Nikon , Olympus, Meiji, Swift Focus Blocks; & Setups

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

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NikonUser
Posts: 2589
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

rjlittlefield wrote: FWIW, I'm now keeping my eyes peeled for a nice microscope stage.
--Rik
Do you mean just the stage, i.e., mechanical stage, or the whole ##### shooting match, i.e., stand with great fine adjustment and mechanical stage; and a hacksaw?

Another Wow. This site sure is picky about which words one is allowed to use. It wasn't anything profane.
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

AndreasW
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:55 am

Post by AndreasW »

Hello,
after reading so much about this focus-block here, I got myself a Olympus BHMJ focus block.
While the build-quality looks great, I'm a bit puzzled about a little play in the linear axis? Is this normal?
Having to return the thing from Europe to the USA and having to claim back customs duties, is not what I'm after....
The play is maybe .5mm.
All the best
Andreas

NikonUser
Posts: 2589
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

I think you do not have to worry. I use my Olympus block attached to the micrsocope stand as shown on page 2 of this topic. I just tried and I find I can lift the block upwards about 1mm. However in use (as shown) the weight of the stage, and possibly the weight of the block keeps everything 'tight' and for practical use there is no play in moving the stage up/down.
As Charles Krebs pointed out earlier, these blocks are meant to be used vertically. If you are using yours horizontally you need to have a slight force pulling the block backwards. I use my Nikon block horizontally and find that a couple of elastic bands counteract the play in this block.
On my Olympus block there is a wheel on the left side which can be rotated to loosen/tighten the moveable coarse adjustment.
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5858
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

Andreas,

I see NU gave you the answer you needed. It's completely normal.
No problem when used vertically, and simple to take care of horizontally.

I use mine horizontally and simply use some rubber bands to take up the small "slack" that gravity would normally take care or when used vertically. (A small spring could be used as well). It takes very little force to do so, even with a camera attached. My preference is to "pull" the top (where camera is attached) toward the subject. That way, when I put my eye up to the viewfinder and I come in contact with the camera it does not "shift" forward and change focus since it is already seated at the front of this "play".

AndreasW
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:55 am

Post by AndreasW »

Dear Charles, dear NU,
at first, thank you very much for the quick reply.
I'm reliefed that the unit I bought is OK.
However, I do not yet see how you can attach rubbers or strings. How do you do that?
I cannot see anything like that in http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... light=bhmj
Bye and thank you very much
Andreas

Charles Krebs
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

Andreas,

I'm not at my "location" right now, but I'll take a snapshot later and post it.

I've meant to do a more permanent "tensioning" with a spring, but the rubber bands are just so easy and work well that I've never bothered. Occasionally though, the rubber bands do wear and break. The older pictures I posted (and you referenced) do not show them in place.

NikonUser
Posts: 2589
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

augusthouse wrote:Nice purchase NU!
Let us know how it performs.
Craig
Finally got the courage to hack off the objective holder arm from my recently purchased Swift M100 microscope. Stuck a Nikon 10x objective on the bellows and used the built in substage lamp and condenser as the light source.
Note that the mechanical stage controls are on top and at the side; in most stages they are beneath the stage.
Image

The bottom image is a mandible from a Horse Fly. There are a pair of these and they work vertically, as shown, in a sideways slashing movement (think of using a pair of scissors held with the points down). That fine cutting edge close to the 1mm scale bar is about 0.02mm wide and probably only a few microns thick.
10x objective at 180mm 'tube length', 9 frames at about 0.005mm, 1/10sec exposures, mirror locked-up, HF stack.
Image
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5858
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

NU... Excellent!

(Do you remember all that stuff you probably originally got in college about centering the condenser and adjusting the diaphragm? At this point you're just about into "photomicrography").

NikonUser
Posts: 2589
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

Thanks Charles.

I was wondering where to draw the line between "Photography Through the Microscope" and, for want of a better phrase, "Photography Through a Lens".

College was a long time ago, don't remember much; even forgotten what I forgot.

I assume one has to line up the objective exactly in a vertical axis with the substage, but how does one do this when the objective is not mounted on the scope's stand?
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

NikonUser wrote:I was wondering where to draw the line between "Photography Through the Microscope" and, for want of a better phrase, "Photography Through a Lens".
That's a very hard line to draw, and for most purposes there's no reason to bother. Once upon a time I asked a Nikon Small World official how he felt about images shot through microscope objectives on bellows. He hemmed and hawed and never did give me a straight answer except to say that such images would definitely be allowed in Olympus Bioscapes.
I assume one has to line up the objective exactly in a vertical axis with the substage, but how does one do this when the objective is not mounted on the scope's stand?
Since you're stacking, it doesn't matter if the objective is exactly perpendicular to the stage. Using any handy square will work fine; just eyeballing it would probably be good enough.

But centering the condenser and adjusting the diaphragm can matter a lot. In a microscope, those determine which part of the lens gets used to form the image. The condenser diaphragm plays much the same role as the lens diaphragm in a camera. It restricts direct light to passing through the central region of the lens, invoking the usual tradeoffs between resolution and DOF, as well as affecting overall image contrast via aberrations and stray reflections.

--Rik

Charles Krebs
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
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Post by Charles Krebs »

NU,

I only mentioned it because it could be helpful if you find you are frequently using the base light and condenser as you have here.

It shouldn't be hard to set properly, but I need to know a little more about the base...

- can the condenser be moved up/down?

- does the condenser holder have adjustment knobs (or screws) to center it in the condenser holder (left/right, fore/aft)?

- does the base have an adjustable "field diaphragm"? That is, can you turn something on the base (around or near the light "port") that varies the width of the beam coming out of the base?

Also, it appears that the condenser has a "swing in" filter holder at it's bottom. If so it's extremely easy to make a "darkfield stop" for a 10x objective. And Rheinberg filters are also easy to make and can provide some really nice lighting effects.
You could have a lot of cheap fun with a few simple "filters" and stops! \:D/ :wink:

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... trast.html
http://www.olympusmicro.com/primer/java ... index.html
http://www.stolaf.edu/courses/2007int/B ... kfield.htm

NikonUser
Posts: 2589
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

Thanks Rik and Charles.
I read the refs. re. Darkfield and Rheinberg, I think I can manage to attempt these.
But aligning the condenser to be dead center in line with the objective. I gather this is essential.

The bottom of the stand has a built-in, non-adjustable, 35mm diam lens; with a swing-out 31.5mm filter holder directly on top.
Lamp is a single tungsten bulb.
Condenser, moves only up/down. Consists of a 26mm diam lower lens and a removable 17mm top lens (scews off) that is labelled 1.25. At the bottom of the condenser is a lever-operated diaphragm that goes from wide open to about a 1mm hole.
Another 31.5 diam swing-out filter ring beneath this diaphragm.

My camera/bellows stand is essentially fixed and so the only alignment possibility is moving the microscope stand by hand and I doubt that I could position this with any accuracy.
Perhaps I am expecting too much from a $26.00 scope.
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

augusthouse
Posts: 1195
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:39 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Post by augusthouse »

NU,

A toolmakers xy translation stage under the scope should provide the accuracy of movement required (but will increase the height/profile of the setup = angle finder?).

There is mention of a 'Enk adjusting device' (adjusting device with centred light diode) on page "94" in the Kaiser PDF at link below:
http://www.meyerinst.com/html/stands/stands.pdf

...many, many good ideas and application in that Kaiser brochure.

Does anyone have 'active' links to online articles by Ted Clarke?
*later note: yes here they are: http://www.modernmicroscopy.com/main.as ... y_author=5

Craig

*edited to add hyperlink to Ted Clarke articles.
Last edited by augusthouse on Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

NikonUser
Posts: 2589
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

Craig: Thanks for the idea of using a translation stage. I decided to give it a try 'manually' using a 4x objective and with some further advice from Charles Krebs.
1st, removed the top lens of the condenser. Next, with the substage lamp on, I was able to get a sharp image of the lamp filament. It was then a relative simple procedure to move the microscope base to get the lamp filament exactly in the center of the camera's viewfinder.
For use I cut a disc from a matte drafting film, and placed this in the filter holder of the lower lens to diffuse the lamp's filament.
Following on from Charles' suggestion I made a "darkfield stop" and placed it on top of the condenser.

Will place the result of this 'experiment'

HERE
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

JGVilla
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Netherlands

Olympus CHC focusing block

Post by JGVilla »

Over the last year I have been following this site with great interest.
An immense amount of very useful information and discussions regarding all kinds of equipment for use in macrophotography.
For me it started when I found a very nice cross-table:
a Vertex X-Y cross-table made of solid stainless steel and brass with a good number of ball bearings.
The cross-table can be easily disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and finely tuned.
At the moment it is running very smoothly and the minimum resolution as indicated on the dials (0.02 mm) can be easily obtained
even when loaded up with maximum equipment. :P
The weight of the cross-table itself is 11.3 kg (25 lbs) so it is a very stable macro platform.

Image

While moving the cross-table in one direction is very precise, moving back and forth shows some slack, which sometimes makes focusing difficult.
Also the resolution is limited to 0.02 mm.

With envy I followed all the discussions about focusing blocks from different kind of microscopes.
I checked regularly on eBay and local markets but most microscopes on offer are very expensive.
Especially the Olympus BH microscopes are still very much in demand and are sold for high prices even second hand.

At the beginning of this year I came across a couple of Olympus CH microscopes.
The basic design of these microscopes is the same as the Olympus BH microscopes but these were mainly used for student education.
They are much less sofisticated, but have the same focusing block and stage. Some of these are sold much cheaper second hand.
I also found an Olympus CH Service Manual, which I have scanned. The file can be found here:

Olympus CH Repair Manual


Image

I could buy two of these microscopes for a very decent price. Both were well maintained and fully serviceable.
I also have a Nikon F2 camera to microscope adapter so I intend to use one of the Olympus CH microscopes as introduction into microphotography.

The other one however is to be integrated into my macro system.
That means major surgical operations. I would not call it “traumatic”; it is more like a “re-incarnation”.
As it is, the focusing block has been "machine-tooled" out of the microscope and for full integration I designed a specific U-brace.

Image

The U-brace is made from 8 mm aluminum. In the picture the focus block is lying on its back.
The block is mounted to the U-brace on the left (vertical leg) where the original 4x M6 threads are used to fix the focusing block to the U-brace.
The back of the focus block is perfectly parallel to the front but as can be seen it its slightly rounded which makes it basically unstable (it wobbles).
The back of the focusing block has been slightly flattened.
The bottom part of the U-brace is mounted on both sides to the vertical legs by 3x M3 screws.
Finally there is a small “locking block” on top of the U-brace, which fixes the focusing block very tightly to the U-brace.

In the 'slider' on top of the focusing block (separate 8 mm block) and in the bottom part of the U-brace in total 3 M6 threads have been made
which hold one RRS (Really Right Stuff) quick mounting clamp and two RRS mini clamps.
The focusing block can now be fully integrated into my macro system.
The block can be used both horizontally as well as vertically.

Image

Image

Having integrated the focus block into the macro system it is clear the system now needs an extra mounting rail on the base plate.
I have one on order and in the mean time I’m redesigning both the (silver colored) basic sllding block as well as the base plate.
When it is finished I will post some more pictures.

edited for textual improvements, typos and a new link to the repair manual . . .
Last edited by JGVilla on Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:06 pm, edited 17 times in total.
-Jan-

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