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General Philatelic/Supplies, Literature & Software : Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

 

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cocollectibles

05 Sep 2013
08:23:18am
In another thread someone recommended a hand held USB microscope and camera to get close up views of stamps. At Amos Advantage, there is this Lighthouse model:

Lighthouse Microscope

Amazon.com has many such handheld devices but the reviews are mixed for the most part; there are no reviews for this model.

Has anyone used this model and if so, what has been your experience?

Thanks.

Peter



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05 Sep 2013
10:28:59am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - I have had no experience with the Lighthouse , But I have a SVP DM540 that I like a lot. See attached photo. The only real issues I have with this model is battery life, I go through a bunch, and the inability to size to an entire stamp. It is meant to get into the details and you can zoom right down into the fibers of the material. Stuff you cannot see with a magnifying glass. The SVP is small and can fit in your pocket. I have taken mine to the stamp club meetings in case I want to see something really up close. It has a memory chip, so you can take photos or video. Also has a USB port and cable. I have seen them on eBay for less than $100. Great tool, but I cannot attest to if it is the best. Dan

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Terry
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05 Sep 2013
10:37:05am

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I have this model and it works very well. I like the fact that it is portable enough to take with my laptop.

However, you can buy this item direct from China or Hong Kong for $25 to $35, including shipping!
Surprise

I paid $26 for mine more than a year ago & have not had any problems.
Winking

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cocollectibles

05 Sep 2013
02:07:16pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Thanks to both of you; DSC, you were the person who told me about this in another post (sorry I could not remember who it was initially).

The reviews on Amazon are quite mixed for this, including poor battery life. It is considerably less expensive than the Lighthouse model.

I'm looking for something easy to use that will allow me to scan individual stamps and coins; I really don't want to do an entire flat bed scan for single items, or try macro photos from my digital SLR. If you have a jpg of a stamp from this device, would you post it here?

Thanks.
Peter

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mbo1142
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05 Sep 2013
05:00:29pm

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter,

It all depends on how much you want to spend and what you want to do with the microscope. I have an Aven 26700-300 Digital Microscope that I really like. However it cost $77.50 on Amazon. Don't know if you can find one someplace else for less money. I also suggest that you purchase a good stand. I have an Itez DP-M06 that has X-Y base and built in LED backlight. I could not find that model on Amazon, but Aven has one very similar. The model number is Aven 26700-311 and is selling for $38.82. The software that comes with this scope allows you to write and draw on the image that is reflected on your computer screen. You can then save the image to a file for future reference. Below is an image to give you some idea of what I am talking about. I collect used US and the scope has really helped me in identifying some of the Washington/Franklins. Good luck in your search.

Image Not Found

Regards, Mel

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05 Sep 2013
05:11:17pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - possibly Peter can send you and image from his device. So far, I have not figured out anyway to broaden the scanning capability to a whole coin or stamp with the SVP. The SVP is essentially a digital microscope and not a full image scanner.

I have the same issue with making images, whether to use the flatbed scanner or set up with my digital camera. Neither is ideal for the smaller images of stamps and coins. My best option is flatbed scanner and then crop to size. I have built full color albums this way and it has worked fairly well other than the time required to do cropping. It is just not very portable, but for me that is not an issue.

Following is about as large an image he SVP is capable of: It is a microscope, so you have to expect it to be into the details.

Image Not Found

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cocollectibles

05 Sep 2013
05:11:49pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Thanks folks; great scans!

I need it for two reasons. One is to scan individual stamps, but actually more for individual coins, which don't do well on a glass top flatbed scanner.

Second, to do what you are doing, but with my British Commonwealth collections; sometimes die types are distinguished by the smallest detail in the crown, for example, and this will help these old eyes 'see' better.

The Lighthouse is much more expensive, and the stand they have at Amos is about $40.

Cheers,
Peter

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05 Sep 2013
05:13:23pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Looks like Mel's scope can make a bigger image than the SVP.

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mbo1142
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05 Sep 2013
05:26:36pm

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I have not tried to make a larger image, but the specs for my digital camera are: 2.0 Mega Pixels, Magnification Rate of 10-50X, 200X, and a Still Image Capture Resolution of 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480. So I am guessing I can make quite a larger image. Will have to try.

Mel

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05 Sep 2013
07:03:37pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - I have been plying with my SVP and found that I can take a full size image by holding the device off the surface and re-focusing. Only issue is the LED lights create glare. I have to work on something to solve that issue. Here is my 1st shot it a full size with SVP.

Image Not Found

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cocollectibles

06 Sep 2013
06:08:24am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Okay, thanks; that might work. I decided to buy one at Amazon for about $40 (prime account, so no shipping cost). If it doesn't work out, well, the godchild will have a new toy to torture her parents with. Happy

Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 10x-50x Optical Zoom, 200x Digital Magnification)

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06 Sep 2013
09:02:30am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - please let us all know how this turns out. I may want to go this route for my day to day stuff and use the SVP for the road. Thanks - Dan

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07 Sep 2013
06:12:59pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I never thought of using a microscope to look at my stamps. That sure would help with some of my questionables (genuine/fakes).

I have in my closet an extremely good university-grade microscope for that I use for one of my other obsessive hobbies (biology slides and research). I'm thinking maybe I should pull it out after I get better and see what some of my stamps look like under them. In that case, I may get ticked off for sending the hundreds of surplus Washington/Franklins that I don't collect off to friends, not knowing exactly what lurks beyond all those dots!! LOL

Kelly

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cocollectibles

10 Sep 2013
05:01:00pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

The microscope arrived and it was easy to set up. I scanned a small (dime sized) coin and this stamp. A bit shaky because I really need to use a stand; this was hand held. Not bad for a first attempt, eh?

BTW, can anyone help me identify that coin? I can make out Diocletian but I highly doubt this is a Roman era coin.

Peter

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11 Sep 2013
09:05:53am

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Hey Peter,
What magnification is this set at?

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Sally

11 Sep 2013
09:21:01am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter,

Would you share what computer operating system you have (windows, mac, vista, 7, etc...)? I have windows vista and it would not work with the microscope i purchased last year. Considering a new os and curious what you use. Thanks,

Sally

PS. Get an Outback yet?

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
10:40:49am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I didn't note the magnification, unfortunately.

I used this on my Windows XP laptop and it installed flawlessly. The manual states this will work for Windows and MAC OS but does not specify which version of Windows. However, the Amazon reviews stated it worked on Windows 7 and since it works on XP, I would think it should work on Vista.

As for the Outback, from another post, the short story is: No, I got a Nissan Altima SE instead. Subaru dealership blew it here.

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
11:05:01am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Here are more scans where I noted the magnification and distance from the lens.

First, a King George II half-penny coin from 1736.

Obverse: 20x from about 4 inches above the image (I really need to get a stand!)

Image Not Found

Reverse: 35x with the lens directly over the date.

Image Not Found

Francis Scott Key 3c stamp, close up, 30x directly over the face.

Image Not Found

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
11:37:45am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Now for something useful, as an aide to studying some of my penny reds.

Fairly easy to read plate number 185 is even clearer here.
Image Not Found

Harder to read on the stamp because of the cancel, plate 140 is clearer here.
Image Not Found

Here is an overprint in red that wasn't easy to see; it is clear here: O.U.S., Oxford Union Society.
Image Not Found

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11 Sep 2013
11:42:17am

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

You are saying that you need a stand. The picture shows a stand, did you not get one?

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
12:33:58pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Yes, it is included but it really doesn't suit our stamp or coin image needs. For example, to get the full coin, I have to hold the microscope about four inches above the object; that's higher than the included stand will allow. Lighthouse has a stand that is taller and has a nice wide base.

Another interesting thing about these handhelds is that you can keep your item stationery and rotate the microscope to get different angles. For example, for the penny red plate numbers, these are in an album and I simply rotated the microscope to align with one of the edges to see the plate number. Less handling of stamps and coins is always a good thing.

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11 Sep 2013
04:31:17pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - thanks for all the feedback on the Lighthouse. Appears to have all the same issues of the SVP, except the SVP does not have a stand. You have to hold it off the surface, focus, and then be real steady to get a decent image. It works, but is not ideal and not what I would call user friendly. Looks like a real opportunity for a new invention, something in-between everything else. Maybe I should take this seriously. Maybe a way to fund my stamp collecting interests. - Dan

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Sally

11 Sep 2013
05:13:19pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Thanks Peter. The one I bought worked perfectly when I tried it on someone else's XP system but would never connect to Vista despite lots of "expert" advice. It has a new home now. Congrats on the new car, even if it isn't a Subaru. Sally

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
05:22:21pm
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Dan, just to clarify, this isn't the Lighthouse magnifier which was more expensive and had a similar magnification range, size, etc.

Cheers,
Peter

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cocollectibles

12 Sep 2013
06:25:09am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

LOL! Well for me it would have to be Scott Volume 3 G to I countries, as that is my most worn out of all of them.

I bought the Lighthouse stand, which is about $40. It is about 10 inches in height, with an adjustable holder for the magnifier, and has a stable large stand.

Image Not Found

Just to let folks know, I also checked out what are called USB document copiers; these are basically hand held web cam like cameras that allow you to take photos or videos of full page documents, down to smaller items. The reason I didn't go with this is that for stamps and coins the microscope allows you to easily examine those hard to see variations in our hobbies ("fly specking" that is).

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Gillesletimbre

14 Sep 2013
08:19:30am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I often use my flat bed scanner, but to speed up the process, I scan 20-30 stamps as one large scan, and then just crop each individual stamp and save on another file name. It works well, and relatively fast. (need to have large memory on your scanner if you want to scan at high dpi rate (600 or 1200)

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cocollectibles

14 Sep 2013
08:53:26am
re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

That is usually what I do, but when you just want to scan one item, say for posting an example here, this is leagues faster, and so far this is far better to examine stamps without having to scan them (e.g., when looking for details or plate numbers). Just another option for folks.

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cocollectibles

05 Sep 2013
08:23:18am

In another thread someone recommended a hand held USB microscope and camera to get close up views of stamps. At Amos Advantage, there is this Lighthouse model:

Lighthouse Microscope

Amazon.com has many such handheld devices but the reviews are mixed for the most part; there are no reviews for this model.

Has anyone used this model and if so, what has been your experience?

Thanks.

Peter



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DSCStamps

05 Sep 2013
10:28:59am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - I have had no experience with the Lighthouse , But I have a SVP DM540 that I like a lot. See attached photo. The only real issues I have with this model is battery life, I go through a bunch, and the inability to size to an entire stamp. It is meant to get into the details and you can zoom right down into the fibers of the material. Stuff you cannot see with a magnifying glass. The SVP is small and can fit in your pocket. I have taken mine to the stamp club meetings in case I want to see something really up close. It has a memory chip, so you can take photos or video. Also has a USB port and cable. I have seen them on eBay for less than $100. Great tool, but I cannot attest to if it is the best. Dan

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Terry

05 Sep 2013
10:37:05am

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I have this model and it works very well. I like the fact that it is portable enough to take with my laptop.

However, you can buy this item direct from China or Hong Kong for $25 to $35, including shipping!
Surprise

I paid $26 for mine more than a year ago & have not had any problems.
Winking

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cocollectibles

05 Sep 2013
02:07:16pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Thanks to both of you; DSC, you were the person who told me about this in another post (sorry I could not remember who it was initially).

The reviews on Amazon are quite mixed for this, including poor battery life. It is considerably less expensive than the Lighthouse model.

I'm looking for something easy to use that will allow me to scan individual stamps and coins; I really don't want to do an entire flat bed scan for single items, or try macro photos from my digital SLR. If you have a jpg of a stamp from this device, would you post it here?

Thanks.
Peter

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mbo1142

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05 Sep 2013
05:00:29pm

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter,

It all depends on how much you want to spend and what you want to do with the microscope. I have an Aven 26700-300 Digital Microscope that I really like. However it cost $77.50 on Amazon. Don't know if you can find one someplace else for less money. I also suggest that you purchase a good stand. I have an Itez DP-M06 that has X-Y base and built in LED backlight. I could not find that model on Amazon, but Aven has one very similar. The model number is Aven 26700-311 and is selling for $38.82. The software that comes with this scope allows you to write and draw on the image that is reflected on your computer screen. You can then save the image to a file for future reference. Below is an image to give you some idea of what I am talking about. I collect used US and the scope has really helped me in identifying some of the Washington/Franklins. Good luck in your search.

Image Not Found

Regards, Mel

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DSCStamps

05 Sep 2013
05:11:17pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - possibly Peter can send you and image from his device. So far, I have not figured out anyway to broaden the scanning capability to a whole coin or stamp with the SVP. The SVP is essentially a digital microscope and not a full image scanner.

I have the same issue with making images, whether to use the flatbed scanner or set up with my digital camera. Neither is ideal for the smaller images of stamps and coins. My best option is flatbed scanner and then crop to size. I have built full color albums this way and it has worked fairly well other than the time required to do cropping. It is just not very portable, but for me that is not an issue.

Following is about as large an image he SVP is capable of: It is a microscope, so you have to expect it to be into the details.

Image Not Found

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cocollectibles

05 Sep 2013
05:11:49pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Thanks folks; great scans!

I need it for two reasons. One is to scan individual stamps, but actually more for individual coins, which don't do well on a glass top flatbed scanner.

Second, to do what you are doing, but with my British Commonwealth collections; sometimes die types are distinguished by the smallest detail in the crown, for example, and this will help these old eyes 'see' better.

The Lighthouse is much more expensive, and the stand they have at Amos is about $40.

Cheers,
Peter

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DSCStamps

05 Sep 2013
05:13:23pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Looks like Mel's scope can make a bigger image than the SVP.

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mbo1142

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05 Sep 2013
05:26:36pm

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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I have not tried to make a larger image, but the specs for my digital camera are: 2.0 Mega Pixels, Magnification Rate of 10-50X, 200X, and a Still Image Capture Resolution of 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480. So I am guessing I can make quite a larger image. Will have to try.

Mel

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DSCStamps

05 Sep 2013
07:03:37pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - I have been plying with my SVP and found that I can take a full size image by holding the device off the surface and re-focusing. Only issue is the LED lights create glare. I have to work on something to solve that issue. Here is my 1st shot it a full size with SVP.

Image Not Found

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cocollectibles

06 Sep 2013
06:08:24am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Okay, thanks; that might work. I decided to buy one at Amazon for about $40 (prime account, so no shipping cost). If it doesn't work out, well, the godchild will have a new toy to torture her parents with. Happy

Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 10x-50x Optical Zoom, 200x Digital Magnification)

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06 Sep 2013
09:02:30am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - please let us all know how this turns out. I may want to go this route for my day to day stuff and use the SVP for the road. Thanks - Dan

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07 Sep 2013
06:12:59pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I never thought of using a microscope to look at my stamps. That sure would help with some of my questionables (genuine/fakes).

I have in my closet an extremely good university-grade microscope for that I use for one of my other obsessive hobbies (biology slides and research). I'm thinking maybe I should pull it out after I get better and see what some of my stamps look like under them. In that case, I may get ticked off for sending the hundreds of surplus Washington/Franklins that I don't collect off to friends, not knowing exactly what lurks beyond all those dots!! LOL

Kelly

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cocollectibles

10 Sep 2013
05:01:00pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

The microscope arrived and it was easy to set up. I scanned a small (dime sized) coin and this stamp. A bit shaky because I really need to use a stand; this was hand held. Not bad for a first attempt, eh?

BTW, can anyone help me identify that coin? I can make out Diocletian but I highly doubt this is a Roman era coin.

Peter

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Image Not Found

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11 Sep 2013
09:05:53am
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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Hey Peter,
What magnification is this set at?

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Sally
11 Sep 2013
09:21:01am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter,

Would you share what computer operating system you have (windows, mac, vista, 7, etc...)? I have windows vista and it would not work with the microscope i purchased last year. Considering a new os and curious what you use. Thanks,

Sally

PS. Get an Outback yet?

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
10:40:49am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I didn't note the magnification, unfortunately.

I used this on my Windows XP laptop and it installed flawlessly. The manual states this will work for Windows and MAC OS but does not specify which version of Windows. However, the Amazon reviews stated it worked on Windows 7 and since it works on XP, I would think it should work on Vista.

As for the Outback, from another post, the short story is: No, I got a Nissan Altima SE instead. Subaru dealership blew it here.

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
11:05:01am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Here are more scans where I noted the magnification and distance from the lens.

First, a King George II half-penny coin from 1736.

Obverse: 20x from about 4 inches above the image (I really need to get a stand!)

Image Not Found

Reverse: 35x with the lens directly over the date.

Image Not Found

Francis Scott Key 3c stamp, close up, 30x directly over the face.

Image Not Found

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
11:37:45am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Now for something useful, as an aide to studying some of my penny reds.

Fairly easy to read plate number 185 is even clearer here.
Image Not Found

Harder to read on the stamp because of the cancel, plate 140 is clearer here.
Image Not Found

Here is an overprint in red that wasn't easy to see; it is clear here: O.U.S., Oxford Union Society.
Image Not Found

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11 Sep 2013
11:42:17am
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re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

You are saying that you need a stand. The picture shows a stand, did you not get one?

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
12:33:58pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Yes, it is included but it really doesn't suit our stamp or coin image needs. For example, to get the full coin, I have to hold the microscope about four inches above the object; that's higher than the included stand will allow. Lighthouse has a stand that is taller and has a nice wide base.

Another interesting thing about these handhelds is that you can keep your item stationery and rotate the microscope to get different angles. For example, for the penny red plate numbers, these are in an album and I simply rotated the microscope to align with one of the edges to see the plate number. Less handling of stamps and coins is always a good thing.

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11 Sep 2013
04:31:17pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Peter - thanks for all the feedback on the Lighthouse. Appears to have all the same issues of the SVP, except the SVP does not have a stand. You have to hold it off the surface, focus, and then be real steady to get a decent image. It works, but is not ideal and not what I would call user friendly. Looks like a real opportunity for a new invention, something in-between everything else. Maybe I should take this seriously. Maybe a way to fund my stamp collecting interests. - Dan

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Sally
11 Sep 2013
05:13:19pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Thanks Peter. The one I bought worked perfectly when I tried it on someone else's XP system but would never connect to Vista despite lots of "expert" advice. It has a new home now. Congrats on the new car, even if it isn't a Subaru. Sally

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cocollectibles

11 Sep 2013
05:22:21pm

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

Dan, just to clarify, this isn't the Lighthouse magnifier which was more expensive and had a similar magnification range, size, etc.

Cheers,
Peter

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"TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO FORGIVE, CANINE."
cocollectibles

12 Sep 2013
06:25:09am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

LOL! Well for me it would have to be Scott Volume 3 G to I countries, as that is my most worn out of all of them.

I bought the Lighthouse stand, which is about $40. It is about 10 inches in height, with an adjustable holder for the magnifier, and has a stable large stand.

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Just to let folks know, I also checked out what are called USB document copiers; these are basically hand held web cam like cameras that allow you to take photos or videos of full page documents, down to smaller items. The reason I didn't go with this is that for stamps and coins the microscope allows you to easily examine those hard to see variations in our hobbies ("fly specking" that is).

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"TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO FORGIVE, CANINE."
Gillesletimbre

14 Sep 2013
08:19:30am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

I often use my flat bed scanner, but to speed up the process, I scan 20-30 stamps as one large scan, and then just crop each individual stamp and save on another file name. It works well, and relatively fast. (need to have large memory on your scanner if you want to scan at high dpi rate (600 or 1200)

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cocollectibles

14 Sep 2013
08:53:26am

re: Lighthouse brand digital microscope: Opinions?

That is usually what I do, but when you just want to scan one item, say for posting an example here, this is leagues faster, and so far this is far better to examine stamps without having to scan them (e.g., when looking for details or plate numbers). Just another option for folks.

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"TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO FORGIVE, CANINE."
        

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