microscope recommendations

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mrlowndes
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microscope recommendations

Post by mrlowndes »

I'm looking for reccommendations for a microscope for full frame photomacography. I want maximum light transmission to the sensor and excellent image quality. Not looking to use magnifications greater than 40X. I have an inherited Nikon optiphot but I don't like the beamsplitter in the trinoc head. I also want a scope with good, darkfield condenser options. The rotating phase contrast condenser that came with the Labophot has a darkfield option but I'm not impressed with it. I can spend thousands but not tens of thousands. I'm a beginner photomacographer but a professional photographer so I'm interested in spending money in the right places.

Would an Olympus BH2 or CH2 be a good place to start? What's the difference?

Thanks!
Last edited by mrlowndes on Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Scarodactyl
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Scarodactyl »

You might just want to buy a different head for your labophot (they have 100:0/0:100 light to camera options) along with a dedicated darkfield condenser.

mrlowndes
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by mrlowndes »

Thanks, problem is that I don't know where to start. Changing the head seems simple enough, but finding a condenser that is compatible with my scope?

Every time I ask for help I get general suggestions and no specifics. Info on eBay listing is minimal so I'm kept in the dark as far as compatibility goes.

This forum is so dense with information it is difficult to find relevant discussions, even with the categories and my search terms are not allowed for being too generic ...

Scarodactyl
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Scarodactyl »

For the head you probably have one labelled 't' while what you need is one labeled 'f'. There are a couple variants but I think they all have a 100% to camera option.
I haven't used darkfield on a labophot so I can't give specifics on what's best, sorry.

mrlowndes
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by mrlowndes »

What have you used darkfield on?

Like I say, I'm looking for specifics and I don't mind changing systems. I've been looking for answers for my optiphot (sorry not labophot) for 7 years and haven't found any so I'm ready to move on

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viktor j nilsson
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by viktor j nilsson »

If you have an optiphot that works, there really isn't any reason to buy a BH2. They are pretty equivalent.

Here's a nice (but expensive) oil darkfield condenser that would fit your Optiphot:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-Microsco ... 4148378377

I would think that it's going to be just as good, and cost about the same, as one for the BH2. Of course, with patience you will find a cheaper one. But they are not easier to find for a BH2.

There are dry dedicated darkfield condensers as well. None on eBay right now.

The Nikon condenser dovetail is 46mm at its widest. The Olympus BH2 condenser dovetail is just under 47mm. Apparently they are so close that you can use Nikon condensers on a BH2, but not the other way around.

I have read that the considerably cheaper oil and dry darkfield condensers that Amscope sells can be used on the BH2, and that they work well. I think I read this is the Carl Hunsingers's "BH2 musings" pdf. Maybe they could also fit your Optiphot?

Scarodactyl
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Scarodactyl »

mrlowndes wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:58 pm
What have you used darkfield on?
Only epi darkfield and in a stereo/macroscope context, not really comparable.
My expertise such as it is is entirely on the reflected light side of things so only limited crossover on that.

PeteM
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by PeteM »

I'll second the opinions above. The Optiphot is a fine scope - better than the CH2 and better (brigher lamp) than the 20 watt BH2's and essentially near (Optiphot 1) or equivalent (Optiphot 2) to Olympus BHS (assuming your fine focus is OK - easily repaired if not). An F type Nikon trinocular head will give you a straight shot to the camera. The Nikon dedicated darkfield condensers work well.

Darkfield requires a bit of fussing. Could be even the simple darkfield stop you have would be OK a low magnifications?

Duke
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Duke »

I wouldn't trade my Optiphot for Olympus BH2/CH, as it's much more capable scope, they are more on Labophot level. More so, Nikon has much more available parts, such as UW-heads and eyepieces, whereas Olympus SWTR heads are crazy rare and expensive.
I imagine the problem lies in that with phase condenser, used for darkfield, you'll get really small light circle, as it can only be used for higher magnifications (20x and 40x). Instead, you should try flip-top achromatic condenser NA 0.90 with field-stop diaphragm. I've seen on eBay 3d-printed ready to use darkfield kit for this exact condenser. It's cheap and one of the best condensers even to this day.
Upd: found it, here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/264765373356
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Photomicro
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Photomicro »

PM sent.
regards, Mike.

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Macro_Cosmos
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

I read a bit into the optiphot. It's a very capable machine and I won't regurgitate the other comments. As stated, I don't see a reason to "replace" it with a BH2 or BHS. To me, it has an even bigger lamphouse, higher wattage. Likewise, you can easily adapt a high power halogen lamp by collimating the output with a lens or replace it with a bright LED.

Personally, I don't think 50/50 is an issue. The exposure time for transmitted light is commonly in the hundreds. Darkfield and phase contrast will eat up a lot of light though, but it's still reasonably fast. The splitter is really good for video work. Make sure the eyepieces match the focus on your camera, you may then utilise the eyepieces to follow some interesting little critter roaming the slide. I've tried with direct projection (100% to the camera), it's... let's just say I ran my objective into the slide and killed it because I foolishly grabbed the wrong knob.

You can build the optiphot up. However, since you do have thousands to spend, you might also want to look into fairly modern Olympus/Nikon infinity systems. I'm not sure about the availability of parts on Nikon's system, Olympus infinity parts are rather common. Moreover, a bulk of BH2 condensers can be used on a BX microscope. (U-AC, Achro Apl condenser, BH2-UCD, LWD condensers etc [1]). Unless you're seeking apos and want to get DIC, "several thousands" will get you a capable system.

Oil darkfield condensers are crazy expensive. Dry ones are even rarer. :oops:

[1] Phase contrast is the only one to avoid since finite and infinite objectives require different sized phase rings even for the same marking.

Smokedaddy
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Re: microscope reccommendations

Post by Smokedaddy »

PM sent ...

Pau
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Re: microscope recommendations

Post by Pau »

Oil darkfield condensers are crazy expensive. Dry ones are even rarer. :oops:
Zeiss dedicated dark field condensers (two dry models and one oil "ultra condenser") are both excellent and relatively abundant at the used market. You would need to make or order a dovetail adapter, Charles Krebs did it with great results
Pau

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