Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

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AlisonP
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Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by AlisonP »

Hi folks, I recently purchased a Mitutoyo 10x objective for use with my Sony A7r2. I use a Canon 70-200mm telephoto as the tube lens. Before this I was shooting at 5x, with the Laowa 25mm 2.5-5x extreme macro lens. I read a lot in these forums before purchasing the Mitty and am grateful for all the information and helpful advice that I read and received here.

I haven't had problems "finding" my subject with the Mitty. But I would like to get a little gear to make fine adjustments to the positioning once I find the subject. My subjects are very tiny fungi and Myxomycetes (slime molds), typically 0.5-1.5mm tall. I collect the specimens from the woods and take them to my home "studio" (kitchen counter). I use the Stackshot for focus stacking. I place my specimens atop a box and move it around with my fingers to get the composition that I want. While that was fine with the 5x lens, it's harder to get the tiny movements that I want with the 10x lens, thus I am looking for some equipment to help me with positioning. The specimens are always on top of a small piece of wood or bark, and I sit them on a very small piece of plastic that I nudge around. But I need something better.

I think what I am looking for is a linear stage? I have read on these forums and elsewhere about stages, and wow some of them are really expensive. I'm wondering if anyone knows of something around $200 or less that would work for me.

I don't need all three directions. The Stackshot controls front to back. I am looking for something that has a flat surface that I can place my specimen on top of (i.e., no alligator clip) and has left/right adjustments as well as vertical adjustments. Tilt would be nice too but I have pieces of hard foam that I have cut into wedges of various sizes and angles that work pretty well for tilt.

It is possible that the WeMacro XYZ stage might work if I remove the specimen holder. I have sent an email to ask about the diameter of the rotation circle. Does anyone have experience with this stage?

Specimens are small, so 40mm x 40mm or so for the flat top surface should be fine. Can anyone recommend (with a link) a setup that can give me fine left/right and up/down control?

Thanks very much for any advice/input
Myxomycete and tiny fungi photography is my passionate hobby.
Instagram: @marin_mushrooms

physicsmajor
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by physicsmajor »

So you have a StackShot, what you need is fine adjustments for the specimen stage.

The eBay keywords are XYZ stage, 5 axis, or 6 axis stage. These are often expensive, though sometimes you can find great deals for parts and build one up that has added capabilities over time. The different axes of a true 6-axis setup are generally: 3 linear dimensions, two tilt dimensions, and rotation.

You don't need the ultimate in precision, micrometer stages are going to be irritating more than convenient. They do need to stay when you lift your hand off the control.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by rjlittlefield »

I don't see that WeMacro has an XYZ stage. What I see is their XYR stage.

The problem with XYR is that the axes are not what you need. If you orient the stage so that you look across the top of the rotating section, then you don't get both left/right and up/down control. Or if you orient so that you get left/right and up/down, then rotation is just around the axis of the lens so it rotates the image but keeps the same view.

What you really need is more like XZR, something like https://www.ebay.com/itm/XZR-Axis-Sliding-Table-Linear-Stages-Manual-Displacement-Cross-Roller-Guide-40mm/333175375694 .

However, at this moment you can get a better deal on 60mm XYZR, and just don't use one axis: https://www.ebay.com/itm/XYZR-4-Axis-LT60-LM-Trimming-Platform-Manual-Linear-Stages-Bearing-Tuning-E8B6/254636753687 .

In any case, you can decide later to add tilt by adding a goniometer, perhaps like my setup at https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=40703 .

--Rik

AlisonP
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Location: San Anselmo, CA USA

Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by AlisonP »

Thank you very much, Rik, for the very informative and helpful response. Do you ever sleep? It seems like you respond to so many posts in great detail.

My mistake on the WeMacro stage. Wishful thinking perhaps, but yes, it is of course XYR stage and I am looking for XZR, or at least XZ.

The 60mm XYZR that you linked should do the trick. It has no reviews, and I was hoping that someone might chime in here and say what their experience is with the many types of Chinese linear stages on eBay. I have no way of knowing if this is machined well and will be reliable. You can return them, but shipping costs will probably be quite significant if that is needed.

I searched the forums and had already seen your setup. Honestly, looking at it made my head hurt! The goniometer there, and others I saw in the forum, are quite pricey, and I'll probably just stick with my cut foam wedges for tilting my specimens.
Myxomycete and tiny fungi photography is my passionate hobby.
Instagram: @marin_mushrooms

AlisonP
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by AlisonP »

And perhaps a dumb question. Why is it called a trimming platform?
Myxomycete and tiny fungi photography is my passionate hobby.
Instagram: @marin_mushrooms

rjlittlefield
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by rjlittlefield »

AlisonP wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:02 pm
And perhaps a dumb question. Why is it called a trimming platform?
I'm not sure, but I suspect it is in the sense of 4b at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trim : "to adjust (something, such as cargo or a sail) to a desired position"
I was hoping that someone might chime in here and say what their experience is with the many types of Chinese linear stages on eBay. I have no way of knowing if this is machined well and will be reliable.
I cannot find the order info, but as I recall, the thing that I ordered would be a perfect match to the link that I provided. It is beautifully machined. I do not recall any negative reports on new equipment. The task that you want to do is pretty simple. I would be very surprised if there were any difficulties with new equipment. Used equipment is always more risky.

--Rik

AlisonP
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by AlisonP »

Thanks again very much, Rik. You've convinced me!
Myxomycete and tiny fungi photography is my passionate hobby.
Instagram: @marin_mushrooms

Chris S.
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by Chris S. »

Alison, you're getting good advice.
AlisonP wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:56 pm
The goniometer there, and others I saw in the forum, are quite pricey, and I'll probably just stick with my cut foam wedges for tilting my specimens.
While I find a goniometric stage tremendously useful, they are, as you say, pricey. (My rig, The Bratcam, includes matched goniometers, and I've never regretted the expense.) But somewhere between goniometers and foam wedges, "tilt stages" might be worth putting on your radar screen. Here is a link to some made by Newport. This sort of tilt stage is pretty common on eBay at lower prices than new. And if you don't mind a bit of DIY, making such a tilt stage should be pretty easy with a couple pieces of aluminum, a hinge, and either a nut and bolt or a threaded rod and a hole with threads tapped in it. (Nothing in the previous sentence is as hard to do as it might sound.)

Also, the micrometer-driven x-stage recommended above looks good, but you might eventually want to have two levels of x adjustment--coarse and fine. I use a micrometer-driven x-stage (fine movement), but have on my do-list the addition of a Velmex UniStage on the x axis, for quicker and longer range movement. The more I work in macro, the greater becomes my appreciation for having multiple levels of coarse vs. fine movement in various axes. This speeds up work and makes it less frustrating. For the through-the-lens axis on my horizontal rig, I now have a total of six means of translational movement, and I use them all in pretty much every shoot. With the addition of each of these, my shooting became easier.

This said, feel free to ignore all of the above. Perfection can be the enemy of the good, and right now, you are looking for good.

Cheers,

--Chris S.

Macro_Cosmos
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

My experience with Chinese linear stages are mixed.
Some are cheap yet the quality is superb and astounding. I've also bought ones that are just downright awful. There's lubricant leaks, the machining is bad, the micrometer holders aren't even aligned. Worst thing is, they are passing it off as "mmt" which is a cheaper Japanese brand.

I recommend used Sigma Koki stages, they are sometimes cheap. Otherwise, try your luck on Chinese ones that accept returning.
For rotation, a panoramic base would work too. Those can be had for $50 or so. The rotational axis on my stage isn't micrometer driven and works fine for 20x. It is coarse however, so do be aware.

Adalbert
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by Adalbert »

Hello Alison,
I'm wondering if anyone knows of something around $200 or less that would work for me.
My home-made rail can be used for 100x / Na 0.95 and is cheaper than $200.
It bases on the THK KR2001A.

BR, ADi

lothman
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by lothman »

Adalbert wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:12 am

My home-made rail can be used for 100x / Na 0.95 and is cheaper than $200.
It bases on the THK KR2001A.

BR, ADi
OK but you should tell that you are talking of a used KR2001A, in new I assume it is several times as expencive.

chris_ma
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by chris_ma »

lothman wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:57 am
OK but you should tell that you are talking of a used KR2001A, in new I assume it is several times as expencive.
I looked at the THK price list a year ago and the KR20 series was around 900 USD if I recall correctly.

The OP is looking for a positioning system though, the THK is prolly overkill for that :)
chris

Adalbert
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by Adalbert »

Hi,
But what about a used one?
https://www.ebay.de/i/252691165028?_trk ... noapp=true
BR, ADi

AlisonP
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by AlisonP »

Thank you very much gentlemen for all of your very useful replies.

I read quite a bit in this forum before posting my question, and this morning I have spent a full seven hours going down into various rabbit holes here to see what people have done. So much great information here; it is really astounding. Amazing amounts of time and patience you all have in explaining so much with such great detail.

Chris and Rik, I had looked at both of your setups before I wrote my post. They are incredible works! Absolutely fantastic to have the photos and a clear indication of all of the components. I have found a few other posts here with photos of the rigs that people have put together. I thought I might find this in FAQ but did not -- is there somewhere on this website where there is a list of posts where people have shown and described their rigs as Chris and Rik have done? That would be very useful.

I have been making lots of notes as I read, and I am going to design my own rig based on all of the very good information in these forums, and my own particular needs.

You guys rock!!!!
Myxomycete and tiny fungi photography is my passionate hobby.
Instagram: @marin_mushrooms

rjlittlefield
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Re: Recommendations for linear stage for use with 10x objective

Post by rjlittlefield »

AlisonP wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:48 pm
is there somewhere on this website where there is a list of posts where people have shown and described their rigs as Chris and Rik have done?
One of the FAQ topics has a long list: viewtopic.php?p=55311#p55311 . (Caution -- approaching rabbit hole!)

--Rik

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