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Critique my photography!

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have had a great Christmas break.

I was given a set of extension tubes for my Canon Rebel, which tremendously improved my numismatic photography. I'm using the standard 18-55mm Canon lens, and these photos were taken with 21mm in extension tubes (and with axial lighting). Critique my photos in the comments, I'm eager to hear ways to improve!


Comments

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice! I really like it, not much to improve!

    My only critique would be that you seem to be losing a bit of focus towards the edges of the photo - not sure what is causing it. Keep it up!

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

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    gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,428 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Looks better than my photos thats for sure.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

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    morgandollar1878morgandollar1878 Posts: 4,006 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Looks pretty good, just seems a touch out of focus.

    Instagram: nomad_numismatics
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    WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,709 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You are killing it! Show us more.

    WS

    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
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    PedzolaPedzola Posts: 1,009 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 26, 2022 5:52PM

    Looks great. Would love to see a picture of your setup.

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    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Holy crap - after looking at them blue/purple photos I've gone blind and need my cane to go outside to feed the ducks!!!!!!!

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

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    airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,909 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice shot. I agree with the comments that the reverse looks a bit fuzzy (the obverse a bit less so), which could be from the focus just missing by a hair or if the coin was slightly tilted and couldn’t be entirely in focus. What aperture did you use?

    My experience with these types of coins says they’re usually a bit more electric than the photos show, and sometimes diffused lighting can wash out the color a bit. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t have a problem using a little color enhancement on a computer to make the final result look like the coin in hand (to be very clear, making the photo realistic is fine, I am not encouraging juicing to make the photo look unrealistic, especially if you’re selling versus showing off).

    One last question—is this coin slabbed or raw?

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
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    CentSearcherCentSearcher Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    I'm going to try to answer everyone's questions here at once:

    I do agree that it's a bit out of focus, particularly around the rims. I took these photos using the camera's shutter button, which might have caused a little bit of shaking. I'll invest in a remote shutter soon, hopefully that'll make a difference.

    I'm not really going to bother showing my setup quite yet, because at the moment I'm just using random parts I have lying around (a tripod, desk lamp, UV filter for the glass of the axial lighting, etc). But in a few weeks, I will be purchasing the components I need to build a sturdier, more convenient, and permanent setup. I have already bought a small table to build it on, now I just need to order the rail for the copy stand, the lights, and the remote shutter.

    And as for the coin in the photo, it is raw. I have found axial lighting to be terrible for imaging slabbed coins, so I'll be experimenting with other solutions later on.

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CentSearcher said:
    I'm going to try to answer everyone's questions here at once:

    I do agree that it's a bit out of focus, particularly around the rims. I took these photos using the camera's shutter button, which might have caused a little bit of shaking. I'll invest in a remote shutter soon, hopefully that'll make a difference.

    I'm not really going to bother showing my setup quite yet, because at the moment I'm just using random parts I have lying around (a tripod, desk lamp, UV filter for the glass of the axial lighting, etc). But in a few weeks, I will be purchasing the components I need to build a sturdier, more convenient, and permanent setup. I have already bought a small table to build it on, now I just need to order the rail for the copy stand, the lights, and the remote shutter.

    And as for the coin in the photo, it is raw. I have found axial lighting to be terrible for imaging slabbed coins, so I'll be experimenting with other solutions later on.

    I use a Rebel XTi, and it has a timer feature. Not sure if this is true for the Rebel, but there would be no need for a remote shutter then - you press the shutter and in ten seconds the camera takes the photo. Eliminates the camera shake.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

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    robecrobec Posts: 6,603 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:

    @CentSearcher said:
    I'm going to try to answer everyone's questions here at once:

    I do agree that it's a bit out of focus, particularly around the rims. I took these photos using the camera's shutter button, which might have caused a little bit of shaking. I'll invest in a remote shutter soon, hopefully that'll make a difference.

    I'm not really going to bother showing my setup quite yet, because at the moment I'm just using random parts I have lying around (a tripod, desk lamp, UV filter for the glass of the axial lighting, etc). But in a few weeks, I will be purchasing the components I need to build a sturdier, more convenient, and permanent setup. I have already bought a small table to build it on, now I just need to order the rail for the copy stand, the lights, and the remote shutter.

    And as for the coin in the photo, it is raw. I have found axial lighting to be terrible for imaging slabbed coins, so I'll be experimenting with other solutions later on.

    I use a Rebel XTi, and it has a timer feature. Not sure if this is true for the Rebel, but there would be no need for a remote shutter then - you press the shutter and in ten seconds the camera takes the photo. Eliminates the camera shake.

    The remote for the Rebel XTi worked great, even better than setting a timer for each shot. One utility that works even better is the EOS Utility which allows for the computer to control the camera. You can see the coin on the computer monitor and snap the photo with the keyboard. You are able to see live changes as you move the lights and/or coin around. The utility is free software with the camera.

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    CoinscratchCoinscratch Posts: 7,928 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great pic and I would say Lincoln looks maybe just a hair too dark.

    I’m at beginning level not even amateur yet and currently struggling with the lights and basic operations. So I hope to learn something here.
    I recently had a small breakthrough or found a happy place using indirect light, then actually direct to my surprise.
    I have a copy desk with an Eos, a basic macro lens, and a two desk lamps diffused with coffee filters :D
    My breakthrough was waiting till it was dark then surrounding my set up with a white science fair trifold board. That covers three sides then I can cover the the top (where the lights are pointed) with another white piece or move it around while snapping shots.

    While it works great for proofs and PLs it is not 100% accurate.

    Now critique mine.


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    The_Dinosaur_ManThe_Dinosaur_Man Posts: 839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A very good start in the OP. I use a USB tether for remote shutter release which eliminates all camera shake and puts the resulting photo on a large monitor for quick review. Make sure your glass for axial lighting is as thin as you can find one, I've found that thicker glass like those of picture frames can distort an image and make them blurry.

    Custom album maker and numismatic photographer, see my portfolio here: (http://www.donahuenumismatics.com/).

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    1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 13,772 ✭✭✭✭✭

    nice pics :)

    Successful transactions with : MICHAELDIXON, Manorcourtman, Bochiman, bolivarshagnasty, AUandAG, onlyroosies, chumley, Weiss, jdimmick, BAJJERFAN, gene1978, TJM965, Smittys, GRANDAM, JTHawaii, mainejoe, softparade, derryb

    Bad transactions with : nobody to date

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Amazing pictures.... Coin photography has come a long, long ways. (Without me by the way :D;) ).... Cheers, RickO

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    MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,667 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Maybe your white balance is off? That cent looks really blue to me. :p

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    slider23slider23 Posts: 638 ✭✭✭✭

    The biggest issue is the soft focus, and around the rims it is out of focus. On the reverse, the image is hot spotting on the left side. Does the photo present the coin as it looks in hand?

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    CentSearcherCentSearcher Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel T3, which does have a timer feature, I just haven't used it yet. Glad you brought that up, I'll give it a try in my next session. I did try to install the EOS utility software on my computer, but unfortunately, I wasn't given the needed disc with the camera.

    That's a good point about the thickness of the glass. Originally, I used a basic picture frame glass, and now I'm using a UV filter. When I start buying more parts for my setup, I'll research the best and thinnest option.

    I agree, the photos make the coin slightly darker in some places than it is in hand. I don't think the white balance is off though, the coin has a very deep blue tone that I think is accurately represented in the photos.

    Looks like the biggest problem I'm facing right now is the focus, I'm going to try to see how much I can improve that today with the tips you have given me. Thanks everyone!

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    rmpsrpmsrmpsrpms Posts: 1,817 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Overall the photos look great @CentSearcher! I think you're running up against the limitations of the 18-55mm kit lens. It is not a flat-field lens, so it will be hard to get the whole coin in focus. In both photos the center of the coin is pretty sharp but the rims are soft. This is most likely just a symptom of the lens field curvature. You could make it a little more consistent with smaller aperture (bigger number) but the overall sharpness will likely degrade. Flat field is one of the benefits of macro (and enlarging/duplicating) lenses.

    PM me for coin photography equipment, or visit my website:

    http://macrocoins.com
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    CoinscratchCoinscratch Posts: 7,928 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rmpsrpms BTW I am enjoying the set up you sold me - Just now starting to actually use it.

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    messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,701 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sharpness: Play with the focus to see if it's possible to get edges and center in focus at the same time. The kit lens is not designed to work well in a macro environment with flat objects, so it's going to limit you. If you're using a shorter focal length to get close, you might want to try the 55 mm setting and backing up. You won't be able to focus as closely, but you'll be using more of the center of the image. If you try to fix the sharpness using a small aperture to get increased depth of field, you'll get increased diffraction, which will reduce sharpness. You've also added a piece of glass that's not helping the whole optical chain.

    Color: I don't know what the color of the coin is, so I'll assume it's correct.

    Exposure: Watch your histograms. The coin looks a bit dark overall. You can increase the exposure a little without losing data in your red and blue channels. As you increase exposure, you may lose some saturation, but you can bring this back in post-processing as long as you don't start clipping the color channels too much.

    Lighting: Axial lighting works well for capturing all of the colors of a raw coin, but you are missing all of the luster and surface qualities. See if you can add another light source that might help pick up some luster.

    If you have a remote trigger for the camera, either through a UI on the computer it's tethered to or a hand-held remote, use it.

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    airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,909 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:

    @CentSearcher said:
    I'm going to try to answer everyone's questions here at once:

    I do agree that it's a bit out of focus, particularly around the rims. I took these photos using the camera's shutter button, which might have caused a little bit of shaking. I'll invest in a remote shutter soon, hopefully that'll make a difference.

    I'm not really going to bother showing my setup quite yet, because at the moment I'm just using random parts I have lying around (a tripod, desk lamp, UV filter for the glass of the axial lighting, etc). But in a few weeks, I will be purchasing the components I need to build a sturdier, more convenient, and permanent setup. I have already bought a small table to build it on, now I just need to order the rail for the copy stand, the lights, and the remote shutter.

    And as for the coin in the photo, it is raw. I have found axial lighting to be terrible for imaging slabbed coins, so I'll be experimenting with other solutions later on.

    I use a Rebel XTi, and it has a timer feature. Not sure if this is true for the Rebel, but there would be no need for a remote shutter then - you press the shutter and in ten seconds the camera takes the photo. Eliminates the camera shake.

    While the timer works in a pinch, I’d recommend a remote trigger for efficiency. If you’re photographing dozens of coins or just need to try many lighting angles for a give coin until one works, it’s a lot faster to use a remote than set up each shot and wait. Yes, you can set the remote to be less than 10 seconds, but I’d still prefer to just have the photo taken the moment it’s ready.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
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    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Coinscratch said:
    Now critique mine.


    3 years makes a Hell of a difference - LOL!

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

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    spyglassdesignspyglassdesign Posts: 1,511 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @robec said:

    @FlyingAl said:

    @CentSearcher said:
    I'm going to try to answer everyone's questions here at once:

    I do agree that it's a bit out of focus, particularly around the rims. I took these photos using the camera's shutter button, which might have caused a little bit of shaking. I'll invest in a remote shutter soon, hopefully that'll make a difference.

    I'm not really going to bother showing my setup quite yet, because at the moment I'm just using random parts I have lying around (a tripod, desk lamp, UV filter for the glass of the axial lighting, etc). But in a few weeks, I will be purchasing the components I need to build a sturdier, more convenient, and permanent setup. I have already bought a small table to build it on, now I just need to order the rail for the copy stand, the lights, and the remote shutter.

    And as for the coin in the photo, it is raw. I have found axial lighting to be terrible for imaging slabbed coins, so I'll be experimenting with other solutions later on.

    I use a Rebel XTi, and it has a timer feature. Not sure if this is true for the Rebel, but there would be no need for a remote shutter then - you press the shutter and in ten seconds the camera takes the photo. Eliminates the camera shake.

    The remote for the Rebel XTi worked great, even better than setting a timer for each shot. One utility that works even better is the EOS Utility which allows for the computer to control the camera. You can see the coin on the computer monitor and snap the photo with the keyboard. You are able to see live changes as you move the lights and/or coin around. The utility is free software with the camera.

    I second this. The eos utility and being able to shoot and check clarity on the pc made huge difference for me!

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    OldIndianNutKaseOldIndianNutKase Posts: 2,700 ✭✭✭✭✭

    On a DLSR it is important that you lock the mirror and shoot on tome delay. The new mirrorless cameras eliminate this issue. And as others have suggested, you can get a computer interface from your camera manufacturer which allows you to better see your image sharpness on your camera screen. Light is way more important than camera settings, so experiment with different lighting schemes, minimizing the aperture to increase your depth of field.

    And practice on nudes to hone your skills...................LOL

    OINK

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    OldIndianNutKaseOldIndianNutKase Posts: 2,700 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 28, 2022 12:20AM

    I think your picture of your 1962 Lincoln was very good. You can compare it to my 1877 which has similar colors and was done by PCGS:

    OINK

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    JimnightJimnight Posts: 10,818 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Real nice pictures ... some of the best I've seen!

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    CentSearcherCentSearcher Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    @messydesk said:
    Sharpness: Play with the focus to see if it's possible to get edges and center in focus at the same time. The kit lens is not designed to work well in a macro environment with flat objects, so it's going to limit you. If you're using a shorter focal length to get close, you might want to try the 55 mm setting and backing up. You won't be able to focus as closely, but you'll be using more of the center of the image. If you try to fix the sharpness using a small aperture to get increased depth of field, you'll get increased diffraction, which will reduce sharpness. You've also added a piece of glass that's not helping the whole optical chain.

    Color: I don't know what the color of the coin is, so I'll assume it's correct.

    Exposure: Watch your histograms. The coin looks a bit dark overall. You can increase the exposure a little without losing data in your red and blue channels. As you increase exposure, you may lose some saturation, but you can bring this back in post-processing as long as you don't start clipping the color channels too much.

    Lighting: Axial lighting works well for capturing all of the colors of a raw coin, but you are missing all of the luster and surface qualities. See if you can add another light source that might help pick up some luster.

    If you have a remote trigger for the camera, either through a UI on the computer it's tethered to or a hand-held remote, use it.

    Wow, lots of good stuff here. I haven't tried anything new yet because I've been building a more stable setup for my axial lighting. Probably should go ahead and try other lamps though, from what I've heard from the members here, it's not the best option. I can definitely see what you mean when you say that the axial lighting loses the luster and surface qualities, I'll try adding a small light to see if that helps. I'll have more photos soon as I begin experimenting tomorrow with my new setup and advice.

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