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Objective Advice Needed—New Member
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peterf



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions and help. I was gone last week but had a moment tonight to try out the new optics on the same subject. It was a different plant of course but the results now are much more along the lines of what I expect to see. This was a really quick stack of 70 images in Zerene with a bit of noise reduction and about the same sharpening as the last batch. I did not put the work into it I normally would because I was in a hurry to see the difference but am happily ready to move forward at a more serious level after seeing the results. I would be very interested to hear your opinions and if you agree with me that these are adequately convincing images, albeit sloppily executed...



100% Crops

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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3481
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhhhh, that's more like it!

That's the 4X, right?

--Chris
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peterf



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 4X, indeed. Do you approve?

Thanks again Chris.
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3481
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You betcha! And I've no doubt you have a big grin on your face. . . .

For the rest of the forum, I told Peter that two of my favorite lenses are the Nikon N Plan CF Apochromat 4/.20 and the Nikon N Plan CF 10/0.30. Peter doesn't waste time--he went and bought a copy of each. That's good glass, and from the looks of things, well handled. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Peter, I see you've also washed Moab off your sensor.

Cheers,

--Chris
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peterf



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's mostly cleaned off yes but I hope to re-apply it here in a couple more weeks :-)

Now I need to work on a decent positioning fixture and have a closer look at the StackShot that Mr. Krebs posted. Positioning is a real challenge for me. I look through a lower power microscope to find the composition I desire and then try to duplicate that in front of the camera. I do this because of the great number and complexity of subjects and think I can cover more ground more quickly. I'm certain there is much in the forums regarding this and look forward to seeing others solutions to it.
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterf wrote:
I'm certain there is much in the forums regarding this and look forward to seeing others solutions to it.


If you like to find or search for the composition, a vertical setup is more versatile; but that's just my opinion.
It is good practice to explore the subject under a stereoscope or equivalent; there may be, and usually are hidden surprises.

There are certainly many solutions:

Microscope Focus Blocks:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2825 (additonal links by Charlie in the thread).
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6070

Velmex Unislide:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9032&
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7123

Translation Stages ( Newport, Thorlabs, Parker Daedal and others):
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6290&start=0
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8958&start=0

Proxxon Milling Table:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3895
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4137

StackShot by Cognysis:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9547
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8930&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

That should keep you busy for a little while (but there are more Smile )

Craig
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post, Craig—worthy of a sticky or FAQ. Could save new members a lot of digging.

Since Craig very nicely provided the voice of reason and objectivity, I’ll take the luxury of adding a few personal opinions. Others will no doubt have valid alternative points.

I personally prefer a horizontal rig—though there are times I wish I had a vertical one. Eventually, I’ll have both, or set up the Bratcam to quickly convert. I sometimes wonder if people working up from a microscopy background are more prone to prefer vertical rigs, and people working down from a standard photography background tend to prefer horizontal rigs? They both work, of course. I just happen to think more naturally in the horizontal plain—I come from a background of traditional photography, working down through close-up and traditional macro, but having little knowledge of microscopy.

Craig’s point about inspecting a subject first with a stereoscope is right on the money, and is something the OP also advocates. Every time I break my own rule to do this, I regret it.

I think that using a microscope focus block is the best current solution for magnifications above about 5x. Mine handles 60x just fine. It takes a bit of searching to find a good microscope focus block, and some tinkering to make it work, but work it does. One can pick up a very good microscope focus block for under $100, and modify it fairly easily. If there is a similarly-priced solution that improves on the ease of use and resolution of that, I’d like to know. (Thanks to Charles for first introducing me to this approach through his posts.)

I have a decent translation stage (Newport 462), and it doesn’t come close to a focusing block. There are far more expensive translation stages, and I suspect they work better—but the prices are frightening. Would be fun to try one, but I can’t afford it.

The Proxxon Milling table and Velmex Unislides—which I haven’t used—strike me as likely being in the performance range of the translation stage—perhaps not bad for lower magnification work, but likely a bit of a pain at 10x, and perhaps diabolical for 20-60x. Lots of people here like them, but I’d shy away.

StackShot by Cognyisis—Their current incarnations are too low res for me, but if you aren’t using super high mags, they might do alright. Their current hardware strikes me as too limited for high-mag work—it makes 10-micron increments at the minimum, and does not seem sufficiently robust to be free of unwanted movement. That said, they are a very cooperative company (I’ve been in correspondence with them), and have great-sounding plans for the future. For one thing they will sell you their controller and a stepper motor, if you want to step your own rig. There are some limitations, but it’s a cool approach. For another, they offer user programmability, so you can change things. Lastly, they are considering offering a more robust physical solution in the future. So if you make an investment in them now, there is a good chance it will enable any growth you care to pursue. I am really impressed that the Cognysis folks seem very willing to work with members our community to develop products that really fit the bill. Kudos for great attitude and plans for the future.

But for now—for the OP with two top quality objectives and an obvious perfectionistic streak, I recommend look at microscope stages.

Cheers,

--Chris


Last edited by Chris S. on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just another note in praise of microscope focus blocks. If you are only intending to move the subject, then the weight of the BHMJ block is sufficient regards stability (if you are careful moving the dial between increments) but they are very easy to secure to a plate or optical breadboard for added stability. You can then start taking pictures and then refine your setup over time.

I sold a BHMJ block to a buyer in Switzerland. It took 6 days via airmail from Australia to Switzerland. On the 7th day the buyer sent me some pictures of his horizontal arrangement and some images taken with the initial setup as outlined above.

* Later note:
Also keep in mind that not all microscope focus blocks offer 30mm of fine focus travel.
The Olympus BHMJ block and the Nikon block are two we know of that do. The BHMJ and other BH Series blocks/scopes are marked in increments of 2 micron. The CH series offer 2.5 microns of movement per mark.


Craig
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