A place to ask and answer "How do I" questions and post tips & tricks that make your AAPK experience easier and more pleasant. Some little thing that you do all the time and take for granted may be an "aha moment" for a new or maybe even a veteran AAPK user.
For anyone who has attempted to successfully photograph tang stamps or small details on knives it can be a challenge to say the least. Some of the new phones seem to have great closeup capabilities but as the proud owner of a,"Fred Flintstone" autographed model flip phone I am privy to no such luxury. My camera of choice is a Canon IS400 digital with a 10X optical zoom which also has a closeup mode that is decent but not perfect for doing extreme closeups such as tang stamps. At those close ranges depth of field is really critical and just a slight movement will cause it to go out of focus. As I do not use a tripod or other steadying device even the slightest movement will throw it out of focus. I came upon an idea while attempting to repair a battery powered magnifier the other day. I had bought this at a yard sale and found that the switch was broken inside and despite all my attempts had failed to repair it. The magnification is about 3x and is just right for enlarging tang stamps. I modified it by removing the battery housing and cutting out a notch in both sides to allow the knife to sit under the magnifier. For illumination I am currently using a small square flashlight that sits at the opening where the battery housing resided. I set up the knife until the stamp is centered and the take the camera and setting it to Macro and putting the lens directly over the magnifier I simply focus it and take the picture.I have to adjust the light source a bit to get good illumination of the tang. I will be replacing the light source with a small flashlight that fits into the housing. Here are a couple pics of the setup and some images I have taken.
Looks like it works good, K7K. Something I do when a tang stamp is hard to read is to try changing the contrast. If that does not work the sometimes a negative view will bring out some details, assuming that your photo program has those capabilities.