General all around camera for coin photography

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by pcworx, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. pcworx

    pcworx New Member

    I searched the treads and didn't see a recent thread on this and I am in the market so thought I would ask. What is a decent all around camera for coin photography? I just want to take some decent shots of coins mainly. My skills are barely there when it comes to photography and my current camera is a Kodak pixpro fz43. I'm not looking to take museum quality photos but would like some decent shots with practice.

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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    What kind of phone do you have? You can take some pretty decent shots with a decent smart phone camera.

    These were taken with my iphone6.
    Trajan Decius Antoninianus.jpg 1972P DDO1.jpg 1978F Germany 5 Mark.jpg
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  4. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    A big question that has to be asked: how much are you wanting to spend?

    $100 can get you something, but $1000 will get you a lot nicer!

    With practice and good lighting, some cell phones will take decent coin photos, but a DSLR with a good lens, proper setup, and quality lighting will take very good photos with minimal effort.
  5. pcworx

    pcworx New Member

    I have an lg 35v thinq phone but I really don't like using my phone...would rather have a dedicated device to shot with. Those are pretty impressive for a phone though.
  6. pcworx

    pcworx New Member


    I am looking to spend around 300-350 for the setup. I have been looking at the Canon 4000D but of course I would need a lens also.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  7. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Alright, that's good. The guy you need to talk to is @rmpsrpms . He creates fantastic camera setups at a wide range of prices. Hopefully he'll respond and help you create the photo setup of your dreams.
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  8. pcworx

    pcworx New Member

  9. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I have a Cannon T5i DSLR but have not been able to really get good shots with it. Figuring out the macro stuff has been a steep learning curve for me.
  10. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    I would argue that the lens you use is more important than the camera body. I have a T3i myself, but my lens cost as much as my camera. Combined with my lights and rig, I'm able to get good shots. It does take quite a bit of practice, however!

    Here's a recent shot:

    JPW717 obverse.JPG JPW717 reverse.JPG
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  11. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I think lighting is another area I am lacking in. My desk only has an incandescent desk lamp which leads to some harsh lighting that comes from only one direction. I've started taking pictures of my ancients in the backyard with natural sunlight. I've had better results that way than at my desk.

    Great shots by the way!
  12. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?


    The lighting is very important. Sunlight can take great pictures (even better on a cloudy day, actually), but it is highly variable. I like the consistency of a good light setup. I have three adjustable lights on my copy stand, and can vary the number and position of the lights to suit the coin. Incandescent light is just fine, as long as you white balance your image accordingly. However, a single light is insufficient for most images - most pictures I take use at least two, but usually three lights.
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  13. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    I was just about to suggest this.

    The camera is just one component of a good system. You need a stable platform, meaning a copy stand or tripod, good lighting and lens accessories, too.

  14. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I shot this with a Canon Powershot which is a simple 'point and shoot' camera with Macro capability


    Edit to add: I think I paid around $125 for it back a few years ago but you could probably pick up one for well under $100 (Power Shot 1200 IS)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  15. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    I agree with Green18 on this for a decent camera at a fairly low price. When I am in a hurry, I use my old Canon 560IS ( IS= image stablization, which works fairly well) eiher through the eyepiece of a lab dissecting scope or with a set of close up accessory lens. Jim
  16. Stork

    Stork I deliver Supporter

    The best way to improve photos (which I know in theory but don't put all that much work into it) is more about lighting and stability. The cell phones really do take nice shots and you can stabilize it on a stack of books and trigger it with a $10 (or less) bluetooth remote. A few nice lights and experiment with angles/diffusing material. And that will cost a lot less than a new camera. And, it's not even a super duper camera, but the lens.

    Now that said, I bought one of @rmpsrpms set ups and am very happy with it. It's capable of much more than I put into it and he was able to make a fancier set up so I can do my smallest coins and on up to some of my medals (65mm IIRC).

    The other thing is software. I can't remember the freebie one that does really well, there's photoshop, and I use an online one called PicMonkey. A simple cropping tool from my laptop, and I can make Christmas cards and things like this I did last night (very simplistic, and yes the coins are really those colors). cut compares.png
    Not my best work but it was a quickie photo shoot, process, and graphic slap together.
  17. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    A good, free, photoshop-type editor is called Gimp 2. I use it almost exclusively and I really like it.
  18. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    Any modern digital camera can take good coin photos. The key is to use proper lighting.
  19. William Reavely

    William Reavely New Member

    Can you explain your lighting set up?
  20. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I use two Jansjo (sometimes three) positioned at two & three o'clock. I tape some velum to the light itself for muting purposes because these lamps throw out a powerful stream of light. You might have to move the lights around a bit to eliminate hot spots and glare on the coin.
  21. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    I generally, but not always, use two Ott lights. The lighting setup varies with the coin being photographed. There is not one lighting arrangement that works for all coins. You have to experiment. If you’re using a digital camera, iPhone, or whatever, the “film” is free, so you can take as many photos as you need to get the “money shot.”
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