I think we are in agreement that there is more than one way to skin the cat. It just depends on what folks want to achieve. I'm sure that between us we could lay out the pros and cons of each approach and then folks could choose.
These days we've come to expect a lot from images, high image quality, and everything in an instant. Going back to the OP he wants to look at the detail of the object and then capture pictures. That's why I would put live image, working distance, DoF, and flat(ish) field top of the list. I think the OP wants to explore the object and then capture the images which he can do directly on screen with any live image.
I suspect you have struck lucky with your older scanner which I think has a DoF of up to 10mm. Many of the newer scanners have a more limited DoF.
There's no wrong answer to this - it's just a series of compromises and he needs to decide what does the job best for him. I think together and with others we've put up lots of options and information which is better than Liam buying something and being disappointed - at least he knows what to look for and may already have what he needs in the cupboard.
This is beginning to sound like choosing a detector
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Always more than one way to skin a cat.
I use a smart phone, microscope, camera and scanner.
Smart phone gets used the most. Great for every day memories. Great it gets backed up to the cloud.
I also normally take a photo in the field with the smart phone to record its GPS coordinates
Camera gives the nicest images but you have to either wait for nice daylight, use a tripod or best of all build a white defusing tent and use two flashes from either sides. Now normally only get the camera out when out climbing above the clouds or hill walking and so on.
Proper microscope shows the crystalline structures and scratches but the field of view is very small.
As of now I have no way to record the images.
Scanner has the worst resolution (600 DPI) if the item is small. I have two completely different ones both work just fine. However in less than a minute you have an adequate image for a forum which can be zoomed full screen to aid identification plus has a built in light.
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I wanted something easy to set up to take a consistent quality of picture for finds. I came up with this DIY Lightbox, that is still work in progress. I have highlighted the cut outs for better visibility.
I bought (from ebay) a 1meter 12v LED strip and a 12v 2amp plug for £8 then bought a sarnie box from B&M for £2.50.
You cut the LED strip which is (sticky backed) to size. This strip came with the connector fitted. I then cut the side out of the lunch box, and a a square hole at the top then stuck the LED strip on the inside.
The finished article all lit up. Now it's just a case of placing the box upside down on a sheet of paper with a ruler on it, and your artifact or coin where you want it. The camera stays in the same position, lying on the top of the box. When you want to move the artifact to take the reverse side, you put your hands through the side opening to re-position it, without disturbing the focal length.
The sides of the sarnie box in this version are too low, so it is a little fiddly getting your hands in through the sides without knocking the box, so I am in the lookout for a better box. The LED lights also need glue sticking in, as the weight of the connector is dragging the LED's off the roof of the box when in use.
It does achieve it's objective though.
For the next version, I need a better box. I am thinking more of an oblong box, and putting it on its end rather than on it's "roof". This would give better access to move the position of the artifact/coin. I also want to put more LED's in it, to give better lighting.
Once I have finished with it, I just put the plug in the box, and store the box in the cupboard.
Hope it helps ?
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Some great ideas on here and thanks again, Liam
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I bought a Kenko real pro clip lens with wide and Macro 120 degree lens for £22 .
Just clips over the phones camera so perfect for the field so can zoom and take a photo and comes in its own little pouch.
Hope this helps.