📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

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📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#1 Unread post by Earle42 »

Easy coin photo setup.
Note - the pictured ring light is OPTIONAL, but works well - use any good light source

Spend the very few seconds it will take to read the print in the picture or you will still get fuzzy pictures.
Click to enlarge. Save for reference.  Feel free to share.
Click to enlarge. Save for reference. Feel free to share.
NOTE: A stack of dimes works well in place of the bottle cap for smaller coins like pennies. Whatever you elevate your coin with must be totally hidden from the camera's view and make it look like the coin is floating by itself above the table. Only then will the camera be forced to focus on nothing but the coin.



You can see the coin on the screen of the camera in the following setup. That very picture of the REV is included below:

The picture seen on the camera in the photo (cropped after taken):
1920-D_WALKER_REV.PNG


And the OBV:
1920-D_WALKER_OBV.png
Lighting note: A layer of tissue (or multiple layers) in front of a light source (like a lamp, LEDs etc.) will diffuse light and eliminate glare. Use trial and error with your specific setup until you get what you want.

Our member Paul says he uses a cut out piece of milk jug to diffuse light. I have not tried it with my ring light, but am thinking if the light needs diffusion, the milk jug circle would alleviate having to cut out rings of tissue every time someone wanted to take pics of coins.
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#2 Unread post by SensibleSal66 »

Hey Lee! I use a similar set up like this but using a Jar. This one of your infamous graphics MINUS the lighted ring. I use my Microscope as a good source of light.
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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#3 Unread post by Paul »

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#4 Unread post by Earle42 »

SensibleSal66 wrote: Sat May 21, 2022 3:28 am Hey Lee! I use a similar set up like this but using a Jar. This one of your infamous graphics MINUS the lighted ring. I use my Microscope as a good source of light.
Yeah, I decided it was time to take a picture of the setup and link it for people needing help. The graphic worked, but sometimes real life is better for people.

Good idea about the jar. Anything that works is best!

One of these days I might make a simple rig out of 2X4 wood scraps instead of using books. Hey, I could get fancy and make the ring light integral :think:

Too many other projects right now to worry about that though...after all, books are typically andy as well.

As to the ring light, years ago I was using 3 desk lamps positioned around the setup, which took time and space. But after getting the ring light, it provides uniform lighting that I like. The other system worked, it was just a lot more hassle to set up. Since the ring light is small, always handy, and USB rechargeable, its just too easy and quick to take decent pictures now.
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#5 Unread post by Daniel »

Thank you, we can't have too many of these topics.
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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#6 Unread post by Marvic »

Thanks for showing us your coin picture taking setup, now I can throw my old Canon EOS 7D camera and tripod setup into the trash and go this easy route...

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#7 Unread post by Jasonkflo »

That’s pretty cool . I will have to try it. I never thought about putting something like a bottle cap under the coin.

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#8 Unread post by SensibleSal66 »

Also, I like a Black background instead of a white one. :)
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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#9 Unread post by Paul »

Another helpful lighting technique may be similar to the set up I have.

I cut off the side of a 1/2 gallon milk jug, & taped it under my desk light....... which is a 10 W fluorescent bulb.
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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#10 Unread post by Earle42 »

Excellent for diffusing the light.
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

How much squash would a sasquatch squash if a sasquatch would squash squash?

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#11 Unread post by Daphed »

Thanks so much. These are really creative ways to do this.

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#12 Unread post by JayEff »

Earle42 wrote: Sat May 21, 2022 1:36 am Easy coin photo setup.
Note - the pictured ring light is OPTIONAL, but works well - use any good light source

You can see the coin on the screen of the camera in the following setup. That very picture of the REV is included below:
Easy_Coin_Photo_Setup.jpg

The picture seen on the camera in the photo (cropped after taken):
1920-D_WALKER_REV.PNG

And the OBV:
1920-D_WALKER_OBV.png


Lighting note: A layer of tissue (or multiple layers) in front of a light source (like a lamp, LEDs etc.) will diffuse light and eliminate glare. Use trial and error with your specific setup until you get what you want.

Our member Paul says he uses a cut out piece of milk jug to diffuse light. I have not tried it with my ring light, but am thinking if the light needs diffusion, the milk jug circle would alleviate having to cut out rings of tissue every time someone wanted to take pics of coins.
But I don’t have those books. 😂

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#13 Unread post by Earle42 »

Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

How much squash would a sasquatch squash if a sasquatch would squash squash?

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#14 Unread post by Inquiring Minds »

Thanks Earle42 I just bought that light and for the life of me I cannot figure it out. Driving me batty!

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#15 Unread post by Earle42 »

Last time I used mine I had forgotten how also...so don't feel badly!

After I figured it out again I wrote the following on the box it came in:

Make slow and deliberate clicks.
Turn light on with one (sometimes 2) click(s)
Each following click increases brightness (3 levels total)


Strobe light:
After light is on (any level brightness), hold button down until strobe starts then release (takes a couple seconds to activate).
Click once to stop strobe.
Click through brightness levels to turn off.
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

How much squash would a sasquatch squash if a sasquatch would squash squash?

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#16 Unread post by dav8dd »

Thank You, live and learn.

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#17 Unread post by pbenny »

If you are placing a shiny uncirculated MS coin on a plastic bottle cap, make sure you don't scratch any surface or rub against the plastic. It could leave hairlines on a mint state coin, so drape a piece of felt soft cloth between coin & plastic cap.

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Re: Coin photography set up - cheap and easy!

#18 Unread post by Earle42 »

Sorry to disagree:
pbenny wrote: Sat Oct 15, 2022 1:01 am If you are placing a shiny uncirculated MS coin on a plastic bottle cap, make sure you don't scratch any surface or rub against the plastic. It could leave hairlines on a mint state coin, so drape a piece of felt soft cloth between coin & plastic cap.
Plastic does not scratch metal coins. BUt...but my album slides scratch my coins!

Well...no...it just seems that way. :o

Sterling silver, the softest form of silver, has a hardness of RC70, and HDPE (the bottle cap) is a mere RC1 (Rockwell hardess scale). So the plastic itself cannot scratch the coin.

Why do album slides scratch coins? They don't! Slides are made of acetate (of which several different types) also are only RC1.

It is particulate dirt on the underside of the slide doing the damage. As the tiny particles (some harder than the metal) are slid across the coin surface by the slide they scratch the coin.

So as long as a person makes sure the cap is clean and do not slide the coin on and off...no problem :)
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

How much squash would a sasquatch squash if a sasquatch would squash squash?

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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#19 Unread post by Coins2Bsure »

does a black background help with reducing glare? how do you reduce the glare from a coin besides dimming the light. I have been informed of a phenomena called reflective doubling which I tested to try and understand. I found that other than not use my digital microscope, a Plugable and used a 12x magnifier it definitely cleared up the image i saw but, this does not allow to look for the seriffs , and lines indicative of doubling .

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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#20 Unread post by Earle42 »

All you need to do is find some way to diffuse the light....and that is not as difficult or expensive as it may sound.

A couple pieces of tissue taped over an LED can diffuse it. Our member Paul posted earlier in this thread, he uses a piece of a plastic milk jug. I have seen people use coffee filter material.

You can also diffuse the LEDs on you microscope using these ideas. Just play with it and have fun finding the answer that best works for you.
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

How much squash would a sasquatch squash if a sasquatch would squash squash?

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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#21 Unread post by qtrgal36 »

Very nice! Like learning some other options I didn't think of

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#22 Unread post by MeanJoe4202 »

That's a brilliant idea. Just from the title it got me thinking of ways to take good pictures of coins as I waited 30 seconds for the page to load. I thought if you could get the coin to stand on it's edge and use a couple small mirrors from the dollar store you could get both sides in one picture.

But, your way looks amazing and much easier. Thanks

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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#23 Unread post by Andrew212 »

I’m using an iPhone 12 ProMax, and this phone takes worse pics than a NEXTEL! Is there something you need to adjust in settings before you can take these close up shots? My phone won’t adjust. Won’t focus. I’ve tried books, a 24” tube for liquids, and it’s all blurry.

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#24 Unread post by Earle42 »

I do not know what your exact setup has been so this is what I would do.

Make sure you are zoomed out all the way.

Then if your phone takes a clear picture of, let's say, your living room, the phone is using its auto focus.

There is a minimum distance any camera has to be from a close object before it will focus. I do not know what that distance is, but you can find it doing the following:

Put the coin onto the bottle cap, start with the phone close to the coin and slowly back away allowing the phone time to autofocus (or try to anyway).
You will find a level above the coin at which it will be focused on the screen. Try to make a stack of books that high. If you find after it is on the books it is still a bit fuzzy, then try to add a thin book.

The whole idea of the bottle cap is to force the phones auto focus, which will try to focus on the closest thing, ti have no choice but to focus on the coin.

Using the timer makes sure your finger does not jostle the phone and make the pic out of focus. If you still have a problem, I suggest looking online for videos of taking closeups with your iphone. Just type "how to take closeup pictures with my iPhone 12 ProMax," in a search engine. Then after you see that, use the bottle cap trick :D
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

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#25 Unread post by AverageStacker »

Tagging

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#26 Unread post by AverageStacker »

Just got a new phone and playing with the setup and my light box. Taking pics of MS Coins is hard!
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#27 Unread post by AverageStacker »

1898-O using a setup close to yours versus the light box.
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#28 Unread post by Marvic »

Looks good to me, but there may be too much light; an adjustment of picture contrast might help...

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#29 Unread post by Earle42 »

AverageStacker wrote: Sun Mar 05, 2023 11:25 am Just got a new phone and playing with the setup and my light box. Taking pics of MS Coins is hard!
This is a lighting issue, but I will have to let you experiment and tell us how you solve the problem (angle, number of lights, direct sunlight?) I am not an exert with coin pictures. I just used exercised some gray matter to come up with the rig shown and it worked for me. So I shared it.

Now if you ask me how to take pictures in my other main hobby... :D
154_Dominion_42_Cornflower_Bue_6 copy.jpeg
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
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#30 Unread post by Earle42 »

AverageStacker wrote: Sun Mar 05, 2023 11:59 am 1898-O using a setup close to yours versus the light box.
Nice pics!
Common grading company shortcomings & resulting co$tly mi$take$ to collectors (using Kennedy No FG halves):
https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

How much squash would a sasquatch squash if a sasquatch would squash squash?

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#31 Unread post by mhonzell »

Lighting and practice. It can never be repeated enough. The quality of the camera helps, but not as much as the operator.
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#32 Unread post by Earle42 »

Wow - love the proof Kennedy pics!

How did you stage these?
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#33 Unread post by mhonzell »

Coin is lying flat on bottom of white box.

Two sets of lights are used. A row of small LED lights are aimed indirectly at a wall in the white box to flood the space with indirect light. A second light, an adjustable desk lamp, is lowered and aimed to be perpendicular to the surface of the coin. Adjust this lamp to get the lighting you want to see through the camera. Camera is straight above looking through a hole in the white box. (You may need to raise coin if you cannot lower desk lamp low enough.)

For the proof shot you're talking about, I also used a piece of glass from a picture frame. Tilt the glass so that one edge is touching bottom of box away from desk lamp and the other end is raised to reflect additional light downwards from the desk lamp. Camera shoots picture through the glass. Again, look through camera and tilt glass until desired lighting achieved.

Getting more creative, you can put a piece of black paper inside the box opposite the LED lights and the coin will reflect it somewhat in the coin.

Your original setup with the phone on a book will work, but you need a second light from the side that is a bit more directional. Preferably not incandescent.
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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#34 Unread post by mhonzell »

Here, I took a random coin sitting on my desk. No white box. Just the room lights on and a desk lamp set about 20 degrees above the coins edge and three feet away. The photo is with my phone sitting on a book (about 4 inches above the coin). Post processed to crop the coin and rotate to normal orientation. Notice that is not flat in color. The addition of the second light makes a huge difference. If you blow it way up, you'll see it's slightly out of focus. That's just from touching the phone to take the photo.
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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#35 Unread post by mhonzell »

I had to find my pane of glass, but this is how an angled piece of glass used to redirect some of the light can affect it.
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#36 Unread post by PoolCueMan »

I purchased a cheap LED lightbox from Amazon... decent for the price. Now I am looking at a better camera and using my IPhone as well.

JV

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#37 Unread post by susbarbara »

thanks!

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#38 Unread post by raiderfan707 »

Sitting here thinking about how I could save a buck instead of buy the light box on Amazon. Well this is just a rough mockup but think it has potential. Coin is just a random coin from my coin tray.
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#39 Unread post by raiderfan707 »

Also side note keep the coin as low as possible I used 1 quarter underneath it. It helps with shadows being thrown if it sits up too high.

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Re: 📷 Coin photography set up - cheap and easy! 📚

#40 Unread post by CoinBoy2 »

My setup... My Camera a GVM light, Manfrotto tripod. It evenly spreads the light, not all from one side, but it doesn't do good with proof coins. The con to this is it's hard to set up and take down, not what I use all the time. :D
BTW, When I don't use this, I use an adjustable office light, I don't know what the brand is, but it doesn't make the camera strobe or flicker (not sure what it is actually called). The next best thing I would have to use to take pictures is my iPad Mini 6, and it takes pretty bad pictures.
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