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Looking For Some Guidance On Purchasing Either A Dslr Or Dino Lite USB

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United States
144 Posts
 Posted 11/16/2018  12:27 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add jafo50 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I know there are many posts on the pros and cons of both choices but I'm just looking for some guidance.

My goal is to take very detailed photos of my coins for posterity and possible sale down the road.
I want to capture things like over date and DD mint marks.

My budget is in the $1000 to $1200 range.

I currently use my cell phone for coin photos and an external lens for detailed closeups. Truthfully it's a bit of a pain in the butt doing it this way.

I need any setup to be able to see a live view on my laptop and preferably be able to snap a photo from my keyboard.

I'm currently not a digital camera expert but I understand the basics of F-Stops and Shutter Speeds.

Where I'm Leaning:
My current thought process is to go with DSLR as it'll provide additional functionally than just photographing coins. After all it's still a camera. Whereas the Dino Lite is basically an indoor microscope.

I'd like to hear from anyone who faced this decision and the reasons for your final choice.

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 Posted 11/17/2018  09:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jadey to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'll be very interested to hear the feedback, as I am in a similar boat. I currently have a Dinolite Pro USB that is about 10 years old, so I can give you some feedback about the dinolite pro.

As you mentioned, I really like having the direct connection to the computer for immediate viewing and easy upload. Sometimes I can get good pictures with it, however, I have a very difficult time with setting up the dinolite and getting good lighting. On real close up pictures, I often have parts of the coin out of focus.

Here are some pics. I've actually bought a couple of USB LED lights that I have attached to the stand such that they move with the microscope, with the thought that I can get lighting at 10 and 2 and it is all one unit and easily portable.

Can someone please tell me why these are rotated. I have rotated them on the computer and saved them, and they still turn out sideways when I upload them.

I personally have a hard time getting the magnification, focus, and coin location just right. The microscope stand has both a coarse and a fine Z (up/down) position setting. Therefore, you need to manually position the mechanism on the vertical stand, and then you can fine tune the vertical position with a turn wheel that moves the microscope about two inches. I am not good at this process, and find it very time consuming, as I often have to move the slide mechanism multiple times to get it right.

As I look for a better setup, I am looking to have a full Z (vertical) position setting for the microscope (or camera), as well as having an XY stage for the coin to sit on. However, this doesn't really address the issue with lighting and parts of the coin being out of focus.

Unfortunately, unlike you, I am uneducated about photography, and all the terms about macro lens, f-stops, apertures, white balance, etc are confusing. Ideally, I would have a point and shoot type setup.

Edited by Jadey
11/17/2018 09:45 am
Valued Member
United States
144 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2018  10:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jafo50 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The first thing I would try Jadey is to use independent lighting that's not attached to the microscope. This will allow you to maneuver the lighting to capture the best photo of your coin. I can't tell from your photo if the lighting is diffused or direct lighting. Most of the material that I have read recommends diffused lighting.

Thanks for the response and we'll wait and see if others chime in.

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 Posted 11/19/2018  12:11 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would of course recommend the DSLR route. Have you looked at the "<$400" thread? Your $1000-$1200 is more than sufficient to do what you want to do.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
Valued Member
United States
144 Posts
 Posted 11/21/2018  08:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jafo50 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks rmpsrmps, I found the thread. Lots of information to digest which will take some time.

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