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Old Nov 6, 2007, 8:46 AM   #1
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One of the reasons I purchased this camera was to take Quality shots of coins for sale on Ebay. I found the directions brochure to be quite lacking in directions suggestions and trouble shooting. My problem at present: Two examples took picture of silver coin on grey background background came out blue coin bluish, room lighting is flourescent bulbs. Next: Picture of Silver coin with regular lighting (different room)and silver coin has appearance of being a gold coin with tan background. It seems the camera is automatically changing background color and is hypersensitive to lighting colors or picking up color being radiated from the room for example a room with a lot of natural wood. I'm sure there is a solution not sure what and I am an amateur at this. So rather than blaming the camera I feel it is the user that needs some help. Any suggestions! Thanks :?
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Old Nov 6, 2007, 10:22 AM   #2
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I only see one image in your post, and the EXIF has been stripped out by the editor you used to downsize the image (so, we can't see the camera settings being used).

You've probably got multiple issues....

For one thing, your Exposure is probably off, likely due to reflections from your light source on the coin fooling the metering. I'm seeing some areas of blown highlights now from reflections on the coin.

You'll want to use a more diffused light source.

Here is one commercial solution (and check your kitchen for tupperware type containers and you may be able to make your own):


Then, tweak your exposure as needed. If you want to use non-manual modes, just use Exposure Compensation. A +EV setting will give you a brighter exposure and a -EV setting will give you a darker exposure.

Another issue you likely have is White Balance. You'll need to set it to match the lighting conditions. Your camera has White Balance presets for common lighting types (Auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade). So, set the presets to match the lighting type and that should get your colors close.

That photo also looks to be a bit soft. What were your shutter speeds? Were you using a tripod?

I also see some banding indicative that higher ISO speeds were being used (destroying detail and softening the image from noise reduction).

You really don't want to try and hand hold a camera for closeups in most artificial lighting, stabilization or not. ;-) Your best bet is to leave the ISO speed set low and make sure the camera is mounted on a steady platform.

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Old Nov 6, 2007, 10:53 AM   #3
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...and if I might add to Jim's excellent answer....

mike7075 wrote: ...."So rather than blaming the camera I feel it is the user that needs some help. "

I have a Z712 and I'm delighted with it, and have taken thousands of shots since I bought it in May, throwing away far fewer than I expected. For several reasons it's the best camera (for my varied purposes, that is), that I've ever owned in 47 years or so of photography, and that includes good SLR kit.

I'm not sure it's a particularly good choice for this specific task, though, but it'll probably do, and I doubt if you'll better at its current price. When I've taken small objects, I've usually found I couldn't focus close enough to fill the frame with small objects and get good quality, even by going further away and zooming in.

So I just photographed a ruler pressed against my computer monitor, to see just what the field of view was at shortest zoom and as close as possible, and how sharp it would be. As you can see from this resized full frame and a 1:1 pixel for pixel clip, the quality is impressive (hand-held at 5Mpix, 1/20s, f/5.7, ISO 100, EV-0.3) . But the field is approx 112mm x 84mm, so many coins would be a bit small.

As you'll have trouble filling the frame with anything but huge coins, it would be as well always to shoot at highest quality so that can throw most of pixels away when you crop the image.

Also, you can get an very good idea of correct exposure and colour balance if you use the Z712's electronic viewfinder, and twiddle the settings, .e.g, EV offset, using the thumbwheel and the in-viewfinder settings display as a live preview.

Make sure you half-press and release the shutter button first. This seems to make it think a bit harder. Bracketing exposures will be a good idea as well. Unfortunately you can't do that at the same time as using the delayed action to avoid shaking the camera when on a tripod, so you need a solid tripod fixing and a steady hand.

I'm sure you could pick up lighting tips if you looked in the 'close-ups' forum as well.

Good luck!

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Old Nov 6, 2007, 7:49 PM   #4
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Thanks guys it is awesome to get such expert feedback and ideas and it certainly shows I have alot to learn! perhaps Ishould take some photography lessons. picture taking is much more complex and detailed of an expertise than the average person can imagine!
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