Need to purchase DSLR and dissecting microscope

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Tropical Sojourner
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Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:59 pm

Need to purchase DSLR and dissecting microscope

Post by Tropical Sojourner »

I need publication grade digital images and high resolution class room projection digital images of botanical specimens.

I prefer to work in a MAC environment so I'm thinking the Canon software with a Canon DSLR would be suitable but I am open to other options if someone know of better performance.

I'll probably be working in the 6x-80x magnification range so a good dissecting microscope coupled with a DSLR is the likely direction.

Some of the good quality older dissecting scopes predate the advances in digital imaging so I'm wondering if there are newer microscopes better suited for digital imaging? Perhaps they may employ an Abbe system instead of a Greenough optical system.

Since the end result is to work with and achieve the best digital image I may be willing to forgo the stereoscopic feature of the traditional dissecting microscope if I can achieve better results at a lower cost.

I would appreciate hearing anyones thoughts or guidance in this area.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Normally I recommend against shooting through dissecting scopes because initially configuring a good setup is often fiddly and even at their best the images are not as good as you can get using other optics. The short story there is that dissecting scopes are optimized for large depth of field and long working distance, which inevitably means sacrificing resolution.

However, dissecting scopes do have one advantage that might be compelling for your application: they allow very rapid magnification change, often with continuous zoom. This ability to rapidly fill the screen with any particular area of interest makes them very practical for interactive classroom use. Most other approaches would be way too slow to use interactively in a classroom setting.

In this forum, we usually write in terms of subject size or magnification on sensor, rather than visual magnification through eyepieces. The "6x-80x" range that you've mentioned translates into roughly 40 mm field width down to 3 mm field width, which would be around 0.5X to 7X onto an APS-C size sensor.

For highest image quality, the lower end of that range is easily reached with conventional macro lenses or bellows setups. The upper end, again for highest image quality, would be reached with low power microscope objectives using techniques described HERE. If your subjects are 3-dimensional, then probably you'll want to use focus stacking to get high resolution across the whole subject.

You mentioned "publication grade digital images" and "high resolution class room projection". With current technology, I'm thinking that maybe you mean HDTV at 1920 pixels wide, which would also be about 6 inches at 300 dpi for publication purposes. Is that what you have in mind?

--Rik

g4lab
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Post by g4lab »

Shooting with a Wild or Wild/Leica M400 or M420 removes the objections that Rik mentions above and they perform very well unless you want to be at the bleeding cutting edge of resolution and image quality as many forum members do.

But outperfoming the out of the box performance requires great skill and very good and expensive equipment.

They are not stereos but are wide enough field that there are some depth cues. People accustomed to stereo views have to get used to the flat field. They are very accurate and low distortion and suitable for precision measurements. They zoom easily in the range you are interested in and are very convenient to use. They have wide field binocular eyetubes and produce publication grade images very easily. They have distinctly higher numerical aperture than any stereo that I know of.

If you send me a Private Message I can help you obtain one.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Wild+M4 ... 80&bih=845

https://www.google.com/search?q=Wild+M4 ... 45#imgdii=_


Wild (and also Zeiss and Olympus and possibly others)built some versions of their stereoscopes which allowed the objective to be centered over the zooming telescope that has the camera mounted on it. This eliminates the parallax and convergence problems and squares up the optics over the object being viewed and photographs. The numerical aperture is a bit less than an M400 or 420.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Leica-Wild-M3 ... 1293500790

These can sometimes be gotten for a reasonable price as the above auction shows. They are only a small percentage of the scopes out there regardless of make or model.

Wild had an M3 S type and an M7 S type. The zoom body or mag changers were moved over the objective which was fixed in relation to the object. In the case of Zeiss and Olympus the objective was moved to be centered over the zoom tube so the specimen would need to be moved and reframed through live view.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Leica-Wild-M3 ... 1293500790

(Actually the M7S may work like the Zeiss and Oly (which were objective attachments not separate models).

The build quality of Wild scopes is the best there is.

Tropical Sojourner
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Post by Tropical Sojourner »

Rik

Yes, 300 dpi and HDTV quality is what I would be going for. I will not be in an interactive classroom but will be changing magnification with some frequency. I did read your "low power microscope objectives" posts which were interesting and informative but I probably will be using a microscope of some fashion. All the discussion of tube length and resulting image size reminded me that I will at times need to insert accurate vertical and horizontal measurements onto my resulting image that relate to the specimen that I will be imaging.

I will be using Zerene stacker software to achieve all the in focus depth of field that I require through multiple images. A motor drive focus on the microscope, while not essential would be useful.

What I find myself asking for is a microscope with a turret holding multiple objectives lenses, power drive focusing and a DSLR mounted directly in line with the objectives, probably in a vertical configuration. Does such a microscope exist?

Jack

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Tropical Sojourner wrote:What I find myself asking for is a microscope with a turret holding multiple objectives lenses, power drive focusing and a DSLR mounted directly in line with the objectives, probably in a vertical configuration. Does such a microscope exist?
Yes, but what you've just described is a research- or industrial-class instrument that will have correspondingly high prices for the reasons mentioned in your other thread.

You might contact the folks at http://www.martinmicroscope.com/ to see what sort of a package deal they could put together for you.

I'm unclear about your situation. If you had to choose between spending $10,000 or 100 hours of DIY, which way would you be inclined to go?

--Rik

Perl
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Post by Perl »

Hi
Would Recomend Wild / Leica M8
with photoport
****** Seeing is Believing ******

g4lab
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Post by g4lab »

The M8 would have all the disadvantages that Rik mentioned above. And carefully rereading his post I notice that he did not mention what is likely the biggest disadvantage.

That is , shooting through any stereo (and the M8 is one of the VERY best ever made and yes I have one) means you are shooting through HALF of a stereo system. This is worse with a Greenough type of system. But even in a Common Main Objective system like the M8 (or above mentioned M3 or M7 scope) although the optical systems are parallel the zoom tubes are not centered on the center of the objective lens. So there is parallax with zooming which probably would be a problem for stacking software. This is why Wild developed the S systems which would be better than an M8 but not as good (because of na reduction) as an M400. I don't know why they never built, an M8, nor an M10, S model.

There is a guy whose handle is PierreH over at leNaturaliste who has built an S type slider for his M8 and stuck PlanApo lenses on it. Pretty kewl setup.

To exceed the performance of an m400 you have to use things like Zeiss Luminars or other cutting edge optics and use them carefully.

I guess I should disclose the obvious. OF all the many many many microscopes I have used , owned, played with , serviced, rebuilt repaired, bought , sold, etc, etc.....and also of all the many other kewl optical instruments I have done the same with, the Wild and Wild/Leica M400, is by far my favorite. There is noting else that comes close. (Although Olympus and Nikon have now come out with clones that are probably north of $30,000) The M400 and 420 are built like tanks.

http://www.nikoninstruments.com/Product ... -Multizoom

http://www.olympusamerica.com/seg_secti ... =1013&c=21

Ironically although Leica continued to offer suboptimal variants of these scopes, and still does, they have migrated the idea to essentially video or camera only use.

http://www.leica-microsystems.com/produ ... croscopes/

But the Nikon and Oly scopes above might be worth a look if you have a massive budget.

I would prefer an M400 with ApoZoom if in good condition over most of the above. It would be easier to use and I have started to wonder if there may be such a thing as too much zoom range.

Perl
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Post by Perl »

Hi
Dont understand how you mean
i have an trinocular Lecia Inclined Head
on my M8 , just working fine

Regrds
Pär
****** Seeing is Believing ******

Perl
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Location: Sweden

Post by Perl »

Image


Look like this !
****** Seeing is Believing ******

g4lab
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Post by g4lab »

Notice that the trinocular head picks one of the two zoom tubes to photograph through. (I have a large collection of Wild equipment including the illustrated trinocular)

The zoom tubes are not centered on the objective but on "paraxial" locations.

Furthermore the zoom system is a telescope that happens AFTER the objective.

So at the very least there is parallax. In addition to parallax there is probably predictable distortion which is why they invented the S models. These allow accurate low distortion measurements to be taken with ocular micrometers. Suitable for the semiconductor industry.

Try to find some Wild propaganda on the S models. For example I have an M3B S type. Instead of a zoom it has a five step mag changer. The propaganda said that the step mag changer increased the accuracy of measurements taken though the scope.

In contrast the M400 series and the Oly and Nikon scopes linked to above are mono-objective which are plumb and square over the specimen, which even an M8 is not. The S types are too but don't have as much resolution and light throughput as an M400.

I don't know why they never built an M8 S type but they did not.
They have revisited the concept on some of their "Wide Field stereo fluorescence scope" which are used for green fluorescent protein use.

Tropical Sojourner
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Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:59 pm

Post by Tropical Sojourner »

I really appreciate all the discussion that is providing me useful insight. I don't believe I will have a $10,000 budget for purchase and would not plan on putting in 100 hours of set up or adaptation time. We do have a local microscope maintenance and repair company which make me more comfortable in considering used equipment. I was seriously considering the M400 but see that has now been sold.

Just to clarify; the PlanApo has full spectrum color correction right? That sounds very desirable which makes me wonder why other models of the Wild, as a very good quality microscope, would not have it?

The Zerene stacking software I currently use seems to correct for parallax pretty well, only requiring some cropping on one edge of the image which has a horizontal smear. I would expect avoiding parallax error altogether would be a plus.

As I look over other microscope sites I don't seem to find much data that displays measurably resolution. Does one need to mostly consider manufacturer's reputation or am I not looking in the right places?

Rorschach
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Post by Rorschach »

I wonder if Pierre would be able/interested in making a similar S-type slider for the M10. For a fee, of course.

I have seen other people advocate for the M420 but the M400 does seem like a good option too, based on what g4lab writes above. Which one would be easier to set up for use with a DSLR?

Scarodactyl
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Post by Scarodactyl »

A bit of an old thread. Just to address a point made earlier, even at high mag the lateral motion of the image on a stereo scope during refocusing does not cause unsolveable issues with focus stacking.

Anyway, between the two the m400 head is a bit better, in that it has three (3!!) moveable prisms to select between, 100% eyepiece, 100% camera or 50/50. It is a very nice feature but maybe a bit of overkill, which they did away with on the m420 which is always 50/50. Either one is very good though, and the m400 is much rarer and typically more expensive than the m420.
I have set up one of each for dslrs. If you are using an aps-c camera direct projection is the way to go. You just have to replace the original camera tube with a shorter one. I wrote up a quick tutorial on doing it for the m420. It is even easier with the m400, as part of the original camera assemvly includes a plate with a 38mm hole, which you can just press a 38mm tube to m42 adapter into. If you want to use full frame you'll need a reducing lens and that is more complicated.
Last edited by Scarodactyl on Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rorschach
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Post by Rorschach »

Scarodactyl wrote:A bit of an old thread. Just to address a point made earlier, even at high mag the lateral motion of the image on a stereo scope during refocusing does not cause unsolveable issues with focus stacking.

Anyway, between the two the m400 head is a bit better, in that it has three (3!!) moveable prisms to select between, 100% eyepiece, 100% camera or 50/50. It is a very nice feature but maybe a bit of overkill, which they did away with on the m420 which is always 50/50. Either one is very good though, and the m400 is much rarer and typically more expensive than the m420.
I have set up one of each for dslrs. If you are using an aps-c camera direct projection is the way to go. You just have to replace the original camera tube with a shorter one. I wrote up a quick tutorial on doing it for the m420. It is even easier with the m400, as part of the original camera assemvly includes a plate with a 38mm hole, which you can just press a 38mm tube to m42 adapter into. If you want to use full frame you'll need a reducing lens and that is more complicated.
Thanks, that's good information! My eventual goal is to have a M400/M420 for photo work and a separate stereo for ID work and for gawking at all interesting things. That's why I am inquiring and even resurrecting some old threads :)

I just need time to gather enough knowledge and also to find a reasonable price on a unit. Meanwhile, I am building the M7S setup and, when ready, using it happily.

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