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Best I Can Get On A $400 Budget? Help

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Valued Member
Canada
475 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  08:32 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add rmc to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Im a complete newbie regarding cameras and completely frustrated with trying to get great close up shots of my coins with cheap Walmart point and shot cameras...I also have a digital microscope which is better but still doesn't give me the quality I want. Is there a camera that is in the $400 range that will give me what I'm looking for?
Pillar of the Community
United States
4457 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  09:27 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not going to mention particular camera brands.
I'm going to list necessary or suggested requirements for your camera.
And accessories.
Then you search for an appropriate camera.
(These are my opinions.)

-- 6 or more Mpixels (necessity)
-- macro capable (necessity)
-- adjustable "white balance" (necessity)
-- 4x or more optical zoom; NOT digital zoom (highly recommended)
-- AC adaptor (highly recommended for long photo sessions)
-- rechargeable battery w/ recharger (recommended; good for away from home use)
-- remote shutter release (highly recommended to help prevent camera vibration)
-- camera stand that works with the camera; NOT a tripod (highly recommended to help prevent camera vibration; a tripod always seems to have a leg in the way or throwing a shadow)
-- "white light" source (recommended but "white balance" can compensate for other types of light)
-- non-reflective black or dark gray background (highly recommended; I use ordinary kindergarten construction paper)
-- Book: Numismatic Photography by Mark Goodman/2nd Edition

Here's my setup (let's see if I can get the image posted).
Ignore the camera; it's NOT a $400 camera.

Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4457 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  09:31 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, and get the book FIRST.
That will fill in gaps that I probably missed.
Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
Valued Member
Canada
475 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  09:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Kanga...that is great advise.

Another option I was looking at was the Celestron LCD Digital MICROSCOPE - LCD display.
It just looks simple to use...
Is this a good product or a waste of time and money?




Pillar of the Community
United States
3200 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  2:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you're interested in good quality at the lowest possible price, you will need to give up a little convenience. Here is what I would recommend...

Canon XS camera, body only: $175
EOS-M42 Adapter: $5
M42 focusing helicoid, 17-31mm: $30
M42 extensions, 2 sets 7/14/28mm: $15
M42-M39 adapter: $3
M42-RMS Adapter: $15
Nikon 75mm EL-Nikkor Lens: $40
Nikon M5 or Plan4 objective: $30
Tripod: $30
IKEA Jansjo LED lights, two: $20

Total $363

With the above, you can expect image quality as good as anything you see on the web. The tripod will make setup more difficult than a copy stand, and framing shots with combination of focusing helicoid and extensions is not as quick when you change to different coin sizes, but it's cheap and effective.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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United States
23520 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  2:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I cannot more strongly reinforce Ray's words. The rig he listed is quite accurately priced - for the record, here's an XS in great shape from a highly-reputable dealer who ships internationally:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Canon-Dig...1067180?r=FE

Note it's $165 for the best example they have, not $175. You could easily get away with what they call "EX" for $159, as well. If I recall, I paid less than his listed prices for both my Plan-4 objective and my 75mm lens (an El-Omegar, not an EL-Nikkor).

The rig as Ray listed it will provide absolutely professional results, as good as any you've ever seen on this forum, from full-face images of any coin down to ridiculously-magnified details using the Plan objective. And the software package which should come with the Canon will allow you to run the whole shoot from your keyboard/mouse - just set the camera up the first time and leave it alone.

There is no single $400 camera which would be even remotely in the same league. Not_even_close. And it won't include the tripod, either.
Valued Member
United States
395 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  3:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JJHFL to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@SsuperDdave - That is an excellent site! I like their grading system :) I think its time for me to get a new Body finally.
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United States
23520 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  3:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
KEH is highly recommended. Do business with them confidently, and trust their grading system. Pretty much all used-camera sellers use something similar, but some are more....optimistic than others.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1281 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  5:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have had very good luck with my old drill press.
I has enough height to use my bellows as well.
Saw two of them at garage sales last weekend. You may already have one.
Just one more option.







Valued Member
Canada
475 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  7:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks guys....I really appreciate all the help. I'm looking at the KEH site right now.

So you recommend the Canon Rebel XS or should I go with the XSI?
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United States
23520 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  10:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
All the XSi buys you over the XS is 2 more megapixels. In the real world, that translates into 250 vertical pixels of maximum image size - 2848 vs. 2592. This is not a justification to spend more money on an XSi, IMO. You're better suited throwing that extra money at an AC adapter for the camera, yet one more neat little toy which will save you effort in the long run.

When you choose a camera (assuming it's a Canon), make sure they send the software package with it if available. If by some chance it isn't available with your purchase, this is no big thing. It's your right to own a copy of that software along with your camera - used or not - and the software isn't serial number bound or required-registration. It would be perfectly legal for someone here to burn a copy of theirs and send it to you, as long as you own a qualifying Canon camera.
Valued Member
Canada
475 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  10:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ive been going over KEH website but have hard time finding the items listed by rmpsrpms. Like I said at the top...Im a newbie. I'm thinking for ease, maybe going with just a macro lens and camera...idk
Pillar of the Community
United States
3200 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  10:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think it matters much which one you go with. The few extra MP makes no difference. Only possible difference is bit depth, so that RAW processing is a bit better (actually, two bits) since the XS is 12 bit and XSi is 14 bit. In practice there is likely little difference, though. Here's a comparison chart...

media.the-digital-picture.com/Information/Canon-EOS-Rebel-XSi-XS-XTi-Comparison-Chart.pdf
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Pillar of the Community
United States
3200 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  10:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Ive been going over KEH website but have hard time finding the items listed by rmpsrpms. Like I said at the top...Im a newbie. I'm thinking for ease, maybe going with just a macro lens and camera...idk


Most of the stuff I listed will need to be sourced from eBay.

In your OP, it seemed like you wanted to go with something that could replace your digital microscope, which is why I chose the lineup I did. A macro lens won't replace the digital microscope, since it can go to 1:1 max magnification. Plus I don't know of a camera and macro lens combo that would stay within your budget...
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Valued Member
Canada
475 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  10:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks...if I went with just the camera (either the XS or XSi) what should I use for a lens?
Valued Member
Canada
475 Posts
 Posted 09/14/2013  11:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmc to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My goal is a economical solution for great close up pictures of my coins!
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