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Olympus BH-2 vs. Nikon Labophot 2

 
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 21
Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Olympus BH-2 vs. Nikon Labophot 2 Reply with quote

I have longed for some time to get into photography through a microscope, but have yet to make a purchase due to the costs involved and due to my inclination to start with nice gear. Smile
I am currently in budget 'negotiations' with my wife and would like to get an idea whether what the actual costs are that will be involved.

The following are details of what I would like to do.
- My main interest is photography - not as much microscopy. In other words, I am more interested in making beautiful images than identifying a certain species of microcritter.
- I am very interested in photographing pond critters but I also intend to photograph cross sections of things and basically anything that looks interesting through a microscope.
- I am most interested in optical quality as I want to blow images up large. I realize that I will not have the budget to buy the best optics, but have decided to go with a used microscope to get the best quality for the $.
- In terms of illumination, I would like to start out with brightfield and darkfield. Eventually I would like to do other types of illumination, but the truth is I like many of the brightfield and darkfield images I see and this is the cheapest type of illumination to start with - allowing me to spend more money to get a good scope and optics.
- In terms of budget, I am looking between $2500-$3500.
- I intend to use a 5D2 with it to start. I have a 1D-X on preorder that will replace the 5D2 whenever it comes out.

The two scopes that look the most interesting right now are the Olympus BH-2 and the Nikon Labophot 2. The main thing I am interested in is which scope has better optics and which is more expandable? So far it seems like the Labophot 2 may be slightly better but I am not sure.

In terms of the Labophot 2, I read that I should make sure to buy CF optics with it. However in the posts I see I do not see the optics called out as CF. Are all objectives that typically come with a Labophot generally CF?

Also, for a Labophot 2 what do I need for darkfield?

When looking at the BH-2, am I correct that the following is what I will need?
- BH-2 microscope
- Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A + Canon EOS adapter
- NFK 2.5x
- Darkfield DC-W 1.2-1.4

More specifically, can I use the PA1-10A instead of the Olympus Photomicro adapter (that it seems is very difficult to find)?

The following are examples of microscopes I am looking at. Would these be ideal microscopes to purchase? Are they fairly priced?
BH-2 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-BH2-BH-2-Microscope-MUST-SEE-/280601940408?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41552dd1b8
My understanding is for the BH-2 I should look for SPlan optics.

Labophot 2 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-Labophot-2-Microscope-Mercury-Illuminator-w-All-Camera-Options-/300619864037?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fe5717e5
Is there a resource out there that explains the different Nikon objectives and which ones are better than others?

Thank you very much for your help.
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2534
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a BH2-BHS with parts accumulated over about 3 years.

It is unlikely that you will find everything you want in one sale. You will probably have to buy bits and pieces; this takes time.

If you go the BH2 route make sure you get a BH2-BHS (100 watt lamp).
Basic stand, with a stage, goes for about $600-800, a trinoc head for about $400.
You can sometimes get a complete BHS with D Plan objectives for $1300.
Then replace the DPlans with SPlans or better still SPlan Apos as they become available.
Other accessories such as various condensers, polarizers turn up on ebay.

Not sure you need a photo tube. You need just 125mm between the NFK and the sensor, simple extension tubes or a bellows work fine unless you want to actually fix the camera to the microscope.
I mount my camera on an independent stand just above the trinoc tube.

The BH2 you referenced is a BHS, 2 of the lenses have corroded metal so I would be very suspicious of the inside and the glass.
Also, this one may be for 240v, you likely need 110v.

The BHS has a 2 micron fine focus, I believe the Labophot 2 has 1 micron fine focus.

One big advantage of the Nikon CF lenses is that you can use them on a bellows or tubes independent of a microscope.
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NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
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” 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.”
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The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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Tom Jones



Joined: 31 Jan 2009
Posts: 273
Location: Crestline, CA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I currently use a Labophot at work in a hospital lab and have used BH-2s for the same thing in the past. I own BH-2's and prefer them. YMMV.

Nikonuser is right. You'll probably have to build the system you want a piece at a time. That doesn't mean you should pass up a nice scope that is useable as is. Add capability as you find the parts. I believe there are more BH-2s, and BH-2 parts and pieces available than there are for the Labophot. That makes it easier to eventually find the parts you need to build the system you want. I think the BH-2s are sturdier as well.

One thing - BH DIC parts are pretty rare. Those that have them don't want to part with them.

Whatever you decide to buy, make sure you watch the prices for awhile. There's a really wide range for essentially the same scope on *Bay. If you're in a hurry you could end up paying a lot more than you need to.

Tom
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Tom Jones



Joined: 31 Jan 2009
Posts: 273
Location: Crestline, CA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Nikon you mention has a fluorescent head, mercury burner and power supply you don't need unless you intend to get into fluorescence work. That stuff is expensive and leaving it off drops the price a lot.

The microscope itself has a 6 volt 20 watt halogen illuminator as does the regular BH-2. The BHS has a 100 watt halogen as NU indicated. If you ever want to do DIC you'll want a 100 watt lamp.

I believe the PA1-10A will work with the BH-2 system. It works with the IMT-2 inverted scope and that uses the same optics as the BH so it should be fine, but I haven't tried it. I works nicely on the BX-40/50. The NFK 2.5 is the right photoeyepiece for the full-frame 5D II. The DC-W condenser is an oil immersion condenser. You only need the oil condenser for higher power, usually above 40x, depending on the objective NA. It may work ok w/o oil for the lower power objectives, but I haven't tried it. The DC-D is the dry condenser for lower magnification. I just picked up a U-UCD (BX version) condenser for $275.There's a DC-W for sale right now for $150.

A better choice might be the universal/phase condenser. It has a darkfield stop for use up to 40x and I think the newer one has removeable phase annuli so you could add custom stops for oblique illumination too if the phase annuli didn't do the trick. You can move the DF or phase stops out of the way for brightfield. You can add phase later without changing the condenser. The universal condenser is easier to find too.

Tom
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Alan Wood



Joined: 29 Dec 2010
Posts: 260
Location: Near London, U.K.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Olympus BH-2 vs. Nikon Labophot 2 Reply with quote

kirispupis wrote:
When looking at the BH-2, am I correct that the following is what I will need?
- BH-2 microscope
- Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A + Canon EOS adapter
- NFK 2.5x
- Darkfield DC-W 1.2-1.4

More specifically, can I use the PA1-10A instead of the Olympus Photomicro adapter (that it seems is very difficult to find)?


There is an Olympus Photomicro Adapter L on eBay Switzerland, item 370468483153; in the description they say that they post worldwide.

I have a web page on connecting a digital SLR to a BH-2:
http://www.alanwood.net/photography/olympus/digital-slr-bh2-microscope.html

I don't know anyone who has used the PA1-10A, so I can't be sure if the camera is parfocal with the viewing eyepieces.

Richard J. Kinch makes a photo tube that works properly; see near the end of this very long page:
http://www.truetex.com/micad.htm

Alan Wood
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 21
Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the helpful info. It does seem that I will need to approach this more like a camera body + lenses + accessories and purchase them separately.

I am still undecided on Nikon vs. Olympus though it seems like Olympus will be a bit easier to get started with. I assume if I can afford DIC some day I can probably also afford a Labophot scope to go with it. Smile

Unfortunately the budget was not approved Sad so I will need to wait a bit before finally getting started in photomicrography. At least when I do get started I will have the helpful info here to go back to.

Thank you again for your help.
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