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Capturing color while taking coin images (buffalo nickel)

Morgan13Morgan13 Posts: 870 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 10, 2024 9:58AM in U.S. Coin Forum

This is a technique I cannot seem to even get started with.
I have a 1937 nickel that believe to be a very high grade coin with the most amazing color that I have ever seen.
I need to get it graded but I wanted to post it here for opinions.
Does anyone have a special technique for capturing color while imaging?

Student of numismatics and collector of Morgan dollars
Successful BST transactions with: Namvet Justindan Mattniss RWW olah_in_MA

Comments

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,828 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Diffuse lighting. Neutral backdrop

  • RonsandersonRonsanderson Posts: 41 ✭✭✭

    It may help to slightly underexpose the photo so the colors are not washed out.

  • Morgan13Morgan13 Posts: 870 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 10, 2024 9:57AM

    I tried so hard and this hard and this is the best I could do with what I am setup with. Decent image but it doesn't show the color.
    I will try again later when I have time.

    Student of numismatics and collector of Morgan dollars
    Successful BST transactions with: Namvet Justindan Mattniss RWW olah_in_MA

  • Morgan13Morgan13 Posts: 870 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Ronsanderson said:
    It may help to slightly underexpose the photo so the colors are not washed out.

    What does underexpose mean?

    Student of numismatics and collector of Morgan dollars
    Successful BST transactions with: Namvet Justindan Mattniss RWW olah_in_MA

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Do you see the color better with your eye straight on or when on an angle ?

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,007 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It looks like you need a lot more light on the coin.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • robecrobec Posts: 6,599 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don’t know all the technical terms and combinations of what setting works with what setting like some savvy people do. I know what works for me. The lights set at 10-2 or 10-2-6 (if you use 3 lights) don’t always work for me. Neither does shooting with the lights straight down and high work all the time. My lights are sometimes aimed at a 45° and may be low or may be high. They may also be tight (close) to the coin/slab or the lights may be backed off (away) several inches. It all depends on what I am seeing on the tethered monitor. I adjust the light position and coin position after each shot. I don’t know how any other person does their shooting, do they adjust the lights and coin position after each shot or just keep the same setup and shoot like an assembly line?

    I can’t do that because I know the lighting changes as it hits the coin at different angles and with different orientations of the coin. There are some positions where color is hidden, rotate the coin 15° and color appears.. Move the light high, away, at a 90° or 45° and it will change again.

    In order to get the best color without hot spots or the fog created by slab glare is to aim the lights as close to the coin as you can without the glare interfering with the coin. The best way to know is to watch on the tethered monitor while you make your adjustments in moving the lights and/or the position of the coin.




  • robecrobec Posts: 6,599 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When you do get your setup tethered be sure to watch where the white box in the viewing area is. This box does a couple of things. One is if you double click anywhere inside the box another window open with a magnified view of everything inside the box. Another thing it does is it will affect exposure. Depending where in the viewing area this box is covering, the result may be too dark, too light or just where you want it. If the box is over a bright area the result will be dark. If over a dark area the result may be too bright. Just make sure it is in an area that looks like you want it. Drag it with the mouse to see instant results.


  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,752 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @robec said:
    When you do get your setup tethered be sure to watch where the white box in the viewing area is. This box does a couple of things. One is if you double click anywhere inside the box another window open with a magnified view of everything inside the box. Another thing it does is it will affect exposure. Depending where in the viewing area this box is covering, the result may be too dark, too light or just where you want it. If the box is over a bright area the result will be dark. If over a dark area the result may be too bright. Just make sure it is in an area that looks like you want it. Drag it with the mouse to see instant results.


    Bob is that the Cannon software? If so yours looks a bit different than mine.

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  • robecrobec Posts: 6,599 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When you do get your setup tethered be sure to > @coinbuf said:

    @robec said:
    When you do get your setup tethered be sure to watch where the white box in the viewing area is. This box does a couple of things. One is if you double click anywhere inside the box another window open with a magnified view of everything inside the box. Another thing it does is it will affect exposure. Depending where in the viewing area this box is covering, the result may be too dark, too light or just where you want it. If the box is over a bright area the result will be dark. If over a dark area the result may be too bright. Just make sure it is in an area that looks like you want it. Drag it with the mouse to see instant results.


    Bob is that the Cannon software? If so yours looks a bit different than mine.

    It is. The part I’m showing is the test shooting screen.
    You’re probably talking about the main controller screen.

  • lcoopielcoopie Posts: 8,755 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You sir are underexposed.

    To get the colors you may have to tilt the coin and move the lights around.

    LCoopie = Les
  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @robec said:

    Are the diffusers over your lights Numis Products or Alfred & Colella caps?

  • robecrobec Posts: 6,599 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When you do > @davewesen said:

    @robec said:

    Are the diffusers over your lights Numis Products or Alfred & Colella caps?

    I don’t used those any more because the squared edges would grab or interfere with something or another. They are the caps of 50¢ size coin tubes. I’m using ping pong balls for diffusers now.

  • RonsandersonRonsanderson Posts: 41 ✭✭✭

    @Morgan13 said:

    @Ronsanderson said:
    It may help to slightly underexpose the photo so the colors are not washed out.

    What does underexpose mean?

    To underexpose a photo means that it’s too dark, overexpose means it is too bright. The terms derive from the days of chemical negatives, where the film needed to be exposed to a specific amount of light. If you under-exposed then there wasn’t enough light to drive the chemical reactions to their optimum. If it was over-exposed, some areas of the film would have a maximum reaction to the light and could not react any further, giving a bright highlight with little detail.

    You can control the light in a film camera by adjusting the time the shutter is open, or by adjusting the aperture so it opened wider to let in more light, or close it more to let in less.

    My setup is nearly identical to Bob’s. (Hi, Bob.) Same lights, same positions, same ping-pong ball diffusers, and same software on the computer. I set the camera so I have a pretty small aperture, which increases depth of field. It’s also cutting down on the light. So, I need longer shutter speeds to get enough light into the camera.

    I think a coin photo can look pretty good at a range of brightnesses. By “slightly underexpose”, I might choose a 1/6 second exposure if I want more light or the next speed, at 1/8 sec, if I want a little less. Since the colors can be delicate, you want to avoid blowing them out by having too much brightness. You don’t want it dark, of course, which is why I emphasize a “slight” adjustment.

    Here are two photos to illustrate a slight difference in exposure.

  • Morgan13Morgan13 Posts: 870 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Shooting the coin the way I did was the only way I could successfully get some of the color to show.
    @FlyingAl I was going to use photoshop to try to brighten it up a bit but didn’t want to botch it up. Photoshop is also a new challenge for me. I can crop no problem but beyond that it’s all a mystery to me.
    The coin is entirely blanketed in color and is very nice. No flat spots as far as color is concerned.
    I tried for so long to get this shot.
    It’s all part of a learning curve for me. I’ve never done any of this before.
    I don’t know how to grade Buffalo nickels but this one certainly looks special to me.
    Some of the finer details of the coin cannot be seen because of shadows.

    Student of numismatics and collector of Morgan dollars
    Successful BST transactions with: Namvet Justindan Mattniss RWW olah_in_MA

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,898 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Morgan13 said:

    @Ronsanderson said:
    It may help to slightly underexpose the photo so the colors are not washed out.

    What does underexpose mean?

    Two settings control how much light hits the sensor when taking a photo: aperture controls how big the opening at the back of the lens is, and shutter controls how long the sensor is receiving light. A photo will be brighter when the aperture is larger (unhelpfully, this means a smaller f stop number) and/or the shutter is slower (open longer). The opposite for a darker photo. A photo is underexposed when it's too dark, overexposed when it's too bright.

    To expose a photo just as you want in a fully manual way, you'd set the aperture and shutter. This is perfectly fine, but it's also more work on your part. For me, in just about any type of photography I do, the aperture makes the most difference, so I shoot in aperture mode, where I set the f-stop I use, and the shutter is a fall-out calculated by the camera. But sometimes the camera and I disagree about how bright things should be (maybe it's factoring in the white NGC slab being bright and darkening the whole photo, for example). Instead of changing the shutter in manual mode, I can just change the exposure compensation--you'll see that as +/-EV, typically in steps of around 1/3. +EV will brighten the photo (aperture stays the same, shutter gets slower) and -EV will darken the photo. If you shoot in shutter priority, the same effect will happen for brightness, but the camera will adjust the aperture accordingly.

    In short, if your photo is underexposed, it's too dark, and you'll want to make a change to increase the brightness when it's shot. If you shoot in RAW, you may be able to do this exposure correction on a computer, but the more significant the correction (or if you don't shoot in RAW) the more you'll want the original photo to be taken properly so you capture the most detail.

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