About


Oliver Kim

General Info

MicrobeHunter.com is a microscopy magazine and blog for current (and to be) amateur microscopists, teachers, students and anyone else who is fascinated by the miniature world. Microscopy is an interesting and fun educational experience, and a great hobby and pastime as well. With this website and magazine I would like to pass on this enthusiasm and encourage the use of microscopes in biology class and at home. This website contains articles on a range of different microscopy-related topics. Some of them are more theoretical in nature, others more practical. I hope that there is something in it for everybody.

The site covers, among other things, the following topics:

  • Theoretical information on optics and microscope operation.
  • Simple laboratory preparations that can be done in a classroom and at home.
  • Some advice on buying microscopes.

Interesting Links

👜 Shop – Amazon shop for microscopes and accessories

💬 Forum – Connect to other microscopists

🎬 Microbehunter Youtube Channel – Specimen preparation, observations and more.

🎬 Microscopy advice channel – Again much info and advice

📷 Instagram – Cool pictures I made

😎 Facebook – Here I post videos

🎈 Support Microbehunter on Patreon

About myself

I have obtained an MSc degree in Microbiology and during my university study light microscopes were, naturally, an important tool. During this time I have worked mostly with phase contrast techniques in order to visualize bacteria. I do not remember the brand of the microscope anymore, but it was expensive and quite large. The device was placed on a special table with a suspended surface made of heavy stone. This was to reduce the vibrations. The whole set-up, I was told, cost around EUR 55000 (approx. USD 78000), and, to be honest, one could not see a great deal more than with a microscope costing one tenth of this price. You do pay for also for modularity and service, I realized. This was in 1995. During this time I used the microscopes mostly for a fast quality control. The microscope allowed me to check if my bacterial samples were indeed pure cultures or if they were contaminated (a much less expensive scope would have been sufficient for that). After my university graduation I decided to change my career and go into teaching. Now I am a biology teacher in a secondary school, and use both stereo microscopes as well as compound microscopes in my course. At the same time, however, I like to explore the miniature world, for the love of it, and I found a way to combine the hobby of photography with microscopy and Web design. I’ve created this Web site and the magazine to motivate others to pick up this fascinating hobby.

About my microscopes

Back in 1998 I bought an Olympus CH40 microscope with achromatic bright-field objectives (4x, 10x, 20x, 40x, 100x oil) and a trinocular head to do some photography. I use a digital single lens reflex camera (Canon 600D SLR) for my photography work. This camera has a swing-out display, which greatly adds comfort when doing photomicrographic work. I’m very happy with the whole system. Recently I also had the opportunity to obtain a second-hand stereo microscope (Euromex Arnhem), with 20x and 40x magnifications.

Contact

Oliver Kim
Ziegeleistr. 10-3
A4490 St. Florian, Austria
editor [at] microbehunter [dot] com

26 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Oliver.
    I just got my first microscope a few weeks ago and I’m really excited. I have to thanks you for your forum and youtube channel, it has helped me a lot.
    I tried to do an 8 hours time lapse video of an algae but it keeps getting out of focus (I thino because of water evaporating.
    Is there a technique to do time lapse on wet specimens?

    Thanks!

    1. if it keeps getting out of focus, then check if this is a problem only with the algae or generally. If the stage is always sinking down, then this is called stage drift and you have to tighten it so that it stays.
      About algae: it is difficult to do long-time time lapse because even if there is no water evaporating then some of them move. But if you use only little water then there is not much vertical movement possible. Water loss can be compensated by adding a small drop at the edge of the cover glass. You can also refocus every now and then. 8 hours is long. Is it a possibility to take 3-5 picture per minute and then combine them into a film? You can then adjust the focus as well. A bigger problem could be formation of oxygen bubbles by the algae and other organisms moving it.

      1. Thanks for your reply. I have tested the stage and it’s not stage drifting. I’ll try A shorter time and also a slide with a concave area

  2. Hi Oliver. I am interested in learning how to do microphotography. But the details escape me. Could you make a detailed video of you in action taking pics and making videos so that we can see exactly how this is done? I would like to see how your camera is hooked up to your computer and how you store your pictures. Also what the model and part numbers are for the adapters. In particular, I would like to discover what exact adapters I would need to do microphotography with an American Optical Microstar (Series 10) microscope and Olympus camera. Actually, that is another question that is confusing me. What would be the best camera for microphotography? Mirrorless? It has to be digital SLR right? Are the newer 3.0 USB dedicated cameras sufficient for video or are they still too slow?
    So many questions. So few answers. You would be the answer to our prayers. Great topic for a video.
    Thanks for considering my request Oliver!!!
    Sincerely,
    Dave Hafner

  3. Hi Oliver! Thank you so much for developing your website. I am excited to explore and discover its many offerings.
    I have two questions if I may. I am interested in purchasing a modern dedicated camera for microphotography. What brands and models would you consider, and what would be your top choice?
    Also, do you happen to know where a person could find and collect volvox in nature (as opposed to ordering a culture from a biological supply house?
    Thank you so much for considering my questions!!
    Dave Hafner
    Maplewood, Mn. USA
    dhaf3@yahoo.com

    PS My family is predominantly Austrian!!!

  4. Hi Oliver. I just finished watching your latest youtube video “Beginner’s Microscope buying Woes – and my Opinion | Amateur Microscopy”. Since this comes up often, may I suggest you do what some audiophile reviewers are doing and pick a set of price points and then make a specific set of recommendation(s) for each price point. E.g. for less than $75 buy a used XX or YY by ZZ from ebay; $75 – $200 Models x, y, z from these vendors a, b, c; $200 – $500 etc. you get the idea. Include necessary items like slides, slip-covers, chemicals, prepared slide sets, etc. So for each price range you provide a set of recommendations that allow beginners to get up and running.

    Or instead of price ranges, you could set your categories based on things like viewing criteria. E.g. insects – stereo microscope, small structures – compound microscope from Xxxx with these objectives, etc.

    Recommendations should be specific with brand, model and general pricing. I can understand if this is more work than you’d like to sign-up for, but it does seem to come up often.

    You might want to include a mention of return policies, support, warranties and user forums which can help mitigate risk.

    Best of luck on your go-fund-me! Can’t wait to see the pictures you end up generating.

    Peter

  5. First, thank you for getting me back into microscopy. I got lost in life along the way and after seeing your videos on youtube and visiting your site I’m back into college for cell biology. I’m planning on purchasing a microscope for studying. My question is: I love looking at pond water, but what would be the best, cheapest microscope for doing this at the highest possible resolution? My max spending amount is 1000 USD.

    Thanks,

    Robert

  6. Hi Oliver,
    I would like simply thanking you for all your great work. I started to follow your youtube channels about 1 year ago and since then I become addicted to microscopy as a hobby. I followed your video before even having a microscope, which I just bought few months back now. Sometimes speaking with my friends or colleagues I refer you as my teacher or better “my maestro”. Thanks so much for make me love this fantastic “little” world!

  7. Hi Oliver,

    1st thanks for your channel and topics.
    2nd, I would like to buy a microscope and I am unable to find the right one in your shop. Well, it’s true that I would like to buy a SEM or TEM but I guess the whole internet need to sponsor me for that 😉
    Long story short, my concentration is on bacteria, and would like to have a device which could cover the usual brightfield but also be able or compatible with dark field and phase contrast applications. the Olympus CX or BX are ideal choices, but yet again I would need the UN to run a campaign and fund me to buy this.
    I wanted to have your expert recommendation to point out a affordable microscope for this.
    To make sure I have covered everything, do you supply autoclaves and incubators as well (obviously small ones).
    Thanks for your time and all your valuable efforts

    1. The Olympus microscopes are indeed quite expensive. The advantage with those is, that you can talk to someone from the company and they will give you full support and also put a microscope together for your needs. For many other (lower cost) companies, it is more like this that you buy the microscope out of the box. But also your other wishes (phase contrast) will drive the price up quite a bit. One reason why I don’t have them in the shop, is because phase contrast is usually not something that average hobbiists have (due to the cost). Because you have specific interests and applications (bacteria), I indeed recommend phase contrast, but brightfield would also work. When choosing phase, be aware that every objective needs its own phase annulus filter in the condenser. In cheaper models you have to exchange the filter manually every time when you change the magnification. These filters also have to be alinged every time (time consuming). Better scopes have a multifunctional condenser (turret), where you can rotate the correct filter into position. This is much more convenient (and also more expensive). If you approach a company with the request for phase, then chances are pretty good that they will provide you already with a device that is better, because phase is more for research. Phase contrast microscopes can be easily converted to brightfield by taking out the phase annulus in the condenser or by turning the turret. The type/brand depends much on where you live. In Amazon, Amscope offers phase contrast microscopes, but if you want to go to higher ones, then you have to talk to Olympus/Leica/Nikon/Zeiss. I would probably buy from a local place, if available, so that you can talk to someone.
      I generally recommend those with a turret in the condenser (example):
      https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-T690C-PCT200-PL-Phase-Contrast-Magnification-Super-Widefield/dp/B00E3IR8UA/ref=sr_1_22?keywords=phase+contrast+microscope&qid=1585778930&sr=8-22
      And not so much those that have individual filters (example):
      https://www.amazon.com/OMAX-40X-2000X-Contrast-Trinocular-Microscope/dp/B00NSUXEFM/ref=sr_1_23?keywords=phase+contrast+microscope&qid=1585778930&sr=8-23

      No other lab equipment available on my shop – that would be too much indeed.

  8. I love your YouTube videos and they led me to your web site. I became fascinated with microscopy and pond life when I was a boy of 13 or so in the 1960s. The busy little “cities” of paramecia, rotifers, Volvox, Stentor, and such often kept me entertained all night long at my bedroom “lab bench,” and my windowsills were full of jars of pond water and hay infusions. Thanks to the encouragement of a teacher, I went to college as a zoology major, eventually got my PhD, and taught university biology for 40 years. Now I have three grandsons, ages 5, 5, and 9, whom I’m introducing to the world of pond life. I bought them a professional grade stereomicroscope last year and I’m going to North Carolina in a few days to see them with their first compound microscope–a child’s microscopy hobby kit. I’ll get them a better compound scope later if they take to it. We have a pond water field trip scheduled for this weekend. Can’t wait to share the enthusiasm you and I have for this world of tiny life, and to share your videos with them.

    Thank you,
    Ken

  9. Yes i know what i posting is going far from amateur, but belive me i am a amateur, but i getting a professional. My dream is to build a Microscope for Incubators and my last Prototype (after 3 years) is mostly like a selling device, and the videos what i now post are taken by a device what i hopevully sell under 1000 euro, and what is smaller than a shou box.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbk3RJ2f5Kg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOnOdbmrYcA

    And yes it is a little advertisement too, i need every support what i can get.

    thx

  10. I’m appreciative of you sharing your knowledge. I found your YouTube channel and it re-sparked my interest in the microscopy hobby. A long time ago I used microscopes at university and really enjoy what they showed me. Recently, I bought a new microscope and will get a camera to use with it as well. I’m hoping I can capture the small particles that fall out of the sky view and identify them. Again, thanks for sharing.

  11. Oliver, I was able to purchase my first microscope. Your videos helped me determine what I wanted. I am excited to begin exploring the microcosm. Thank you!

  12. Hi Oliver. I’ve been a subscriber for almost a couple of months now as a hobbyist entomologist. I love your channel, instruction, insights. I have an Amscope 7x-45x stereo microscope and Carson MicroMax LED mini microscope to view bugs and now am inspired by your channel to buy a higher magnification 1000x-2000x stereo microscope to view microbes, so I’m looking to buy a Swift SW308B next year and dive into the world of microbiology; I just bought a dummies book on Microbiology. Keep on posting your videos and blog information!

    – Sam

  13. Hello Oliver, Thank you for your videos, they’re wonderful. Would you consider doing on on the preparation of slides, of timber samples? I’m interested in sampling existing wooden structures, as opposed to trees. Thanks Darren

  14. Hi Oliver. Yesterday I stopped at an estate sale near here, and an old gentleman gave me a book called “Microbe Hunters” by Paul De Kruif. The copyright date is 1926. I wonder if you’ve run across it? There are more modern copies of this book, I think, on Amazon, etc. All the best.

  15. Hi Oliver, Great idea for a website and I hope it inspires more to look into microscopy as a hobby. I did a few years ago with a purchase of an old Zeiss standard and built a camera adapter onto the trinocular for my Canon 800D to shoot mostly crystals under polarized light and, occasionally, darkfield — mostly for producing “art”. Great tip to put some alcohol into the salt solution to reduce vertical dimension. I’m playing with that idea now since I’ve only used water as a solvent so far. I’m trying isopropyl, but am wondering if you’ve tried other alcohols and if you’ve found any good salts that are soluble in alcohol and produce nice crystals. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks, Carl . (my e-mail address is correct except for the dash which should be the digit nine — don’t know if it’s my keyboard or what)

  16. I would love to see some Microbehunter merch on the site, such as stickers, mugs, etc! Thanks for all your work, I’ve found it extremely useful as a novice.

  17. Hi Oliver – I started collecting microscopes a couple of years ago. I had absolutely no intention of starting a collection, but after I got my first vintage American Optical Spencer … well one thing led to another. I’m embarrassed to admit how many I’ve since purchased. I love the machining, quality, feel and let’s not forget the heft, of the vintage scopes. I love that their makers proudly stamped/etched their name in the steel. No silly stickers identifying the brand. I really enjoy learning about them, repairing and bringing them back into service.

    I love your two channels. Great job! Keep the videos coming.

    Peter

  18. Hi Oliver, Today I found your website and I really enjoyed. Thanks for your immense efforts to put everything here. I have a question about my recently developed interest in capturing microscope images to PC. I have an access to Olympus cx21fs1 and I wanna digitize images from it. I have a small budget (ie 70-80 USD) to buy any gadget(s) to transfer view from microscope (have a couple of webcams and raspi camera). Any help on it? I can build myself even if I have good instruction. Looking forward to hear from you.

    Best Regards,

    RY

  19. Hello Oliver I have seen many of your video’s and I look at them with lots of interest. Now I want to buy my own microscope but I need your advice in this one. So what I want with the microscope are the following things: many times people claim that for example turmeric is good for the immune system or that cayenne pepper is good for making the blood thin, that vitamine C helps with the increase of the white blood cell count. So what I want I want to see those claims under a microscope and my question to you is, which microscope can observe these things?

  20. Hi,
    Your website and videos are amazing and I am learning a lot. I have a very old simple microscope that I have used to observed mainly stained slides. I am interested in observing more living organisms such as protozoa and am trying to decide which microscope to buy. I was wondering if a trinocular phase contrast microscope would allow me to see more details for these fresh mounts and if a high-end model from the brands Omax and Amscope would be good enough because even their expensive models are cheaper than a Nikon or Olympus. When you wrote about phase contrast you only mentioned bacteria. Is it worth for other specimens as well?
    Thank you

  21. Hi, Oliver, I admire your great efforts in promoting microscopy as a hobby! I, myself, have been a hobbyist now in its 50th year ( I am 62). I am a regular visitor to your youtube channel. I stumble upon your channel via micscape which I have contributed twice since 1997. I do have my own youtube channel – Natural World Chew. This is an older video I made of a waterflea giving birth – https://youtu.be/zrCgs-TxLpw

    Thanks for your good work!

    Cheers, Chew

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