Author Topic: Evolution of Coin Photography With Smartphones and other Handheld Tablet Devices  (Read 32000 times)

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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Evolution of Coin Photography With Smartphones and other Handheld Tablet Devices

Elsewhere on this forum is a great conversation and sharing of experience with coin photography using the traditional DSLR setup:  http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=834.0 The SLR cameras have been used most commonly in professional photography and by amateur enthusiasts over the years.

However, it is a truism that a large proportion of coin collectors who wish to take photographs of their coins do so with the new age smartphone and handheld computer device cameras. These may initially be regarded as taking poor quality photos especially in comparison to the SLR and DSLR cameras.

But the former group of devices are more ubiquitous and have served a multitude of functions which is still expanding. Some professional photographers are even using them now for both still photos and movies. It will be instructive if we can define the limits of these smartphones while at the same time seeing how to get the best quality coin photographs from them.

This thread is meant for display of your photographic experience and experiments using the camera option of the smartphones and other handheld devices. Let’s see what we can find!  N20
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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This first set of photos was taken with the iPad Air in basic room lighting conditions. The specimen chosen for this initial group of photos is the Chen Jian medal. I feel the multiple levels of this medal will provide enough challenge for the iPad camera.

The first photograph was taken with the iPad suspended about 18cm above the medal while the distance was 11cm in the second photo; nothing else was changed.

Altering lighting conditions, using macro lens, and third party manipulation of the camera software and image are other variables that will be explored with subsequent photos.
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Offline bekiz

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Here is a set up:
Pcitures are from coincommunity forum user Darth Morgan


taken by iPhone 4s

Below are costs as per DM
Nimbus Cloud Dome: $80
Sanoto Lightbox: $55
18% Gray card: $9

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Yeah. That's what I am talking about!

I ordered LED lights, a light box and iphone and iPad holders and stand, and remote trigger for my next phase of photography.

Please keep them coming!
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Offline SANDAC

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My two comments regarding iPad photography were embedded in different threads.  This is a good place to consolidate them:
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10875.msg63423#msg63423
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8074.msg47020#msg47020

I noticed the iPad camera has a timer option now, so one should use the timer option to get a steady picture.  Looking at the camera data I see the f-stop is set at 2.4 for my iPad.  I don't think it has an adjustable aperture.  Does the late-model iPhone has an adjustable aperture?

I think it is a great idea to talk about coin photography techniques with tablets and phones simply because they are ubiquitous.  With proper techniques they can produce much better coin images than what I've seen around.

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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My two comments regarding iPad photography were embedded in different threads.  This is a good place to consolidate them:
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10875.msg63423#msg63423
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8074.msg47020#msg47020

I noticed the iPad camera has a timer option now, so one should use the timer option to get a steady picture.  Looking at the camera data I see the f-stop is set at 2.4 for my iPad.  I don't think it has an adjustable aperture.  Does the late-model iPhone has an adjustable aperture?

I think it is a great idea to talk about coin photography techniques with tablets and phones simply because they are ubiquitous.  With proper techniques they can produce much better coin images than what I've seen around.

Thanks for comments and url.

It is interesting how very good photos can be taken with the simplest of setups; iPad or iPhone on a stack of books or amazon.com delivery boxes in ambient light! This is similar to what I used to take the Chen Jian photos yesterday except that I used incandescent light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.

My hours are irregular so I may not have daylight when I am opportuned to take photos. I also want to control and later on manipulate the lighting conditions to see how it impacts on the final product.

The setup posted by bekiz looks very portable and convenient (BTW +1) so it can be moved around easily and put away safely especially if you have young ones in the house running around and looking to commit mayhem, even in Daddy's study!
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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My two comments regarding iPad photography were embedded in different threads.  This is a good place to consolidate them:
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10875.msg63423#msg63423
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8074.msg47020#msg47020

I noticed the iPad camera has a timer option now, so one should use the timer option to get a steady picture.  Looking at the camera data I see the f-stop is set at 2.4 for my iPad.  I don't think it has an adjustable aperture.  Does the late-model iPhone has an adjustable aperture?

I think it is a great idea to talk about coin photography techniques with tablets and phones simply because they are ubiquitous.  With proper techniques they can produce much better coin images than what I've seen around.

In addition to the timer you can also use a bluetooth remote camera shutter activating device that sells for less than $7 on eBay and amazon.com. I read somewhere that you can also plug in your iPhone ear phones and use the + button to take the photos.
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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My two comments regarding iPad photography were embedded in different threads.  This is a good place to consolidate them:
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=10875.msg63423#msg63423
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=8074.msg47020#msg47020

I noticed the iPad camera has a timer option now, so one should use the timer option to get a steady picture.  Looking at the camera data I see the f-stop is set at 2.4 for my iPad.  I don't think it has an adjustable aperture.  Does the late-model iPhone has an adjustable aperture?

I think it is a great idea to talk about coin photography techniques with tablets and phones simply because they are ubiquitous.  With proper techniques they can produce much better coin images than what I've seen around.

The aperture and focal length are both fixed. Varies between the iPhone and iPad. I can expand on that later.
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Offline dynamike51

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(Almost) All the PDA cameras have fixed aperture - a few allow you to adjust the shutter speed and ISO. Only Nokia (claimed) to have developed adjustable aperture with its PDA cameras back in 2013-14. I didn't stay up to date with that development.

P.S. pardon me, I retract my earlier statement about fixed focal length. If the PDA camera has a zoom feature, then the focal length can be changed.

Offline PandaCollector

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In my experience and opinion the key to getting acceptable, even excellent, coin photos is lighting. The difference between a phone camera, a DSLR and a point and shoot only becomes obvious in highly enlarged images. Especially for web use most people will get the most benefit from learning to light the coin well rather than stressing out about which device captures the image.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

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The Chen Jian medal photographed with the iPad using one directional lighting with a fluorescent bulb desk lamp. Not much shadowing but the medal looks "cold". The warmer hues of the metal could be improved with software manipulation or using other lighting types (?halogen lamps).
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Using the "zoom" function of the iPad to get a magnified view prior to activating the shutter.
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Close up of the Xi Shi with Pearl Medal. I think the clarity is still maintained. Fluorescent lighting (and ?LED lighting) may be best for this antique silver type of medal.
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Using the highest zoom/magnification of the iPad Air to examine the lettering on the Xi Shi with Pearl Medal. It also shows the workmanship (?buffing marks) of the surrounding parts of the medal.
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I used the MacOS Preview color adjusting function to jazz up the Chen Jian medal photo shown in Post#10. It looks more like "antique gold"  :scared: This is quite rudimentary editing. Serious editing can be done with more robust software, if necessary. But the light source may be more important. I'll see if I can catch some daylight one of these days!
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