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Recommendation For Magnifier And Photography

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 5 / Views: 377Next Topic  
Valued Member
Canada
52 Posts
 Posted 06/03/2021  7:03 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Canadianpennyman to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi,
I'm kinda new to collecting (did it years ago but never this seriously). I am trying to figure out a really good magnifier to be able to identify varieties of coins. And I see all the amazing close up pictures on this site. How are people doing that? I'm a completely newbie with this and would really appreciate some guidance.

Thank you
Pillar of the Community
United States
3349 Posts
 Posted 06/03/2021  9:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My recommendation is to get what I use...a Bausch & Lomb Stereo microscope. This is an indispensible tool for variety searchers, and I've used them for more than 30 years. They are not terribly expensive either. If you want recommendations I can line you up with something on eBay that looks good.

Unfortunately you won't get good photos from that system, just really good ability to identify and attribute varieties. You can take "OK" photos by lining up the coin in the scope and then using your cellphone to take a pic through the eyepiece. I did this for years, and in fact most of the photos you see in various publications use this technique, but honestly they are not that great compared with what can be done with more modern/dedicated equipment. However, they may be plenty good for your purposes, and the ability to use one system for both searching and photos is compelling.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Valued Member
Canada
52 Posts
 Posted 06/11/2021  9:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Canadianpennyman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
rmpsrpms - thanks for responding. I just purchased a Bausch & Lomb 10x magnifier. I haven't used it yet but hopefully that works.
Thanks for the feedback on the photography. When you say modern/dedicated equipment, what would that be? A DSLR camera with a special lens?
Pillar of the Community
United States
8230 Posts
 Posted 06/12/2021  11:53 am  Show Profile   Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Depending on your ultimate goals of course, not much beats a low power stereo microscope for comfortable viewing. I love mine and use 0.7-5 times power mostly. Very nice for really looking at close up varieties. Though it will make you think it's time to get out the cleaner too! I never knew my old copper Two Cent coins had so much verdigris on them in the crevices. The Olympus and Bausch & Lomb Stereo microscopes are some of the best, of course an AmScope is just fine too. Look at the trinocular ones if photomicrography is something you think you might get into.

Inexpensive USB scope can do fine when hooked to a screen and put on a sturdy stand or tripod arm for viewing large amounts in a short time as well. I find the LED lighting onboard really falls short for pretty photographs though and it's much harder to get great still images with a USB camera.

For iPhone or camera shots of coins you just need to brace the phone so it's completely still and provide a lot of external lighting. I use a gooseneck led lamp or two to provide light, then a small coffee can to place the camera onto and keep it level and steady. The iPhone will let you hook up earphones and press the volume button to fire the shutter eliminating the need to push on the camera after everything is set up. Give that a try to sharpen up your images. Plus keeping the camera at the same height each time keeps the obverse and reverse shots the same size. making composting the two images into a single one much easier and consistent.

There are a lot of great threads here in the photo section on CCF to look through. Also check out CCF member rmpsrpms (Ray Parkhurst's site) http://www.macrocoins.com/ he sells already built set-ups and is a wonderful person to deal with!
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
ANA Life Member #3288 in good standing since 1982, EAC Member #6202, NBS Member, 2¢ variety collector.

See my want page: http://goccf.com/t/140440
Edited by westcoin
06/12/2021 11:55 am
Pillar of the Community
United States
3349 Posts
 Posted 06/17/2021  7:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@Canadianpennyman, have you checked out the "<$400" thread(s)? That's the kind of "dedicated" equipment I'm talking about above, basically what you said, a DSLR and macro lens. You can put a setup like that together very inexpensively today.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Pillar of the Community
United States
8230 Posts
 Posted 06/17/2021  8:44 pm  Show Profile   Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here is a direct link to the thread Ray is suggesting you peruse:

http://goccf.com/t/158182

It's 40 pages of items starting from 2013, so I'd imagine the cameras in the earlier threads are even cheaper now when you look at used ones. Though there is something to be said for newer larger megapixel cameras, up to a point. I use a 7D and am very, very happy with it I shoot primarily the Canon 100mm EF Macro F/2.8 pre IS lens. My single sided shots are so large I cannot scale them down at all enough to post a full resolution here, no matter what I've tried, even compressing to a low quality of 1 out of 100 in Photoshop still only gets me to around 650KB.

Using only two Ikea LED lights this is what to expect at 50% or so. I compressed to 1% low quality and dropped my DPI from 300 to 72.



and at 100% (only showing the date as it's all that will fit into the 300kb upload limit, this is compressed to low quality 20% on Photoshop.



I'm not using anything other than a USB cable to my computer and a tripod with a piece of black foam to shot the coin on. I do raise the coin up on a little coffee can to help fill the frame better and make it easier on me as far as comfort when shooting. I will shoot a bunch of coin obverse and reverse then I take the raw files and do the edits in Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo software. I crop the obverse or reverse out size the square to 3000 pixels at 300dpi (my choice of file saving) this is around 18-22 MB per image. I label the coins with my IDs and move on to the next one, the editing takes about twice as long as the shooting and all goes pretty fast now that I have everything dialed in. I'm probably getting around 12 to 15 coins total, done in an hour or so (obverse & reverse). I'm slowing slogging away through around my 1000 or so Two Cent varieties. So far I'm just shooting the raw coins, and will eventually move into shooting slabbed coins which will take some thinking and redoing of my work procedures.
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
ANA Life Member #3288 in good standing since 1982, EAC Member #6202, NBS Member, 2¢ variety collector.

See my want page: http://goccf.com/t/140440
Edited by westcoin
06/17/2021 9:06 pm
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