Camera or Microscope?

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Camera or Microscope?

#1 Unread post by mhonzell » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:55 pm

1. Use what you already have first.
Someone on here actually uses a camera and a loupe and takes phenomenal photos. Your cell phone will take pretty good photos if you can figure out how to keep it motionless while you take the photo.

2. If you decide on a scope, go small at first.
For $~25, you can get a digital pen-style microscope from China that will do wonders. This will definitely determine if this is a direction you want to go for minimal dollars. It will probably survive long enough for you to make that determination and you won't feel bad about pulling the plastic lens cover off of it.

3. Most people have some type of point and shoot digital camera.
Most important... no additional cost. These are phenomenal and all that most will ever need to photograph a coin.

4. If you decide you need more than that, keep in mind what your goal is!
If you want to search for varieties, a microscope works best. Should have a range of at least 3.5x-40x. MORE magnification is NOT better. Remember, you want to see the whole coin. The microscope camera should have a minimum resolution of 3MP. (This really depends on the quality of the camera... 2MP has been proven to be okay.)
If you want to "professionally" photograph coins, aim for a DSLR camera with high resolution (more MP is better) with good macro capabilities. Macro lenses are great, but it is far cheaper to go with lens tube extenders. Just depends on the camera's abilities.
Either way, make the coin fill up the picture. Why have all that resolution if you're not going to use it.

5. No matter what camera you use, it ALWAYS comes down to lighting!
This takes lots of experimenting or practice. It's a digital camera, so who cares. Charge up the battery because you are going to throw a lot of pictures in the trash can.

6. Almost as important as lighting, learn how to adjust White Balance.
Set up a specific place for your coins to be photographed. Learn where to put the lights for copper coins and where they go for silver coins. White balance will be different if you move the lights or change the background. Turn off any incandescent lights.

7. Get a free photo-editing program like Photoscape.
Learn to use the 5 or 6 functions needed to make great photos. You want honest pictures! But, it's okay to tune your photography to show how the coin really looks.(As a minimum, learn to crop out most of the area around the coin so that we can see the coin. Square cropping is fine.)

8. Practice, practice, practice.
It's not just the lens, it's mostly the person behind the lens and their skill set.

Questions? Just ask!