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Coin Photography Cameras, lighting, and techniques for photographing coins.

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Old Mar 10, 2009, 09:26 AM   #1
hummell
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Microscope or camera?

I'd like to upload pictures of my coins but I don't have the means to do it. So I wonder. Should I order a usb microscope or a camera? The camera of course has the benefit that you can use it in many other applications. But Is the result good in either case?
Also, does anyone know if devices like this take good coin pics?
"Handheld Dino Lite AM211 USB Digital Microscope PC Cam" (ebay it or google it)
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Old Mar 10, 2009, 10:59 AM   #2
Congius
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A microscope isn't really a good option for taking pictures of whole coins - the magnification is unsuitably high for that purpose, and the lens-to-object distance unsuitably short to allow decent lighting. If you prefer not to use a camera then the best alternative is a document scanner(!) which many people use; some models are better than others for this purpose so you'd want to ask around if that was something you were interested in. The advantage of a scanner is simplicity - no other equipment required and no learning curve.

A camera has the potential to take much better quality (& also worse quality!) pictures than a scanner, but will take some time learning how to use if effectively. The big advantage of a camera is the flexibility in lighting it allows (vs the fixed lighting of a scanner), which is enormously useful for bringing out the 3-dimensional aspects of coins, and making the best of worn coins with low relief.

Ben
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Old Mar 10, 2009, 12:25 PM   #3
esnible
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I use a flatbed scanner. They are cheap and work well for coins.

I had trouble using a camera -- my hands were not steady. I bought a copy stand and special lighting but still had trouble getting good pictures.
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Old Feb 6, 2010, 12:42 PM   #4
Hammy
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Hi Hummell I use a Veho USB microscope - I find it very good for close ups. It cost a lot less than a digital camera although I do have a digital camera but I dont seem to be able to get a good clear picture. here's an example of a recent coin find if it's of any help.

Cheers,

Hammy
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Old Feb 6, 2010, 06:47 PM   #5
livingwater
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camera

I use a digital camera with macro mode. The macro setting takes close up photos of coins, flowers, insects, etc.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 03:04 AM   #6
AlexB
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Dear Hammy

Does the USB camera have built in lighting?

Brgds

Alex
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 04:21 PM   #7
Malcolius
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USB Microscope

Hi, On reading this thread I got a dose of the "I Wants" and went straight to eBay and bought a USB microscope for the amazing sum of $40 which included postage. It arrived yesterday and, after installing the provided software I had a "play". The results of my very first effort are shown below in the pictures of my recent acquisition of an Octavian denarius RIC256.

You be the judges and please remember this was my very first try with a brand new toy!

By the way, in answer to the previous post - yes it does have a built in light!



and

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Old Feb 23, 2010, 05:26 PM   #8
livingwater
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brand and model number

Wow, nice photos. May I ask what brand and model number of USB microscope you bought? I think I'll get one.

Last edited by livingwater : Feb 23, 2010 at 06:51 PM.
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 05:52 PM   #9
Malcolius
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Thumbs up USB Microscope

Quote:
Originally Posted by livingwater View Post
Wow, nice photos. May I ask what brand and model number of USB microscope you bought? I think I'll get one.
Well there's a rub, the box has no model code on it (neither does the User's Manual)! However it comes from China (of course) and can be found on eBay if you do a search on item number 270526751259 and/or item description "200X USB Digital Microscope 1.3 Mega Pixel Video Camera".

Naturally there are quite a few on eBay and this one is one of the cheapest. Imagine what an expensive one could do!

John.
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 04:05 AM   #10
4to2centophilia
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Well, I am sold on the idea. I always had trouble getting proper depth of field using the SLR regardless of macro or not. I could never get proper lighting using a scanner.

This looks like the perfect $40 solution.
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Old Feb 25, 2010, 03:53 AM   #11
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Looks very good - can you put a gold or very shiny silver coin under the test please? This is the ultimate benchmark for me!

Brgds

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Old Feb 26, 2010, 09:51 PM   #12
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Thumbs down USB Microscope Testisng

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexB View Post
Looks very good - can you put a gold or very shiny silver coin under the test please? This is the ultimate benchmark for me!

Brgds

Alex
Sorry Alex, the ultimate test (!) is probably a failure on 2 counts. The first because I am but a poor and old collector of coins so gold ones are beyond my means. The second because I tried to photograph an Australian $2 coin, which is a sort of gold color, but failed miserably! The result is shown below which was about my 5th attempt with various backgrounds to get a reasonable picture.

However, if you would care to lend me an aureus I would be willing to try some more!

Meanwhile I will try on some shiny Australian coins & report back.



Regards, John.
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