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Diptera.info :: Miscellaneous :: General queries
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Stereo Microscope
crex
#1 Print Post
Posted on 06-12-2007 22:51
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I was looking for a thread about what stereo microscope to get and which also are suitable to take photos through, but I see now that no one answered this question ... or maybe I missed another thread somewhere. Here I present a new thread with "better" subject line.

Tell me about:
- model
- magnification
- lighting
- using a camera

You collectors must surely use one. I don't see how you could do without one Grin

As I can't really use a stereo microscope due to my eyesight I also wonder if anyone uses a monoscope (microscope)? I think maybe there are also digital microscopes one can use or are they too expensive!?
 
Andre
#2 Print Post
Posted on 06-12-2007 23:59
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You may ask a friend of mine, Laurens. He's got one. I'll send you a pm.
 
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Nikita Vikhrev
#3 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 03:44
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I use Nikon SMZ65. One can buy it (or same) on US secondhand market (almost new) with total price about $1500 including postage and taxes. No reason to pay x3-4 times for unused.
As a light source I use just usual lamp (any shop) but with new type of light element 20kVt (= 100kVt of old type) and light temp 6400K. Photo adaptor may by constracted in home with proper tube - $ 00.
Nikita Vikhrev - Zool Museum of Moscow University
 
crex
#4 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 08:02
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Nikita Vikhrev wrote:
I use Nikon SMZ65. One can buy it (or same) on US secondhand market (almost new) with total price about $1500 including postage and taxes. No reason to pay x3-4 times for unused.
As a light source I use just usual lamp (any shop) but with new type of light element 20kVt (= 100kVt of old type) and light temp 6400K. Photo adaptor may by constracted in home with proper tube - $ 00.


Thank you Nikita. Can you tell me about what magnifications you use? I can't find any information about your model.
 
ChrisR
#5 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 08:46
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You are correct - a disecting microscope is absolutely essential for the serious study of Diptera... unless you have amazing eyes! Wink I make the distinction between "disecting" and "stage" microscopes because with stage microscopes are used mainly with glass-slide preparations and we usually work with large, hand-held subjects. Having a stage microscope might be useful if you want to examine really tiny fly genitalia (or Collembola or chalcids etc) and make slide preparations of them for long-term storage. But most fly genitalia are too big to be mounted under glass and they often need to be viewed from the side.

I use a Meiji zoom stereo disecting microscope with 7x - 45x magnification, which I find perfectly adequate for tachinids. But for regular work with very small <3mm specimens you would need more magnification I think. Having a binocular microscope might be better than a monocular one (even if your eyesight is bad in one eye) because the kind of microscope you need is most common in binocular form - so you have more choice. But also remember you might take your microscope to a workshop or want to show a specimen to someone else, who would appreciate the extra comfort and clarity that binocular microscopes give you.

Good quality lenses are very important of course but I think lighting is at least equally important so I would always recommend a strong, white light such as a fluorescent tube (or diode) lighting system. They can be simple table lamps but it must be possible to get the light close to the subject without obstructing your work. Having the ability to shine the light from different angles can also be useful for seeing dusting or fine hairs and surface structures.

I don't use a camera with my microscope very often and when I do I just hold my little Nikon Coolpix against one of the eye-pieces. It works quite well because the lens glass is close to the end of the lens-tube but on some cameras (like my Canon G7) it is protected by a metal ring, which causes too much vignetting. Anyway, with the Coolpix they are OK but you might like to buy a 'trinocular head' with a digital camera attachment to take photographs directly down through the microscope's optics. This is a more expensive solution but the results are generally better and it is easier to make composite (layered) photos.

A spare eye-piece fitted with a graticule is also a nice, cheap addition to the equipment. A graticule is a device for projecting grid or graduated lines onto the image so that you can measure the relative size of parts. With tachinids we often have to measure the relative width of the eye/frons and with ichneumonids the relative length of the ovipositor/hind-tibia is very important. Without a "ruler" or some form of in-image measuring it would be almost impossible to get the necessary accuracy.

Hope that helps Smile

 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
Andy Chick
#6 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 10:01
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i would agree with what chris has said, for the bigger flys 7.5 to 45 mag is fine, for smaller groups, mags of 80 to 100 are advantagous, some groups such as Phoridae advocate slide mounting in which case slides would be prepared under the stereo scope and then examined under a compound scope.

you made a point about digi-scopes, have you ever thought about a triocular dissection scope with a camera on the phototube conected to a monitor? when i first got my brunel zoom scope i ran my olympus camera via the TV to show of my collection to my family
 
crex
#7 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 10:45
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Thanks Chris and Andy. I've thought of getting a microscope back and forth for a long time so I've looked around to see what's available, hence mentioning also the digi-scopes. If it's possible to mount my Canon EOS 30D on a "triocular" and connect the DSLR to the computer it would be interesting ...

I checked now with a colleague at work and he says it's no problem connecting the camera to the computer and take photos that way.

I imagine there can be problems damaging the specimen with the heat from the lights. I have read there are "cold light" emitters, fiber optics, but I'm not sure if that light is enough for photography or if it's expensive.
 
Andy Chick
#8 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 11:08
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for up to about x40 mag "cold light" can be a energy saving lightbulb in a anglepoise lamp,

personally i used a pair of those LED Goose neck lights they sell for laptops
like this:
http://www.micros...light.html they give me enough light for photography (if you look at my post on Drosophilidae you will see a pic i took with such a set up)

one thing i will say is that, i wouldnt recomend a "digiscope" with a fixed digital camera you dont have expansion/upgrade room, as you would with a triocular
Edited by Andy Chick on 07-12-2007 11:17
 
jorgemotalmeida
#9 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 14:59
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I'm considering to buy one with very strong interest! For 3000 euros... maybe. Smile I must begin to collect right now so I can afford one soon.
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
jorgemotalmeida
#10 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 15:14
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I took some photos with 6:1 magnification that can shows us very interesting features impossible to see clearly at unaided eye. Smile But it is rather hard to take photos at 6:1. Smile
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
ChrisR
#11 Print Post
Posted on 07-12-2007 18:08
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I'd second what Andy said about 'cold' lights. Don't bother with the expensive fiber-optics - any energy-saving or mini-fluorescent tube or LED light will be cold enough. I tend to favour the wide, flat light approach too - I just find those bendy spot-lights too much hassle to get the beams into the correct positions Smile
 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
Andy Chick
#12 Print Post
Posted on 10-12-2007 12:42
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I used the "proper" fibre optics in the lab, and to be honests LEDs work as well if not better, i find depending on what im identifing i use either intense light (LED spot lights) of flat light (Energy saving bulCool but as a coleopterist once told me "as this isn't "sciencetific equipment" its alot cheaper to buy and maintain" because of this i have both kinds of light on my desk!
 
crex
#13 Print Post
Posted on 21-02-2008 15:00
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I've heard that Leica S8 APO (x10-80) is like a "wet dream" for entomologists Pfft What do you think?
 
Kahis
#14 Print Post
Posted on 21-02-2008 16:06
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I use a 'XTZ-D' stereomicroscope. It's a Chinese brand. I don't know if they have a european importer - we bought a whole bunch of them directly from China Smile Total cost: about 500?. I do almost always use the ocular pair which gives me a zoom range of 7-45x, but occasionally the shorter oculars (14-90x) are essential with small flies. I do also have a '2x extender' which does in fact give better image quality than the short oculars in the same magnification range, but attaching the extender is slower than using the oculars, so it is very seldom used.

Optically the professional Leicas and Nikons are certainly better, but for me the Chinese 'scope is good enough.
Edited by Kahis on 21-02-2008 16:07
Kahis
 
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crex
#15 Print Post
Posted on 21-02-2008 18:34
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It looks nice (remove last L from Kahis link). How does it work with glasses? Can you attach a camera to take pictures through it?
 
jorgemotalmeida
#16 Print Post
Posted on 24-02-2008 18:10
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hmm. it is a good option, Kahis. Thanks for the suggestion. I will save some $ so I can buy one. Wink

FOR now, I use a very good loup for field that magnifies 20x! The major drawback is the fact we must approach very near the loup to the subject. awkward It came from Czech. Very good material. Smile
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
Kahis
#17 Print Post
Posted on 24-02-2008 18:24
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crex wrote:
It looks nice (remove last L from Kahis link). How does it work with glasses? Can you attach a camera to take pictures through it?


Yes, it works fine with glasses. There's a version (XTZ-E I think) with a separate optical path for a camera. I haven't tried it.

This scope isn't without downsides though. It is not parfocal (ie. focus changes when you zoom in or out). Worse, the focus balance changes slightly with magnification. In three years I have had to change the power cord socket - easy since it is the same cord used for computers - resolder some power cord connections in the light source.
Kahis
 
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zcuc
#18 Print Post
Posted on 25-02-2008 16:26
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Location: Israel
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Hello all,
I'm looking for not so expensive binoculare microscope on ebay. So I could try and extract genitalia and take pictures. can you help with recommendation?

option 1: STEREO MICROSCOPE 10X-20X-30X-60X item#:350027285104 price 150$

option 2: MICROSCOPE 20X-40X-80X item#:350027584910 price 160$

I don't know how stonge magnification I need so if the last were too weak there is also this more expensive:
option 3: ZOOM Microscope 10x~80x item#: 120225519780 price 288$

thanks
 
crex
#19 Print Post
Posted on 27-02-2008 11:43
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Apparently the Leica S8 APO doesn't work well with DSLR (non-fullframe) even though it's expensive. Leica recommends dedicated microscope camera (3 MP) for photo. That's a pity. Sad
 
Tony T
#20 Print Post
Posted on 27-02-2008 14:02
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zcuc wrote:
Hello all,
I'm looking for not so expensive binoculare microscope on ebay. So I could try and extract genitalia and take pictures. can you help with recommendation?
thanks


Although it is possibly easier to photograph genitalia using a microscope one can use a DSLR (without a microscope) with either stacked lenses, or reversed 50mm or 35mm or 28mm lenses on extension tubes or a bellows, or even a low power compound microscope objective.
Image quality is excellent. Depth of field is shallow so you may need to 'stack' images.
 
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