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RPM camera or microscope?  
 

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New Member

United States
8 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  12:20 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add todaysits to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've been reading alot and I'm still stumped. I know this is covered alot here but I don't see a good debate between microscopes and cameras.

I've been using a cheapO usb microscope and have determined that its making me more miserable than not using it at all. It's good at showing obvious RPMs OMMs and error/varieties. But when zooming in on a D/D that's very minor, I find I really can't be 100% sure if its a D/D or a shadow or a reflection, annoying.

So my question, should I buy a stereo microscope, a triscope with a 14MB+ USB camera, or a decent DSLR camera on a stand?

I'm mostly interested in knowing for sure its a D/D coin, not really interested in beautiful photos.

Thanks!!
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2090 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  12:36 am  Show Profile   Check Crazyb0's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If your having problems with shadows, add some cheap led clip lights, or even a flashlight, found that helps me. If I have trouble with older, worn coins, I revert to my high power loupes, the "old way", to dig out the mysteries, I', not a fan of the mega/maxi mag units...too much detail that is immaterial for RPM's etc. If your scope has ring LEDs, some times killing a few may help also then use remote lighting. I wouldn't get so much more mag than the example pixs we use to ID...I do a lot of side-by-side comparisons. If you've studied these threads, you've seen my rig, the brass standpipe, works fine for me.

here's mine anyway, standpipe lets me extend to full range size of dollar


"I'm beginning to like the taste of my feet. I find them inside my mouth continually."
Edited by Crazyb0
03/20/2017 12:38 am
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United States
8 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  12:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add todaysits to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a 2MP microscope similar to yours, in looks anyways. What is yours?
New Member
United States
8 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  01:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add todaysits to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here's a photo with my 2MB USB. I can see there's something with the "S", but I can't tell what it is for sure. Is it a lump, is it a dip, its soo unclear to me. I'm assuming a better camera/microscope would show me the details.

Edited by todaysits
03/20/2017 01:10 am
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 Posted 03/20/2017  01:35 am  Show Profile   Check Crazyb0's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Mines a 5mp, that makes a bit of difference, in the magnification factor, a bit closer on the initial scoped image. On mine, my software allows me to access the picwhich is enlarged according to the 5mp format and screen size. So, example, my initial screen shot is similar to what you showed. My expanded gets increased to what you see on my laptop screen at the left. Pulls the detail right up to ya. Maybe all you need to do if your rig doesn't have the software is upgrade to 5mp setup. If your interested I'll send a link later on , on tablet now, can't do. Later...
"I'm beginning to like the taste of my feet. I find them inside my mouth continually."
Valued Member
Russian Federation
87 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  02:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Justwalking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ todaysits
If you no need photos you no need hi-res USB camera or dslr.
Stereo binocular microscope for PCB inspection or jewerly would be better choice for less money.
It cost around $250 with trinocular and can zoom up to 90x real
optic magnification. There much better lens and resolution then in USB 2 or 5MP USB camera.
With stereo picture human brain can easy resolve what kind is your D.

Edited by Justwalking
03/20/2017 02:46 am
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 Posted 03/20/2017  04:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pay less attention to the MP and more on the x power. As low as possible and no higher then 200x. Coop has a nice set-up. Most nice set-ups are going to involve a good camera and great lighting,no usb microscopes.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 4+ Million Cents Since 1971
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 Posted 03/20/2017  10:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For inspecting coins for variety details, I use a stereo microscope. I find there is no substitute, since the coin can be tilted and viewed easily to give shadow and highlight details needed to identify the variety, and the true stereo effect eliminates much of the frustration and guesswork of determining if a shadow or highlight is a true detail and not a lighting artifact.

The stereo microscopes I use are Bausch & Lomb. They are good quality and inexpensive in the used/surplus market. I like the stands quite a lot and use them in most of the photo systems I build. The stereo pods, or whole systems with stands, are often available on eBay very cheaply. If you want to start off as cheaply as possible, I recommend searching for a fixed 2x magnification pod rather than variable magnification. I use a 1x on my desk, with 10x eyepieces. This gives me 10x magnification, which is good for general searching (I can view a whole Cent) but not quite enough magnification for variety identification. When doing a lot of attributions, I switch to a 2x pod, with 15x eyepieces, for total magnification of 30x.

Best thing is these fixed magnification pods are extremely unpopular and sell cheaply on eBay. Just keep an eye out and they will pop up for sale. For example, a 1x system, with stand and eyepieces, languished on eBay for weeks at $55 asking price. They put it on sale for $49.50 and it finally sold. If you do end up with a 1x system, a 2x auxiliary lens is available to make the pod into a 2x. In fact a 1x pod can thus work for both full-coin and variety attribution work by simply changing out auxiliaries and/or eyepieces.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 03/20/2017  11:16 am  Show Profile   Check Crazyb0's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Todaysits, Just walking brings up a good point, are you just wanting to identify or actually take a picture of the mintmark? Personally, I've found myself unable to fully remember the exact details when looking through my loupe and onscreen pic I'm comparing to. Easier for me to take pic for side to side comparison with examples like Coppercoins.com.

If inspection is all you want then what John1 says is appropriate. Don't get more than a 200x pencil endoscope used to inspect printed circuit boards (PCB). Any more than that you begin seeing irrellevant tooling marks that confuse more than help.

Final decision rests with you and your pocketbook. How much can you afford, rather are willing to divest of you income! Coop's rig is indeed top of the line, in quality, use and dollars, 2-3 Benjamin's minimum, then the photographic equipment to boot. A plain pencil 200-300x endoscope runs less than $75. A rig like my Horizons Tech 5mp is going for $65 at Amazon, and surprisingly will work on Win10, most end at Win7. Remember too, any setup you get may require better lighting to work best for you.
"I'm beginning to like the taste of my feet. I find them inside my mouth continually."
Edited by Crazyb0
03/20/2017 11:18 am
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United States
386 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  12:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add andywoj00 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with Ray on using a stereozoom scope for examining coins. I've tried loupes, usb microscopes, et al but have been most happy with a SZ. I was able to get a brand new SZ3 pod and had it upgraded to a SZ4 by Toms Telescopes for $150 since the pod I originally had was crap. With 15x eyepieces, I have mag of 10.5x to 45x. Plenty good enough.
Here's a pic of what I have:



If I want to get in closer and capture some detail shots or scan through a stack of coins to look for wierd stuff, I can also use this setup, courtesy of advice from Justwalking and Ray with his <$400 setup.

The bausch & lomb A-stands can be had cheap on eBay occasionally, and if your mechanically adept, you can modify the focus rail attachment to get a broad range of working distances/heights.

The USB camera was about $85 on eBay with USB interface...just needed adapters for lenses or objectives.

Below is a pic of the rig with a $20 4X Achromatic RMS lens and the proper adapters and lighting diffuser. Also is a quick shot of a mintmark of a 2016D LSC...needs cleaned up a bit. Lighting makes a HUGE difference on how the final pics turn out. Post processing will be needed on most pics.





Finally, if I want to get fine, detailed pics of entire coins for selling, sharing pics here or cataloging my coins, I switch to my T6i DSLR with a macro lens or a bellows setup with a decent enlarger lens, using the same T6i camera.

Hope this helps.

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 Posted 03/20/2017  12:46 pm  Show Profile   Check Crazyb0's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I do agree w/ you guys about stereoscopes, but on my disability budget and the major fact that I'm monovistiic, meaning I look out of one eye at a time, have zero binocular vision, if I try two lenses it screws up my brain, can't interpret what I see, weird huh? I've actually been able to focus on two separate images at same time for slight moments. Wonderful when shooting, strong eye front sight, weak eye target. My one and only claim to fame!

That's why I'm kinda stuck with my USB rig. With the software supplied plus Photoshop, I can manipulate any pix I take and enlarge/clarify if necessary. Good advice guys, affordability is my drawback, I can't drop that kinda cash on something that's a whim, never ever will we recover expenses if we try to sell our microscopic finds, that market won't ever happen, wish it would, have plenty of 'em!

"I'm beginning to like the taste of my feet. I find them inside my mouth continually."
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2820 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  1:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yep, that's why this is a hobby, not a business.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
New Member
United States
8 Posts
 Posted 03/20/2017  11:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add todaysits to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everyone. I like the stereoscope option alot. The Bausch lomb ones look really expensive to me. $99-$199 for anything used. I'll keep looking.

What do you think of the Amscope stereoscope? They seem to be priced around $200-$300 for something brand new. Of course if the quality is lower than Bausch lomb that would make up the difference.
Valued Member
Russian Federation
87 Posts
 Posted 03/21/2017  01:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Justwalking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ todaysits
AmScopes cost about $130 on ali from this name of seller with delivery
Try to find SESYG304-P there
Edited by Justwalking
03/21/2017 01:47 am
New Member
United States
8 Posts
 Posted 04/01/2017  8:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add todaysits to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the stereo microscope suggestions. I purchased a new AmScope for $280. It has 3.5-90x and a 110 LED light.

I can't even describe the difference when looking for errors. With a 1946 Lincoln cent for example, not only can I see the 6, I can see the O part of the 6, and I can zoom into the O part of the 6 and see a spec dust...all in 3D. That's a better description than stereo microscope...3D microscope.

I also made sure the one I purchased is a triscope, so I can add a camera to it in the future.

Thanks again everyone!
Valued Member
United States
386 Posts
 Posted 04/02/2017  10:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add andywoj00 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Todaysits,

Let's get a look at your setup along with the model number of the scope. Can you get any coin pictures through the scope yet to post here?
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