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Camera for AO spencer series 15
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henryr



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 72
Location: Connecticut

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:42 am    Post subject: Camera for AO spencer series 15 Reply with quote

Hi all,

I just joined and you will quickly realize I'm a complete novice with a lot of questions.

My goal is to get good quality digital images using my old scope. My budget is about $500.

I've done some research and like the idea of just using an objective and USB camera that slides into the empty eyepiece tube but don't know, what type of objective would be best or, if that is the best approach.

I've seen so many types on ebay, plan, plan-achromat, phase ,ph1, ph2, flour. ect. and don't know what those names mean.

I'm hoping members can help me and am looking forward to correspondences.

I've attached some pics of my scope.







(Admin. edited to better show the images: just a new line for each image url)
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
Posts: 4839
Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

henryr, wellcome aboard!

There are lots of questions to begin! Very Happy

My first one: do you know how to properly use a microscope?
If not, my main advice is to begin learning how to use it visually before making any investment in photo gear. We can recommend some excellent free resources to begin.

Inexpensive dedicated microscope cameras are in general pretty poor, the best approach with old microscopes like yours is in most cases the afocal method: It can be used with DSLRs with standard prime lenses and short zooms, many compact cameras except superzooms and even good phone cameras.
Take a look: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=99265#99265 and follow the different links. Jacek, one of our best photomicrographers just uses a compact Canon Ixus to take breathtaking images.

About the optics, better begin with what you already have. Be aware that most objectives of that era do not provide a fully corrected image, so the optical correction is completed at the dedicated compensating eyepieces. This compensation is not standardised, so best use matched objectives and eyepieces from the same maker and time: for exemple your Zeiss (West Germany) KPL eyepieces are to be used with Zeiss objectives marked 160/ This is another reason why eyepiece cameras often don't work well with old objecives.

Quote:
I've seen so many types on ebay, plan, plan-achromat, phase ,ph1, ph2, flour. ect. and don't know what those names mean.

There are so many markings...and again not fully standardised Evil or Very Mad

In short:
Flatness of field, from worse to best:
Not corrected (unmarked) < Semiplan (SP, EF...) < Plan (Plan, Pl, NPL, SPl...)

Color correction, from worse to best:
Achromat (unmarked or achro) < Semiapochromat or fluorite (Fl, Neofluar, Fluotar...) < Apochromat (Apo)

So the worst and less expensive type is an unmarked achromat and the best and MUCH more expensive is a Plan Apochromat

Phase or Ph refers to objectives used for phase contrast: They have an internal phase ring.

Sorry... it's impossible to write an exhaustive text about this matter
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 1819
Location: Texas USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

henryr,

Hello again! Good to see you in another forum!

I am with Pau.

If you have to go with objectives + eye tube USB camera:
There are Nikon CF Plan objectives that need minimal chromatic correction. Each objective would cost over $150 though, more likely around $200-250. Then buy a USB camera with high light sensitivity.

That said, it would be cheaper to use compensating eyepiece for correction. Please try what you have first. You may not mind or notice that much aberration. Then just use any real camera (compact, mirroless, DSLR or even a good phone camera) held over eyepiece using adapter.

Very few people at this forum use USB camera. And most upgrade to DSLR at some point. Dedicated microscope USB camera can be expensive and is not quite useful elsewhere. But a DSLR or mirrorless camera with good lenses can be used in everyday life.

I bought a mirroless camera and prime normal lens primarily for microscopy, but now I use them for family portrait a lot too and I learned about photography because of that - I am glad I did that. I got very good quality photos without paying for pro photographer s.
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Olympusman



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 4248

PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject: Spencer microscope camera Reply with quote

That looks like a nice find.
I restore old AO Spencer and Bausch & Lomb microscopes and do write ups on Micscape. When I do my test shots this is the setup I use.



Microscope adapters of this kind were popular for many years. They fit around the outside of the eyepiece tube and allow the eyepiece to be inserted through the inside of the microscope adapter. They can be found on ebay using the search term "Pentax microscope adapters."
As you can see from the photo, I have adapted this Pentax adapter to a Olympus Four Thirds mount. If you buy a DSLR for photomicrography you can purchase a T-mount for that camera and simply epoxy it to the Pentax adapter.
Inexpensive DSLRs can be found at www.keh.com.

Mike[/i]
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Mike,

That Pentax adapter does not seem to accept camera lens at its top end (which is only 38 mm diameter and areas into camera body?). That means a special projection compensating eyepiece (of around 1.67x) would have to be used there for a DSLR - viewing/visual 10x eyepieces would not work, correct? That would also mean that if there is no such compensating projection eyepiece available for the camera sensor size, we are out of luck I guess?

Have you shopped at keh.com personally? Their prices seem quite good!

Thank you.
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zzffnn wrote:
That Pentax adapter does not seem to accept camera lens at its top end (which is only 38 mm diameter and areas into camera body?). That means a special projection compensating eyepiece (of around 1.67x) would have to be used there for a DSLR - viewing/visual 10x eyepieces would not work, correct? That would also mean that if there is no such compensating projection eyepiece available for the camera sensor size, we are out of luck I guess?


This kind of adapters were popular time ago and many camera makers and third party companies made it, I've used it to take my first micrographs 42 yrs ago. You still can find them new from chinese sellers.
They can work reasonably well with a visual type eyepiece a bit raised over its normal position, but this doesn't seem the best method, in special for small sensors as you may lose parfocality and have spherical aberration. That said few members use this kind of setup, I recall the excellent images taken by Arturo Agostini using a Leitz visual 10X Periplan as projective with his Zeiss Universal microscope, but I much prefer afocal.

With a (not usual) female M42 to lens filter thread adapter you could use it afocally
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Olympusman



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:48 am    Post subject: KEH Reply with quote

I have shopped from KEH for many years and have always been satisfied with their stock and service. They are an excellent (and cheap) resource for extension tubes and bellows. That said, when they come to local camera shops to buy our used merchandise, I do not care for their rock-bottom purchase offers. Right now I am looking to them for a good Olympus E-620 - probably the last decent camera I think Olympus ever made.
The Pentax Spotmatic thread was 42mm, so any T-mount can be glued to the microscope adapter. I have found using this setup afocally is adequate to review and antique microscope using the supplied eyepieces.

Mike
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pau wrote:
With a (not usual) female M42 to lens filter thread adapter you could use it afocally


Pau,
The adapter you referred to is a step-down lens adapter, correct? My lens (Sigma 30 mm F2.8 for micro 4/3) is of 46 mm in diameter. So in my case, the step-down adapter should have male 46 mm thread at one end and female 42 mm at the other end, correct? Thank you!

And thank you Mike for your comments.
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Pau
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zzffnn wrote:
The adapter you referred to is a step-down lens adapter, correct? My lens (Sigma 30 mm F2.8 for micro 4/3) is of 46 mm in diameter. So in my case, the step-down adapter should have male 46 mm thread at one end and female 42 mm at the other end, correct?


Yes.

But if you're seriously thinking to buy this kind of adapter be aware of:

- The Pentax mount is M42X1 while the T mount is M42X0.75. They don't match well, you only can screw one turn or so. A filter step down adapter wont work, this is why I said not usual.

- Your microscope phototube external diameter must be 25mm

- Your microscope eyepiece phototube must be enough long to slide down the adapter enough to place the eyepiece upper lens close to your camera lens surface, originally they were designed for projection. With some eyepieces or adapters you could need to drill the adapter to wide the internal diameter to fit.
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zzffnn



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Pau. Your additional detailed comment is very helpful to me.

I have seen some T mount to microscope adapters that can accommodate eyepieces. Cannot remember exactly where though. That may be a easier route (to use with a 46-42 stepping down adapter).
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zzffnn



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the T mount to microscope eyepiece clamp that I mentioned previously:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OGYWBXA?redirect=true&ref_=ya_st_dp_summary

It accepts eyepiece up to 1.5 inch in diameter and has a male T2 mount at the camera end. Microhunter forum member "The QCC" first referred this to me.

For my 46 mm Sigma micro4/3 lens, I would use 46-42 (T2=42 mm) stepping down ring/adapter:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009SGXO8W?redirect=true&ref_=ya_st_dp_summary

I have ordered both items. I have been using an Orion SteadyPix Pro adapter. The new adapters should allow more secure and precise adaptation with a lighter overall package.
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Pau
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zzffnn wrote:
This is the T mount to microscope eyepiece clamp that I mentioned previously:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OGYWBXA?redirect=true&ref_=ya_st_dp_summary

I was thinking more at one like:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-T-Mount-Microscope-Camera-Adapter-25mm-Clamp-Zeiss-Leitz-etc-/400983692410?hash=item5d5c7d947a
or
http://www.ebay.com/itm/T-Mount-Microscope-Camera-Adapter-36119-/141703660970?hash=item20fe3245aa

The one you ordered will work for sure, but you need to clamp it to the eyepiece (not convenient with some models) and you need to center it.
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Pau!

Have you used either of those adapters yourself with afocal eyepiece projection (using both camera lens and eyepiece)? Both of them look quite long to me (longer than my Amazon adapter), so vignetting may occur with non-high eye point eyepieces? Are you saying that they need less centering, since they each has only one adjusting screw. They seem to be more sturdy though.

I think the Amazon adapter can clamp onto eye tube as well, since it can hold onto diameter up to 1.5 inch (though I am not sure what is its minimal hilding diameter). Thank you for the reminder though. That was a good point, as some short and slim eyepieces are indeed difficult to hold on to. My eyepieces are fine and tall, so no worries there.
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Cactusdave



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recently I have been using a very simple afocal system which may be useful in a situation like this. The idea for it goes back to the early days of using the Nikon Coolpix 950 for photomicrography. This little camera had a 28mm filter thread, and it was found that some (not all by any means) Leitz X10 Periplan 23mm eyepieces had a 28mm male thread when the screw in eyecup was removed. Put the two together and hey presto you had a very simple but effective afocal coupling system.

I have updated this by replacing the Coolpix with a modern compact sytem camera, I have used a Sony NEX 5N and a Canon EOS M. I chose these because they are available very cheaply in good condition second hand, they have EFCS and a simple infra red remote, have a LiveView HDMI feed,and they take a good picture. In fact any DSLR, micro 4/3, or mirrorless camera would work in principle, but these compacts are light and handy and won't strain filter threads as much as a heavy DSLR if used at an angle in a binocular head for example. I use a decent legacy manual prime lens of 40-50mm focal length on the camera, focussed at infinity and diaphragm set at F2.8-5.6. The Leitz periplan attaches to the camera with a step down ring that matches its 28mm thread with the filter thread size of the lens. This holds the eyepiece exactly centred, close to, but not touching the front lens of the camera, exactly where you want it. In the picture I show a system ready to go with a Sony NEX 5N, a Konica 40mm F1.8 legacy prime lens attached with a suitable adapter and the periplan with 55mm-28mm stepdown ring attached ready to screw in. In the configuration illustrated there is no vignetting.



This system is very flexible as it will essential plug into any 23mm eyepiece tube, monocular, binocular or trinocular, even the 23mm trinocular tube found on some stereomicroscopes, and works well. Yes this is a compensating eyepiece and you can anticipate chromatic aberration with non Leitz objectives, especially those like Nikon CF and stereomicroscope optics, which require no compensation. However this problem is often less serious than might be anticipated and can be dealt with more or less satisfactorily in post processing. The simplicity and flexibility of the system makes it very useful for taking quick micrographs and providing a display to a monitor (via the HDMI Live View output of the camera) at meetings and public displays for example where absolute ultimate quality isn't required. For Leitz ( and most Zeiss) objectives requiring compensation, this works very well indeed. I have used a Leitz Periplan eyepiece in this way with a high performance Zeiss Planapo X40 0.95 objective to produce high quality diatom images without serious CA for example.

The type of Leitz Periplan 10X18 eyepiece with a screw thread required is eBay item number:262012662875. Other Leitz X10 eyepieces with 28mm threads exist. There is a 10X20 high eyepoint example in my eyepiece collection. Zeiss Jena also made a number of eyepieces with eyecup threads, both compensating and non compensating. These are not necessarily 28mm however and need to be checked individually.
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zzffnn



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

Thank you very much!

After reading your post, I immediately ran to my eyepieces pile and check each and every one. The only eyepiece type in my possession that has a threaded mount is a LOMO K10/18 eyepice (not surprisingly in view of its relationship to Zeiss and Leitz). And it is a compensating eyepiece for LOMO water immersion objectives, which I use mostly.

But under my digital caliper, the LOMO thread mount is 26.68 mm male instead of 28 mm male.

Is the thread on your Leitz Periplan exactly 28 mm?

Edit: there is indeed 46 mm to 28 mm step-down rings easily available from Amazon. That Leitz eyepiece costs $60-&100 though. Hmm........
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