Microscope or a set of Bellows?

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Flat-Chested
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Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by Flat-Chested » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:57 pm

In my recent struggles to photograph small detail I have come to the conclusion that I am in need of either a microscope or a set of bellows. A cursory look and I see a number of microscope options, I would appreciate suggestions. I was hoping that I could avoid focus stacking and obtain an instrument that is able to provide an adequate depth of view that would keep stars in focus from top to bottom. Using extension tubes between my lens and camera does not resolve these smaller items to an adequate nor professional looking degree. Anybody on this site using bellows?

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andywoj00
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by andywoj00 » Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:27 pm

For close ups, I use a Pentax auto bellows with a Canon T3i, extension tubes and a Rodenstock APO Rodagon 75mm f4 lens mounted on a modified Bauch & Lomb microscope stand, tethered to my PC. Works well for my needs. I'm sure there are more professional setups out there, but what I have is in support of a hobby vice making-a living.
I also have a T6i mounted on a modified B&L stand with a Canon 100mm Macro lens for taking full coin shots. YMMV......Andy
Last edited by andywoj00 on Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

DHalladay
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by DHalladay » Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:51 pm

I have never used a microscope, so the "what if" lure of an unknown option that might be better is strong. That said, I am pleased with results I get from the setup I have used for several years:

Bencher copy stand (very sturdy; semi-professional at least)
Nikon D7100 digital SLR (a really good model when it was new)
Nikon PN-11 extension tube
Nikon PK-13 extension tube
Nikon AF 60mm Micro lens
Nikon shutter release cable (all shots taken in Mirror Up setting)
Photoshop CC program (so I can take photos in RAW format that are vastly more editable)

macro setup 1.jpg
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macro setup 2.jpg
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Last edited by DHalladay on Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When in doubt... don't.

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messydesk
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by messydesk » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:17 am

My gear does not include a bellows. For the close-ups I take for my slab labels and for VW, I use a Canon Powershot SD1200 pointed through the eyepiece of a microscope. This works well for me, because it's very efficient. I can go from viewing through the stereoscope, to taking a picture immediately without having to move the coin or refocus.
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The bigger setup looks like this most of the time. Nikon D610 camera with 200mm f4 AF Micro-Nikkor lens (manually focused, always) capable of 1:1 focusing. Since I rarely need more magnification on that camera, I don't have a bellows and microscope objective. I have other lenses that I will use on occasion, a Nikon 105mm f4 AIS Micro-Nikkor for slabs, and a 55mm f2.8 Micro-Nikkor for larger stuff. Once in a great while I will reverse the 55 onto the front of the 105 and get 2:1 macro, or a 24mm Nikkor onto the front of the 105 for 4:1 macro. I can get much sharper pictures this way than I can with my current microscope + Powershot, but it takes much longer and is harder to light.
dollarsetup.jpg
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The equipment you get depends a lot on how you want to work.
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messydesk
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by messydesk » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:23 am

Flat-Chested wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:57 pm
... Using extension tubes between my lens and camera does not resolve these smaller items to an adequate nor professional looking degree. Anybody on this site using bellows?
A bellows is the same as an adjustable extension tube. It will not solve any depth-of-field problems for you. Depth-of-field drops off as magnification increases. The amount of light drops off, too, so if you stop down the lens, the exposure time goes way up.
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Flat-Chested
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by Flat-Chested » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:21 am

I too use a 200mm f4 AF Micro-Nikkor (and couple this to a Nikon D800e). I know bellows will decrease my depth of field, but the item of interest will better fill the frame so that I don’t have to crop the image so much, and the item will be resolved better. Limited depth of field is an issue, but the bigger issue is having to crop out so much of the image just to obtain a photo of a single letter or star. Stacked extension tubes are not sufficiently increasing the magnification.

The 200mm f4 AF Micro-Nikkor was my only lens for an appreciable amount of time, I have been using it for both coin photography and for wildlife photography. I am using two, three or sometime four Wireless Remote Speedlights SB-R200, although designed for macro photography, I have used these flashes successfully with wildlife photography… as neither the D800e nor the 200mm f4 AF Micro-Nikkor are stabilized, the flashes are essential to eliminate the camera shake.

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messydesk
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by messydesk » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:01 am

One thing to remember with macro (and optics or even physics in general) is that there's no such thing as a free lunch. In order to get high magnification, you need a shorter focal length, which will get you a shorter working distance. With a 55 mm lens, you only need 110 mm of extension to get 2:1, whereas you'd need 400 mm on a 200 mm lens. Use an even shorter lens on a 4" bellows and you could get 4:1 or higher, but have a very hard time with lighting and be forced to focus-stack.

Perhaps I'll experiment tomorrow with what I have. I have a tube for my 55 mm that I could reverse my 24 mm lens on.
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Flat-Chested
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by Flat-Chested » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:32 pm

I see now that I am in need of a microscope and not a set of bellows, and I am also in need of a better copy stand, similar to those posted here.

Flat-Chested
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by Flat-Chested » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:38 pm

I purchased the 200mm F4 Micro Nikkor to do both coin and wildlife photography, am pleased with the lens.
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dave700x
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by dave700x » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:58 pm

My system is similar to Andy's only I wish I had that Rodenstock lens. My system is a Canon XT body with an FL bellows and most of the time I'm using an old Kodak 70mm enlarging lens all mounted on a converted B&L microscope stand. I can just get full coin images at near max height and on occasion use a 50MM lens for close-ups.
1883-O nut

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messydesk
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by messydesk » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:14 pm

Another reason to have a VAM book is the chapter about photography. Leroy goes through different techniques of using macro lenses and bellows and shows results. The technology is a little outdated, but the setup and rules of optics remain the same.
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morganman
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by morganman » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:32 pm

All this gives me a super HEADACHE- Lots of this stuff looks like real crazy complicated, and not ever
for me period. Worst yet- I hate cameras because i dont know how to use them properly and have
a total block when trying to understand lousy instructions

I am looking into various AMSCOPE stereo microscopes with wide lens attachments/ and
attachable camera. Various camera resolutions of 1.5/5.0 MEGAPIXELS

Any thoughts very appreciated- it seems a decent lens is 10X to 30X max of which Amscope.com
can supply. Seems a great solution to a rather otherwise complicated issue.

Amscope reps tell me to be sure and select: Stereo zoom microscope- 10x 45 LED -
Trinocular pillar- widefield/top/bottom LED Continuous zoom
magnification power. large working distance +field of view
C mount photo port for adding camera $345.99 Amscope.com

JB or others that are camera/etc savvy- please chime in - to help this TECH dinosaur LOL

I have grreat coins in mass but my ebay pics with flatbed scanner are of worst on ebay-
hence my sales are really suffering big time
EBAY= USCOIN.123 Thanks all in advance Scott
:|

Kurt28
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by Kurt28 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:25 am

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RogerB
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by RogerB » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:12 pm

The top photo shows how to make "new scribbles" on 1921 dollars.
:)

rodmeader
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by rodmeader » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:21 pm

I use a Kaiser Copy Stand (205510 RS-1 with an RA-1 Arm - 42"). For the shots, I used 2 Cree 100 watt equivalent LED Daylight bulbs and 2 LOHAS 150-200 watt equivalent LED bulbs.

Image 1 was taken with a Nikon D750 DSLR with a Nikkor 80mm Englarging Lens and 138mms of tubes attached.

Image 2 was taken with the D750 with an Olympus MPLAN 2.5mm Microscope Objective Lens and 150mms of tubes attached.

I have forgotten how to post photos to the Message Board so I have provided a link to the photos mentioned above.

http://www.silverdye.us/wiki/Main/RodMeSandbox300

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messydesk
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Re: Microscope or a set of Bellows?

Post by messydesk » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:16 am

Here's a set of pictures with different combinations of lenses, one reversed on the front of the other with a macro coupling ring. All pictures are cropped out of the central part of the original with no resizing or sharpening, and converted to grayscale. Working distance is less than 2 inches for all of them, making lighting difficult with the lamps I use for normal coin photography. The 105+50 and 105+55 combinations give a resolution of about 3.1 µm per pixel. The 105+24 is about 1.5 µm per pixel. The wavelength of red light is 700 nm (0.7 µm), so another 2x magnification and diffraction starts becoming a problem, especially through a slab.

55/2.8 Micro-Nikkor reversed on a 105/4 Micro-Nikkor. Pretty good sharpness, very little depth of field, as expected.
Image

50/1.4 Nikkor reversed on a 105/4 Micro-Nikkor. Also sharp, but I can stop the 105mm lens down a little for slightly better depth-of-field. Alternatively, I can use a very high shutter speed.
Image

24/2.8 Nkkor reverse on a 105/4 Micro-Nikkor. Not as sharp, but magnification is higher. Also has issues with longitudinal chromatic abberations (red and cyan fringing on out-of-focus bits). Would need to use a stepper motor with really fine control and do focus stacking to get good results at this magnification, since manual focusing is difficult. A bellows with an objective would be a better choice here.
Image
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