Newbie questions before inital purchase. Lumix GH2 + WeMacro

Starting out in microscopy? Post images and ask questions relating to the microscope and get answers from our more advanced users on the subject.

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curreta
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:46 pm

Newbie questions before inital purchase. Lumix GH2 + WeMacro

Post by curreta »

Hello! This is my intro post and I first want to thank all the contributors here. You really do shine as a community.

I've read as many posts here as I can before going cross-eyed. The numbers, light science, and lingo can be overwhelming at times. My apologies if I could have figured this out on my own, but the sheer amount of information has me questioning life in general. :-)

I have a few questions that I'd love some assistance on before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

My Goals:
  • -- Explore the micro world around my neighborhood
    -- Share interesting finds with my friends and family
    -- Better my knowledge about lighting/magnification/lenses/etc.
Gear I am considering:
  • -- Panasonic Lumix GH2 m4/3 Body (currently own)
    -- WeMacro Rail
    -- WeMacro Raynox DCR 150 tube lens Pro - with m4/3 mount & Raynox 150
    -- WeMacro 4X and 10X Infinity Plan Objective Lenses
    -- Diffusion using cups / vellum paper / light boxes
Questions:
  • -- Am I missing a crucial piece to have a solid entry level setup? I am under the assumption that (all?) 10x objectives require a 150mm tube, and a 4x needs...less tube? (WeMacro seems like my kind of gear)
    -- Will the m4/3 adapter mount on the tube lens fit my GH2? Or, do I need a Lumix specific adapter?
    -- What lighting would your recommended for this type of exploratory setup?
    -- Assuming I improve everything within my control, what quality can I expect from this gear? I've looked for sample images, but my GH2 body plus the non-Nikon non-Mitutoyo objective have me wondering.
    -- I currently think that a smaller sensor size will result in a cropped image from the high resolution provided by the objective. If later I upgraded to a full frame sensor, the quality (sharpness/coloration/etc) and zoom factor would remain the same, but the image dimensions would be greater showing more of the subject? Is this correct thinking?
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to sharing some images in the coming weeks/months.


-Carlos
- Carlos

Panasonic Lumix GH2 | Still researching micro gear

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3516
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

Carlos, welcome to the forum!:D

I won’t attempt to answer all your questions tonight, but will give it a start. Likely, other members will fill in more of the blanks.

In general, it seems as if you have a useful outfit planned. While I have no experience with WeMacro products, I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback by users. As to specifically comparing the quality of WeMacro lenses to Nikon or Mitutoyo, I don’t recall if anyone has done that. If not, it’s a good question.

You ask if you’re missing a crucial piece. Trust me in saying that no matter how well you plan, you’ll keep finding things you need or want for some while as you pursue this path. Some of us never stop. You will, for example, want something to hold your subjects.

One thing I’d consider crucial is some sort of mounting platform for your WeMacro rail and subject holder. This can be a piece of wood, metal, rock or concrete, perhaps also rigid plastic. The idea of this platform is to mechanically couple your camera and subject. This helps a lot in reducing vibration (often a difficult thing to deal with at first) by making the camera and subject move together.

You asked what lighting to use. For beginners at 4x and 10x magnifications, the best answer is flash. Flash, when used on its lowest-duration settings, is like a magic wand for freezing out vibration. (To repeat, vibration is usually the first big obstacle beginners face.) Later on, you may prefer continuous light, which has some advantages over flash—but that’s not a question to entertain at the beginning.
I am under the assumption that (all?) 10x objectives require a 150mm tube, and a 4x needs...less tube?
There seem to be a few misconceptions here. So let me try to fix them. Finite lenses need to be mounted on empty tubes; these tubes are designed for a particular tube length as specified on the lens.

But you are looking at infinite lenses, which require a converging lens (sometimes called a tube lens) to be used with them. That converging lens needs to be placed at infinity focus distance from the camera’s sensor plane. That distance will be created by a tube, camera adapter, and the depth of your camera from lens mount to sensor.

Since you’re buying the Raynox DCR 150 (a lens originally intended for a different purpose, used here as a converging lens) in a WeMacro Pro setup, I’d suggest asking WeMacro the best way to hook this setup to your camera body. (WeMacro is said to be very good about customer service.) The issue isn’t just mechanical connection, but also getting the total length right to achieve infinity focus on your sensor.

Once you have a converging lens mounted at infinity focus in front of your sensor, you can mount either your 4x and 10x lenses on it, presuming they were designed for the same focal length of converging lens. (Objectives designed to work as a set are designed for the same converging lens; most objectives made by a given manufacturer are designed for the same converging lens; objectives designed as Mitutoyo "work-alikes" are designed for the same converging lens; and there is quite a bit of wiggle room--most infinite objectives work fine with converging lenses in wide range of focal lengths.) So you should be able to use a single setup for both your 4x and 10x objectives.

Regarding sensor sizes, you’re right. Your small m4/3 sensor crops the center out of the objective’s image circle, effectively reducing the camera’s field of view. (Don’t let this stop you—some of our members make wonderful images with m4/3.) If you ever move up a size to APS-C, you’ve be cropping less--enjoying a wider field of view—and matching closely the high-quality image circle of many objectives. If you jump another size higher, to DSLR full frame, you’ll get still more field of view, but will be recording the slightly less acute edges of the objective’s image circle. For most objectives in most uses, this slight loss at the corners doesn’t matter, but the additional field of view may be helpful. There good arguments in favor of each of these sensor sizes for the photography of small things.

Good luck as you move into high-magnification macro photography!

I’m sure other members will fill in around my advice.

Cheers,

--Chris S.

curreta
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:46 pm

Post by curreta »

I won’t attempt to answer all your questions tonight.
...proceeds to answer all the questions like a boss.

Thank you for your insight on all of this. I wasn't thinking about vibration but that makes sense. Vibrate all, or vibrate none.

Along with the original parts listed above I ordered the WeMacro Vertical/Horizontal 2.0 and specimen holder. That should couple the whole unit for vibration sync. I'm also looking to build a heavy (maybe marble) table to make it even sturdier.

I read a bit more regarding how the infinity objectives work in tandem with the tubes and that started to click.

William from WeMacro is really stellar. I highly recommended that company for anyone considering.

Thanks again for the help. I'd like to write up my findings here as I learn them. Hopefully coming at it as a newbie will help others.

Warm regards,

-Carlos
- Carlos

Panasonic Lumix GH2 | Still researching micro gear

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3516
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

Carlos,

You're very welcome! Glad you found some of it useful. Feel free to continue asking questions as they come up--most of us have walked this path before, and struggled with the same questions you're likely to struggle with.

Will look forward to your posts of findings as you move along this path yourself--as you say, they will likely help others.

Here at PMN, we're moving forward as a group much more rapidly than we ever could as individuals.

Cheers,

--Chris S.

curreta
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:46 pm

Update on Progress

Post by curreta »

It's been a few months and I've had a taken a few shots. The most important takeaways so far:

- Preparing specimens is important and I'll focus on that for any future insects
- (I think) A larger sensor on the camera would have allowed for better framing for the twig and the wasp.
- Keep batteries recharged since I can only get about 30 shots until the flashes lose juice


Image

- 4x Objective Lens
- 27 images focus stacked
- Focus Stack Software: Zerene
- Focus Stack Method: DMap

Notes for Twig:

This is my first attempt at a micrograph.
Cleaning unwanted minuscule fibers with an x-acto knife is relaxing and challenging.
I should carry a specimen holder when going out collecting samples.
I see that I could have lit the face of the subject more, instead of the side.



Image


- 10x Objective Lens
- 23 images focus stacked
- Focus Stack Software: Zerene
- Focus Stack Method: DMap

Notes for Needle :

I used isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip to take off some of the dust off
It took a few minutes to actually find the needle under the 10x zoom
This IKEA JANSJÖ USB lamp would be helpful to light the subject while framing
I’m not sure if the lack of sharpness is due to the budget objective lens from WeMacro, or my technique during shooting


Image


4x Objective Lens
35 images focus stacked
Focus Stack Software: Zerene
Focus Stack Method: PMap

Notes for Dirty Wasp:

Oh boy this dirty wasp needs a cleaning.
Framing is not great. I wonder if I would have benefited from a bigger sensor.
I used a sewing needle to hold the specimen, which almost broke his abdomen in half. I ordered some super tiny specimen pins online (100 for ~$4)
I gave him about an hour bath in warm water
A stereo microscope would be good for manual cleaning
Isopropyl Alcohol and an agitated bath with soap is the next attempt for cleaning
If that still isn’t enough, go with stronger chemicals like Decon 90 or Acetone
I manually moved his antennae away from his eyes using another sewing needle - I think I broke them.
I also dropped him way too many times when handling. I have to stop using my fingers to pick him up.
- Carlos

Panasonic Lumix GH2 | Still researching micro gear

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3516
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

You're doing great, Carlos. :D

I'm sure that many of us, looking at your list of observations, are strongly reminded of our own learning curves.
I’m not sure if the lack of sharpness is due to the budget objective lens from WeMacro, or my technique during shooting.
To my eye, your needle image doesn't lack sharpness in any alarming way, though it may indeed be a bit less sharp than you could want. This said, I frankly distrust my eyes on judgements of this kind, unless I have a known benchmark for direct comparison. Do be aware that with 10x objectives on a macro setup, you are by necessity shooting in diffraction territory. This unavoidably brings more softness than you may be used to in normal macro realms, and can be attacked with more aggressive sharpening in post than you may be accustomed to.

As you've remarked, you might well find that a camera with an APS-C sensor, coupled with the lenses you have, would give you more appropriate fields of view for these subjects. Also, with a larger sensor, you would be enlarging the image less for display, which might give a stronger sense of sharpness.

Best,

--Chris S.

NikonUser
Posts: 2622
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

wasp face

Post by NikonUser »

A low power stereo scope essential for cleaning and orientation.
Either choose the subject to fit the objective or fit the objective to fit the subject.
If you want an entire wasp face use a much lower power objective, e.g. 50mm Nikkor Enlarging Lens. If you want just mandibles a 10x may be OK, or crop your 4x image. Two-thirds of each eye ruins the image.
Isopropyl alcohol tends to harden, water and baby shampoo OK for sonic bath.
As Mity objectives state "Don't Drop"
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” 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.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

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