experiments: cheap camera+oblique lighting+antique scopes.

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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phil m
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Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:45 pm

experiments: cheap camera+oblique lighting+antique scopes.

Post by phil m »

It is unlikely that I am going to be able to afford an investment in photographic gear, in the near future( maybe airmiles?), so I am stuck with afocal photography for now. The camera was 49.00 , as one of the selloffs, Kodak made a few years ago, boasting 14mp and a 5x optical zoom, 33-165mm aspheric lens, so it isn't crippling. Most of it's functions are pretty automated but there is some latitude for adjusting focus and exposure in fixed categories.
My expertise leans more towards the microscope end of things although, again, my budget precludes more advanced, capable and predictable systems. The total budget for both microscope stands, 8 objectives ( 1 achromat, 2 fluorite, 1 planachromat, 3 dark phase planachromat and 1 dark phase achromat), 2 condensers( 1, 5 hole phase contrast with annuli and one 1.3 N.A. achromat, 6 pair of oculars, illuminator and camera is under 400.00.

The first 4 pictures were taken using a Spencer #7 stand. This was their flagship research stand between about 1918 and 1932, when it was superceded by the #3 and #5 low, fine focus, stands. There was a full range of achromats, a couple of fluorites and a complete set( 4) of apochromats, available for it. Mine( c. 1925) ,is fitted with a 16mm 10x .30 achromat, a 4mm 62x .75 fluorite and a 1.8mm 95x 1.25 oil fluorite. The eyepieces are 12x compens and 5x compens. The 62x is identical to the majority of the Spencer 4mm .75 objectives of the day, which are marked 44x. Spencer made an add on budget binocular head, a " biocular" that , instead of being placed into the focus block could be threaded into the top of the optical tube, to replace the monocular one. This caused an almost 1.5x increase in magnification, so objectives that ,with a 160mm tube were considered to be 44x became 62x. Obviously, they marked some in this way at the factory. My microscope is a standard 160mm binocular , so the 62x objective is actually a 44x.
Picture 1 is a species of Cymbella, taken with the 1.8 mm fluorite , 12x compens and set at the first zoom stop , or second camera f.l. settting;approx. 60mm. Lighting is moderately oblique, with an N.A. 1.3 achromatic condenser.
Picture 2 is the same species through the 1.8mm fluorite objective and 12x compens oculars, set at the 4th camera f.l ,about 100mm.....enough to get a rectangular frame. Illumination is medium oblique, with the N.A. 1.3 achromatic condenser.
Picture 3 is the same with the condenser offset at maximum.
The illumination source is a 100watt Spencer research illuminator reflected off of a concave mirror. The mirror is also offset somewhat , to counteract the oblique angle and provide a degree of lighting symmetry.
Picture 4 is possibly Actinoptychus. The camera is set at about 60mm with moderate oblique illumination and the 1.8mm objective.
Last edited by phil m on Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

phil m
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:45 pm

Post by phil m »

The next group of pictures were made using a combination of oblique and dark phase contrast.
The stand was a Spencer-A/O series 10 fitted with a phase contrast condenser, 18 watt tungsten in base illumination, a 4x plan achro, 10x dark phase planachro,20x dark phase planachro, 40x dark phase planachro, and a 100x dark phase achro.
The eyepieces are cat. # 176 10x( 19mm field) This infinity corrected system dates from about 1970.

The first picture is a mold sporeangium.
The second picture is a section of the bud of an Extinguisher Flower.
The third picture is of a pea leaf cross section.
The fourth picture is of a mature Mnium anther.
All were taken through a 10x American Optical #176 eyepiece and a 40x dark phase planachro objective # 1213. The camera was set at the 3rd zoom setting or approx. 80mm for 1,3 and 4 and at the 2nd zoom setting or approx. 60mm for 2.


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Post by billporter1456 »

Hi Phil,

I'm impressed with what you have been able to do within such a modest budget! Just goes to show that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to enjoy the microscopy hobby. I thought that I've done pretty well with a modest setup, but I think you have done more with less. :D

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Post by carlos.uruguay »

Very very nice photos!

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Post by discomorphella »

Very nice results from your budget system, and further, you have illustrated a wide variety of fascinating specimens. Great work.


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Post by RogelioMoreno »

Very nice results with your current budget, hope to see more pictures.


phil m
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Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:45 pm

Post by phil m »

thank you all for your positives and encouragement. I am on the hunt for a better camera system but the little Kodak has been a trooper. One of the accidents in it's design is that the lens barrel , is 30mm . It seems that many inexpensive adapters have that internal diameter, so acquiring a relatively secure mount was easy.
I'm not sure whether I did the right thing but I downsized the pictures to around 800 x 640 to send them. That's what I normally do for email transmission but the originals were considerably bigger. Should I have sent them in their original size?

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Post by vasselle »

très belles photos
Microscope Leitz Laborlux K
Boitier EOS 1200d

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Post by ChrisR »

Inspirational, Phil :)
Please send more!

800 wide is fine. Our image uploading utility limits images to 1024 square, and 300kB file size. It's worth doing both yourself, because the automatic squashy thing is a bit zealous, sometimes losing too much quality.

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