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Macro Lens And Microscope Options

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Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/08/2022  08:11 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello everybody! I am new to taking pics of coins and also getting close up pics of the details of coins. I have been reading up on the various techniques and was curious about your thoughts and ideas re what works for you and your setup. Granted, I am talking about amateur photography.

I have a USB microscope and have been practicing, but seem to be having trouble getting the smaller details to identify certain varieties. I might be missing them so I was hoping for some pointers. It might be the lighting so I was wondering if there was a certain temperature of lighting you prefer to get the best details. For example, it seems like sometimes on the shiny coins, I get better pics if I dim the circular LED ring around the camera and use an overhead lamp with filtering made of paper towels and paper. Other times not so much.

Also, I was looking at macro lenses for phones to take the full shots of the coins, and was wondering if any of you have used that method to get good pics of the fine details of coins and how you feel about it. There was also a CPL filter lens included in one of the kits I was considering and was hoping for your thoughts on that too.

Thanks for your tips if you can help!
Pillar of the Community
United States
3471 Posts
 Posted 09/08/2022  11:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have evaluated a few macro lenses for cellphones, and am hoping to make a recommendation once I can find one that gives an acceptable result. Most have been quite poor performers. I have one on order now that looks promising, though it's more expensive than most, the Apexel. I will make some sort of review if it turns out to be good. This is the one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TPLKT7D

Color temp makes no difference to resolution, only color fidelity. Adding the paper towels to diffuse the light can help, if that is the problem, but usually the issue is that the light is too diffuse already. Try blocking off some of the LEDs with masking tape or similar. What you probably have looks like this:

          0
      0       0
   0             0
      0       0
          0

Try blocking off the LEDs shown with X below:

          X
      0      0
   0            0
      X      X
          X


Or possibly even:


          X
      0       0
   X             X
      X       X
          X

The idea is to get light that is directional so that shadows can be formed. Lights coming from all sides eliminates most shadows, so it's harder to see the variety. You need to rotate the coin around to shine the light at the right angle to make the variety most visible. In fact, sometimes the light must come from just one direction, so you may consider masking all but one LED, like this:


          0
      X       X
   X             X
      X       X
          X

CPL filters are useless since the light angles don't support polarized light reflections.

Hope this helps and let us know any results.

Ray

Edited to add: I intended the 0's and X's above to look like a circle, but the forum suppressed the spaces.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Edited by rmpsrpms
09/08/2022 7:33 pm
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United States
120816 Posts
 Posted 09/08/2022  11:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Edited to add: I intended the 0's and X's above to look like a circle, but the forum suppressed the spaces.
I corrected by using the [code][/code] tags which will preserve spaces and use a monospaced font.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3471 Posts
 Posted 09/08/2022  11:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you @jbuck, now I know how to do it!
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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United States
120816 Posts
Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/10/2022  01:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks so much for your tips! I look forward to your review on the macro lens.

Now I must figure out how to put tape on the appropriate bulbs on the USB scope. They are so small so this will be interesting...

I practiced different settings for pics on the HD camcorder. My phone does not have as many options. I think switching from Auto mode to Manual and doing 1/100 shutter is making improvements with f 2.0 (Iris?). Still playing around with the white balance setting.

I am going to make some changes to my lighting for the regular pics also, and will post some pics once I figure it all out and get some practice so as to get your thoughts. I might try the milk jug trick mentioned in the other thread too.

Thanks again!
Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/10/2022  08:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I put tape on 3 of the 4 bulbs on the USB microscope and played around with different positions and angles of the coins.

Which one of these pics is better to see details if you were looking for a variety?

Pic 01



Pic 02

Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/10/2022  08:29 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here is another example that shows the mirror effect. I think it has improved. But which type would show more detail if a variety like a doubled die was there? The orange one or the gray one?

Pic 03



Pic 04

Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/10/2022  08:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Now the brown ones are much easier to deal with under the scope. I also tried tilting it to see what would happen. Which pic do you think is best to show details for a variety?

Pic 05



Pic 06

Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/10/2022  08:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I do not like when the black shadow border shows up all the way around a device, but it always does on the shiny red cents. It would be impossible it seems, from the newbie perspective, to see a subtle type of separation line, notches, or split serifs. Right?
Edited by CentSeeker
09/10/2022 08:43 am
Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/10/2022  08:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Also, the gray Pic 04 of 1996 shows a mark in the field that does not show on the orange Pic 03 of the same cent.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
48578 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2022  03:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One thing to try is not use the onboard lights at all and use a handheld led flashlight with a filter on it.On my scopes I blocked off all but one light at 12k and put a filter over that.I use a point-n-shoot camera on the windowsill for most of my coin shots set to macro with no flash.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2022  06:03 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
John1,

Thank you. I will try your method of turning off the lights on the scope altogether and using an external light instead. I tried that in the past. It is so hard with the shiny cents to get it just right.

When you say 12k, is the k referring to a brightness level or lumens?

For the full pics, I think I need to get the tripod out and use that for my HD camcorder pics to remove any shake for now, like how you use a point and shoot camera, until I see more info on the macro lenses for phones. I tried the zoom on the camcorder which is optical so that is better than digital zoom, but I think is more geared toward the video.

Also, I am going to try outdoor pics to see if that makes a difference too.

Thanks again! Very helpful!
Bedrock of the Community
United States
48578 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2022  06:43 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
12k=12 o'clock on a clock face. Just a note, when using a flashlight, you still need to put a filter on it.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2022  3:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Just a note, when using a flashlight, you still need to put a filter on it.


Do you use anything in particular? Maybe I should get a real filter other than paper towels?

I also ordered the selfie ring for the phone. Was thinking I might dissasemble and put it on my HD Camcorder lens somehow.

I need to read up on lighting in that one thread, try making the DIY grocery bag/hanger filter, and try the milk jug idea too.

Edit: Found a selfie ring for $5.56!

Edit 2: How in the world did you put a filter on the tiny LED deep under the inside of the microscope? I was barely able to put tiny pieces of electrical tape onto 3 of mine.
Edited by CentSeeker
09/12/2022 3:21 pm
Valued Member
United States
108 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2022  3:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CentSeeker to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Tape on 3 lights of my USB microscope


Edit: oops, need to be on page 2
Edited by CentSeeker
09/12/2022 3:40 pm
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