Author Topic: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot  (Read 2791 times)

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Offline PandaCollector

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Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« 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/



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

Offline chinesecoins.com

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 04:21:16 PM »
Some scanners work great too and they are fast for non-aspiring coin photographers

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #2 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

Offline bonke

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #3 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 

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #4 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.
KeepOnTrying and Never Give Up!
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Offline chinesecoins.com

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #5 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


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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #6 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

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #7 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.

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #8 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.

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #9 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.

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #10 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

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #11 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.

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #12 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

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #13 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.

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Re: Chinese Coins: Take Your Best Shot
« Reply #14 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