camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

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msharkey
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camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by msharkey »

I want to buy a camera for my MZ16 Leica microscope. I will be using a Zerene stacker to take images of insects that average 4mm in length. I would like to get resolution of about 600dpi. I contacted Leica and they want me to purchase the following for about $6,000.
Pixel Shift Camera DMC6200. The DMC6200 camera delivers amazing images with intense color detail and contrast - whether at the lowest or highest magnification. Its state-of-the-art CMOS sensor has a 5.86 µm pixel size, 2.3 megapixels sensor resolution, and an astounding dynamic range of 73 dB (4000:1). Achieve an image resolution of up to 20.7 megapixels with cutting-edge pixel shift technology.

It seems a bit expensive to me and I wonder if there is a product that is cheaper for my purposes.
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer
Mike Sharkey

Scarodactyl
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by Scarodactyl »

You will almost certainly get much better results with a good DSLR than any of these extremely expensive dedicated microscope cameras, outside of some specialty imaging modes.
What type of trinocular port do you have? Is it a trinocular head or an intermediate trinocular attachment beneath the head?

rjlittlefield
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by rjlittlefield »

Mike, welcome to the forum!

To give a good answer to your question, we'll need some more information about your application and requirements.

The DMC6200 is an odd beast. According to https://www.leica-microsystems.com/prod ... ification/ , the sensor is only 2.3 megapixels. But if you're willing to wait for 36 exposures with sub-pixel shifting of the sensor, then you can have 20.7 megapixels in the output image after some post-processing sorts out the mosaic of sensor data. I've never seen such a high level of pixel shifting. I can only assume they took that approach to get low noise at small pixel counts without binning, while still holding out the possibility of high resolution and accurate color if you're willing to wait for lots of exposures with pixel shifting.

From my standpoint the key questions involve what you really need, in terms of pixel counts and workflow integration.

In the area of workflow integration, one very nice thing about the Leica cameras is that they integrate cleanly into Leica's software framework LAS, the Leica Application Suite. That provides both camera control and data management for keeping track of your images and loading them into software products like the Automontage that I understand (from offline conversation) you used to use. Looking at a recent LAS brochure, https://downloads.leica-microsystems.co ... _1-Box.pdf , it looks to me like they have extended-depth-of-field integrated now, so you might not need another focus stacking tool for routine operations.

There will be a lot of cameras that play nicely with the microscope itself, meaning the mechanical and optical coupling. But not so many that will play nicely with LAS. If you have to give up having the camera integrate with LAS, then what are your throughput requirements? Are you planning on 1 stack per day with loving attention to detail, or would you prefer to do 100 or more stacks per day at some lower level of quality? If the latter, then staying inside LAS with a LAS-compatible camera might be the best way to go even if the price tag pinches.

Regarding pixel counts, "600dpi" could mean practically anything, depending on how many inches go with that 600 dots-per-inch spec. If you're thinking in terms of say 4"x6" prints at 600 dpi, then that would require 2400x3600 pixels, about 8.6 megapixels. Scale by the area of the print for bigger or smaller prints.

What more can you tell us about your application?

--Rik

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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by JKT »

I would be really surprised if that was pixel shifting. The first mode likely is, but the rest are likely automatic stitching combined with the shifting.

rjlittlefield
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by rjlittlefield »

JKT wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:44 pm
I would be really surprised if that was pixel shifting. The first mode likely is, but the rest are likely automatic stitching combined with the shifting.
Possible, but there's no hint of that in the literature I see.

From https://downloads.leica-microsystems.co ... LSR_EN.pdf
Formats in live and capture, aspect ratio 16/10
> Full Frame 1920 x 1200 - 30 fps
Formats only available in capture (pixel shift operation),
aspect ratio 16/10
> 4 shot, 2.3 MP 1920 x 1200
> 16 shot, 9.2 MP 3840 x 2400
> 36 shot, 20.7 MP 5760 x 3600
The extension from what we're used to with pixel shifting is not as much as it might sound. We're used to 1/2 pixel shift, which doubles the pixel count on each axis. The DMC6200's specs are consistent with 1/3 pixel shift, which triples the pixel count on each axis, combined with enough full pixel shifts to record true RGB (probably RGGB) at each of those finer positions. That's also consistent with the literature's emphasis on "exact color measurement for each pixel."

--Rik

JKT
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by JKT »

If it was real pixel shifting for all modes, I would think that the there would have to be a filter, which is mostly black with just 1/9 transparent. Otherwise the shifted resolution would not be much better than the original. That would play hell with sensitivity.

msharkey
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by msharkey »

Thanks to all who responded. Below is an image of my present setup. The old JVC camera has died and I need to replace it. i do not know what kind of attachment it is on but perhaps the image will help. I am taking the images for publication in scientific journals. They will be images of new species of small wasps.
I also do not know how to describe the detail that I need in an image. The resolution that I obtained with the JVC KY-F75U camera was barely good enough and I would like higher resolution. Typically I take about one hundred stacks per day when I am imaging specimens. So speed is important to me. Sorry to report that I have no idea what pixel shifting is an if it is something that I want.
camera setup
camera setup

JKT
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by JKT »

Pixel shifting means that four pictures are taken instead of one and the sensor is moved 1px between each. It eliminates the resolution decrease due to Bayer interpolation. Your old camera had 3 sensors - one for each primary color so it achieved the same result.

As far as available resolution is concerned, some more information is needed. Can you give some fixed point for magnification? A size of some object in mm, pixels in image and the magnification of objective used in taking that image are the needed parameters. That would help to define the total magnification on the optical path.

It is likely that either you are capturing only a small part of the image or you are squeezing the image into such a small size that no sensor can capture the available data. Depending on the problem either a larger sensor or more magnification on image path would help. Smaller pixels might or might not help depending on the objectives you use. Besides, yours had 4.7 um pixel pitch, so they are not that large to begin with. For the resolution limit due to objective, magnification and NA value would help.

You'll also need to consider the tethering, capture and stacking software ... at least if you used the JVC software. That won't work with a new camera.

msharkey
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by msharkey »

Thank you,
I am not sure I know how to answer your questions. My insects average about 4mm. in length and I can almost always fill the screen with the image that I want to take. When I open the images in Photoshop the image size is 1359x1023 and I would like to have about twice that resolution with any new camera that I purchase.

JKT
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by JKT »

It is interesting that they don't give the objective NA for any single objective anywhere in the brochure. That doesn't help with resolution calculation. On the other hand, they give 420 lp/mm resolution for the standard 1x objective. That would require something like NA=0.14 from the objective, which is possible. The odd thing is that the brochure states maximum resolution with any combination at 840 lp/mm, but the maximum NA only as 0.14. That doesn't seem to work.

Given that NA and the field of view numbers for the zoom range, the maximum resolution you could have for 4mm object would be roughly 3300 px. With realistic sensors it should be somewhat over 3000 px. Due to the zoom, the sensor size should not be THAT critical. Do you remember what your zoom position roughly was for the 4mm object? If it is close to either end, it could limit the choices. In any case, you'd need a way to mount your new camera so that the sensor is in the same location ... or you'd need some optical changes.

The current mount is C-mount with 17.53mm flange distance. That would be problematic with normal cameras, but could work with mirrorless. There are direct adapters to fit Canon EOS-M body to C-mount. That would likely cause severe vignetting in corners. If you can accept that, the best camera would likely be EOS M6 Mark II. I wonder if there are similar adapters to u3/4? Those should be an easy solution if they exist. However, there are no guarantees that there isn't some limitation to the image circle at sensor. Your current small sensor would not have seen that. Even if there is not, some vignetting might occur as the sensor size u3/4 is somewhat larger than the maximum for C-mount. I don't know what cameras would work well for u3/4 .


BTW, did you have the 1x Planapochromatic objective? That should be the standard one. Other choices are 0.5x, 0.8x & 1x planachromatic and 0.63x, 1.6x and 2x planapochromatic.

The brochure I referred to is http://ssd-rd.web.cern.ch/bondlab/equip ... 16-1en.pdf.

Scarodactyl
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Re: camera for Leica MZ16 microscope

Post by Scarodactyl »

That's a diagnostic instruments HR adapter, but I can't read what mag factor. It's not hard to hook up anything you want to a Leica m series if you have a budget, there's no reason to try to use the wrong adapter. How does the camera's FoV compare to what you see in the eyepieces? Leica eyepieces tend to have a 21mm field number but the optics can cover much more depending on what intermediate attachments you have.

Re:objective NAs, the max lp/mm quoted is with the 2x objective, while the max .14 na is the 1x objective at full zoom (lower zooms stop it down).

A dslr will give the best results visually but the workflow won't be as fast on stacking.

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