Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

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Alex G
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
Location: Toronto. Ontario, Canada

Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alex G »

I have been a long-time follower of this forum (and closeuphotography.com). From the amazing information on these forums I’ve managed to cobble together gear that does a great job at up to about 2x magnification.

But recently I saw an auction for a Leitz Orthoplan (listed as “for parts only”) and went off the magnification deep end! What I ended up with seems to be a complete scope!

I have a couple of problems I hope the forum members might be able to help with, but first I thought it would be helpful to state exactly what I have (to the best that my very-new-to-microscopy abilities can tell)

I found this helpful product guide: https://www.ronaldschulte.nl/files/Manu ... plan78.pdf
and more info here: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/art ... oplan.html

After reading those articles I think this is what I have:
Leitz Orthoplan - Last version. It is an Ivory white colour
Nosepiece 1x with PL Apo 6.3/0.20, PL Apo 16/0.40, PL Apo 25/0.65, PL Apo 40/0.75, PL Apo Oel100/1.32
FSA trinocular head (100% to eyepieces or 80% to trinocular and 20% to the eyepieces)
2 x Periplan GW 8x 30mm diameter (Field of view index: 28. Field of view in %: 242)
1 x Periplan GW 8x 30mm diameter with camera format markings
Brightfield condenser Condenser; 0.90 NA top lens
Lamp Housing 100
Projection attachment (cat # 513 138).

My first problem is: This thing is caked in dust! Please see pics. I’m assuming it was left disassembled on a lab bench for quite a while. The trinocular head has lots of dust on the outer optics surfaces both top and bottom. I think it’s just the outer surfaces and I think it’s dust not fungus (but take a look and see what you think). How worried should I be about attempting to clean these optics myself? I’ve seen several places where they strongly advise against touching anything “internal”. I’m a very patient person and don’t mind spending money on proper cleaning supplies and take the time required to do it right. Should I attempt this? I did try to clean the eyepieces and objectives (front surfaces only) with 70% Isopropyl single use wipes. They went from gross to dirty. The coatings did not seem damaged and I didn’t see anything between the elements inside or on the rear elements.

Next is: I would like to use my full frame Nikon mirrorless camera with this setup for both photo and video. I’ve been researching this and frankly I’m confused. I’ve seen a number of posts that discuss using a 10X eyepiece (which I do not have) in the phototube. Is that the route to the highest image quality? I have a number of extension tubes, bellows units (Nikon PB4 for instance) and step up/down rings so I’m pretty sure I can rig something up if I know the distances. What optics inside the tube will yield the best resolution and can I expect full frame with any of these options?
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Sorry for all the questions, but I’ve seen the marvelous knowledge that’s shared here so I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



Thanks

Alex.
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Scarodactyl
Posts: 1302
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:26 am

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Scarodactyl »

First:nice. This one is set up to cover extremely wide fields of view. Excellent.
Cleaning dust isn't too hard. You'll want to blow it offf first to remove any loost gritty stuff, then gently clean with alcohol. I use name brand q tips which I frequently change (wet one side, swipe surface, dry with dry end, toss).
You will want a flat prime lens on your camera, probably a 50mm or maybe 40mm, focus it to infinity and figure out how to mount it above that eyepiece in the trinocular port.

Peter M. Macdonald
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Location: Berwickshire, Scotland

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Peter M. Macdonald »

The image below is an extract from a book which Leitz produced at the time when they made the Orthoplan, entitled Image-forming and Illuminating Systems of the Microscope. At page 37 it deals with cleaning. You will see that it states that xylene should be used as the cleaning fluid.

Although I cannot immediately find the reference, I am sure that I have seen a Leitz statement that alcohol should not be used.

As for the sensor coverage of the Orthoplan, this is a microscope which was designed in the days of sheet film. Leitz made film cameras which took 4" x 5" film, so full frame coverage on a 35 mm sensor is well within the capabilities of the Orthoplan. You ought to be able to mount your camera on a tripod over the vertical port. Working in a darkened room, try a live view image from your camera and see what it looks like. You may have to raise or lower the camera until the image fills (or slightly overfills) the sensor. Compare the resolution with what you can see through the eyepieces. They should be the same.

Once you have worked out the height at which the camera needs to sit, you can then try to use the tubes that you have to fill the gap so that you can work with the lights on. Alternatively, there is a Leica Mikras adaptor which was designed to attach a Leica 35 mm camera to the Orthoplan. The camera mount is held on by a couple of grub screws. You can easily replace it with a cheap T2 Nikon adaptor from ebay.

The 8x eyepieces which you have will not give as much magnification as the Leitz 10x Periplans. However, see how you get on with what you have. Unless you get bitten by one of the ultimate resolution diseases (most involve seeing the smallest of dots on diatom frustules) you will very likely find that you have all of the magnifying power which you will ever need.
Cleaning.jpg

Pau
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Location: Valencia, Spain

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Pau »

Indeed it's a great classic microscope.

The classic configuration of many Leitz photomicrography setups is afocal with a "3X" lens (80mm focal length) over a 10X Periplan eyepiece, like the older Mikas for Leica 35mm mentioned by Peter.
Afocal is needed because Leitz objectives of that era need complementary aberration corrections done by the Periplan.
This would crop very strongly the field of view of your wide field scope.

Take a look at the thread http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 265#p99265 where I explain the afocal principle and you can find lots of links to other setups and few discussions.

If you put a 50mm camera lens focused to infinite over your 8X Periplan you will get 2X relay magnification, still cropped but much more adequate, good for a 22.5 field, if you use a 40mm lens it will cover just your 28mm field (Wrong,corrected at the next paragraph)

If you put a 50mm camera lens focused to infinite over your 8X Periplan you will get 1.6X relay magnification, much more adequate for a 28 field to match the 43mm FF sensor diagonal* , although be aware that the image periphery often is somewhat degraded, not an issue for visual work but easy to spot in the image. I ignore if this could be an issue with your objectives and eyepieces. Anyway you could just crop the image to a more square form.
First test if the field of view of the eyepiece at the camera port is equally wide than the visual ones.

* 28 x 1.6 = 44.8
take a look at: https://sensorsizes.com?sensors=["114.0 ... null,null]

About cleaning... Zeiss also forbids alcohols for cleaning old microscope lenses. I think that this is because if it penetrates into the objective it can affect the cement more than the coating, That said, because Benzene and Xilene are toxic I use lab grade absolute ethanol being very very careful for avoiding it entering into the lenses and I can't report any issues
More info at the Zeiss booklet, google zeiss "the clean microscope"
Pau

Alex G
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
Location: Toronto. Ontario, Canada

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alex G »

Hi Scarodactyl, Peter, and Pau

Thanks so much for your input! I will avoid using isopropyl alcohol based on your advice. I have methyl hydrate - is this also a no-go? My local camera store uses it to clean camera sensors.

Pau - thanks for the info about afocal set-ups. I do have a 50mm and I'm sure I can figure a way of getting my camera positioned and begin experimentation. If at all possible I would like to land on a solution that covers the full 35mm size sensor and has maximum image quality. I'll read through the other posts you linked to in your main post. So much to learn!

Alex.

Alan Wood
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Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alan Wood »

Methyl hydrate is another name for methanol or methyl alcohol, so it is an alcohol.

Alan Wood

Pau
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Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Pau »

I've corrected the calculations, there was a gross mistake, sorry


Methanol will be more aggressive (and toxic!) than Ethanol or Isopropanol
Pau

Alex G
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
Location: Toronto. Ontario, Canada

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alex G »

Thanks for the corrections, Pau. That's much more encouraging! I've been reticent to put my fancy camera near all that dust. But I have the day off today and have discovered that Canadian Tire sells xylene so I'm off to pick some up. That and a T2 adapter that a friend is loaning me. Should be able to test later today.

By the way, I read somewhere that the Leitz projection attachment has a Periplan 10x GF eyepiece incorporated in it's design... so I went looking inside. Wow! What a piece of modern art sculpture. After taking a few pictures I promptly put it back together without disturbing the mechanism. The eyepiece is behind a metal casting and appears to be cemented in place.

Some fun pics...
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Alex G
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
Location: Toronto. Ontario, Canada

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alex G »

Would this put my eyepiece at the exact correct height for the afocal setup that Pau mentioned?:
Leica Leitz Microscope GW Photo Eyepiece Tube, cat# 543633

https://www.ebay.com/itm/295471036952?_ ... %7Ciid%3A1

Thanks
Alex.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Scarodactyl »

That should be correct.

bill2penn
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Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by bill2penn »

What a great deal on your scope. Congratulations!

I too am looking to put a full-frame camera on my Orthoplan (and Ortholux). What I have is a KAVAR unit that was designed to be used with a 35mm camera. The camera fitting can be easily changed using a T2 adapter of the camera that you are using. I had switched it to use my Minolta film camera 20 years ago. I bought a used camera off ebay based on recommendations from the board. But my used Canon 6D won't be delivered until the beginning of February so I can't say how it actually works yet with my setup. But you can see a discussion on Orthoplan photography options here:

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=44290&p=278519&hilit=kavar#p278519

And if you are interested there is a KAVAR currently on ebay for $200 here:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/232935501473


Bill

Alex G
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
Location: Toronto. Ontario, Canada

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alex G »

I've purchased some xylene, lens papers, and cotton swabs and have now had some time to attempt cleaning the lens surfaces that sit in the photo tube of my trinocular head. Perhaps I'm being too careful trying to not apply pressure. They are cleaner than when I started but still definitely have dust. Will take another stab (a gentle stab, ha ha!) at it when I rustle up the patience/time.

Before cleaning
before cleaning.jpg

After cleaning. Well... at least the dust moved around a bit!
after cleaning.jpg

Thanks for the suggestion Bill. The KAVAR looks very interesting. When looking at it, I wondered about the complexity. And that made me wonder this:
- If my plan is to tether and use my computer screen to focus, is the trinocular head required at all? Are the lens elements in the trinocular head required for the light path? Could I simply attach a longer empty tube (so that the eyepiece is placed at it's "normal" height), and then proceed with the rest of the afocal setup as described by Pau? I feel that even after I manage to clean the external surfaces, there's still some internal haziness. That and I've heard that the 80/20 prism might cause flare/glare.

In the meantime, I've snagged the Leitz GW Eyepiece Tube cat# 543633 off of eBay that I mentioned above for just $15.

Thanks
Alex.

Pau
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Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Pau »

Alex G wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:30 pm
I've purchased some xylene, lens papers, and cotton swabs and have now had some time to attempt cleaning the lens surfaces that sit in the photo tube of my trinocular head. Perhaps I'm being too careful trying to not apply pressure. They are cleaner than when I started but still definitely have dust. Will take another stab (a gentle stab, ha ha!) at it when I rustle up the patience/time.
Maybe. Are you sure that the dust is at the external surface and not internal?
The KAVAR looks very interesting. When looking at it, I wondered about the complexity. And that made me wonder this:
- If my plan is to tether and use my computer screen to focus, is the trinocular head required at all? Are the lens elements in the trinocular head required for the light path? Could I simply attach a longer empty tube (so that the eyepiece is placed at it's "normal" height), and then proceed with the rest of the afocal setup as described by Pau? I feel that even after I manage to clean the external surfaces, there's still some internal haziness. That and I've heard that the 80/20 prism might cause flare/glare.

In the meantime, I've snagged the Leitz GW Eyepiece Tube cat# 543633 off of eBay that I mentioned above for just $15.
The KAVAR is basically the same design of the older MIKAS. AFAIK it uses 23.5mm eyepieces like the Periplan GF and 3.2X relay lens so you will not get wide field like with your GW eyepieces (I'm not saying that it's inadequate, but be aware of it)

With a simple tube of the right length to put the eyepiece at the right height the system will work perfectly in the optical sense and you avoid all the glass surfaces of the trinocular head although you lose the very useful and nice direct view, much more adequate for microscope work. For high magnification and for moving subjects this is almost indispensable.
Pau

Alex G
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
Location: Toronto. Ontario, Canada

Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Alex G »

Getting somewhere... I've mounted the camera with a 50mm lens placed *very* close to the 8x Periplan eyepiece. The front element of this lens is deeply recessed so it's hard to tell exactly, but I'd say I was within a couple mm's between lens and eyepiece. Full-frame coverage! Wahoo!! Haven't taken any sharable micro shots yet. So new to this I don't even have basic supplies like glass slides!

Here's what it looks like at the moment, put together with... you know, the regular stuff - a fence from a table saw, part of an old 8x10 camera, and a counterweight from a steadicam. It's all very sturdy but not actually fastened to the microscope in any way. Just waiting for a good bump to send it tumbling (ha ha) so it's down from it's perch for now. Hope to make some "real" images with it soon.
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Scarodactyl
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Re: Leitz Orthoplan - bringing it back to life

Post by Scarodactyl »

I dig it!

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