Microscope?

Microscope?

Postby danch » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:11 pm

I'm looking at getting a microscope for various aquarium-related things (culture density counts, gee, what's in my water, what do I find on my poor dead fishy, etc.) I'm looking at the 'student' monocular models, around 200 USD. It seems like the standard magnifications are 40x, 100x, and 400x. Would this be appropriate? Do any of you have any other tips?

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Postby Spracklcat » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:17 pm

My first piece of advice is if you plan on using it with any regularity, get a binocular microscope. The magnification you can get is the product of the ocular (the eyepiece lens) and the objective (the one near the stage and the slide). You should look for something that has a 100X objective, which with a 10x eyepiece (pretty standard) will give you 1000x. Something like this http://cgi.ebay.com/Student-Binocular-C ... dZViewItem

will fill all your needs and more.

Feel free to ask more--I spend way too much of my life using these :)
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Re:

Postby sihaya » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:02 pm

Spracklcat wrote:My first piece of advice is if you plan on using it with any regularity, get a binocular microscope.


Omg, so true. And once you start using a binocular microscope, you can't even stand to use anything else.

Also, I'd make sure you get one with a 2-way movable stage (preferably with a ruler).
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Postby danch » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:26 pm

Thanks for the link - that's a far better 'scope than I've been looking at for about the same price.

Anyone have problems using these with glasses?
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Re:

Postby sihaya » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:33 pm

danch wrote:Anyone have problems using these with glasses?


No, you just take your glasses off. However, if you have a lazy eye, it can be a bit more difficult.
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Re:

Postby danch » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:51 pm

sihaya wrote:
danch wrote:Anyone have problems using these with glasses?


No, you just take your glasses off. However, if you have a lazy eye, it can be a bit more difficult.


Thanks
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Postby Spracklcat » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:17 pm

Heh--anytime I know I'm going to be spending a lot of time at the scope I wear contacts :) Yes, you can take your glasses off if you want, but then that makes writing down your results difficult if you want to see what you're writing. But to see through the glasses and the scope, your eyes are too far from the oculars and you don't see the whole field. It can be done though.

Also, if your two eyes are different, many have a diopter adjustment on one eyepiece--what you do is you close the eye that is on the side of the adjustable eyepiece, adjust the scope so you can see perfectly through the non-adjustable eyepiece, and then open the other eye, and tweak the adjustable eyepiece so that that eye is clear too.

If you don't get that scope, there are always ones on ebay for around that price or less, of that quality.

Of course, then 6 months from now you'll be wishing you bought a trinocular microscope so you can take pictures of what you see...... :)
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Re:

Postby sihaya » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:21 pm

Spracklcat wrote:Of course, then 6 months from now you'll be wishing you bought a trinocular microscope so you can take pictures of what you see...... :)


Actually, apparently they now have camera attachments with USB ports for binocular scopes so that you can view and take pictures on your computer. I've never used one, so I don't know what they're like. But they sound cool.
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Postby Witt » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:11 pm

Thought I would throw my two cents in here as a microscope is a hefty investment and a very efficient tool to have. If I could obtain only one microscope it would a stereo dissecting scope, around 5 - 80x. Conventional student scopes with the typical 4 objectives (5-100x) are great for counting live feeds on a sedgwick rafter slide and prove very beneficial for identifying diseases during necropsy, but for the average home breeder I think they are limited. 1,000x magnification would be great for gram staining vibrio, but how many people are going to do that? Stereoscopes are usually cheaper and have a broader use. Checking egg development, larval development, gut contents and counting prey organisms can all be done. Most of my time is spent in the range of 5-40x.
Digital camera adapters are available to fit standard eye pieces and are very good at getting quality images. The USB cameras in the 'economical' price range produce pretty poor quality images in my opinion. Pixera has some...I would look for a dark field/light field stage and a good stand alone fiber optic light source.
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Postby BaboonScience » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:25 am

Witt
Beat me to it. Just got home.
Other advice.
1. Try for a trinocular scope if possible. Camera can be mounted on the third aperture, leaving the occulars free for binoccular viewing.
2. Do NOT go for the cheap Chinese or Russian knockoffs. They have a reputation of trouble.
3. EBay is a good source for acquiring a good scope for less money. B&L StereoZoom dissecting scopes give excellent preformance and can be had for low pricing (Last time I looked :? ). Wild, Nikon and Olympus are other good alternatives. Most Wild scopes use non-standard eyepieces (I believe). The rest are pretty much interchangable. 10x occulars are pretty much standard, but I have found that a set of 20x eyepieces are a useful addition.
4. The older Cannon A-series cameras (A-70, A-80, etc) are adaptable to a trinoccular mounting and come with computer software for Remote Capture. Remote capture is valuable for taking pictures without vibrating the scope/image. I use this feature often in my work.
John
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Postby Witt » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:45 am

Good advice John! Since you mentioned remote capture I think it is worth mentioning that new Canon digital SLRs have the capacity to remotely transfer images to the computer with free software while Nikon SLRs will do it with some expensive add ons.

Since you mention camera vibration- you will never totally dissolve this problem unless the camera is removed from the microscope entirely. Mirror slap on SLRs is a killer for high res images.

This is the web site of microphotographer Charles Krebs. He is a guru at microscope shots and his website is an unbeatable reference. This is how I set up my scopes. The same thing can be done with stereos. It is definitely worth a look.
http://home.comcast.net/~micropix/microsetup/index.html
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Postby Spracklcat » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:24 am

Matt, thanks for that link, it's really great. Interesting too because I have a dissecting scope here at work with a trinoc, but have been having the worst time trying to find a photo tube the right length. The one have will allow me to shoot pictures, but the quality is awful because the camera ocular is not parfocal with the eyepieces. I like how he rigged an adjustable photo tube.

:)
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Postby BaboonScience » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:27 am

Witt
I had missed that site.
Vibration has always been somewhat of a problem. Diatom ID requires a fairly crisp image. I had not thought of such a simple damper method.
John
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Re:

Postby Greshamh » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:41 am

Witt wrote:Good advice John! Since you mentioned remote capture I think it is worth mentioning that new Canon digital SLRs have the capacity to remotely transfer images to the computer with free software while Nikon SLRs will do it with some expensive add ons.


Huh? I own a D80 and can transfer files with the software right out of the box. I do have Light Room and the CS3 Suite, but I can use the Nikon sodtware to do the transfer.
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Re:

Postby William » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:07 pm

Greshamh wrote:
Witt wrote:Good advice John! Since you mentioned remote capture I think it is worth mentioning that new Canon digital SLRs have the capacity to remotely transfer images to the computer with free software while Nikon SLRs will do it with some expensive add ons.


Huh? I own a D80 and can transfer files with the software right out of the box. I do have Light Room and the CS3 Suite, but I can use the Nikon sodtware to do the transfer.


He is talking about how the newer cameras give you a live video PREview on your computer. This is invaluable for getting the focus perfect.
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