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The DIY Copy-Stand

Welcome to my first Journal Entry! (thumbsu

I've been wanting to do this for a long time now but didn't know what to put. I know that's what journals are for in the first place is just to write, a way to get stuff off that wet pink ball of noodles in your head. doh! Maybe I should've been here way earlier? hm Either way, here we are now let's get to the meat and potatoes of why we are here now!

So I may tend to hyper fixate onto new things every now and then. I have always been an artist, as a young kid I was very good at drawing but I'm not sure where that has since gone. But this year I found beautiful photos of coins showcasing their extraordinary characteristics. I'm talking about colors I never knew possible to be on coins! The Blues, The Reds, The Purples, Greens, Yellows, Golds, and everything in-between and above and below! I thought to myself, "WOW! How silly.. There's no way that a coin can actually look like that, that's the saturation turned WAAAY up to get those effects." Well I sure was wrong. I found myself stumbling into a world of coin's I'd never ventured into. I did not know just how amazing some coin's could really tone. Then I went down into a rabbit hole of how to store coins for certain types of toning effects and etc. But I didn't care too much for those over the edge, overly fake looking tones. Nonetheless I wanted to be able to capture images of those types of coins for myself! Now did I have any coins in the first place that were as miraculous some of the pictures I had seen? No.. But! I do search lots of bank rolls, mainly quarters and some Lincoln cents. So I have the ability to run into some pretty coins!

Now this whole wanting to become a coin photographer idea literally just bloomed out of one of my journeys on the internet. It didn't really fall into place until I seen a camera and accessory kit on Wal-Marts website. My budget also tells me this is not possible and just let it become a fantasy. Well who knew my wife's credit could qualify us for Affirm which is a get now pay later financing program that Wal-Mart and tons of other places use! So... I got it.. Wow I'm sorry my whole ADHD way of telling stories is or just thought process is all over the place. Ah! Yes! So we got it! "It" is a Canon EOS Rebel T7 with a whole kit and caboodle. Just tons of stuff this kit came with which was a plus. Now I have only ever taken photos with my cell phone or a normal digital camera, NOTHING like this. So I'm still learning and playing with it I think I've owned it for a little over a month now. It's great I absolutely love it and love learning new things so it's been a great journey. Well now I got the camera, do I have those beautifully toned coins to take these amazing photos of? Negative. Or what about the know how or the setup to even do it? Erm, yeah no we don't.. But there we went back into the interwebs! Also we got some really great info from a user known by the name of Robec, he may be here but I met him on Coin Talk's Chat Boards.

This is where I fell into another problem. The setups that some of these people had to get these amazing over the top photos costed a small fortune! I mean some of these Copy-Stands themselves can run upwards of THOUSANDS of dollars! *There's the main topic of this journal entry!* Then not just the stands but the lights, the editing software, the macro lenses, the objective lenses, the focusing bellows holy cow I was in over my head! BUT! You can get some really great photos using what you got and I tell you what, if there's something I'm really good at its working with what you got you know what I mean guys? *Hehehe* So I just went back to the basics and started with the stand. You need a stand to get your camera held in the right position, held steady, and a number of other factors. So I began brainstorming and came up with what is now my new Copy-Stand. I was going to say it's not the prettiest but honestly I really like the look of it. So its a 3/4", 16"x 12" particle board. A 3/4" Pipe Flange, 12" 3/4" Pipe topped with a End Cap. I then gave it the 'Ole Rattle-Can Special in Flat Black. I looks really great! Now I needed something to hold my camera into place! I found a photography company called, "SmallRig". SmallRig - DIY Camera Rigs, Stabilizers and Other Camera Accessories  What I ended up buying is a smart clamp, I also got it off Amazon too. I was really happy when I got it in the mail today and unboxed it to find the quality of the product is outstanding. Its made of sturdy metal, when all setup and the cameras attached and its fitted onto the pipe its snug as a bug. The next thing to work on is getting lights either mounted or just around because I'm sure I'll need to move them around a ton. Here's what it looks like all said and done:




Thanks if you made it this far in reading my all over the place story telling. It's how my brain works. Feel free to show what contraptions you all have created. Any advice given is always great. Until my next Ramble!

Happy Hunting ~ TheColoradoNumismatist

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I find the problem I have with shooting down at something flat on the table is the camera itself making unattractive shadows. That's part of what ultimately got me on the ring light set-up I'm using now. It gives good results that are also more consistent and reproducible than a lot of what I've done in the past.

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now you just need to add axial lighting

I recommend modifying a lens hood so it gets in the way less and you can just turn it slightly for photographing coins in slabs/holders. Also get a lab jack on Amazon for $20 so you can raise the coin up and down instead of having to adjust the camera. 




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@robec1347 I found you on here as well! So not only on Coin Talk!

But check out @FriendlyEagle79 lens hood that is modded to be an axial lighting setup! That is wild and so creative! Robec is a great photographer. 

@Revenant do you have any posts or journal entries that show your current Ring-Light Setup? I'm sure I could do a simple Google search and find it relatively easy, but I like to see people's homemade setups!

Thank you all for the input and the comments and advice. I love all the Numismatic communities so much.

Now I need to work with my different lenses and see what works best for my setup. I have a 0.43x Wide Angle Lens with Macro 58mm, it's a little screw on lens that attaches to other lenses. I also have four other little lens caps if you will? They're 1x, 2x, 4x and a 10x. So, I got my work cut out ahead of me. That also means finding lighting, either utilizing the axial lighting or finding other types of lighting which both may be best. Then working on camera settings. I don't want to just use the Auto Mode, or the Macro Setting. I was suggested to pick up a book by I believe his name was Mark Goodman possibly. Either way this is the start of my journey and glad to have some people in my corner.


Happy Snapping & Hunting ~ TheColoradoNumismatist

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On 10/18/2023 at 1:51 AM, TheColoradoNumismatist said:


@Revenant do you have any posts or journal entries that show your current Ring-Light Setup? I'm sure I could do a simple Google search and find it relatively easy, but I like to see people's homemade setups!

If you look at my recent journals, one of them has a photo that shows my set-up. I forget which entry off-hand. I'll probably be taking some more photos soon though and I might try for a better shot specifically of how I'm shooting these days. I have some new Italian coins to shoot.

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