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Extreme Macro Coin Photography

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 Posted 02/04/2020  11:57 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add JeffMTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello all, I'm seeking advice on getting into the Extreme version of macro coin photography.

I've been photographing coins for several years with a Canon 50D (tethered) on a copy stand and a Sigma 150 Macro lens. The setup serves me very well for photos of full coins and slabs, but doesn't allow me to effectively dive in close for magnifying mintmarks, letters, etc.




Above is what I can get with my current setup, cropping the original image a bunch. It's not very sharp. I tried using extension tubes; they don't really help. I would like to use the Canon camera- not a digital (or standard) microscope; my purpose is to capture quality images.

I've looked at the Canon MP-E 65mm macro. It looks like it would work for me, but at a high price. Any suggestions on what might give me great sharp images but at a more reasonable price?
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 Posted 02/04/2020  3:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mcshilling to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looks good to me, if you want the 'o' than crop it a bit closer.

I'm sure Ray will be by shortly and give you a better way.
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 Posted 02/04/2020  3:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add keith12 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That pretty good
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 Posted 02/04/2020  4:08 pm  Show Profile   Check GrapeCollects's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GrapeCollects to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
way better then anything I could hope to do.
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 Posted 02/04/2020  4:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One way to improve sharpness for high-magnification shots would be focus stacking. I use Zerene Stacker, but I think Ray uses Helicon Focus. The premier website for true macrophotography is photomacography.net

For really closeup shots, nothing beats shooting with a low-power microscope loobjective.
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 Posted 02/04/2020  4:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JeffMTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The image I attached has already been cropped quite a bit. The photo is in sharp focus; the fuzziness in the photo posted is from resolution loss. Stacking will only help if depth of field limitations only allow part of the image to be in focus.

I don't want to use a microscope; I'm looking for a lens configuration to use on my DSLR. I'm fairly confident the Canon MP-E 65mm macro will work, but it's pricy. I'm wondering if there's a way to use extension tubes or bellows with some type of lens to shoot at more magnification than the approx. 2X I'm currently getting.
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 Posted 02/04/2020  5:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CaptainFwiffo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You can get an adapter to attach a microscope objective to a bellows. And you can find some microscope objectives pretty cheap on e-bay.


1957-D RPM CNScope 10x/0.25 test by CaptainFwiffo, on Flickr


1957-D RPM CNScope 10x/0.25 test (crop) by CaptainFwiffo, on Flickr
Edited by CaptainFwiffo
02/04/2020 5:26 pm
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 Posted 02/04/2020  7:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Stacking will only help if depth of field limitations only allow part of the image to be in focus.


Once you start using a good extreme macro lens (like a microscope objective or hi-mag bellows lens) at high magnification, stacking is definitely needed to get the sharpest image. Here's a closeup pic taken with the Mitutoyo 10X/0.28 Plan APO microscope objective (requires a tube lens, and not just a bellows):

Complete APSC frame -



Enlarged crop -



The Zerene Stacker tables say that the DOF is only about 7 microns with NA of 0.28, so you'd probably want a stack increment of 5 microns to be in perfect focus.

Edited by pepactonius
02/04/2020 7:59 pm
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 Posted 02/04/2020  8:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pepactonius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I should probable mention that you could try something like the Canon MacroPhoto 35mm f/2.8 bellows lens, if you don't want to use a microscope objective:

http://www.coinimaging.com/can35_bel.html

It has an RMS thread mount, so you'd an RMS to XXX adaper to attach it to your bellows.
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 Posted 02/05/2020  05:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi JMT,

IMO the best solution for what you're trying to do is a microscope objective with focus stacking, but most objectives have a limited mag range, so you need to decide the range you need and if you would need to get two or more objectives. There are a limited few objectives which can do well across a wide range though, as well as bellows lenses like the 35MP mentioned by pepactonius above. The 35MP is expensive but has wide coverage and is one of the best choices around for 2-4x.

One possible solution is to buy an "infinite" objective and mount it to the front of your 150mm lens. This has the advantage of not needing to change much in your system except to add the objective to the front when you want to take a high mag shot. The disadvantage is that the mags are even more fixed than with "finite" objectives which use extension to adjust magnification, but if you are happy with the results it's a more convenient way to go.

I recently did a comparison of some of these methods and published the results here:

http://www.macrocoins.com/variety-image-compo.html
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
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 Posted 02/05/2020  10:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JeffMTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow- you guys are a GREAT source of information. You've shown me several options that will precisely meet my needs. I'll start by researching the "Infinite" objective; where can I purchase that?
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 Posted 02/05/2020  10:27 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JeffMTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My Sigma 150mm lens uses 62mm filters; do I look for a 62mm "infinite" objective? Sorry for the beginner type questions; I'm obviously green to this stuff.
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 Posted 02/05/2020  4:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BStrauss3 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I looked at but ultimately decided against the 65mm lens - check the working distance in the spec.
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 Posted 02/05/2020  7:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Infinite objectives are easily available on eBay.

Here's an example of a 4x infinite made for AmScope:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AmScope-A4...401058342813

That objective will give you about 3x magnification using your 150mm lens. The normal focal length for infinite objectives is 200mm, so a 150mm will give 150/200 or 75% of the rated magnification. Note that I have not tested that objective so can't specifically recommend it, just showing it as an example. It is probably OK, and while not cheap, the risk is fairly low. 3x will be lower magnification than what is shown on the page I linked, but will still give a workable result that can be cropped to desired FOV.

If you are thinking of going "finite route", then I have a question...does your 150mm have a tripod mount, or are you mounting camera to the copy stand. Your answer will determine if a bellows or extension + helicoid is more appropriate for your system.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
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 Posted 02/05/2020  7:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To mount the infinite objective you'll need to have an RMS adapter which mounts to your 62mm filter threads. Here's an example from RafCamera:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/M62x0-75-m...252931274972

You might consider getting his 52mm to RMS, and a 52mm to 62mm adapter, to give you future flexibility in case you go with a different lens which has 52mm. A classic lens to use for this purpose is the Nikon 200mm AIS, and I believe this one has 52mm threads.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 02/05/2020  8:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For lighting, an Angel Eyes ringlight might work well with the objective. You may need to remove the trim ring from the objective, or perhaps not. They make a 40mm diameter ringlight that works with a 12V DC supply. I use them extensively for my work.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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