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Recommendations on $500 - $800 to spend on a setup to for blood work?
April 22, 2014
14:33
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Hi guys, I have searched all over this forum for answers and only managed to give myself more questions Laugh 

I am after a Darkfield – darkfield / lightfield microscope for poking around my blood, documenting the improvement to Lyme disease treatments over time etc by taking stills and video with my SLR attached. I know Drs using $500 units from Alibaba and couldn't be happier, but if someone here could point me to specific models that would be great :) I notice ebay has a heap from an Indian company too. not sure of their quality?

Besides after looking around this forum i feel like checking out whats in my pond etc now LOL. so any advice on suitable microscopes would be greatly appreciated.

 

Glen

April 22, 2014
23:55
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Hi Glen.

Welcome to the forum!

Where are you located?  I note that you asked about Indian microscopes in another thread.  I would say if you are in India, it would probably make sense to get an Indian microscope on account of lower shipping costs, otherwise I'd choose one of the branded Chinese microscopes.  If you import a microscope from another country, should you need to return it, shipping costs and customs complications can be a problem– I don't know for sure.  I think if I'm buying a new microscope, I would go for a "good" Amscope (or, in Europe, Bresser).  By "good' I mean not a starter microscope.  On the main Microbe Hunter website, Oliver has provided a lot of excellent, authoritative information on how to chose a microscope– I would read all the information there carefully.   Some people recommend a brand-name used one (e.g. from ebay), but it can be costly and time consuming if what you buy turns out to need repair or spare parts that are not easily available.

Having said all that,  the following is my unsolicited opinion that you won't find too palatable, but here goes anyway: if you want to get a microscope to do "live blood analysis", I would say save your money and your time.  If, however, you want to look at pond water critters or the like, by all means get a good scope and you'll spend many, many hours filled with fun, learning, and enjoyment.

April 23, 2014
11:55
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Thanks gekko!

Im In Australia.

Its partially your fault I want to take pics and vids of every nano object i can think of after looking at some of your posts! :)

I have read most of the "How to choose a microscope" section, it is indeed very informative. I hate been at the start of a learning curve! so much to digest. 

 

Opinions always welcome! But out of interest why do you feel live blood work is a waste of money and time?
I love photography, wildlife, macro and zoom, almost seems inevitable that im going to have to hook my camera up to a microscope oneday anyway :). so ill buy one under the guise of blood work and use it to play with all sorts of things :)
 

April 23, 2014
17:50
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Because they have to get to almost every tissue in the body, a red blood cell is one of the smallest cells in the human body. Therefore studying them requires quite a sophisticated (and usually expensive) setup. 

 

Multiple stains, multiple techniques, high magnification.. doing blood analysis is where you separate the hobbyist grade scopes from the professional. When you crank up the magnification, you have to crank up the light, which most hobbyist grade scopes can't really do. 

 

Now, I'm more than happy with my hobbyist grade scopes, but I would never attempt blood analysis- there's too much other cool stuff to look at. :)

April 24, 2014
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GRK said:
Its partially your fault I want to take pics and vids of every nano object i can think of after looking at some of your posts! :)

You are too kind: I try to do my best, sometimes I get good images, other times not.  But I guess I post a lot of images (too manyFrown).

I have read most of the "How to choose a microscope" section, it is indeed very informative. I hate been at the start of a learning curve! so much to digest.

Once you have a microscope, it will be much easier.  I do not have any opinions on Indian microscopes since I've never seen one nor images that I know were obtained with one.

Opinions always welcome! But out of interest why do you feel live blood work is a waste of money and time?

I apologize for being so blunt (I tend to be unnecessarily blunt when I feel strongly about something).  Ashlar has a point, of course, but I was actually thinking of something else:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…..d_analysis

http://steelclaws.wordpress.co…..pure-scam/

http://www.quackwatch.com/01Qu…..ecell.html

I love photography, wildlife, macro and zoom, almost seems inevitable that im going to have to hook my camera up to a microscope one day anyway :). so ill buy one under the guise of blood work and use it to play with all sorts of things :)

Then I think you will be really hooked on microscopy!  I would consider getting a trinocular scope, which would make attaching a camera so much more convenient.

Best of luck and keep us updated!

April 24, 2014
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Ashlar said

Because they have to get to almost every tissue in the body, a red blood cell is one of the smallest cells in the human body. Therefore studying them requires quite a sophisticated (and usually expensive) setup. 

 

Why do I have to get to every tissue in the body? 
Im not suggesting to do this as evidence for a cure or even proof for diagnosis.
I agree the blood only accounts for 5 – 7 odd % of the fluid in your body and pure blood does not mean pure body.

I dont think that rules out documenting the effects of treatments and even diet makes to blood. making claims about what those effects mean, and what indeed caused those changes may well be up for debate, and way out of my league, but due to the inquisitive mind i have ill still very much enjoy checking it all out. Just as with pond water. Tho im sure after a time the blood will almost never get a look and ill continue checking out other things, and end up with a stereo microscope as well :)


gekko said

GRK said:
Its partially your fault I want to take pics and vids of every nano object i can think of after looking at some of your posts! :)

You are too kind: I try to do my best, sometimes I get good images, other times not.  But I guess I post a lot of images (too manyFrown).

I have read most of the "How to choose a microscope" section, it is indeed very informative. I hate been at the start of a learning curve! so much to digest.

Once you have a microscope, it will be much easier.  I do not have any opinions on Indian microscopes since I've never seen one nor images that I know were obtained with one.

Opinions always welcome! But out of interest why do you feel live blood work is a waste of money and time?

I apologize for being so blunt (I tend to be unnecessarily blunt when I feel strongly about something).  Ashlar has a point, of course, but I was actually thinking of something else:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…..d_analysis

http://steelclaws.wordpress.co…..pure-scam/

http://www.quackwatch.com/01Qu…..ecell.html

I love photography, wildlife, macro and zoom, almost seems inevitable that im going to have to hook my camera up to a microscope one day anyway :). so ill buy one under the guise of blood work and use it to play with all sorts of things :)

Then I think you will be really hooked on microscopy!  I would consider getting a trinocular scope, which would make attaching a camera so much more convenient.

Best of luck and keep us updated!

 

Can never post to many pics! :) Im sure ill be annoying you all with pics before to long too…

No apology needed! I have no problem with blunt! unless its clear offence was intended, i never read things that way. im entirely un tactful myself! I also have no problem with differing opinions, i have changed mine so many times over the years who am i to get annoyed with someone because theirs differs from mine! Cool  I like to hear things from all angles, i find it helps not to have a rigid mind and look at others opinions well, learn a lot more….

Had a look at those links, have read a lot about that kind of thing in the past, i agree there is a lot of quackery going on, but i think there is truth and error on both sides of the fence. I prefer to have no fence and take the truth from wherever it comes.
Since im not using this to diagnose or prove anything, most of the criticism of live blood work don't really apply to me, i also agree with a lot of what they have to say. But, probably not worth going into to much here unless you are interested. but just a couple of points.
Some food certainly can enter the blood un digested. We all know that many proteins are designed to enter the blood un digested,  . there are many molecules larger than this that are known to enter the blood. But, how a quack can tell you what they are looking at are these molecules and not perhaps proteins that are designed to be there i don't know.

A good friend of mine has suffered with candida for 16 odd years, has it oozing from every orifice, he has had live blood work done and they pointed out what they suggest is the candida, he recently underwent some ozone therapy and for the first time in 16 years it has cleared up, the blood analysis also showed what they claimed to be candida also disappear during treatment. Conclusive evidence? no, but certainly circumstantial evidence and something interesting to note regardless.
The same has been true for lyme sufferers, and if everyone that ever had Lyme did this documentation the weight of evidence would add up convincingly. 
I am awaiting my blood test results due at the end of this month, if positive i will indeed enjoy scoping around my blood to see if i can find any and if they decline with ozone treatment (another controversial topic in itself) as is Lyme in Australia, since "it doesn't exist here" but due to the explosion of positive results from people sending there blood OS to USA etc for testing, the University of Queensland are doing a test of the possible between link between Tick born diseases and chronic fatigue syndrome. The tests have been going for a few months now, both antibody and comprehensive blood work testing. The results will be interesting, not just for me but in general. Anyway I digress. 

 

I have mostly ruled out the Indians as they reply VERY slow and answer almost nothing. I asked about a couple of the models they were selling, told them what i want to do, asked what they recommend and a price on it. after a week they replied with    "$800" … So im a little reluctant, if there were ever issues in future, sorting them out would be horrible due to their communication!
 some of the microscopes on the amscope site look the same, looks to have the same body atleast, not sure what the price of postage to Australia would be, but i think ill buy from them… all the choices and working out what the difference between them actually is and means to me is frustrating :)
If your more familiar with them than me perhaps you can give your opinion on what one you would choose if in my shoes?

Thanks again Guys! 

April 24, 2014
16:26
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GRK said

Ashlar said

Because they have to get to almost every tissue in the body, a red blood cell is one of the smallest cells in the human body. Therefore studying them requires quite a sophisticated (and usually expensive) setup. 

Why do I have to get to every tissue in the body? 
Im not suggesting to do this as evidence for a cure or even proof for diagnosis.
I agree the blood only accounts for 5 – 7 odd % of the fluid in your body and pure blood does not mean pure body.

I dont think that rules out documenting the effects of treatments and even diet makes to blood. making claims about what those effects mean, and what indeed caused those changes may well be up for debate, and way out of my league, but due to the inquisitive mind i have ill still very much enjoy checking it all out. Just as with pond water. Tho im sure after a time the blood will almost never get a look and ill continue checking out other things, and end up with a stereo microscope as well :)

 

Checking it out is fine, but to really get more than an 'Ooh pretty' information, you need more scope than typical hobbyists are prepared to buy, and you have to have mutliple stains, and apply them with a mind to what you want to see. 

An example of a hobbyist scope reaching it's limit- 140424090847.jpg

That's a prepared slide showing red blood cells, at 1000x- the top end of my best compound scope. The light is cranked all the way up, and you still can't make out much detail. 

Any changes in what you see there would be pure speculation. Might as well try to make pictures from tea leaves. :)

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April 24, 2014
17:17
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hmm yes that would never be overly helpful, can you take a shot in darkfield also?

Im leaning towards a T690 of some sort..  Just just a little more learning to go, and I hope the shipping isnt tooo steap.

April 24, 2014
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Ashlar, what kind of scope do you have?   While I agree with you that instruments that are used in research can be very expensive, it does not mean that those used by hobbyists necessarily give very inferior results.  The results I've seen from good Chinese-made scopes can be excellent (see, for example, the images of Vasselle on this forum).  If I may quote/paraphrase Oliver: you don't see ten times as much if you buy a scope 10 times as expensive.

GRK said:
some of the microscopes on the amscope site look the same, looks to have the same body atleast, not sure what the price of postage to Australia would be, but i think ill buy from them… all the choices and working out what the difference between them actually is and means to me is frustrating :)

If your more familiar with them than me perhaps you can give your opinion on what one you would choose if in my shoes?

I have not actually used ones, but I've seen photomicrographs taken with such scopes as well as read comments from users of rebranded Chinese scopes such as Amscope and Bresser, and the mechanics seem to be pretty good for the price, and the optics have little to apologize for (again, see Vasselle's images on the forum).  Amscopes are also sold by Amazon.com, perhaps you can also check how much Amazon would charge to send to Australia.  Once you find a suitable scope, you may want to post a link to it here for others to give their impression and comment on features or lack thereof.

 

April 24, 2014
18:52
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I may just go direct from China,

http://www.alibaba.com/product…..16633.html

looks like the same unit, no idea if all components are the same tho?

 

http://www.alibaba.com/product…..image.html

http://www.iscopecorp.com/40x-…..scope.html

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April 24, 2014
20:09
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GRK,

If I were you I would reconsiderbuying on Ali-Baba.

When you Buy on e-Bay a branded Chinese microscope, even if you buy the same instrument offered on Alibaba you get the service from the brand name ( like Amscope who are reputed to have a very good customer service at least in the US). I recently bought a trinocular Amscope zoom steromicroscope on E-Bay and they have sent me a 110 Volt light source by mistake. Since I was protected by both E-Bay protection guarantee and PayPal protection, I called the store and thay shipped me a new light source with the correct voltage completely free of charge.  Had I bought from Ali-Baba and payed with a money order or other obscure payment method I would have been completely dependent on their good will.

Besides, Amscope have reasonable prices, good quality, and a lot of available accessories should you ever want to expand your scope.

Even if you buy another brand, I recomment that you do it on E-Bay to get the extra protection and be able to pay with PayPal as an additional layer of protection.

Make sure you let them know your requested voltage at your country (in writing) to avoid the problem I had.

Good Luck 

Let there be (oblique) light.
April 24, 2014
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You might want to check whether the optics are infinity-corrected or 160 mm tube length.  Infinity systems are often more expensive and essentially are "optically proprietary" in the sense that infinite or finite objectives, etc. from a different manufacturer will not give good results.  Other things being equal, there is no advantage to infinite systems in terms of quality (other things being equal).

I was just looking at Australian ebay, and Precision World (basically same as Amscope, as far as I can tell) sell  with free shipping which I assume is for Australia (but you need to verify that).

For example:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/40X…..2eb8c0400f

This looks like it should fit the bill, but if you can get a similar one with plan achromats or even semiplan ones, it would be somewhat better than the achromats for blood examination since the cells on the slide are flat to begin with.  Achromats would be just fine for pond water critters.

Their offerings on ebay:
http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/pre…..7675.l2562

April 24, 2014
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Gekko, mine's a run of the mill compound amscope. Nothing special. I didn't take much time to tweak the image because that's a pretty good representation of what that prepared blood slide actually looked like through the eyepiece, with illumination cranked all the way up. 

 

I wasn't trying to dog cheap scopes, or plug expensive ones. All I'm saying is that when you get to high magnification (as is typical with blood analysis), that's usually where the non-lab-grade ones start petering out. Especially when it comes to lighting. At the lab down the hall from me at work, they have a separate light box that attaches to the scope via fiber optic cable. It's pumping out a 150 watt metal halide light source to the scope. Even with a non-oil 160x objective (1600x total magnification) you don't run out of light. 

April 25, 2014
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Ashlar said:
I wasn't trying to dog cheap scopes, or plug expensive ones.

I apologize: In no way did I mean to imply that you did.  In my experience, 150-watt lamp is far too much for regular microscope use.  30-50 W halogen, or LED with equivalent output should suffice for most work (except fluorescence work, which requires different illumination).

GRK: I just saw LKOLTON's post (for some reason I completely missed it earlier), and I would agree fully with what he said.  Alibaba would, I imagine, be very difficult to deal with, since they are humongous and microscopes is not their specialty.

One important point, since you are interested in dark field illumination: I was looking at the specs of microscopes from Amscope and Precision World that are described as dark field scopes.  They seem to imply that dark field is available also with 100x oil-immersion objective.  The NA of their objective is 1.25, and the NA of the Abbe condenser supplied is also 1.25.  Now to get dark field, one would need to reduce the objective aperture to less than that of the condenser.  For oil-immersion objectives, this is usually done by using an objective fitted with an iris diaphragm to reduce its NA to less that that of the condenser.  In the old scopes they used to provide a "funnel" that is inserted into the objective from the back that served the same purpose; the condenser is used with and oil drop between the condenser and the bottom of the slide (same idea as oil-immersion of the objective) to be able to use the condenser at more than an NA of 0.95.  Physics says that you cannot get dark field if the objective aperture is equal or greater than that of the condenser.  So you would need to find out exactly how DF works with the 100x oil-immersion objective before you order the microscope, assuming that DF with 100x objective (1000x total magnification) is important to your application.  I hope that what I said is clear (please let me know if it is jibberish, and I'll try to write it better).

April 25, 2014
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As a matter of fact I bought the Amscope zoom microscope from precision world on ebay.
While they made a mistake in the scopes voltage and they were a bit slow on their response to my complaints they eventually send me at their expense a new unit with the proper voltage. I therefore wholeheartedly recommend them as a reliable ebay source of Amscope products who stand behind their products and provide good service.

I also stand behind Gekko's recommendation to get a 160 mm tube length microscope because you will have more flexibility in choosing and purchasing objectives from several companies

Let there be (oblique) light.
April 26, 2014
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Good advice thanks guys!

I might buy through precision world on ebay also.

 

Still so much to learn grrrr.. 

Tossing up between a T690, T600 or T680 with a darkfield condenser extra, not sure i need both the dry and oil that comes with the T600? so this brings the price between the T690 and T680 pretty even. I assume this is the same as a T600 minus one of the darkfield condensers?

Thanks for pointing out the dark field NA information Gekko! id never have known until it arrived and i tried to use it!
Kinda makes sense, but i will not pretend to fully understand it. I am guessing something along the lines of the hole in the aperture needs to be smaller than the condenser otherwise you'll only be looking at a dot in the middle ? 

If buying from ebay there is only $2 difference between these 2. but the t600 comes with both dry and oil dark field condensers and doesn't have that infinity plan thing you were talking about?. I think the darkfield NA issue is OK with these also? 
But overall i still have NO idea whats the best way to go or if these will perform better than the one you posted a link to and a fraction of the price?

Postage looks to very from between $50 – $170 to Australia. I can live with that. As always, the more i learn about something the more my budget increases LOL, I kinda wanted to just buy something and live in ignorance happy with what i had.. But im glad i didn't rush into it…

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Darkfi…..5d3b4ed589

http://www.ebay.com/itm/40X-20…..2c6cfc7dcc

The other question is what version of the 680 would i want, 1500x, 2000x, 2500x or irrelevant? :) 

April 26, 2014
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I don't think I'm saying anything new below, but I think before spending close to $1000 it would, in the long run, pay to give consideration (again) to what I tried to say below, and what others have advised previously in this thread.

May I suggest that you look carefully at other models too, and ask here about the meaning of any features you don't understand; mull things over for a while, so you don't buy an expensive microscope that does not meet your requirements.  There is a lot to learn, so do take your time.  There is a wealth of information on this website (you might want to read through all of the 13  web pages of very useful information: Oliver has spent much time and effort to share his microscope expertise and experience with us, so take advantage of it (click on the "Home" button).  You will find out what plan objectives are, what infinity-corrected optics are, what Koehler illumination is, and much more.  Take time to be comfortable with the terms used and understand what they mean and how important they are to your intended application.

Then you have two possible approaches: (1)  know exactly what you want, and buy the best microscope that you can afford that satisfies your requirements. (2) buy an inexpensive microscope and use it for a year or two to learn on and figure out exactly what features that you need are missing, then upgrade to a better scope.

"infinity plan thing":  this microscope uses infinity-corrected optics.  As LKOLTON mentioned, that means you cannot use other objectives.  Not a major disadvantage if the microscope is fitted with all you will ever need, but you need to have that "limitation" in mind.  The "plan" refers to the plan achromatic objectives, which means that if you are looking at a flat, 2-dimensional object, objects in the center and near the periphery of the field will be in focus simultaneously, important if you are taking photographs of 2-D objects.  With standard (non-plan) achromatic objectives you will need to refocus slightly (with the fine focus) to get the edge in focus.  This is not a problem for 3-d objects (like critters from pond water) since there is no single plane of focus anyway.  It is also not a problem with 2-d objects (like a thin layer of blood on a slide) during observation (as opposed to photomicrography) since the user will be using the fine focus continuously as one scans the slide.

I hope this helps.

April 26, 2014
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Believe it or not i have actually read through all of Olivers stuff twice and much of it more than twice, Im sure there's more than 13 pages :) But as a newbie it seems to take more than that for everything to sink in. Im constantly referring back to it as i look over the info on a model as i "attempt" to work out what i want. This is such a good site and im great full Oliver has done it!

The "infinity plan thing" (my bad attempt at humor) is the reason im not as keen on the 690 series. glad you guys pointed that out. Like you said, it may or may not be an issue, But im a fiddler and im sure will want the flexibility of of not been locked into it, (if its not 160mm?)

I was pretty sure i was on the right path with what i wanted, but your reply makes me think perhaps not? anyway ill stop bothering you guys and continue to confuse myself alone for a while :)

April 29, 2014
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OK after spending far more hrs surfing the net, reading up on and trying to choose a microscope than I really have time for! Im still stuck LOL.

I have re, re – read all your replies on this thread, i very much like the idea of a plan objective but also the 160mm tube length. 

seems the only way to achieve that is buy one with 160mm and pay extra for some new plan objectives to suit. then the price is up there with the infinity plan objective t690 series of scopes again…. 

Anyway i have asked precision about this issue and Dan (always quick with replies) said they are DIN standard and i can replace them with other brand objectives. so just thought id double check with you guys in case this was not true? 

The accessories page shows them as been DIN/JIS http://www.amscope.com/pa40x-inf.html since DIN and JIS are 10mm different im not sure what this means? 
But after reading up on DIN/JIS / infinity etc im still not 100% sure that means im safe to go with it, or that its "160mm tube" ? 

April 30, 2014
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GRK said:
The accessories page shows them as been DIN/JIS http://www.amscope.com/pa40x-inf.html since DIN and JIS are 10mm different im not sure what this means? 
But after reading up on DIN/JIS / infinity etc im still not 100% sure that means im safe to go with it, or that its "160mm tube" ?

This link is for an infinity 40x objective.  I'm not sure what you mean by being safe to go with it.  Infinity optics are calculated for an infinite tube length rather than 160 mm.  That is all.  Not necessarily worse nor better. Except that they are not interchageable with other brands, as far as I know, DIN or not DIN, but I'm not 100% sure of that.  The "infinite tube length" is that part of the microscope tube that is between the objective and the "tube lens".  In other words, in that part, you can insert filters, etc., without adversely affecting the tube length and hence image quality (assuming that there is a port in the microscope for that purpose).

I hope others will correct me if I misstated anything and I hope I make sense.

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