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My Beginner's Macro Camera Stand For $12 On Amazon - What Do You Think?

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 Posted 12/12/2019  7:44 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi Guys!

It has been suggested to me that I start posting whole coin pictures in my posts to CCF. Until today, I could not do so, as my USB microscope has a stand that cannot get far enough away from the coin to capture the whole coin.

I learned from this topic on this sub-forum that there are many options out there for a good macro camera stand. However, I see that these options are not cheap, or require you to build your own stand from scratch or adapt something like a full-size microscope stand to fill the bill.

But, right now I have neither the money for an expensive stand (retired on a fixed income) nor do I want to put off whole coin photography until I can get the plans for a DIY project and build it myself. I have coins to put into the CCF grading sub-forum to help me choose which of my lifetime collection of UNC coins are worthy of slabbing. I also have coin roll hunting finds that I want all yuns' input as to what they may be!

So, I conducted an Internet search for a quick, cheap but usable beginner's macro-camera stand. It couldn't be a tripod, as this topic on the sub-forum has advised me that tripods cast shadows or always have one leg in the way. The Internet then showed me that a non-tripod macro-camera stand is a scarce animal in that jungle! It had to be cheap, and I wanted it quick (usually that means a piece of junk)

I found only ONE option on the Internet that was not a tripod, was cheap ($12), and was available for one day delivery via Amazon. I crossed my fingers, hoped it would not be total junk, and ordered it last night.

It came today. It was 90% metal, well-machined, and easily handled my SLR digital camera without tipping over. The $12 wonder works as advertised. I have used it to photograph a 1966 possible die clip Kennedy to post on the US error coin sub-forum, which comes next after this post.

Here is the link to a possible beginner's macro camera stand:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...e=UTF8&psc=1

I know this stand has limited adjustment capabilities (a basic up and down sliding mono-pod with clamping device at top). I know there are much better out there. My goal in this post is to help other newbies to numismatic photography save time and money and get started quickly if they so desire. What do you guys think of this $12 wonder?

Thanks for reading this post.

Morgan Guy
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 Posted 12/12/2019  9:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How are the resulting pictures using this setup? Once you have a good lens and camera, and the copy stand is good enough to hold the camera level, steady, in good focus, the lighting becomes the most important factor.

It might be good to vary the number and position of the lights, along with shining them through more or less diffusion, depending on the coin you are imaging.
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 Posted 12/13/2019  03:35 am  Show Profile   Check spruett001's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add spruett001 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good advice. How about some sample pics?
In Memory of Crazyb0
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 Posted 12/15/2019  8:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry for the delay in getting back with my first sample pictures with my new $12 macro camera stand. I used a portable fold-down photo studio box with diffusing screens that you did not see in my previously posted picture on this topic.

The pictures attached are of a possible 1966 Kennedy mint error coin I picked up a week ago at a local Saturday coin show. I set the megapixel setting on my Sony NEX-3N down low so the resulting cropped photo meets the 300kb limit allowed by CCF.

What do you think of my first macro camera photos with this setup?

Thanks for your feedback in advance.

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 Posted 12/15/2019  8:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add macmercury to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks!
I was also looking something to help with a inexpensive decent setup.

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 Posted 12/15/2019  9:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
macmercury, you are welcome. Sharing info with like-minded folks is what CCF is all about!
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 Posted 12/15/2019  11:06 pm  Show Profile   Check spruett001's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add spruett001 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My general comment is that I don't feel like those pics truly represent how the coin looks in hand. Does the coin have dark toning?

I thought that looked like a Sony NEX camera in the pic. I used to have one (NEX-3), but have a more traditional DSLR now. If it were me, I would leave the camera set on full resolution and adjust file size in the editing stage. I feel like you might get sharper results that way.
In Memory of Crazyb0
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 Posted 12/16/2019  10:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here's the rim photos of this 1966 Kennedy. The rim seems to have a major "scoop" out of the obverse side of the rim which is to be expected given the incuse affected area of the obverse which carries over to the rim. I describe this obverse/obverse rim area as a "scoop" because it does NOT appear to be a simple compression / indentation of the obverse, but instead looks like a construction steam shovel rolled up and took an actual "scoop" with its shovel.

But I also an detect an anomaly on the reverse side of the rim as well, which does not look like the "scoop" on the obverse side of the rim. Instead the reverse side of the rim at the same exact spot seems to have a much more subtle and slight narrowing when viewed at an angle to the reverse that I cannot explain.

Looking at the affected area of the rim as a whole, my sense is that I am seeing a classic female "hourglass figure".

Let me know what you think and what could cause this. It just does not seem to be (to my admittedly newbie eyes) post-strike damage. .



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 Posted 12/16/2019  10:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add macmercury to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I see a faulty planchet from these pics, can you get close up and better picture of obverse area in the error field.

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 Posted 12/16/2019  10:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Suggestion.
For your background use something that is a non-reflective black or dark gray.
The reflected light from a white background often overpowers the image making the coin look darker than it really is.
I use black construction paper like is used in kindergarten.
And don't use colored paper because that will skew the color of a coin's appearance.
Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
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 Posted 12/17/2019  03:06 am  Show Profile   Check spruett001's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add spruett001 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good advice, @kanga.

I didn't feel it was appropriate to address the "error" here, so I suggest creating a new topic in the US Modern Error & Variety subforum for that. I think this one should stick to imaging.

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 Posted 12/17/2019  11:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The pics look OK, but have room for improvement, mostly in the lighting as pepactonius prognosticated. Your lights are at a pretty low angle and this is giving a "side lighting" look to the images and putting highlights on the edges of the devices. The lights are also coming in at 3 and 9 o'clock, which is not the best starting point. So, my first suggestion is to move the lights until they are as close to the camera/lens as possible, and possibly raise them to get highest angle possible, and put them at 10 and 2 to get a better starting point.

Now of course lighting is only marginally related to the stand itself. The fact that I think you "can" get lights into the right position is a vote in favor of the stand, since many tripods prevent you from doing this easily. I do have a few questions about the stand if you don't mind:

How high can it go? And also how low? Would be nice to know the min and max heights of the 1/4" mount
How stable is it? ie when you push down on the camera, how easily does the camera move due to the stand flexing?
How easy is it to adjust height?
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Edited by rmpsrpms
12/17/2019 11:20 am
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 Posted 12/17/2019  3:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnWayne007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Morgan Guy, nice setup!

To help with resolution and getting the file size correctly there is a Free program for Mac & Windows called GIMP that I highly recommend, its kind of like a photoshop but if you plan on taking pictures of coins a lot you will benefit greatly using this program.

What I do is take pictures using full resolution on whichever camera I am using, load the picture into GIMP then export it out and while exporting a pop up window will show the file size and you can manually input the file size to be 299kbs or 300kbs and still end up with VERY clear photos, without losing any resolution!

The only thing I think you should look into is maybe playing around with the lighting a bit more, I think once you get the correct lighting for the coins you are photographing you will be well on your way to taking amazing pictures.
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1941 George VI 1 Cent DDO http://goccf.com/t/367977
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1970 Queen Elizabeth II 1 Cent DDR http://goccf.com/t/364301
1989 Belize 25 Cent's with a Doubled Die Reverse http://goccf.com/t/362747
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 Posted 12/17/2019  6:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, JohnWayne007 for your advice as to GIMP. I will re-set my NEX-3N to full resolution and download GIMP and check it out with a couple of pics.
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 Posted 12/18/2019  12:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi, rmpsrpms Your post is EXACTLY the kind of feedback I was hoping to get! Thank you very much.

I will start answering your questions best as I can


So, my first suggestion is to move the lights until they are as close to the camera/lens as possible, and possibly raise them to get highest angle possible, and put them at 10 and 2 to get a better starting point.


Indeed, I did not know to put the lights at 10 and 2; now I do and will henceforth do so on all my future macro coin pics. Great advice!

I do have a few questions about the stand if you don't mind:

I do not mind at all: thank you again for your time and your reply. Here goes:

How high can it go?

17 " is the theoretical maximum at full vertical positioning of the monopod with the camera tilted down at a 90 degree angle. But to get the camera out and away from the base of the stand to photograph any object of size, you have to start leaning the monopod forward, which means of course that you are decreasing the maximum height the more you lean the monopod forward.

And also how low?

11 " minimum at the full vertical position of the monopod with the camera tilted down at a ninety degree angle, but you can lean the monopod forward at an extreme close to 90 degrees off the vertical and take pictures about two inches away from the coin. In the short monopod configuration the stand/camera combination is pretty stable. I will take a picture of the monopod at its smallest extension and leaned forward at this most extreme angle to show you how close it can get

Would be nice to know the min and max heights of the 1/4" mount

The " mount that screws into the camera body is a 1" piece of metal. It is hard to turn it to mount the camera; I found it much easier to twirl the camera itself to fasten it snugly on the " mounting lug. The non-screw end of the 1" metal mount is a ball that fits into a plastic ball socket on the top of the mono pod. This ball socket has a plastic/metal tightening lug which fixes the " mount per the user's requirements. The ball socket itself is a 360 degree affair allowing the user to swivel the attached camera in a 360 degree manner. The " mount is allowed to travel only within the ball socket in a slot that can go from a full horizontal position to a full 90 degree vertical position, as the ball socket itself provides the 360 degree function. I will take a picture of the upper ball socket of the monopod described in this paragraph.

The angle of travel of the monopod itself is only in the forward direction towards the item to be photographed. This is achieved by a plastic/metal half-lap joint with locking lug at the bottom of the monopod. There is no ability to achieve other than a forward leaning monopod picture unless you move the entire monopod/steel base with camera attached itself ($12 price point?)

The bottom end of the monopod attaches to the metal stand with a (perfectly half-dollar sized) plastic knurled knob which has a " metal screw molded into it which screws in from the bottom of the center stand section into the monopod bottom's corresponding embedded " female metal screw socket . I will take a picture of the lower half-lap socket of the monopod and the plastic knurled knob

Turning now to the metal stand, it consists of three 1/8" thick steel segments permanently affixed together that fold fairly compactly for storage in the provided cardboard box. The two end segments of the stand are each 9" long and have two large and thick rubber bumpers/pads on the bottom on each end segment for scratch protection. These two end segments are designed to be opened to a maximum 45 degree orientation from the 10 " long center metal section of the stand where the monopod is attached. The center metal stand segment has a convex dimple stamped into it on the top that will allow the monopod to be attached only in one fixed orientation, which is pointing to the front of the fully extended stand, which looks like the letter "W" with the middle element of the "W" missing. I will take two pictures of the metal stand in both the fully extended 45 degree position and in the fully folded position for storing in the box.

How stable is it? i.e. when you push down on the camera, how easily does the camera move due to the stand flexing?

The entire monopod/stand fully assembled and in use with my camera attached (Sony NEX-3N - a small light camera) is stable with the monopod at its smallest size, even when leaning the monopod itself forward at an extreme angle close to the coin. I will take a picture of the monopod set to its shortest length in an extreme forward leaning position.

The same stability does NOT exist when the monopod is in the fully extended / tallest position and is leaning forward at anything even close to a 45 degree angle. When positioned thus, as you push the shutter button, the camera moves noticeably. I could only use this monopod /stand in that fully extended and leaning forward configuration if I set my shutter to work on a 2.5 second delay. The delay gave the monopod / stand time to quit shaking before the delay timer went off and is an easy and effective work-around to this problem. I will take a picture of the fully extended monopod in a 45 degree forward leaning position.

How easy is it to adjust height?

Very easy; there is a clamp at the top of the mono pod. I will take a picture of said clamp.

I hope this answers your questions. I visited your website and liked your products. When my financial position improves, I will come back to see you about the adapted microscope stand as a good upgrade from my $12 stop-gap solution I am limited to at this time.

Thanks again,

Morgan Guy










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 Posted 12/18/2019  12:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Morgan Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oops! I forgot to upload three of the pictures of the monopod that I said I would take in my reply to rmpsrpms. They are attached to this post.

Morgan Guy




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