 but you wouldn't want to shoot it ISO400 as it becomes blurry.

 

You can then change your background to black or whatever but remember use the same background until you are happy to play around. It's ok to shoot thousands of photo until you get a better idea of how your camera works. It might help if you get a camera stand or if you can't, use the macro mode, 10 sec timer and have a steady hand. I usually use black background.

 

Otherwise you can always adjust the color contrast using software later. What's important is to have steady hands. You can always adjust minor color difference later but you can't do much about blurry photos.

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One thing I have learned since the photo bug bit me a few years back...it is rarely the camera that is the problem. That may apply only to me but it applies very much to me. lol

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Camera and lens is the issue only when you would like to move from good pictures to very good pictures

If you OK with just good pictures most of modern point-and-shooters can work

 

You pictures are decent but not good yet, so it is not the camera

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Ok everyone, I am kind of new at this coin photography thing, but I'm going to have to add some to my history website and need your expertise.

Sadly my best camera is a cell phone (the old 0.75MP Mavica just wont cut it anymore) on a LG Galaxy.

 

1) Any advice for using a cell phone for this.

 

2) What is 'White Balance' and what does it do? I usually edit the color balance and stuff on Photoshop later.

 

3) Backgrounds are kinda important and I don't want to screw it up. I usually use plain khaki for my orders, medals, and weaponry. I just don't think this will work well for coins - I think it will wash them out (both copper and silver) against the plain khaki background.

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