Jump to content

Share your Coin Photography Tips & Tricks!


Kaleun96
 Share

Recommended Posts

55 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Where did you get that contraption, please? Is it off the shelf?  That might just be the key to solve the worst of my photography woes.

All the white components were designed and 3D printed by me. I'm happy to share the files if you want to get them printed yourself, though I attach it to an optical post assembly from Thorlabs that is probably more expensive than most people want to pay but is needed to adjust the height of the platform or tilt it (the vertical silver rod, the black adapter, and another silver rod that extend horizontally):

DSC04442-1536x1063.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been using a variation of the coin platform setup as shown above for about a year and a half now but have decided to try something new, partly because I have Gear Acquisition Syndrome when it comes to photography 😁

But kidding aside, I wanted to improve on a few limitations with my prior setup. It did let me adjust the coin platform in two key ways: I could move it up or down and I could tilt it back and forth so the coin was at an angle relative to the lens. The problem was that there were more degrees of freedom to this setup than just these two: I could also swivel the platform around the vertical post and I could move the horizontal post forwards and backwards. The problem is these are all manual adjustments and it's difficult to get everything perfectly centred and at the right position.

So I did something I've wanted to do for awhile and I bought some optomechanical equipment designed for the job. eBay is full of this kind of gear as industrial warehouses and research facilities use them like candy and, when the place is shut down, the gear gets sold off cheaply as no proper facility is going to buy this kind of thing second-hand. I managed to pick up a Newport M-481 rotation stage and a Suruga Seiki B58-60 goniometer for a fraction of their retail prices (though not as cheap as one might hope).

The rotation stage provides smooth and precise 360 degree rotation of the coin platform to help orient the coin without having to fiddle with how it sits on its little pedestal. Previously I used an M8 bolt for this, which I would turn from underneath the platform, but there is a lot of slop in such a method and it was a bit too imprecise for my liking. The rotation stage has a built-in micrometer to provide "fine" adjustment of the rotation to +/- 5 degrees.

Beneath that is the goniometer, which is simply a device that rotates a stage around an imaginary fixed point above it. Typically they don't have more than 3-10 degrees of rotation and in my experience you only need about 2-3 degrees of tilt for a coin. Anymore than that and the distortion of the coin's dimensions becomes too apparent. I 3D printed some adapter plates so everything would fit together. A happy little accident of my design is that the point of rotation for the goniometer is 7.5cm above it and that turns out to be nearly exactly where the coin sits. What does this mean? Well it means that when you adjust the tilt of the goniometer, the coin doesn't move forwards or backwards, it stays exactly where it was but is simply tilted. With my previous setup, rotating the coin platform would cause the position of the coin to shift relative to the camera because it was not aligned with the axis of rotation.

This gear is all way too overkill for this kind of purpose but it does help when it comes to using the mirror background technique I've discussed earlier. If the mirror is not close to perpendicular to the axis of the lens (i.e. parallel to the camera sensor), it can create bright areas on parts of the edge of the coin, making background removal difficult. Since my previous setup wasn't particularly precise, I ran into this issue frequently and had to be careful to align things just right. With the new setup, however, everything is perfectly aligned with the camera and I can make minute adjustments if necessary.

20220819_215104.jpg.ee850708549751759e81b886fb96926b.jpg20220819_215116.jpg.4283affe32b204790d1e59e94d73045d.jpg

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Kaleun96 said:

I've been using a variation of the coin platform setup as shown above for about a year and a half now but have decided to try something new, partly because I have Gear Acquisition Syndrome when it comes to photography 😁

But kidding aside, I wanted to improve on a few limitations with my prior setup. It did let me adjust the coin platform in two key ways: I could move it up or down and I could tilt it back and forth so the coin was at an angle relative to the lens. The problem was that there were more degrees of freedom to this setup than just these two: I could also swivel the platform around the vertical post and I could move the horizontal post forwards and backwards. The problem is these are all manual adjustments and it's difficult to get everything perfectly centred and at the right position.

So I did something I've wanted to do for awhile and I bought some optomechanical equipment designed for the job. eBay is full of this kind of gear as industrial warehouses and research facilities use them like candy and, when the place is shut down, the gear gets sold off cheaply as no proper facility is going to buy this kind of thing second-hand. I managed to pick up a Newport M-481 rotation stage and a Suruga Seiki B58-60 goniometer for a fraction of their retail prices (though not as cheap as one might hope).

The rotation stage provides smooth and precise 360 degree rotation of the coin platform to help orient the coin without having to fiddle with how it sits on its little pedestal. Previously I used an M8 bolt for this, which I would turn from underneath the platform, but there is a lot of slop in such a method and it was a bit too imprecise for my liking. The rotation stage has a built-in micrometer to provide "fine" adjustment of the rotation to +/- 5 degrees.

Beneath that is the goniometer, which is simply a device that rotates a stage around an imaginary fixed point above it. Typically they don't have more than 3-10 degrees of rotation and in my experience you only need about 2-3 degrees of tilt for a coin. Anymore than that and the distortion of the coin's dimensions becomes too apparent. I 3D printed some adapter plates so everything would fit together. A happy little accident of my design is that the point of rotation for the goniometer is 7.5cm above it and that turns out to be nearly exactly where the coin sits. What does this mean? Well it means that when you adjust the tilt of the goniometer, the coin doesn't move forwards or backwards, it stays exactly where it was but is simply tilted. With my previous setup, rotating the coin platform would cause the position of the coin to shift relative to the camera because it was not aligned with the axis of rotation.

This gear is all way too overkill for this kind of purpose but it does help when it comes to using the mirror background technique I've discussed earlier. If the mirror is not close to perpendicular to the axis of the lens (i.e. parallel to the camera sensor), it can create bright areas on parts of the edge of the coin, making background removal difficult. Since my previous setup wasn't particularly precise, I ran into this issue frequently and had to be careful to align things just right. With the new setup, however, everything is perfectly aligned with the camera and I can make minute adjustments if necessary.

20220819_215104.jpg.ee850708549751759e81b886fb96926b.jpg20220819_215116.jpg.4283affe32b204790d1e59e94d73045d.jpg

This stuff is very cool, @Kaleun96! I think @Curtisimo in particular might be interested in the goniometer.  Me too, maybe, depending on how cheap they can get. Any idea what a bargain-basement price looks like?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

This stuff is very cool, @Kaleun96! I think @Curtisimo in particular might be interested in the goniometer.  Me too, maybe, depending on how cheap they can get. Any idea what a bargain-basement price looks like?

If you're just using the goniometer and are in the US, you have a bit more flexibility than me and don't need to be so picky as the vast majority on eBay are sold from the US and have imperial threads. For a Thorlabs, Newport, or Suruga Seiki goniometer, I'd look to pay $60-$90 if I were you. But it depends a bit on the size too, often the Thorlabs and Newport models have stages only 40mm / 1.5" wide / long, which may be enough for some but I really wanted the bigger 60-65mm stage so I could attach the rotation stage to it. 

There will be other branded or no-name goniometers on eBay that may be cheaper and are probably fine too. For these, I'd aim for something that's like $40. Main thing to check on the specs is that the rotation is enough (some will only do +/- 3°, which might be just about OK), the size of the device, whether you have an easy way of attaching something to it and it to something else, and how you adjust the angle - some have small knobs which may be hard to turn due to limited clearance between the knob and the surface the goniometers will sit on. 

Also, if it's being sold by some seller who typically guts industrial parts from warehouses or factories and sells them on eBay "as is", expect to be able to get a 50% discount on asking price in some cases. I got mine for $75, down from $150, and it was DHL couriered from Thailand for $10. 

Edited by Kaleun96
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

This is probably the best you can get for $50 without being patient and stalking eBay for a few weeks, though shipping is $20: https://www.ebay.com/itm/202662699439

It's a 40x40mm stage with +/- 10 degrees of rotation and a height of rotation of 40mm (anything placed 40mm above the stage will not translate in a horizontal direction as it is rotated). It's small but enough if you're just putting a coin on top of it. One issue for US folks is that it's metric, so the hole spacing and threaded diameters are both metric, but that may not be too much of a problem.

Though it would probably be worth offering $70 on something like this instead as it's imperial and has a micrometer, which will be much easier for adjusting the angle than the knob on the other one. The range is only +/- 5 degrees but that's plenty and the center of rotation is ~35mm above the stage.

Edited by Kaleun96
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have recently seen a new tactic of taking great photos

1. win (or perhaps just see) in an auction a certain coin that shall remain nameless

2. create a few dozens of topics about it posting the picture from the house

3. after a few weeks ask if you should actually buy it.

 

Now on a serious theme - can an experienced photographer advise if there is any kind of tripod available on the market, preferably a budget one, able to keep the camera vertical (or horizontal of I think about it better ----- perpendicular on the coin).

I know next to nothing about photography and the first camera I have ever own is my current one, which is very old, I bought it for 30 EUR from a second hand shop but the results are satisfying. However placing the coin on a surface and keeping the camera steady is a challenge sometimes. I asked at some IT shops but I was told this would not be a standard tripod. 

I saw a post by Doug Smith, who made a DIY support for the camera, but I didn't understand how should something like this be built.

  • Like 1
  • Laugh 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Friends of the image...

after I am not satisfied with my mobile phone camera (depth of field, resolution by zooming in...) and the experiment with the microscope camera did not go well either - and I already own an Olympus system camera - I decided to buy a macro lens.

However - and I'm not sure about this - I'm wavering on the subject of price and performance. After all, I would buy the macro just because of the coins! I don't photograph anything else in the macro range. Of course, you can also buy equipment for several thousand euros - the question is - is it worth it for a few pictures a year?

I would therefore like to have a lens that has a good quality at a good price. I don't need the best - but I don't want to throw money away either.

I have the choice between a 30mm, 40mm and 60mm macro.

 

First of all, the 30mm and 60mm lenses from Olympus around 250 euros and 450 euros. Both are with Auto Focus and are the original lenses for my camera. The 60mm is currently on sale here in Germany.

Olympus Zuiko 30mm

Olympus Zuiko 60mm

The alternative would be third party manufacturers. here I could buy a 40mm and another 60mm lens.

TT Artisan 40mm

7artisans 60mm

 

If you look at the prices again.
Olympus Zuiko 30mm - ca. 250 Euro
Olympus Zuiko 60mm - ca. 450 Euro
TT Artisan 40mm - ca. 120 Euro
7artisans 60mm - ca. 230 Euro

 

But the (cheapest) price is not the most important thing! But as I have already written - when I go on holiday I can buy a 500 Euro car and be afraid to arrive, I can buy a decent car for 5000 Euro - and I can buy a 500,000 Euro car - which is nonsense. 

And at some point - I think - it doesn't make sense to spend money on a few coins of pictures that I upload to a WordPress blog. I hope you understand.

Does it make any difference at all to take a 30mm, 40mm or 60mm lens for coin photography? What do you think about the overall quality? I'm leaning towards the 7artisan 60mm. But if you say - it doesn't matter whether 30mm or 60mm - and the Olympus 30mm is of better quality than the 60mm from 7artisan - then I would take the former.

Oh yes - the lenses from other manufacturers do not have Auto Focus, of course. But that doesn't matter in a tripod for coin photography anyway. I only use the manual zoom for such things anyway.

 

Thank you for your opinions and tips.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

I have recently seen a new tactic of taking great photos

1. win (or perhaps just see) in an auction a certain coin that shall remain nameless

2. create a few dozens of topics about it posting the picture from the house

3. after a few weeks ask if you should actually buy it.

 

Now on a serious theme - can an experienced photographer advise if there is any kind of tripod available on the market, preferably a budget one, able to keep the camera vertical (or horizontal of I think about it better ----- perpendicular on the coin).

I know next to nothing about photography and the first camera I have ever own is my current one, which is very old, I bought it for 30 EUR from a second hand shop but the results are satisfying. However placing the coin on a surface and keeping the camera steady is a challenge sometimes. I asked at some IT shops but I was told this would not be a standard tripod. 

I saw a post by Doug Smith, who made a DIY support for the camera, but I didn't understand how should something like this be built.

There's usually two methods for doing this with a standard tripod.

1. The first is to use an extension bar to get the camera out horizontally from the top of the tripod and point it downwards. The extension bar is needed to clear the legs so they're not in the frame but if you have a proper macro lens, this is likely not an issue and you can just tilt the camera down using the standard tripod ball head (i.e. no extension needed).

Pros: it works

Cons: takes up a lot of space, may require a somewhat expensive tripod if you have a heavy camera+lens, often requires a counterweight (see briefcase below).

56594b2e7e9c46c88f87cb772db5c44f.jpg.39ecbd141bd341d5edafaece8c926ec8.jpg

2. Invert the centre column of the tripod and attach the camera to it so it's placed between the legs. 

Pros: it works, takes up less room than the other method, doesn't require a counterweight, ensures your camera is perpendicular to the surface if the tripod legs are extended all the same amount.

Cons: requires a tripod with an invertable centre column (a common feature on mid-tier and above tripods), still takes up a reasonable amount of space, the tripod gets in the way and makes it harder to adjust settings on the camera (less of an issue if you tether it to a computer).

peak-design-travel-tripod-upside-down.jpg.36c4a905a1c84d8075269988cbad3f2b.jpg

 

A better option would be a "Copy Stand" like this one. It does exactly what you need it to and no more (downside is it's not useful for other types of photography). You can generally find cheaper ones on Amazon too. The things you want to check are: the vertical column height (will it give you enough room with the camera + lens length + minimum focus distance of the lens), the weight the mechanism on the vertical column can support, and how the adjustment mechanism works.

Ideally you'd want a mechanism that can be loosen so that you can twist a knob to adjust the height up/down but also so that the mechanism can be tightened to "lock it off" and prevent movement. Worst case is a mechanism that can't support itself and the camera so that when you want to move the camera up/down, you have to hold the camera and physical move it and then lock the mechanism in place. Nothing wrong with that, just a convenience factor.

Similar to the copy stand, but perhaps even better, is the WeMacro vertical stand. These are very affordable and good quality and are widely used in the macro photography community. One problem I heard is that if you mount the camera directly to the stand (i.e. without the motorised linear rail shown in the photos), the camera may not extend far enough out to place it over the XY table below it, which allows you to centre the subject below the camera. This is easily fixed by buying some extra camera adapters from Amazon to make up that distance but requires a bit more fiddling than some might like.

Lastly, and I think this is what Doug has done, is to build your own stand out of wood + some camera adapters. This is the most affordable option and virtually gives you all the features you would find in the above solutions, it just requires a small bit of know-how in terms of designing and assembling it.

What I would do in that case is to buy one of these long double-sided arca rails and screw it to the vertical wood column and then buy one of these double-sided arca clamps to attach to the rail, then you just need a small arca plate to attach to your camera's tripod thread and to the double-sided arca clamp. You then adjust the bottom part of the arca clamp that is attached to the long arca rail to adjust the camera's vertical position. I recommend the long double-sided arca rail so as to provide clearance between the wood and the arca rail as the clamp needs a bit of room to run in the dovetail grooves.

Downside of this method is that the adjustment is not very precise but that likely won't be needed unless you have a proper macro lens.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

It doesn't make sense to spend money on a few coins of pictures that I upload to a WordPress blog. I hope you understand.

Does it make any difference at all to take a 30mm, 40mm or 60mm lens for coin photography? What do you think about the overall quality? I'm leaning towards the 7artisan 60mm. But if you say - it doesn't matter whether 30mm or 60mm - and the Olympus 30mm is of better quality than the 60mm from 7artisan - then I would take the former.

Oh yes - the lenses from other manufacturers do not have Auto Focus, of course. But that doesn't matter in a tripod for coin photography anyway. I only use the manual zoom for such things anyway.

 

Thank you for your opinions and tips.

As you say, autofocus isn't needed for coin photography and I never use it myself so don't worry about buying a lens without it. In terms of focal length, I would aim for 60mm as that would give you about 120mm full-frame equivalent focal length. I use a 100mm full-frame lens and you really need that focal length to give you enough space to light the coin. In that case, either the 40mm or 60mm micro full third lenses should be OK for this purpose, but the longer the focal length the better so I'd personally go for the 60mm.

The 7Artisans lens seems to have decent reviews so that sounds like a good option but it's worth reading a few reviews about it online to see how people find the experience of using it as well as the photo quality.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

I think I will order one of this ones...

image.png.ab8fd5cba0b5bbc92b2c70ae601115d7.png

Amazon Link

 

Or this one?!

image.png.759dd727977d46e83deb329586222608.png

Amazon Link

 

 

But at the last one - I dont now how good the quality is. So I think I prefer to test the first solution.

 

 

Yeah the last one I would trust less to support a weight without shifting. You also could have some issues with vibration in the arm and difficulty in ensuring it's actually perpendicular to the surface and not tilted in any one of three axes.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Kaleun96 said:

As you say, autofocus isn't needed for coin photography and I never use it myself so don't worry about buying a lens without it. In terms of focal length, I would aim for 60mm as that would give you about 120mm full-frame equivalent focal length. I use a 100mm full-frame lens and you really need that focal length to give you enough space to light the coin. In that case, either the 40mm or 60mm micro full third lenses should be OK for this purpose, but the longer the focal length the better so I'd personally go for the 60mm.

The 7Artisans lens seems to have decent reviews so that sounds like a good option but it's worth reading a few reviews about it online to see how people find the experience of using it as well as the photo quality.

 

21 minutes ago, Kaleun96 said:

Yeah the last one I would trust less to support a weight without shifting. You also could have some issues with vibration in the arm and difficulty in ensuring it's actually perpendicular to the surface and not tilted in any one of three axes.

Thank you for your professional tips. Then I will read up on the 7artisan 60mm and if there is nothing wrong - order it. Thank you!

And for the mount - I will take the first one - with the fixed arm. I also think that this is more stable.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Kaleun96 said:

This is probably the best you can get for $50 without being patient and stalking eBay for a few weeks, though shipping is $20: https://www.ebay.com/itm/202662699439

It's a 40x40mm stage with +/- 10 degrees of rotation and a height of rotation of 40mm (anything placed 40mm above the stage will not translate in a horizontal direction as it is rotated). It's small but enough if you're just putting a coin on top of it. One issue for US folks is that it's metric, so the hole spacing and threaded diameters are both metric, but that may not be too much of a problem.

Though it would probably be worth offering $70 on something like this instead as it's imperial and has a micrometer, which will be much easier for adjusting the angle than the knob on the other one. The range is only +/- 5 degrees but that's plenty and the center of rotation is ~35mm above the stage.

Thanks, @Kaleun96! I'm in Canada (metric FTW!), and I'm patient, so I'll probably set up an ebay search and hopefully manage to get something like the second one on the cheap. 🙂 

Re: @Prieure de Sion's question about a macro lens, is there really enough of an advantage of a macro over an extension tube to justify the expense?  Especially when you're only photographing coins and so don't need the corners of the field?

@ambr0zie, as another option, here's a simpler DIY copy stand design made from 2x4's:

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

Re: @Prieure de Sion's question about a macro lens, is there really enough of an advantage of a macro over an extension tube to justify the expense?  Especially when you're only photographing coins and so don't need the corners of the field?

Unfortunately I can't say - I don't know enough about extension rings - what kind of quality loss I will have in the end.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Severus Alexander said:

Thanks, @Kaleun96! I'm in Canada (metric FTW!), and I'm patient, so I'll probably set up an ebay search and hopefully manage to get something like the second one on the cheap. 🙂 

Re: @Prieure de Sion's question about a macro lens, is there really enough of an advantage of a macro over an extension tube to justify the expense?  Especially when you're only photographing coins and so don't need the corners of the field?

No problem! Feel free to PM me if you find one and have any questions about it. Newport and Thorlabs are the two current big names when it comes to this gear, Melles Griot is a third but IMO the equipment is usually a bit older. Misumi and Suruga Seiki are both respectable brands as well and you can't go wrong with them. But there will be lots of no-name / small time brands out there that are likely good enough for this purpose too.

Re: your macro lens question. Extension tubes are likely good enough for most people but there are a few downsides:

1. It's a pain if you want to change the magnification of the setup for a smaller/larger coin. You could find a sweet spot magnification that works for all coins but of course it means you're not getting the most out of the system (which maybe OK depending on your needs).

2. Optical issues. Macro lenses are specifically designed to work within their magnification range and will try to correct for common issues such as chromatic aberration and curved image fields (where only the centre of the image is in focus at one time). An extension tube setup may or may not have these problems, it would depend on the specific lens and extension.

3. Focal length. Extension tubes tend to work best on smaller focal lengths (e.g. <50mm) and are less effective on longer focal lengths (> 80mm), where instead a close-up diopter would be better. What this means is that your working distance with extension tubes is likely to be very small, it's even possible to have a negative working distance (i.e. the focal point will be inside the extension tubes) if you have too much extension. Smaller working distances make it more difficult to light the coin properly.

4. No lens EXIF data, auto aperture, or auto focus if you use extension tubes without electronic contacts. That being said, my macro lens, the Laowa 100mm 2x, actually doesn't do any of those things so it's not a big problem IMO.

But these aren't problems that can't be solved, and in fact many macrophotographers use extension tubes combined with particular lenses that solve a lot of the issues above. For example, extension tubes paired with a cheap enlarger lens can work quite well. You could even use a bellows instead of solid tubes to allow you to easily change the extension distance.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
9 hours ago, Kaleun96 said:

A better option would be a "Copy Stand" like this one. It does exactly what you need it to and no more (downside is it's not useful for other types of photography). You can generally find cheaper ones on Amazon too. The things you want to check are: the vertical column height (will it give you enough room with the camera + lens length + minimum focus distance of the lens), the weight the mechanism on the vertical column can support, and how the adjustment mechanism works.

Ideally you'd want a mechanism that can be loosen so that you can twist a knob to adjust the height up/down but also so that the mechanism can be tightened to "lock it off" and prevent movement. Worst case is a mechanism that can't support itself and the camera so that when you want to move the camera up/down, you have to hold the camera and physical move it and then lock the mechanism in place. Nothing wrong with that, just a convenience factor.

Similar to the copy stand, but perhaps even better, is the WeMacro vertical stand. These are very affordable and good quality and are widely used in the macro photography community. One problem I heard is that if you mount the camera directly to the stand (i.e. without the motorised linear rail shown in the photos), the camera may not extend far enough out to place it over the XY table below it, which allows you to centre the subject below the camera. This is easily fixed by buying some extra camera adapters from Amazon to make up that distance but requires a bit more fiddling than some might like.

Lastly, and I think this is what Doug has done, is to build your own stand out of wood + some camera adapters. This is the most affordable option and virtually gives you all the features you would find in the above solutions, it just requires a small bit of know-how in terms of designing and assembling it.

What I would do in that case is to buy one of these long double-sided arca rails and screw it to the vertical wood column and then buy one of these double-sided arca clamps to attach to the rail, then you just need a small arca plate to attach to your camera's tripod thread and to the double-sided arca clamp. You then adjust the bottom part of the arca clamp that is attached to the long arca rail to adjust the camera's vertical position. I recommend the long double-sided arca rail so as to provide clearance between the wood and the arca rail as the clamp needs a bit of room to run in the dovetail grooves.

Downside of this method is that the adjustment is not very precise but that likely won't be needed unless you have a proper macro lens.

I'm currently in the process of rebuilding my setup, and a copy stand is where I'm most lacking. In my case, I'm after something that's relatively flexible, since I'll use it immediately for coins and later for photomicrography.

So far, this one seems interesting. For coins, I need something strong enough to support my StackShot, R5 + 100 macro. For photomicrography, I'll have a bit more weight with the tube lens and adapters. The stand should be strong to minimize vibrations.

The WeMacro stand looks interesting, but I doubt that it will allow enough room for everything. I also want some space to experiment with different lighting options. I have some ideas, but I'm not really sure how I'll light it yet since I'll have to play around to see what works and what doesn't.

Would you know of any stands that work better? The Kaiser is probably at the top of my budget for copy stands, but I don't mind paying for quality equipment.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a Sony alpha 77, which is fine for normal photography, but what should I do; get an extension tube?  Severus Alexander has mentioned the tube to me before, but I forgot to look if it's Minolta/Sony friendly.

Should I go after a digital rebel, or something of the sort?  It'd be awfully inconvenient to have to constantly hook the camera up to the contraption.  I use it.

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are doing enough coin photography to justify a dedicated camera, I see nothing wrong with buying an old Digital Rebel but there are several brands of tubes that will fit the Sony A77.   Just be sure they and A mount and have the 8 metal contacts on the tubes that match the ones on your camera and lens.  I know little about Sony cameras but have been happy with Kenko, Meike and Commlite for my Canons.   I understand Sony has stopped supporting the A mount that your camera uses and the camera is a decade old.  I might consider buying a newer camera and setting up one as just for coins. 

Over the years I have built several stands for coin photography.  None of these still exist but you need to know what camera and lens is to be uused to get the measurements right .... or just build one and keep drilling holes until it fits. 

0macrorig.jpg

0rigout0912.jpg

0sunshade.jpg

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Friends of the image...

after I am not satisfied with my mobile phone camera (depth of field, resolution by zooming in...) and the experiment with the microscope camera did not go well either - and I already own an Olympus system camera - I decided to buy a macro lens.

However - and I'm not sure about this - I'm wavering on the subject of price and performance. After all, I would buy the macro just because of the coins! I don't photograph anything else in the macro range. Of course, you can also buy equipment for several thousand euros - the question is - is it worth it for a few pictures a year?

I would therefore like to have a lens that has a good quality at a good price. I don't need the best - but I don't want to throw money away either.

I have the choice between a 30mm, 40mm and 60mm macro.

 

First of all, the 30mm and 60mm lenses from Olympus around 250 euros and 450 euros. Both are with Auto Focus and are the original lenses for my camera. The 60mm is currently on sale here in Germany.

Olympus Zuiko 30mm

Olympus Zuiko 60mm

The alternative would be third party manufacturers. here I could buy a 40mm and another 60mm lens.

TT Artisan 40mm

7artisans 60mm

 

If you look at the prices again.
Olympus Zuiko 30mm - ca. 250 Euro
Olympus Zuiko 60mm - ca. 450 Euro
TT Artisan 40mm - ca. 120 Euro
7artisans 60mm - ca. 230 Euro

 

But the (cheapest) price is not the most important thing! But as I have already written - when I go on holiday I can buy a 500 Euro car and be afraid to arrive, I can buy a decent car for 5000 Euro - and I can buy a 500,000 Euro car - which is nonsense. 

And at some point - I think - it doesn't make sense to spend money on a few coins of pictures that I upload to a WordPress blog. I hope you understand.

Does it make any difference at all to take a 30mm, 40mm or 60mm lens for coin photography? What do you think about the overall quality? I'm leaning towards the 7artisan 60mm. But if you say - it doesn't matter whether 30mm or 60mm - and the Olympus 30mm is of better quality than the 60mm from 7artisan - then I would take the former.

Oh yes - the lenses from other manufacturers do not have Auto Focus, of course. But that doesn't matter in a tripod for coin photography anyway. I only use the manual zoom for such things anyway.

 

Thank you for your opinions and tips.

I use Olympus Micro 4/3rds and shoot coins with an old E-M1 and the Olympus 60mm macro on a copystand.   I'm happy with my results, but I'm easily satisfied.   I have the more recent E-M1 MkII which has a better sensor and more tricks, but I wouldn't expect dramatically better results with it, so I leave the macro lens on the E-M1 most of the time for coin photos.   I got the 60mm new but at a discount as the box was damaged; the camera was secondhand.

This was my messy setup in early 2019 - I haven't used the two attached lamps recently, just the LED panel mounted on the camera (Aputure AL-M9 Amaran).

USER_SCOPED_TEMP_DATA_MSGR_PHOTO_FOR_UPLOAD_1549841230544.jpg_1549841234369.jpeg.0a91f7a3b29f8064f166f78c166f3e46.jpeg

I control the camera remotely from my 'phone.   Depending on the camera you have, you'll probably have in-camera focus stacking and/or focus bracketing, which can be useful with thick coins.   I haven't recently used in-camera focus stacking or focus bracketing - in-camera stacking will work with the Olympus 30mm & 60mm macro lenses (and some other Olympus lenses), but not with the third-party lenses you mention.   In-camera focus bracketing will only work with lenses which can be focused by the camera (i.e., not manual lenses).   This may or may not be an issue - it's not something I currently use.

I use autofocus, manually set to f/8 or f/9 and adjust the shutter time for a good exposure and shoot - the first coin is sitting on a piece of anti-static foam, the second is raised above a dark background probably by the dowel rod pictured above.   I'm sure that with some time I could do better, but once I added the macro lens and copystand and decent light, the results reached a level I was happy with.

OI000228.jpg.5e3b73dc33c491774abe8de3af006344.jpg1710941594_OI000337(1).JPG.436d108fc09cf404a69ddbf3a3a87106.JPG

ATB,

Aidan.

Edited by akeady
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
  • Mind blown 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, CPK said:

@akeady WOW! I absolutely LOVE the perspective on that bottom coin/medal! That is remarkable!

Thanks! - it's a Pius IX medal from 1873.   There are a number of other similar medals by the same artist (Giovanni Bianchi).

http://www.tantaluscoins.com/coins/105937.php

The only other one I've got is this bronze with a view of a chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore from 1872.

http://www.tantaluscoins.com/coins/132433.php

I made it to the Basilica of St. Lawrence (the original medal) in January and took this photo'.   The columns bear some damage, probably related to an air raid in 1943 which blew off the facade of the church.   If you crop it in a bit and imagine the pews removed, it looks like the medal.

OI000501_ORF.jpg.af1ede0f0ad5481659b5af74c376ecd0.jpg

ATB,

Aidan.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, kirispupis said:

I'm currently in the process of rebuilding my setup, and a copy stand is where I'm most lacking. In my case, I'm after something that's relatively flexible, since I'll use it immediately for coins and later for photomicrography.

So far, this one seems interesting. For coins, I need something strong enough to support my StackShot, R5 + 100 macro. For photomicrography, I'll have a bit more weight with the tube lens and adapters. The stand should be strong to minimize vibrations.

The WeMacro stand looks interesting, but I doubt that it will allow enough room for everything. I also want some space to experiment with different lighting options. I have some ideas, but I'm not really sure how I'll light it yet since I'll have to play around to see what works and what doesn't.

Would you know of any stands that work better? The Kaiser is probably at the top of my budget for copy stands, but I don't mind paying for quality equipment.

I've gone through a few iterations myself, though haven't yet tried a copy stand or the WeMacro. Someone on photomacrography.net turned me on to the Thorlabs XT66 rails and I've never looked back. What I love about them is that they're plenty strong, can be assembled and disassembled easily, and have dovetails that are compatible with ARCA clamps so you can attach a clamp anywhere one is needed without having to thread it into a breadboard or similar.

I also like how I can easily change between a vertical and horizontal setup: I just loosen the rail clamps at the bottom and rotate the L-shaped XT66 rails 90 degrees:

DSC04432.jpg

I wouldn't normally recommend them but since you're looking at copy stands in that price range, and this setup can be made cheaper, I thought I'd suggested it just in case.

You'd need:

2x XT66 750mm rails = $225

1x XT66P2 rail carriage = $76

2x XT66P3 mounting plates = $120

1x XT66RA1 right-angle clamp = $55

1x Optical Breadboard (I have the 6" x 18") = $136

That's a total of $612 before tax. Not cheap but a quality setup that can easily be adapted down the road.

You could also save $75 on the XT66 rails by buying the raw extrusion (unanodized) in a 2m length for $150. Then you could have different cut-off lengths for the L shape for when you need a small setup or the extra length and working distance.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...