FAQ:How (and why) to use electronic flash at the microscope?

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FAQ:How (and why) to use electronic flash at the microscope?

Post by Pau »

Electronic flash (xenon discharge tube) has some advantageous features as light source well known for general photography:
- Powerful
- Excellent spectral light quality
- Fast: usually 1/1000s or less, so the actual exposure time when used as the only light source is given by flash itself, not the camera shutter speed. Most speedlites (IGBT regulated) when used at reduced power provide much shorter exposure time.
Here you can see oscilloscope graphs from Jim_H_WY of some Canon and Vivitar flashguns (the series of the Canon 580 fired at different powers is especially instructive):
https://secure.flickr.com/photos/980361 ... 12/detail/

Excellent tests from forum member mawyatt with different units fired at different powers:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... highlight=
(note the different behavior of compact speedlites vs the studio strobe Interfit EXT400 400WS)

The main application of electronic flash in Microscopy is to freeze the movement, both camera induced or environmental vibrations and living subjects movement
At the microscope is very convenient to have simultaneous continuous light and is highly adequate that the light from both sources follow the same optical path. This can be achieved putting the flash tube and continuous light source actually very close or optically at the same plane by means of beam splitters or lenses, but this isn’t fully necessary in all cases because the flash tube is much bigger and powerful than a typical lamp filament.

Here I just want to put together some relevant links I’ve collected on this subject

1) Setups with the complete flashgun

Rogelio Moreno’s: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 7697#97697
Arturo Agostini’s: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 5295#95295
Charles Krebs’ setup I: http://micropix.home.comcast.net/~micro ... index.html (broken link)
Ken Vernon’s: http://www.photomacrography.net/amateur ... D/300D.htm
David Walker's: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... lash2.html
..............- http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... flash.html
..............- http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... flash.html
Pau Renard’s (myself): http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 404#161404
......- Improved setup: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 611#224611
anne's: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 160#237160
ImperatorRex at Microbehunter: - http://www.microbehunter.com/microscopy ... 399#p53399
..............................................- http://www.microbehunter.com/microscopy ... 445#p53445
..............................................- http://www.microbehunter.com/microscopy ... 971#p63971
Saulius Gugis makes 3D printed very interesting adapters for several microscope models: https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/ ... 361#252361

Some examples at the German forum www.mikroskopie-forum.de

Frank Fox: https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... 0#msg60550
. and https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... 5#msg39365
. and: https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... #msg103827
"Nomarski": https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... 3#msg73303
reblaus: https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... #msg150830

2) Setups that put the flash tube alone into the optical path.
In principle this could be the best approach but it implies dismounting the flashgun and may be dangerous (very high voltage). The original flash illuminators from classic Zeiss microscopes put the xenon tube optically coupled inside the microscope collector tube.

Charles Krebs’ setup II: http://www.krebsmicro.com/microsetup2/index.html
John C Walsh’s at Micrographia.com: http://www.micrographia.com/articlz/art ... pc0100.htm
Arturo Agostini’s: http://www.microscopeitaly.it/2012/03/1 ... crografia/

3) An interesting idea hybrid of the former setups with high end optic construction:
nathanm's http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 872#207872

4) Setups that couple one or both light sources by means of fiber optics:

Ron Neumeyer’s at Microscopy-UK: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... lash1.html
Graham Matthews’: http://www.micromagus.net/microscopes/flashsetup.html

Please post your own setups if different or your links to other relevant ones

(edited to add some more links)
Last edited by Pau on Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:04 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Post by dariuskersulis »

Excellent resource Pau! Haven't even though about some of those solutions. Love it! I'll post once I'm done with mine.

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Post by 75RR »

Thank you Pau for combining all these threads.

Is your setup still a lego one.?

Note: The link is broken on Charles Krebs first setup!

Thanks again

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Post by Pau »

Yes, I still use the Lego, so nice to play with :D

Yes, I've noted it to Charles, but it seems difficult to recover (not only his flash setup but many of his older pages :( )

Robert Berdan
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Location: Calgary

Thank you for the links and additional information

Post by Robert Berdan »

Hi Pau - thank you so much for the links and additional information I will go through the information and see if there is something I can apply. I found a couple of articles on http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk site I think by Ian Walker that were helpful in regard to how he set up his Flash and I saw Charles Krebs flash unit which he built into his light source.

I can see Rogelio Moreno's set up is similar to what I am trying but I am not using an inverted scope. I will have a look at the rest of the links to see if there is something I can apply - I really appreciate you letting me know about this.

Hopefully once I have a solution I will post it.

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