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Occasionally I will want to shoot a group of marbles and this is the setup I use for that.  Instead of mounting the camera on the copy stand I put it on a tri pod.  I sit the marbles on a dark non reflective surface, in this case a piece of black cloth and shoot the picture.

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Camera: Canon SLR Digital Rebel XT

Lens: Canon Ultrasonic EF 100mm macro lens

Copy Stand: Testrite Copy Stand CS-2 with Fotolite 23-C

Lights: 2-26 watt 5000K Fluorescents

Wireless Remote Control: Canon RC-1

At the time of this writing (March 5, 2008) you could get the camera for about $300, the lens was about $470, copy stand $85, lights and RC another $50.  So for about $900 bucks you could get a decent setup.  A quick comment, I’ve seen people, Galen on LOM for example take far better pictures than I do using a Fuji FinePix S700 which cost about $200.  I’ve also seen people spend $4500 on a camera body alone and get some stunning results.  I’m not advocating spending tons of money on a setup, this just happens to be what I use.  Fortunately for me my wife is into scrapbooking and she lets me use her camera, otherwise I’d probably be stuck using the camera on my cell phone J

Copy Stand
Copy Stand With Light Tent
The Setup on the left is what I use to shoot most of my pictures. Occasionally I will use a SV Light Tent to cut down on the hot spots on the marbles.  I simply set the whole copy stand in the light tent and then work through the top to manipulate the marble and camera.
Akro Light Tent
Akro No Light Tent

The picture on the left was taken with the light tent and the picture on the right with out it.  I know that some people really don’t like the hot spots but shooting with a light tent slows me down too much.  I’m mainly taking pictures for cataloging and identification purposes so at this time they don’t bother me too much.  Also with the quantity of photos that I’m taking speed is of the essence.  I will acknowledge however that the marbles would look better without the reflections and at some point I will probably invest in a solution to the issue.

UV Setup
UV Setup
Flourescent Akro Oxblood
Flourescent Akro Oxblood
This is the setup that I use to take pictures of marbles that fluoresce.  I simply set the fluorescent fixture onto a small white box and set it behind the marble on the copy stand and turn it on.  For the most part it seems to work pretty good.
Tri-Pod Mount
West Virginia Swirls
©2008 Joe Street
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