Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

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komsan.dbg
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Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:23 pm

Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#1 Post by komsan.dbg » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:22 pm

Hello everyone,

I am a new hobbyist and watch a lot of Oliver Youtube VDO. I just ordered Amscope T720QB - bright field with quintuple, LED Kohler, Plan Infinity lens for $878 on ebay. I should arrive my home in the next 10 days.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AmScope-40X-20 ... SwPXFcFU2K

I want Phase Contrast kit so I can view live microbe easily. The Phase Contrast kit with lens costs $946 which is more expensive than the whole T720QB bright field. Perhaps the lens is better.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AmScope-Phase- ... SwETBemdQx

I am thinking whether it is better off buying another Chinese brand with ISO9001, TUV, CE, RoHS certified for the whole scope with phase contrast kit for $1400. This way, I will have 2 scopes that I can switch from bright field to Phase Contrast easily by moving slide to another scope without having to disassemble and assemble phase contrast turret every time I want to switch the observation mode.

Should I just buy Phase Contrast kit to swap mode or buy another scope with Phase Contrast?

I learn from camera that good camera like Nikon DSLR and no brand camera can give much different image quality. Nikon, Olympus Scopes are 3 times more expensive than Amscope. I am not sure if the image quality will be much different. I would appreciate if anyone who has seen images from from good Chinese brand and Nikon, Olympus can give some comments.

Tommy

BramHuntingNematodes
Posts: 260
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Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#2 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:54 pm

For $1500 I'd see if that guy with the polanret would be willing to negotiate.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Hobbyst46
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Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#3 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:03 pm

komsan.dbg wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:22 pm
Hello everyone,

I am a new hobbyist and watch a lot of Oliver Youtube VDO. I just ordered Amscope T720QB - bright field with quintuple, LED Kohler, Plan Infinity lens for $878 on ebay. I should arrive my home in the next 10 days.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AmScope-40X-20 ... SwPXFcFU2K

I want Phase Contrast kit so I can view live microbe easily. The Phase Contrast kit with lens costs $946 which is more expensive than the whole T720QB bright field. Perhaps the lens is better.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AmScope-Phase- ... SwETBemdQx

I am thinking whether it is better off buying another Chinese brand with ISO9001, TUV, CE, RoHS certified for the whole scope with phase contrast kit for $1400. This way, I will have 2 scopes that I can switch from bright field to Phase Contrast easily by moving slide to another scope without having to disassemble and assemble phase contrast turret every time I want to switch the observation mode.

Should I just buy Phase Contrast kit to swap mode or buy another scope with Phase Contrast?

I learn from camera that good camera like Nikon DSLR and no brand camera can give much different image quality. Nikon, Olympus Scopes are 3 times more expensive than Amscope. I am not sure if the image quality will be much different. I would appreciate if anyone who has seen images from from good Chinese brand and Nikon, Olympus can give some comments.

Tommy
1. You started quite high (on the price scale) and plan to climb even higher. I would be very cautious in such investment. Get the microscope first, use it for 2-3 days and see if it is really up to your expectations. Try it with specimens you collect and prepare, not sales-promotion slides. Try it with a stage micrometer as well, to check performance. Take photos with the camera (any camera - even on an improvised adapter). Only then decide about how to proceed.

2. The better practice, in my opinion, to do phase contrast is either have a mixture of brightfield and phase contrast objectives on the turret - this is reasonable since you will have a 5-position nosepiece (assuming the phase contrast condenser has a brightfield position) ; or, better but more expensive, if the objective turret can be easily changed, have two separate turrets, one for brightfield objectives and the other for phase contrast objectives. Moving the slide between two scopes is not a good idea. If the turret condenser from AmScope does not have a brightfield position, I doubt if its worth buying. (Many IFs here, sorry...)

3. Very few comprehensive evaluations of the brightfield performance of Chinese scopes, or even just of Chinese objectives - especially images of specimens - have been described on the forum in the past 3 years. Let alone phase contrast...

4. Image quality depends not only on the camera, but on the microscope, the camera-microscope interface, and most importantly, on the ability of the microscopist...
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

apochronaut
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Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#4 Post by apochronaut » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:18 am

I have to agree with Hobbyst46 . Only 3 years ago, one could buy a Chinese made phasei contrast microscope for less than 500.00. Even then , it was only a deal if you were terrified of buying a second hand microscope. The prices for Chinese microscopes have escalated considerably since then and the price gap between buying a really good second hand scope and a new mediocre one is widening. It is true that there are fewer second hand scopes on the market that are budget friendly , so it is probably a good time to look for one. On the other hand, if you want a new Chinese or Indian scope, now is the time to buy one. My personal pick would be Indian. Many newbies don't realize that in many cases you can buy a microscope factory direct , especially from India. If you are worried about after sale service, you don't get any from the online hucksters of Amscope or OMAX anyway, so save some coins, get better quality and at least you have the factory to talk to, not a bunch of dorks that also work at McDonalds on weekends..... but preferably buy a used microscope that won't become a boat anchor in a few years.

komsan.dbg
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:23 pm

Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#5 Post by komsan.dbg » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:55 pm

Thank you Hobbyst46 and Apochroaut for your valued suggestion. I will follow your suggestions.

I did contact few Chinese factories. Each of them told me they have better quality scope and lens. All told me Amscope is not as good as theirs. Some specs is better and another Specs may be inferior. Their prices are lower than Amscope especially the Phase Contrast kit. I can compare the specs like Plan, infinity, LED Kohler illumination to start with. The difficulty is how to tell the quality of mechanics and lens. The price of some Nikon and Olympus lens alone are equal to the whole Amscope. Between Chinese factories, I also hesitate to use the prices to judge which one is better. Amscope also have T800 which is $2000+ for only Bright field. It is really difficult for me to tell which one is better and how it is better by looking at price and Specs on web pages.

After getting confused for a while, eventually I look at ebay Score of Amscope at 99.3% satisfaction with 72,000+ votes which is pretty high but there is no social media community vote among these Chinese factories. The number of Amscope votes (72,000+) on ebay is higher than Omax (12,000+ votes). So I decided to pay a fee to Amscope to help select a good Chinese supplier for me by buying from them. Basically I try to avoid cheap low quality Chinese products so I decided to spend more on high up Amscope model but still a lot lower than Olympus.

I found that Amscope Phase Contrast Turret allows us to switch to Bright field mode by rotating the disc. I have ordered Phase Contrast Kit for T720 (US$ 945 on eBay), not the 2nd Scope. So I end up paying totally around $2,000 for T720QB with Phase Contrast kit. It may seem high but its price is only 1/3 of Olympus, Nikon of similar specs. Olympus CX43 costs GBP 4,180 with only Bright field lens.

https://www.bestscientific.co.uk/produc ... hase-copy/

T720 has Division of Fine Focusing: 0.00003935" (0.001mm) while most Chinese brand and lower priced Amscope model has only 0.002mm Fine Focusing. I am not sure whether how much it is helpful during focusing.

I am novice. To buy 2nd hand of something I have not much knowledge on eBay is very risky. My daughter is getting into Medical School this year. Hopefully I should have someone to consult and play with Scope in the next few years.

I will try to dig the comments on image quality comparison between good Chinese and big 4 of similar specs. One must have 2 scopes side by side in order to compare build quality and image quality.

After all, I am very glad I found this Forum.
Last edited by komsan.dbg on Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#6 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:08 pm

Cool. Tell us how it works when you get it. These global manufacturers are getting better all the time, well, some are and some aren't. So we'd be interested to see how it performs!
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

komsan.dbg
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:23 pm

Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#7 Post by komsan.dbg » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:29 pm

Hi,

After reading the manual, I just realize that the big knob on the right side of T720 is NOT focusing knob, but the light dimming knob!

I am right hand. I am supposed to use the right hand to adjust the focus both coarse and fine. This is my first scope. Does everyone use left or right hand to adjust the focus most of the time? I see the stage shift position knob is on the right.

Am I supposed to use my left hand to adjust focus and right hand to adjust stage position? Is it critical to have the right side focusing knob? What is the practice that most people do? I see most scope model have focusing knob on both side but this one. Should we need the right side focus adjustment knob?

There is no switch to select the light to either the eyepiece or trinocular. Amscope rep replied to me that "The microscope does not have a switch to select light to go to the eyepiece. You can either use the microscope eyepieces or the camera but not both at the same time." I am not sure what they mean if we do not have the selector to position the prism on the head.

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2711
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#8 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:19 pm

komsan.dbg wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:29 pm
Hi,

After reading the manual, I just realize that the big knob on the right side of T720 is NOT focusing knob, but the light dimming knob!

I am right hand. I am supposed to use the right hand to adjust the focus both coarse and fine. This is my first scope. Does everyone use left or right hand to adjust the focus most of the time? I see the stage shift position knob is on the right.

Am I supposed to use my left hand to adjust focus and right hand to adjust stage position? Is it critical to have the right side focusing knob? What is the practice that most people do? I see most scope model have focusing knob on both side but this one. Should we need the right side focus adjustment knob?

There is no switch to select the light to either the eyepiece or trinocular. Amscope rep replied to me that "The microscope does not have a switch to select light to go to the eyepiece. You can either use the microscope eyepieces or the camera but not both at the same time." I am not sure what they mean if we do not have the selector to position the prism on the head.
At least with hobbyists, focusing and positioning of the stage are the most frequent operations in a microscopy session.
Dimming the illumination is much less frequent.
Old, classical research-grade microscopes, like the ones that are now being sold for small money, were designed by clever engineers who designed them for heavy use. There were focusing knobs on both sides of the microscope. Some mechanical stages had also right-hand and left-hand positioning knobs. In other, sometimes the low-drop knobs could even be installed either on the right-remote corner of the stage or alternatively on the left-remote corner.
Relative low prices of many modern products are achieved (among other tricks) by saving on hardware and keeping only the bare minimum mechanical control parts - knobs, switches... this is never mentioned in the sales promotion advertisements. Apparently, microscopists get used to focusing with one hand only...
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

apochronaut
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Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#9 Post by apochronaut » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:26 pm

I was typing a the same time, I guess. Mostly redundancy below.
Microscopists sometimes choose a microscope that has the ergonomics that they require. More often than not though, they become acquainted with the microscope they have bought or have inherited, and it's function becomes second nature to them.

The better manufacturers offer both left and right controls, where the controls are only on one side. For instance, when removing or loading a slide, it is convenient to use the xy carrier to bring the slide forward along the y axis in order to lift it away from the stage. At the same time you need to release the slide clamping mechanism with preferably the other hand. Since it is also convenient to have the much used xy movement under control of the dominant hand, it is often on the right side therefore and the slide release lever on the left side. On microscopes where they offered an optional left hand xy control on the left side, they also offered a right hsnd slide release.

Focus knobs are ambidextrous, so while it might be advantageous to use the dominant hand for slide movement, the weaker hand would focus. There is nothing to stop one reversing that, though.

BramHuntingNematodes
Posts: 260
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Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#10 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:31 pm

komsan.dbg wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:29 pm

There is no switch to select the light to either the eyepiece or trinocular. Amscope rep replied to me that "The microscope does not have a switch to select light to go to the eyepiece. You can either use the microscope eyepieces or the camera but not both at the same time." I am not sure what they mean if we do not have the selector to position the prism on the head.
The picture on the website has a small metal knurled knob on the right side above the nosepiece that looks like what a prism control knob would look like.

I touch my scope all over from every side when I am using just like hands all over so I don't know about the focus positioning.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

komsan.dbg
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:23 pm

Re: Amscope T720QB and Phase Contrast

#11 Post by komsan.dbg » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:21 pm

My Amscope T720QB has arrived for a couple days. I found that the manual was incorrect. The right knob is actually fine focusing knob, not the light intensity adjustment knob. I feel relieved. The LED light intensity adjustment is on the left below the big left knob. But there is no stage height limiter. Salesman of Amscope did not even bother to have a quick look at the scope to find the correct answer before answering.

The image on my slide looks nice and clear until 400x. I did not try 1000x with oil immersion. They short ship the extra pair of PL 20x eyepieces and shipped only PL10x.

I bought Camera adapter for my SONY A6400 Mirrorless DSLR with built-in 2x lens from another vendor on ebay and it works perfectly. The downside is that I have to focus either to see clear image either on eyepiece or trinocular camera. The focus is not in-sync. It may be possible to make it in sync by moving camera up a little bit but I have to make extended tube to hold the camera as the camera trinocular tube is too short.

I still can see enough light intensity when I can take photo from top camera and view eyepieces at the same time. There is no need to have light prism switch at the top camera. Perhaps some older camera with lower ISO intensity may have problem. I will have to explore and find out some more.

The image quality is quite good to me. This is my first scope and I have no other scope to compare the image. I am very interested in knowing what kind of image I should see if the same specimen is viewed on Nikon or other top 4 brands. I have Nikon D750 DSLR full frame and I am pleased with image quality but Nikon Microscope is way out my budget. Especially for hobby, i have already paid too much for Amscope. I think it can stay with me for the next 20 years and I do not want to end up trying cheap unit and have to buy another better one.

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