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Color and Luster

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It's hard to get both color and luster to show up in a single shot. Color requires high angles and diffusion, while luster requires medium angles and pinpoint sources. Here is my latest attempt using a new lighting setup with a medium-lustrous, highly-toned, raw 53-S Lincoln. The setup uses a horizontal aluminum reflector just above the lens, with 2 LED lights shining UP to the reflector, which then both reflects and diffuses the light going to the coin. Disadvantage is that there is less light getting to the coin, so exposures are longer. But the results so far look pretty good, with reasonably even illumination, color definition, enough luster but not too much, and decent resolution of surface details.

 

Img3361_02.jpg

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Nice effect. Have you explored axial lighting?

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Nice effect. Have you explored axial lighting?

 

I've tried axial lighting in the past but it doesn't give a good representation of a real-world look from my experience. It's very pinpoint in nature, and thus creates too high contrast and direct reflection back to the sensor. Do you have any different experience with it? ...Ray

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Excellent photo and great choice of background.

 

Not quite as good but another example of bronze/copper on a black background:

 

EuropeanWWIIMedal-2.jpg

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I've tried axial lighting in the past but it doesn't give a good representation of a real-world look from my experience. It's very pinpoint in nature, and thus creates too high contrast and direct reflection back to the sensor. Do you have any different experience with it? ...Ray

 

I shoot mostly with axial lighting, but I do vary the light angle to achieve the effect that I want. I think that is true with any light setup. You find the basic setup, then you start experimenting depending on the coin and desired effect.

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Excellent photo and great choice of background.

 

Not quite as good but another example of bronze/copper on a black background:

 

Actually your photo is very nice, and very sharp. What camera/lens do you use?

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I shoot mostly with axial lighting, but I do vary the light angle to achieve the effect that I want. I think that is true with any light setup. You find the basic setup, then you start experimenting depending on the coin and desired effect.

 

Please explain, because I think of axial lighting as having only one possible angle, 0-degrees from the viewing axis, ie straight down from the lens. Do you mean that you vary the angle of the coin to change how the light reflects off the coin surfaces? Or do you have an axial setup that allows you to adjust the light angle in some way? I generally shoot fairly wide open so am always conscious of DOF and try to shoot with the coin as flat as possible. Any tilt causes focus issues with the lens wide open. I don't want to have to stack images to get a good coin pic, and most modern coins have low enough relief that as long as the coin is flat I can get acceptable DOF at the sharpest aperture for the lens.

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Rather than fix my light, I hand hold it moving it up and down and from side to side and tilt it at various angles to the glass. I watch the impact on the image until I get the effect I want. The coin stays flat in relation to the lens. I generally shoot at f/22 to maintain maximum depth of field and let the exposure vary as needed up to about a second.

 

 

Please explain, because I think of axial lighting as having only one possible angle, 0-degrees from the viewing axis, ie straight down from the lens. Do you mean that you vary the angle of the coin to change how the light reflects off the coin surfaces? Or do you have an axial setup that allows you to adjust the light angle in some way? I generally shoot fairly wide open so am always conscious of DOF and try to shoot with the coin as flat as possible. Any tilt causes focus issues with the lens wide open. I don't want to have to stack images to get a good coin pic, and most modern coins have low enough relief that as long as the coin is flat I can get acceptable DOF at the sharpest aperture for the lens.

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Bravo. In addition to color and luster, you've also captured the fine detail of the coin. An exceptional photograph. Do you care to expand on the setup for this image (types of lights, light position, f-stop, exposure, etc).

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Amazing images! Your sharing any details of how you took them would be appreciated.

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I'm totally in agreement with the others. Great image. I'd love details on your setup for both lighting and camera & lense.

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I have a number of coins whose toning only shows up (or shows up 10x better) when the coin is held obliquely, to both the light and the camera. That's frustrating! I've not figured out how on earth to photograph that--if there is some magic trick I'd love to know what it is. (In fact I discovered one coin of mine that I thought was just black ugly toned, has fantastic cobalt blue if you look at it about 60 degrees "off axis" and get light to reflect or rather glare off it.)

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Bravo. In addition to color and luster, you've also captured the fine detail of the coin. An exceptional photograph. Do you care to expand on the setup for this image (types of lights, light position, f-stop, exposure, etc).

 

Thanks very much! I would be glad to share the description of the setup:

 

Rodenstock Apo Rodagon D 75mm f4 M=1 set at f5.6

Modified Microscope Stand

Pentax Auto Bellows

Nikon D7000 in Live View, Aperture Priority Mode (not sure the shutter speed, but faster than 1/100sec)

Two Jansjo LED lights at 10:30 and 1:30, 75mm above coin surface, approx 10deg off vertical, no diffusion

 

...Ray

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Actually your photo is very nice, and very sharp. What camera/lens do you use?

 

Canon 20D SLR with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens

Diffused Speedlite

Mounted on a Kaiser copy stand

 

As seen here.....

 

bouncedlight.jpg

 

Recent photo with this setup.....

 

1905Olten-2-1.jpg

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Canon 20D SLR with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens

Diffused Speedlite

Mounted on a Kaiser copy stand

 

As seen here.....

 

bouncedlight.jpg

 

 

Does the flash also fire? If so could you please describe it as well?

 

Also... With that macro lens, approximately how big is the image (in inches photographed, not the pixels size)? The kit lens with my Cannon T3 ends up with 90% of the image needing to be cropped away, which of course reduces the amount of detail captured (somewhat like the valueless "digital zoom" option), so I am in the market for a macro lens of some type. Ideally the coin should fill the field of view of the camera.

 

(Another thing on my shopping list is the cable that lets you power the camera from AC power, so I don't feel rushed taking pictures in order to preserve the battery. That's easy enough to find though.)

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Here's a toned Lincoln Wheat Cent. This is using a Tominon E36 86mm f/4 lens instead of the Apo-Rodagon-D. Not as crisp as the ARD but came out pretty nice...Ray

 

T86.jpg

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Nice detail and color.

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Nice photos one and all! I once saw a device illustrated where the light source is at the end of a rectangular box like channel. The camera is above and perpendicular to the channel at the opposite end where there are glass panes to deflect the light at a 45 degree angle. The coin would sit below this 45 degree pane of glass and the camera above. So the light would come down the tube, reflect off of the tilted glass and onto the coins surface. Has anyone seen or used the above and if so how did it work? I was thinking of building one.

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Nice photos one and all! I once saw a device illustrated where the light source is at the end of a rectangular box like channel. The camera is above and perpendicular to the channel at the opposite end where there are glass panes to deflect the light at a 45 degree angle. The coin would sit below this 45 degree pane of glass and the camera above. So the light would come down the tube, reflect off of the tilted glass and onto the coins surface. Has anyone seen or used the above and if so how did it work? I was thinking of building one.

 

That's known as axial lighting. Its the technique that I use for most of my coin photography.

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That's a beautiful image. Can you tell us about your photo setup?

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