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

 
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
Posts: 4004
Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:20 am    Post subject: FAQ:How (and why) to use electronic flash at the microscope? Reply with quote

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/98036178@N00/sets/72157603894160312/detail/

Excellent tests from forum member mawyatt with different units fired at different powers:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29729&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&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 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) Simple setups with the complete flashgun
Rogelio Moreno’s: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=97697#97697
Arturo Agostini’s: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=95295#95295
Charles Krebs’ setup I: http://micropix.home.comcast.net/~micropix/microsetup/index.html (broken link)
Ken Vernon’s: http://www.photomacrography.net/amateurmicroscopy/Articles/300D/300D.htm
David Walker's: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjun07/dw-flash2.html
http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjul06/dw-tipflash.html
http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artaug05/dwflash.html
Pau Renard’s (myself): http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=161404#161404

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/artmicgr/flashpic/flpc0100.htm
Arturo Agostini’s: http://www.microscopeitaly.it/2012/03/13/il-flash-in-fotomicrografia/

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

4) Setups that couple one of the light sources by means of fiber optics:
Ron Neumeyer’s at Microscopy-UK: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/art97/flash1.html
and at modernmicroscopy : http://www.modernmicroscopy.com/main.asp?article=55&page=1&searchkeys=flash
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)
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Last edited by Pau on Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:37 am; edited 4 times in total
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dariuskersulis



Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Boise, ID

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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75RR



Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 644
Location: Estepona

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
Posts: 4004
Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I still use the Lego, so nice to play with Very Happy

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