Please Recommend A Reasonable Priced Digital Camera For Coin Photos

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by coinblogger, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. coinblogger

    coinblogger Senior Member

    Hey everyone,

    I am been trying to capture photos of my coins with my Fujifilm Finepix s5000 digital camera. Unfortnately, I can't seem to take good pictures of my coins with this five year old camera.

    Would you please recommend a good digital camera for taking pictures of coins and general use? I really don't want to pay more than $500 and would love something around between $250-$500.

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  3. Indianhead65

    Indianhead65 Well-Known Member

  4. FHDave

    FHDave Senior Member

    A couple things to keep in mind when taking pictures of coins. You can have the best camera in the world, but if you don't pay attention to these things, you will still probably get lousy results.

    It is almost mandatory that you need some type of copy stand, or tripod mount to hold the camera. It is very difficult to take good pictures, especially in macro mode, if you hold the camera in your hand. I have a Panasonic Lumix FZ20 with 12X optical zoom and image stablization. Without a tripod, I can not get clear, closeup pictures of coins.

    The other is your lighting. It is probably as important as the camera mount. It is the area I am still learning a lot about.

    Many people will also recommend Mark Goodman's site ( for additional information regarding coin photography. He also has a book out that has excellent information. You can order the book at his web site, or go to or a book store.
  5. andy21us

    andy21us Coin Hoarder

    Before you go out and buy a new camera, buy a few books or magazines on digital photograghy to help you develop (not a Pun) your skills. Digital Camera have so many settings and functions that need to be set with the condition that you are tring to take a pichtures in, that it can be very confusing on what setting to use. You can go out and buy a $1000.00 camera and end up taking the same type of pictures as you would with a $100.00 camera. The three thing you need to take good pictures is Knowledge, Time, and Practice. With these three thing you and take very good pictures with any camera. One magazine that I have use is Digital Photo and you can also check them out at and ask question at Good luck and keep practicing.
  6. davidh

    davidh soloist gnomic

    Canon SD1100 IS 8MP Macro focusing down to about one inch.

    You should be able to get one for $160-$200, depending on when and where you get it. They're usually cheaper on Amazon.
  7. Blue Angel

    Blue Angel Senior Member

    I use a Canon A520, 4.0 mega pixels with great results....less that $150 new. My buddy just bought a Canon digital with 8.0 megapixels at a pawn shop for $ had the SD card and looks like brand new! Shop around and read up....
  8. pghpanthers2

    pghpanthers2 Resurgent Collector

    I could not agree more on this canon, it is a good camera for the price.
    I also would not worry about getting a camera with the highest mega pixels out there, 5-9 mp certainly should suffice (unless you plan on printing posters of your coins out!) Also, unless you are going to be traveling in areas with different electrical outlets, try to find one with a built in battery. I HATE changing camera batteries.
  9. bsshog40

    bsshog40 Senior Member

    I have a canon IS S3 which you can probably get an S5 for the same money now. I like the S3 cause it has a Super-Macro mode that will focus to 0. It cost me $40 a couple yrs ago. but it does take nice pics.
  10. rlm's cents

    rlm's cents Numismatist

    I think you at least left a "0" out of your price.
  11. bsshog40

    bsshog40 Senior Member

    This darn keyboard. If I hit my "0"s too fast it always leaves the last one out.:smile $400
  12. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater


    Do you have the macro lens kit for your camera? I took a course - Digital Coin Photography - last year at ANA Summer Seminar and, it I am not mistaken, the instructor recommended the Canon S5 with the macro lens kit.
  13. Catbert

    Catbert Evil Cat

    Hobo - I have the Canon IS 5 that has a "super macro" feature that is part of the camera sold as is. Are you referring to an additional lens when you mention the kit?
  14. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater

    Yes. I may have the model of the camera wrong but the one the instructor recommended has a separate macro lens kit available that allows you to make some great photos of coins.
  15. bsshog40

    bsshog40 Senior Member

    I have bought a macro lens kit for this camera, but I hardly ever use them. The only time I use them is if I'm really hard up for light and I'll use them so I can move my Cam back some.
  16. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    I have a Canon S3 IS as well and I would highly recommend it. I think you get a lot of bang for your buck out of this camera. You can get the S5 now. I haven't looked into them but I've seen one and they're very similar. More megapixels.

    The S3 has 6 megapixels. The lens is much larger than your average point and shoot which is good for gathering more light. You can add attachments for other lenses on the front as well. The Manual mode allows you to adjust quite a bit over a typical point and shoot. All at a very moderate price.

    The IS stands for Image Stability which compensates for camera shake if you aren't holding it perfectly still. For this feature, I've read the S3 has the same technology in it that is used in the higher end SLRs.

    Here's a coin I just got last weekend at the show. I just took these photos with my S3. (Just to give you an idea)

    I did not use a tripod or copy stand to take these photos. I rested my arms on my legs. I had a macro lens off of a wide angle attached on the front. Coin was shot on a white piece of paper under a single, standard desk lamp. No fancy bulb. (It's a little dark but I liked them anyway)

    No macro used. Wheel on top set to Manual mode (which allows for manual focus and adjustments). Used the directional pad on the right (up,down, left, and right) to adjust shutter speed and F-stop which mainly lightens or darkens the pic in real time on the viewfinder.

    Custom white balance set to the white sheet of paper (so the camera knew what true white was under this light). No flash.

    Used the manual focus button on the side of the lens. While holding it in, you adjust the focus with the same directional pad, up and down (or physically move the camera forward or back) until it's sharp on the view finder. Halfway depress the shutter for the final focus and snapped the pics. Once you get used to the process it's all second nature. You rarely need to use the flash. Here's the pics.


    It also has features such as photo stich asist which allow you to create a panorama picture out of several photos and my favorite colors. You can target a certain color in the frame, set the camera to that and only shades of that color will show in color. The rest is black and white. Pretty neat.

    Good camera for the $$. Hope this helps and wasn't too long or confusing. :eek:
  17. coinblogger

    coinblogger Senior Member

    Thank you guys very much. There is a lot of great information here. Thank you!!
  18. snaz

    snaz Registry fever

    I use a SONY DSC-H50
    And I love it! It takes awesome pictures, but like everyone said, you need to get the lighting proper.
    This one I don't think you can get additional lenses for it..
    Here's an example of what it can do.
    Sorry for posting the same picture I have already posted, I just haven't taken any new ones.

    Attached Files:

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