Chinese Coins Forum

Resources => Chinese Numismatic News, Articles, Books => Topic started by: PandaCollector on February 14, 2019, 01:49:23 AM

Title: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 14, 2019, 01:49:23 AM
"If you buy, sell or collect coins, sooner or later you will need coin photos..."

A brief introduction to photographing Chinese coins and why good photos can mean higher coin prices. There is also a look at an outstanding lens made by Chinese photographic company LAOWA to do it with.

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/7171/ (https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/7171/)

(http://www.pandacollector.com/2019_phone-camera.1200.jpg)

Frank, this one is for you. Thanks.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: chinesecoins.com on February 14, 2019, 04:21:16 PM
Some scanners work great too and they are fast for non-aspiring coin photographers
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 14, 2019, 05:54:32 PM
Some scanners work great too and they are fast for non-aspiring coin photographers

A scanner has the resolution to be very useful for, essentially, documenting a coin. It is fast, too. A very long time ago, I used a scanner to inventory my collection.

The scanner's lighting, though, is not flattering to some coins' appearance and may not capture all its details — especially modern Chinese coins with reflective surfaces and/or low relief. It's kind of like the difference between a portrait and a mug shot; each has its place. It is my belief, based on looking at a whole lot of coin auctions every month, that better quality photos are often associated with higher prices. That is just one incentive for putting in the effort needed to learn how to photograph coins well.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: bonke on February 14, 2019, 06:26:32 PM
My apologies in advance. 

Which is the better picture?  Neither picture is attractive from my point of view.

I often do not bid on items in auctions with "bad" pictures or with pictures which make it difficult to determine whether the problem is with the holder or with the coin or medal in the holder.  An undamaged holder and an excellent picture make it easier to decide to bid on a coin.

Mark Bonke 
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: KeepOnTrying! on February 14, 2019, 09:00:52 PM
The optics of the most current iPhone X camera is reputed to be much better than that of the iPhone 7 that you used to take Photo A. It would have been better to use the most current iPhone (or Android phone) camera to compare with the LAOWA macro lens.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: chinesecoins.com on February 14, 2019, 10:28:18 PM
My apologies in advance. 

Which is the better picture?  Neither picture is attractive from my point of view.

I often do not bid on items in auctions with "bad" pictures or with pictures which make it difficult to determine whether the problem is with the holder or with the coin or medal in the holder.  An undamaged holder and an excellent picture make it easier to decide to bid on a coin.

Mark Bonke 

B

Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 15, 2019, 12:39:01 AM
The optics of the most current iPhone X camera is reputed to be much better than that of the iPhone 7 that you used to take Photo A. It would have been better to use the most current iPhone (or Android phone) camera to compare with the LAOWA macro lens.

I'll try to do that. A couple of months ago I compared an iPhone Xr to a good camera lens – but not with a coin subject. My friend was surprised at how much better the camera image was when enlarged a bit.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 15, 2019, 07:22:33 PM
Great article. There is one point that I would mention, though: The LAOWA goes all the way to 2:1, double life size. As far as I know, this is the highest performance available from any lens sold today.

Canon has that MP-E Macro lens that supposedly can go as far as 5x or 5:1. It is hugely expensive, too.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 15, 2019, 07:25:13 PM
The attached photo was taken with Schneider Componon-S enlarging lens, about $80 on eBay. Lens shifting was used. A trick more suited for enlarging lens.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 15, 2019, 07:41:48 PM
The optics of the most current iPhone X camera is reputed to be much better than that of the iPhone 7 that you used to take Photo A. It would have been better to use the most current iPhone (or Android phone) camera to compare with the LAOWA macro lens.
Given the small lens and sensor sizes, there is no way that phone photos can match those taken with DSLRs.  Phone photos are OK when viewed on a web page, but as Peter mentioned, after enlarging, the resolution issue will be obvious.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 15, 2019, 10:06:02 PM

Canon has that MP-E Macro lens that supposedly can go as far as 5x or 5:1. It is hugely expensive, too.

Thanks very much, Frank. Yeah, I considered the Canon MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Photo lens, but because it doesn't focus to infinity (and costs $1,000) I chose to ignore it in an article aimed at a non-technical audience.  I am still waiting for someone to write to me that it is their favorite lens, though, lol. The Canon's lowest magnification of 1:1 is also pretty limiting for all but very small coins. There's more... to use a magnification greater than 2:1 almost requires a ring light, or specialized lighting. The lens gets so close to the subject that it and the camera block out most light. Ring lights that wrap around the front of the lens, are fine for some nature and medical photos (dentists all use them), but imho is not optimal for coins. They create all sorts of distracting highlights off the metal. The LAOWA 60mm macro does focus to infinity and can be used for normal photography if you really want to do that. I used it for some flower photos and the results were excellent.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 15, 2019, 10:19:42 PM
Thanks very much, Frank. Yeah, I considered the Canon MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Photo lens, but because it doesn't focus to infinity (and costs $1,000) I chose to ignore it in an article aimed at a non-technical audience. Its lowest magnification of 1:1 is also pretty limiting for all but very small coins. And... to use a magnification greater than 2:1 almost requires a ring light, or specialized lighting. The lens gets so close to the subject that it and the camera blocks out most light. I am still waiting for someone to write to me that it is their favorite lens, lol. Ring lights are fine for some nature, or medical photos (dentists all use them), but imho is not optimal for coins. The LAOWA 60mm macro does focus to infinity and can be used for normal photography if you really want to do that. I used it for some flower photos and the results were excellent.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
I absolutely agree. The smallest denomination of the Chinese circulating coins, the 1 Fen coin, is about 1:1 for APS-C cameras. For the purpose of taking the entire face of the coin, 1:1 would be enough. For 5x photos, the working distance is very small, and lighting will be difficult. The shape of Canon MP-E65mm does not help with lighting at this magnification. In comparison, the bellows macro lenses have a cone shaped body, which makes lighting a lot easier. And the price is a lot more affordable.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 15, 2019, 10:26:52 PM
The attached photo was taken with Schneider Componon-S enlarging lens, about $80 on eBay. Lens shifting was used. A trick more suited for enlarging lens.

Nice photo. Enlarging lenses are one of the greatest photographic bargains for coin photography. Schneider Componon-S are outstanding optics – and $80 is a really good price. Which focal length did you use?

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 15, 2019, 11:09:04 PM
Nice photo. Enlarging lenses are one of the greatest photographic bargains for coin photography. Schneider Componon-S are outstanding optics – and $80 is a really good price. Which focal length did you use?

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
After starting on the enlarging lens journey, I idled my Nikon 105 mm macro/miro lens. For studio use, enlarging lenses are very versatile and cost-effective. I used the Componon-S 100m F5.6 lens for the photo above. My regular lens is actually Rodagon APO 75mm D duplicating lens.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 16, 2019, 03:17:30 AM
Those are both outstanding quality lenses.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: dynamike51 on February 16, 2019, 10:19:51 AM
Excellent discussion  N31 N31

Frank and Peter, thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge.  Anyone with Nikon gears?
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 16, 2019, 11:56:02 AM
Here is a picture of the Monkey year commemorative. Again lens shifting was used for better lighting.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 16, 2019, 11:57:40 AM
Excellent discussion  N31 N31

Frank and Peter, thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge.  Anyone with Nikon gears?
I use an old Nikon D5200.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 16, 2019, 01:12:27 PM
Excellent discussion  N31 N31

Frank and Peter, thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge.  Anyone with Nikon gears?

Martin Weiss (who is an excellent photographer) uses Nikon cameras and lenses for his coin photos. He tried Sony, but had trouble with their software. He told me the Nikon, "just works."

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 16, 2019, 01:13:35 PM
Here is a picture of the Monkey year commemorative. Again lens shifting was used for better lighting.

Excellent!

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 16, 2019, 02:42:18 PM
My go-to setup is Nikon D5300 with micro Nikkor 40mm lens.  I'm interested in varieties and minting process so I like harsh lighting to show the unusual features of a coin.  Just took picture of this 1984 2 fen.  Went to camerashuttercount.com and find out this is the 40130-th picture of my Nikon D5300.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: aragog on February 17, 2019, 07:36:39 AM
Wow SANDAC, what a details, could see such a detailed picture only under microscop at my old work in the lab.
Btw, is there anything in 2f1984 that is interesting and I miss?
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 17, 2019, 08:03:45 AM
I find it easier to take a picture of a coin, rotate 90 degree and take another picture and examine the images on my computer.

This coin has strong diagonal striation lines in the center of the coin.  There are interesting blisters and bumps at the edge of the coin (1-2 o'clock, 3-4 o'clock).
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 17, 2019, 05:55:47 PM
Mechanic doubling on a 1977 one Fen coin.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 17, 2019, 06:08:47 PM
Flowlines on the 40th Anniversary commemorative coin.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 17, 2019, 09:31:37 PM
Very impressive! is these pictures also taken with the enlarging lens?
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 17, 2019, 11:43:59 PM
Very impressive! is these pictures also taken with the enlarging lens?
The mechanical doubling picture was taken with the Rodagon APO 75 D enlarging lens. The flowline photos were shot with Canon 35mm F2.8 macro bellows lens. 10 pictures were taken for stacking, about 3:1. It is a lot easier with these bellows macro lens to shoot high magnification pictures. I managed to push to 8X with the Minolta 12.5mm F2.0 bellows micro (macro) lens. But going even higher is made difficult by diffraction.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 17, 2019, 11:53:08 PM
Here is a link to Mark Goodman's review of the Minolta 12.5mm f2 bellows lens: http://coinimaging.com/min12bel.html. Normally it is pretty expensive, but I managed to pick one on eBay for $80.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 18, 2019, 12:47:48 AM
Mark Goodman has very impressive pictures.  One image is composite of 77 focus stacks!  I wonder whether he manually move the camera or uses focus steps?
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 18, 2019, 12:52:20 AM
Mark Goodman has very impressive pictures.  One image is composite of 77 focus stacks!  I wonder whether he manually move the camera or uses focus steps?
It is impossible to do it manually. I believe most people in the US use Stackshot: https://www.cognisys-inc.com/index.php. I use a cheepo version: https://world.taobao.com/item/526008941651.htm?fromSite=main&spm=a312a.7700824.w4004-7594797329.2.moZmTo
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 18, 2019, 10:52:06 AM
The focus stacking technology has changed a lot.  Microstepping stage like that was custom hardware and exceedingly expensive just a few years ago.  I am using Helicon Remote that does not move the camera but only change the focus plane.  It knows about the circle of confusion for a specific camera and can calculate the necessary focus steps and take the pictures.  It is fine for artistic applications, and I think it may be OK for a shallow focus depth with a dozen of so images.  Probably have to re-educate myself about focus stacking technology again.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: dynamike51 on February 20, 2019, 08:45:57 AM
I use an old Nikon D5200.

Thank you, Frank.  I'm using a Nikon D800 and 60mm micro lens. My challenge is getting (even) lighting on the surface of coin Would love to listen to suggestions.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 20, 2019, 10:03:34 AM
D800 and micro Nikkor 60mm are great combination, certainly better than what I have.  You need a camera stand, few clamp-on lights with diffusers (I use old diapers) and remote shutter then you are ready for coin photography.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: dynamike51 on February 20, 2019, 11:15:50 AM

.... (I use old diapers) ....


"Old diapers" ... hmmm, that could be a problem. It's been quite a few years.  :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: dynamike51 on February 20, 2019, 11:22:59 AM
D800 and micro Nikkor 60mm are great combination, certainly better than what I have.  You need a camera stand, few clamp-on lights with diffusers (I use old diapers) and remote shutter then you are ready for coin photography.

The challenges I encountered with 60mm lens is that the distance between the lens and the coin is merely a few inches. Getting proper lighting on the surface sometimes can be difficult.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 20, 2019, 11:48:22 AM
"Old diapers" ... hmmm, that could be a problem. It's been quite a few years.  :lol: :lol: :lol:
There are plenty of alternatives, such as facial tissue, plastic bags, ping pong balls in half. I use pieces from my old white undershirt for diffusing.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: SANDAC on February 20, 2019, 11:52:46 AM
The challenges I encountered with 60mm lens is that the distance between the lens and the coin is merely a few inches. Getting proper lighting on the surface sometimes can be difficult.
It been many years for me as well, but I'm a pack rat so I still have them.  With a diaper you can surround the coin with it and shine bright lights all around.  Light will be diffused but still white.  I have a X-Rite Colorchecker for white balance, but lately I use the free color sample card from Lowes' kitchen counter section, "Wilsonart Designer White D354-60".  It is close enough.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 20, 2019, 11:53:03 AM
The challenges I encountered with 60mm lens is that the distance between the lens and the coin is merely a few inches. Getting proper lighting on the surface sometimes can be difficult.
Did you try the Ikea Jansjo lights? I normally use those for lighting as the neck is really long and the head is very small. Both are needed for proper lighting.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 20, 2019, 12:05:40 PM
It been many years for me as well, but I'm a pack rat so I still have them.  With a diaper you can surround the coin with it and shine bright lights all around.  Light will be diffused but still white.  I have a X-Rite Colorchecker for white balance, but lately I use the free color sample card from Lowes' kitchen counter section, "Wilsonart Designer White D354-60".  It is close enough.
So you are surrounding the coin with the diffuser. In that case, a cut plastic milk bottle will do, too. I diffuse my lights instead. In your kind of lighting, there is the risk that the light source is too low. That's what Dynamike is referring to in his post, I think. Please refer to my post in Chinese here: http://bbs.shouxi.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=20487&extra=page%3D1. I wrote a number of posts on coin photography on that forum.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: Agpanda on February 20, 2019, 02:43:41 PM
So you are surrounding the coin with the diffuser. In that case, a cut plastic milk bottle will do, too. I diffuse my lights instead. In your kind of lighting, there is the risk that the light source is too low. That's what Dynamike is referring to in his post, I think. Please refer to my post in Chinese here: http://bbs.shouxi.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=20487&extra=page%3D1. I wrote a number of posts on coin photography on that forum.
Did you try the Ikea Jansjo lights? I normally use those for lighting as the neck is really long and the head is very small. Both are needed for proper lighting.
I use 4 of them to get good lighning
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: dynamike51 on February 20, 2019, 07:17:18 PM
Did you try the Ikea Jansjo lights? I normally use those for lighting as the neck is really long and the head is very small. Both are needed for proper lighting.

 Frank,

That's exactly what I have.  :lol: :lol: :lol:  It works for the most part (and it's inexpensive.)
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 20, 2019, 09:03:22 PM
So you are surrounding the coin with the diffuser. In that case, a cut plastic milk bottle will do, too. I diffuse my lights instead. In your kind of lighting, there is the risk that the light source is too low. That's what Dynamike is referring to in his post, I think. Please refer to my post in Chinese here: http://bbs.shouxi.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=20487&extra=page%3D1. I wrote a number of posts on coin photography on that forum.

FWIW to anyone, my own approach is to lighting is a combination of low angle lights and semi low-angle lights. In general, I think that high angle lights flatten out the depth of a coin image, but that is only personal opinion. I tried the Janso lights several years ago. I found them difficult to control and retired them in favor of small lights that include barn doors.

(http://www.pandacollector.com/2018_berlin.tri-1.jpg)

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com

Medal courtesy of Tim Hergert
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 20, 2019, 11:01:57 PM
FWIW to anyone, my own approach is to lighting is a combination of low angle lights and semi low-angle lights. In general, I think that high angle lights flatten out the depth of a coin image, but that is only personal opinion. I tried the Janso lights several years ago. I found them difficult to control and retired them in favor of small lights that include barn doors.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com

Peter, I noticed the angles of your lights when viewing the photo you sent me of your studio. I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of different angles of lighting in the link above (in Chinese). Low angle lighting does provide more shadow, and more depth. On the other hand, it is not as good as high angle lighting in bringing out the color of toning or the details. Mark Goodman showed the effect of high angle lighting on color representation in his book. By lowering the light by a few degrees, colors can look pretty different, as in the first picture below. So it is a matter of what to emphasize in the photo.

One of the mistakes I noticed of novices shooting coin pictures (myself included) is the extremely low angle, which hides the details of the coin, like the second picture below.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 20, 2019, 11:07:45 PM
Actually I was discussing with a coin buddy in China about the photo of a toned coin earlier today. The attached photo was taken with axial lighting, which is 90 degrees to the surface of the coin. The color is represented very nicely. The details are superb. But then the devices look flat and the lighting of the landscape looks unnatural.
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 20, 2019, 11:36:11 PM
Actually I was discussing with a coin buddy in China about the photo of a toned coin earlier today. The attached photo was taken with axial lighting, which is 90 degrees to the surface of the coin. The color is represented very nicely. The details are superb. But then the devices look flat and the lighting of the landscape looks unnatural.

Reflector cards and other devices at higher angles can complement low-angle lights to provide fill lighting and control contrast. It is not an all, or nothing choice, but a decision must be made about what the main light source will be. The Berlin medal is a challenge to photograph as there is lots of contrast from the three metals, each with its own color and reflectivity. There is  toning on the matte copper area, while the brass has a polished proof surface that can easily drop off to pure black and hide its texture. The texture of the panda's fur can easily be lost, too. Lots of fun with lighting here.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: fwang2450 on February 21, 2019, 04:47:25 PM
Reflector cards and other devices at higher angles can complement low-angle lights to provide fill lighting and control contrast. It is not an all, or nothing choice, but a decision must be made about what the main light source will be. The Berlin medal is a challenge to photograph as there is lots of contrast from the three metals, each with its own color and reflectivity. There is  toning on the matte copper area, while the brass has a polished proof surface that can easily drop off to pure black and hide its texture. The texture of the panda's fur can easily be lost, too. Lots of fun with lighting here.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com
I looked at your photo in detail and discussed it with some buddies interested in coin photography. It is from the hands of a master photographer. With a low angle main light source, lighting in the photo is still pretty even, with no loss of details. The black spots around the mouth, the nose, eyes and ears are represented to the point. I have saved the photo for future reference.

On the other hand, while most new hands tend to use low angle lighting, few of them would mitigate against the resulting loss of details by placing high angle reflectors. They don't have the equipment for the purpose either. That's why I would encourage starters to use high angle lighting in coin photography. This way at least details on the coin face is well represented.

Title: Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
Post by: PandaCollector on February 21, 2019, 10:28:44 PM
I looked at your photo in detail and discussed it with some buddies interested in coin photography. It is from the hands of a master photographer. With a low angle main light source, lighting in the photo is still pretty even, with no loss of details. The black spots around the mouth, the nose, eyes and ears are represented to the point. I have saved the photo for future reference.

On the other hand, while most new hands tend to use low angle lighting, few of them would mitigate against the resulting loss of details by placing high angle reflectors. They don't have the equipment for the purpose either. That's why I would encourage starters to use high angle lighting in coin photography. This way at least details on the coin face is well represented.



The real credit goes to the artists, designers and engravers in China who give us so many beautiful coins and medals to photograph. For me, the purpose of a coin photo is to try to convey the spirit and message of these artists. Whatever lighting setup – high angle, low angle, sideways, upside down – accomplishes this is good.  A difficult coin/medal may require a couple of hours of trial and error before the results are acceptable. For a long time I felt rather embarrassed that it often takes me so long to arrive at a solution, but one of the artists in China told me that the official photographer doesn't work any faster. So, don't feel bad if setting up takes a while and just try to learn from the inevitable mistakes.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
NGC Consultant
China Pricepedia — Chinese Coin Prices and More
The Gold & Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide 3
www.pandacollector.com