Stamp Community Family of Web Sites
Thousands of stamps, consistently graded, competitively priced and hundreds of in-depth blog posts to read
Stamp Community Forum
 
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

Welcome Guest! Need help? Got a question? Inherit some stamps?
Our stamp forum is completely free! Register Now!

Looking For Feedback And Suggestions For Capturing Flyspecking Images

Next Page    
 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.
Author Previous TopicReplies: 19 / Views: 1,136Next Topic
Page: of 2
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
United States
5574 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   12:54 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add revenuecollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
A bit long, but please bear with me. I want to outline what I've tried thus far, the results I've achieved, and also solicit feedback on the images as well as suggestions for improvement.

I've been increasingly dissatisfied with my Epson Perfection v500 flatbed scanner when it comes to high-resolution images (plate varieties). I'm perfectly content with its performance on stamps and documents in general; it's just when you need to pull out detail when highlighting plate varieties that it really struggles IMO.

It claims to have an optical resolution of 6400dpi, but I've found that as you go above 1600dpi the images are increasingly soft, which defeats the entire purpose. In order to achieve crispness in the details, I need to add multiple sharpening filter passes, which introduces all sorts of artifacts. Not good.

I'm using Hamrick VueScan as the scanning software so I'm not constrained by the scanner's packaged software.

I think I'm just butting up against the limitations of flatbed scanner technology without spending exorbitant amounts of money.

So I pulled out my old camera equipment from back when I was doing coin photography in the mid-late 2000s. I'm a novice photographer, so any success is pretty much by trial and error, and I managed to achieve decent results back in the day.

Camera: Panasonic Lunix G1 (micro 4/3)
Lens: Sigma 150mm macro (pricey in its time).

This got me a bit better than the scanner, but was limited by the resolution and features of a now 14-year-old DSLR. For example, there's no way to easily accomplish remote shooting (using computer monitor as a live display while shooting so you're not limited to having to use the camera's viewfinder or LCD display, both of which are too tiny to work effectively).

So I started going down the upgrade path to see if I could get decent results at under $1K for both camera and dedicated macro lens. I already have a robust copy stand with platform, so that's taken care of.

I picked up a Canon EOS Rebel T7 at Best Buy and after spending time researching online, a refurbished Tamron 180mm macro lens from Adorama. I managed to stay under the $1K target for the pair by about $150.

I'm going to show examples of the same stamp below, imaged as follows:

1. Scanner, 3200dpi. Sharpening enabled in Vuescan plus single sharpening filter applied in Photoshop.

2. Canon Rebel. (P) mode, f3.5, ISO 100. No filtering done in Photoshop.

There will be considerable color and brightness differences between the images just due to inherent differences in workflow. Image crop is different between the two as well.

Since the forum sizes down images to fit, you will have to click on images to spawn them in new windows to be able to view them at their actual sizes.

My assumption is that people will prefer the camera images, but that might not be the case. Any suggestions with respect to camera settings and methods to improve results would be greatly appreciated.

I have noticed that with the camera there is seemingly some reflection off the surface of the paper/fibres. I'm just using ambient room light, no dedicated lighting on the copy stand. Not sure if some sort of diffuser would help here.

I think the glare in the camera images actually detract from the visbility/clarity of the stamp details; in that respect I actually prefer the scanner images, but there simply isn't sufficient detail/clarity for those to suffice.

Thanks!



1. Epson scanner. 3200dpi. 100% (3096px x 3632px). File size: 2.34MB




2. Canon camera. 100%. (3126px x 4000px). File size: 4.48MB




3. Scanner. Reduced from #1 to 50% in Photoshop (1548px x 1816px). File size: 962KB




4. Camera. Reduced from #2 to 50% in Photoshop (1563px x 2000px). File size: 1.66MB




5. Scanner. Reduced from #1 to 25% in Photoshop (774px x 908px). File size: 427KB




6. Camera. Reduced from #2 to 25% in Photoshop (782px x 1000px). File size: 618KB




7. Scanner. Cropped portion of bottom scroll lettering from #1 @ 100%.




8. Camera. Cropped portion of bottom scroll lettering from #2 @ 100%.




9. Scanner. #7 reduced to 50% in Photoshop.




10. Camera. #8 reduced to 50% in Photoshop.




11. Scanner. Cropped portion of portrait from #1 @ 100%.




12. Camera. Cropped portion of portrait from #2 @ 100%.




13. Scanner. #11 reduced to 50% in Photoshop.




14. Camera. #12 reduced to 50% in Photoshop.

Send note to Staff

Valued Member
95 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   1:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add michaelschreiber to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You wrote: "I think I'm just butting up against the limitations of flatbed scanner technology without spending exorbitant amounts of money."

I believe that you are butting up against the limitations of printing (at high speed) with ink on absorbent paper.

Stamps and other security paper printed with a plate or sleeve in recess, including many fine lines, do not hold their detail when imaged and enlarged. It is a matter of the paper and how it typically absorbs the ink.

Look at any U.S. currency with a 10x magnifier. You will see that the fine engraving does not look that fine.

It depends on the paper and the technique. Fancy wedding invitations might still look pretty sharp under high magnification.

Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
United States
5574 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   1:21 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I believe that you are butting up against the limitations of printing (at high speed) with ink on absorbent paper.


If this were the case, and the scanner was not the issue, I would not expect to then get more detailed images of the same printed item from the camera, which is clearly not the case here.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1501 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   1:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Back in the day I could photograph, on to film, most anything with ease such as the "dots in curved frame above messenger" on US E5a but I was no macro novice. Macro and micro as are used interchangeably in lenses but I define it differently as some photography does not use a standard camera.

For me macro means down a 1:1 ratio when what I photograph in real life will appear on the negative in the exact size of the item photographed. Micro means that what I photograph will be larger on the negative than is it in real life. Now in 2022 that no longer mean the film but the digital capture area in the camera.

So how do you replicate this close-up detail ability? No problem....

High Performance USB Digital Microscope DM6, 10x - 300x magnification with a copy stand for the device sold separately. Wired directly to your computer which displays the image in real time.

Or, for less detail,

PHONESCOPE, precision macro lens for use with smartphones, up to 60x. Fits on smart phone and creates image you handle just as any other smartphone picture. Allows for capturing a video as you scan area.

Or for over the top detail on the go (no electric outlet needed),

LCD digital microscope DM 5. Save on card which take extra step to get on to your computer. Allows video capture if scanning an area. This is the most stable (least vibration) platform.


All are available from Lighthouse Publications
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Edited by Parcelpostguy - 07/10/2022 1:57 pm
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
United States
5574 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   1:55 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Oh I have a USB camera and have tried several, but they have major issues:

1. Field of vision is too tiny. It's great for isolating detail in a single specific area of a stamp or for grabbing a single blue silk thread at high magnification (what I use it for), but cannot be used for imaging an entire stamp.

2. The color accuracy and contrast are horrifically off target.

In other words great for a tiny area where only the detail is important, but not viable for general imaging.

The goal here is to be able to capture the entire stamp in a single image, but with sufficient detail to "pull out" details in specific areas.

Having to re-image each area of a stamp separately makes for a very labor-intensive workflow with very inconsistent specs across images.

Thanks for the suggestions though.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Edited by revenuecollector - 07/10/2022 1:58 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
4083 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   2:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Partime to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Quick impression: Camera gives you MUCH better detail in all of your pictures.

I use a Cannon LIDE220 scanner at the highest optical scan level of 1200 dpi with no issues. I don't use any other adjustments (no unsharp mask, descreen, reduce dust and scratches, etc.) Very happy for most of my work. However, when I really want to catch those details in a smaller area, I use my desktop microscope which brings out greater detail, but then the color is completely off due to the lighting effect.

Conclusion: Use whatever gives you the sharpest impression. Then, if you want, manipulate the colors to give you what you feel is the closest to your natural color.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1501 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   2:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For that I just use a copy stand and a fixed lens digital camera with zoom and macro feature. Will handle a stamp, piece or cover.

The hard to read avatar of mine came from that camera which was merely hand held. I usually use a grey card as backing to be able to set colors correctly if needed.







For smaller subjects or closer to subject, I would use a copy stand and not hand hold the camera.

Edit: I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 circa 2013.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Edited by Parcelpostguy - 07/10/2022 2:38 pm
Moderator
Learn More...
United States
10976 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   3:27 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dan,
For comparison, here are similar scans using an Epson V850Pro with little use (about 250 scans on it), lid closed, Windows 11 Pro, build 22000.739. Click on image to see full size.

Scanned from Epson app (default app settings, version 3.9.3) at 3200 dpi


Scanned from VueScan (default app settings, version 9.7.88 64-bit) at 3200 dpi


All,
Note how different the colors appear using exact same scanner, only delta is the app used to generate the images. This is why I keep harping on how inane it is that we have folks posting digital imaging with NO context on how they generated the image, what settings they used, and how the file is saved.
Don

Edit: The default setting on the Epson app includes 'unsharp' filter set to 'medium' by default. Unsharp filters work by making involves making the lighter pixels on the edges even lighter and making the pixels on the dark side of the edge even darker. This then shows edges 'better', therefore we perceive the image to be sharper.
The Vuescan image has no 'sharpening filter on by default.

I am unsure if the camera images shown use any kind of 'sharpening' filter in the camera itself and before saving images in an app.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Valued Member
United States
263 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   3:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rwoodennickel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The pictures with the camera are very crisp, but to me, it looks like the paper fibers are somewhat reflective. You may try different angles of lighting, or different lighting temperature. The scanner does not have the reflectivity, but lacks the detail.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Thanks,
Robert
Edited by rwoodennickel - 07/10/2022 3:41 pm
Moderator
Learn More...
United States
10976 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   3:45 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In my opinion the sharpness of the images has much more to do with the firmware and software than the optical quality of the device used. Here is good overview of digital imaging and the impact of 'sharpness'.
https://ai.stanford.edu/~syyeung/cv...torial1.html

To understand digital imaging you have to be well versed in how firmware and software work.

I also think that when you start working with really high resolution imaging, things like movement (camera movement or scanner vibration) have a much greater impact.
Don
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1501 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   4:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The pictures with the camera are very crisp, but to me, it looks like the paper fibers are somewhat reflective. You may try different angles of lighting, or different lighting temperature.


If you are speaking to my four photographs, it was a real laid back effort.

Item placed on grey card, propped more or less flat by a second story window with indirect sunlight (subject was a few inches away from the direct sunlight. The envelope was rather of a smooth slick surface back in 1913. I again note I hand held the camera. If mounted photos would be sharper. I was doing well enough to allow for publication of the results for inclusion in a glossy coated color magazine article by a friend. It is what I consider the most important Parcel Post cover I own. Yes it had no stamps but did reference they (1 and 2 cent values) were lacking. The three cent value did not appear in use until April 1913. By rule only parcel post stamps could be used and there was no substitute allowed.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
United States
5574 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   5:11 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you are speaking to my four photographs, it was a real laid back effort.


I believe he was referring to my original images; in my post I referenced the same observation re: glare/reflection that could be due to lighting.


Quote:
Dan,
For comparison, here are similar scans using an Epson V850Pro with little use (about 250 scans on it), lid closed, Windows 11 Pro, build 22000.739. Click on image to see full size.


Thanks Don. Those appear very similar to my V600 images, which tell me that spending the money to upgrade within the Epson line isn't going to solve my issues.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Edited by revenuecollector - 07/10/2022 5:13 pm
Moderator
Learn More...
United States
10976 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   5:31 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dan,
Agreed. The delta between a V600 and V850 Pro is pretty subtle, I think is largely in some improved negative scanning and some of the accessories. If the delta was only a hundred bucks or so I would recommend it but given the hundreds of dollars difference it is hard to justify.

What is hardest for me in topic like this is the fact that none of us have any idea what is going on at the firmware level. I am not talking about the driver level, but rather the embedded software in the hardware chips themselves. It is firmware in the camera/scanner that is providing the instructions from the ICs to the drivers and then ultimately some application. Manufacturers of scanner and camera often do not provide much (if any) information on firmware versions or revision histories.
Don
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
United States
5574 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   7:06 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm going to see whether a circular polarizing filter will do anything about the glare.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1501 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   9:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A polarizing filter may help but may also have some unintended effects. Can't tell until you try. They are used for light from a point source as the sun is considered.

Now there is a reason copystands have lights at an angle which is basically to avoid shadows and reflective glare. Of course there are ways to control the "light" used with different bulbs but this is not a photography forum. I include the basic photo below for those who may not know a copystand from a copycat.



[Also sent you a little note via SFC email.]
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36803 Posts
Posted 07/11/2022   01:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The results from my $10 scanner
(2nd hand Epson Perfection V370)
400dpi

600dpi

1200 dpi
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous TopicReplies: 19 / Views: 1,136Next Topic  
Next Page
 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.


Go to Top of Page
Disclaimer: While a tremendous amount of effort goes into ensuring the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Stamp Community assumes no liability for errors. Copyright 2005 - 2022 Stamp Community Family - All rights reserved worldwide. Use of any images or content on this website without prior written permission of Stamp Community or the original lender is strictly prohibited.
Privacy Policy / Terms of Use    Advertise Here
Stamp Community Forum © 2007 - 2022 Stamp Community Forums
It took 0.3 seconds to lick this stamp. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.05