USB microscope

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Saffron
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USB microscope

Post by Saffron » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:55 am

In the "For Sale" section 'Stillburning' has just generously given away a USB microscope.
https://www.metaldetectingforum.co.uk/v ... 17#p993917
But as a lot would not read that section I thought I would do a quick post about them in case others might find one useful

Seeing it I thought how useful it would be for photographing the small items that we (well others!) find. I frequently struggle with trying to get close ups of these small items with my camera and thought this would be a very good option. Additionally the photos would directly be on the computer with no need to transfer from camera (or phone).

Blackadder said -
"I have one of these that was marketed under a different name
The usb camera itself is excellent and the ability to snap the shot with your mouse is easy
My only negative is the stand is useless and keeps moving/slipping"
(I suspect a bit of bluetack could solve that issue).

'Onions' beat me to this one (well done, do let us know how you get on with it).
So I looked at others online and they do look like a very useful "extra" to enable us to get the most out of our finds.
At the lower price range they are available for under £20 with good reviews (I think I will invest) .... but if you want you can pay well over £100.

If anybody uses one it would be interesting to know their views.

Evan



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Re: USB microscope

Post by Blackadder43 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:47 pm

The camera itself is great, you adjust the focus actually on the camera itself, so can be a slight kerfuffle if your hands arent perfectly steady
But the software that comes with it allows you to click from your mouse to take the photo, and displays it on your screen for you

The stand is not the best design to be honest
Its a ball and socket affair, but the weight of the camera can make these fail and it slowly moves, which when using magnification shows up and can be annoying

But
Dont let that put you off
Honest its not as bad as it sounds, i use a bit of masking tape to bulk out the ball part of the joints, and also some gaffer tape and a box to mount the camera on at the right height for coins

I like it and for the price it does the biz
Gets a thumbs up from me ::g
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Re: USB microscope

Post by Bradrick » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:06 pm

Saffron wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:55 am


If anybody uses one it would be interesting to know their views.

Evan
Hi Evan

I posted a thread on here on USB 'scopes last year and received some decent feedback: https://www.metaldetectingforum.co.uk/v ... it=digital

I eventually went for this one:

It does the job I wanted it to. Great for close work (although the field available to photograph is obviously limited by the height of the stand), but the results are good enough.

The stand is solid and strong enough. Good luck with whatever you get.

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Re: USB microscope

Post by Saffron » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:21 pm

SuperRed wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:06 pm
Saffron wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:55 am


If anybody uses one it would be interesting to know their views.

Evan
Hi Evan

I posted a thread on here on USB 'scopes last year and received some decent feedback: https://www.metaldetectingforum.co.uk/v ... it=digital

I eventually went for this one:

It does the job I wanted it to. Great for close work (although the field available to photograph is obviously limited by the height of the stand), but the results are good enough.

The stand is solid and strong enough. Good luck with whatever you get.
SuperRed very many thanks for the link to the previous thread, which I had either missed or more likely forgotten about. There is some really excellent information on there and if anybody is thinking about getting one its well worth the read.

That picture of the coin shows what a great job they do.

More pennies about to be spent.

Evan

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Re: USB microscope

Post by Dangerous Norman » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:57 pm

Saffron wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:55 am

So I looked at others online and they do look like a very useful "extra" to enable us to get the most out of our finds.
At the lower price range they are available for under £20 with good reviews (I think I will invest) .... but if you want you can pay well over £100.

If anybody uses one it would be interesting to know their views.

Evan
I wanted a close up camera and went for the 40X - 1000X. I found several issues but none that couldn't be overcome. I'll mention them and put my 2p worth.

That said the camera does give excellent results for the cost, ok pay a lot more and you will (or should) get better results but do you need better?

1: The stand is as much use as a chocolate firegard round a blast furnace. I attached mine to a sandstone block via an Arca Swiss camera mount (I use this system on my camera equipment). The camera doesn't move - full stop but I still need to be gently as even glued solid in to the clamp there's enough flex in the plastic for the camera to move when touched.

2: At 40X zoom all I get in the image of a decimal 1p coin is from the bottom edge of the coin to the top of the 1 (one). To get a image of the full coin I have to take approx 20 photos and stitch them together. I can now do this quite quickly and use Photoshop CC to automatically stitch them. This is not the fault of the camera, mine for not getting a 10X - 100X (or at most 200X).

3: I can zoom in fully (1000X) but the image quality isn't good. It that level a high quality lens would be essential. At that magnification level I can only see 2 dots and the edge of a third, these are the ring of dots round the edge of the penny. Do we really need that level of magnification? I certainly don't. Zoomed out till the 1 (one) fills the screen top to bottom and the image is good.

4: The pixel definition can (on Amcap software) be set from 160x120 to 6324x4742 (30 mp) but as mentioned earlier once stitched to create a single image of the full 1p it would create an image approx 250mp. images that size would take long to fill your hard drive.
For that reason I'd say a max zoom of 200X (or 400X if you really must puss the limits of a cheap camera) is all you need. If you have a DSLR then a set of close up lenses is all you need (1X, 2X, 4X, 10X, 10 X is the one I use the most). To get the max definition (6324x4742) they may use software rather that a high resolution sensor.

5: I find that some poor detailed coins are actually easier to pick out detail from using a standard or 9X (high power, used by visually impaired to read) magnifying glass.

6: Close up cameras suffer from limited depth of field, A small aperture can overcome this to some extent but there's a limit lenses can go to. Focus stacking software is needed on items with some depth although coins etc. are ideal being thin & flat. That Amazon set up looks like it could be good for anyone who doesn't have a DSLR.
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Re: USB microscope

Post by Bors » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:52 pm

I recently bought this one for £13, which includes the stand. Its 600x magnification and that's all you need on the maximum side , but it's from 50x up so will give a decent image without it being too powerful.
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Re: USB microscope

Post by Pete E » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:10 am

I agree with Norman in that a 10x to 100x would be ideal for coins, and should offer better image quality at the lower magnifications....
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Re: USB microscope

Post by stillair1 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:23 pm

I used to have one of the dynolite range AM4113T at work which was expensive at the time. As said the depth of field is shallow, ok for coins though. The more expensive versions tended to have better illumination using more LEDs. Another function is to check whether the software allows you to turn off the illumination in order to side light.
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Re: USB microscope

Post by Dangerous Norman » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:01 pm

stillair1 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:23 pm
I used to have one of the dynolite range AM4113T at work which was expensive at the time. As said the depth of field is shallow, ok for coins though. The more expensive versions tended to have better illumination using more LEDs. Another function is to check whether the software allows you to turn off the illumination in order to side light.
Focus stacking is the way to get round the shallow depth of field.

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