camera -> microscope connection

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Crusty
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camera -> microscope connection

#1 Post by Crusty » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:28 pm

My photos come out dark and poorly focused. I don't know if it's incompetence on my part or the inexpensive adapter from I bought from Amazon, (AmScope CA-CAN-NIK-OLY-SLR-II Canon and Nikon SLR). Would it make a huge difference if I bought a good system- lens adapter, camera adapter, and photo eyepiece? I'm playing with a Olympus BH2 and a Nikon 5200 camera.

Thanks ahead of time for answering this question and the others still to come.

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#2 Post by 75RR » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:39 pm

Have a look through the links in this thread from the Resources (online, books etc.) section - they should help you set up the camera.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=882
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#3 Post by btschumy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:14 am

Could you post a link to adapter you bought? The one I found by Amscope was around $89 and had some optics in it.

My guess is it is not the adapter. I started with simple direct projection from the objective into the sensor. I got reasonably good images that way.

More likely you don't have you lighting set up correctly an/or you are having trouble focusing. If y out can get a tethering setup, you can see the live image on your computer and it makes focusing a exposing much easier.
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#4 Post by RudiV » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:15 am

Crusty wrote:My photos come out dark and poorly focused. I don't know if it's incompetence on my part or the inexpensive adapter from I bought from Amazon, (AmScope CA-CAN-NIK-OLY-SLR-II Canon and Nikon SLR). Would it make a huge difference if I bought a good system- lens adapter, camera adapter, and photo eyepiece? I'm playing with a Olympus BH2 and a Nikon 5200 camera.

Thanks ahead of time for answering this question and the others still to come.
Hi Crusty.

I do not think the problem is your adapter, I have 2 of them in use and I am quite happy with them (That is after opening them up to clean the lenses!!). The one is used setup for Canon and the other for Nikon cameras.

Most of the images in the link below were produced using them on an Amscope T690C-PL and Olympus CX41/CH30 scopes using a selection of cameras.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/63900012@ ... 5953981293

Exposure is set manually via software while using live view (Camera in manual mode). To be honest I seldom even look into the eyepieces as I find using live view so much easier and focusing can be very accurate. Stacking becomes a pleasure! Here Canon scores as it has higher live-view resolution than Nikon and also exposure simulation but my Nikon setup (with D7200 and D810) is still fully usable.

Hope you get your setup sorted out as taking photos through a microscope is what really attracted me back to microscopy after about 40 years.

Rudi

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#5 Post by Crusty » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:59 pm

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Please keep in mind that I am very new to this and mechanically clueless. Not all of my pictures are terrible, but they are so dark that they're fuzzy by the time I finish processing them.

Many, if not most of the people on this site and amateurMicography.net seem to use complicated connections between the camera and the microscope. I've been poring over Alan Wood's site (http://www.alanwood.net/photography/oly ... scope.html), which advocates for 3 part connection between camera and microscope- lens adapter, camera adapter, and photo eyepiece. Is this necessary or should I just keep practicing (or both)?

As far as I can most of those who post wonderful, well focused pictures on this site and http://www.amateurmicrography.net use the type of setup that Woods uses, not the cheap adapter that I use. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009O ... UTF8&psc=1).

RudiV- your photos are spectacular. How did you connect your microscope- the Amscope T690C-PL to your cameras?

Your comments lean toward practicing rather than purchasing, which brings up another question- how to make things sharper and brighter. I've played with the camera (EOS and speed), the light intensity on the microscope, the condenser diameter, and the gizmo that sends most of the light through the trinocular tube. I've tethered the camera to a PC using some open source software- digicamcontrol.

Again, thank you all for your thoughtful responses

Crusty

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#6 Post by btschumy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:15 pm

I think the first question is how do things look visually through the scope? Is the illumination good there? Are you able to focus properly? If that is not right we need to deal with that first.
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#7 Post by 75RR » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:29 pm

I think the first question is how do things look visually through the scope?
Agree, the second question is have you set up the camera to be parfocal, as when the sample is in focus simultaneously in both the camera and the eyepieces as per the links I posted?

You also need to be aware that vibration is one of the main causes for unsharp images.
If your camera is prone to vibration (as mine is) then you may have to isolate the camera from a direct connection to the microscope.
Mounting it on a tripod is one way to do this.
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#8 Post by RudiV » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:19 pm

Crusty wrote:RudiV- your photos are spectacular. How did you connect your microscope- the Amscope T690C-PL to your cameras?

Your comments lean toward practicing rather than purchasing, which brings up another question- how to make things sharper and brighter. I've played with the camera (EOS and speed), the light intensity on the microscope, the condenser diameter, and the gizmo that sends most of the light through the trinocular tube. I've tethered the camera to a PC using some open source software- digicamcontrol.

Again, thank you all for your thoughtful responses

Crusty
Hi Crusty.

Thanks! I am using the "AmScope CA-CAN-SLR Canon SLR/DSLR Camera Adapter for Microscopes" adapter (or the Nikon model) directly into the trinocular tube, nothing else needed. It also fits Olympus scopes. For Nikon I use the same software as you and for Canon I prefer the EOS utility.

For bright field work my shutter speed is usually between 1/10 and 1/60 sec. Darkfield/phase needs longer exposures, normally between 1/8 and 1.5 sec. I always shoot at ISO 100.

With the Canon "Exposure simulation" you can see what the photo will look like on the screen as you change parameters. With Nikon it is often best to take a test shot and have a quick look, easy to do from the PC/laptop by browsing to the folder where you are saving or direct to the memory card on the camera. The software you are using can also show you the photos at the bottom if you select that the photos are also saved on the local disk but I have found that a bit unstable causing a few crashes.

After a while you will know what is needed for a specific objective/illumination combination, practice makes perfect!

Have fun,
Rudi

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#9 Post by Crusty » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:04 pm

btschumy wrote:I think the first question is how do things look visually through the scope? Is the illumination good there? Are you able to focus properly? If that is not right we need to deal with that first.
I can focus properly. The microscope is not parfocal. I focus first through the binoculars, then focus the camera through the tethered computer. Is this a problem? The computer screen is focused and it is far brighter than the photo it produces.
75RR wrote:If your camera is prone to vibration (as mine is) then you may have to isolate the camera from a direct connection to the microscope. Mounting it on a tripod is one way to do this.
My camera is probably prone to vibration and it doesn't have a "quiet mode", so your suggestion may be correct. Are you suggesting that I use a tripod over the trinocular observation tube without an adapter or just stabilize the camera with a tripod?

RudiV- We use the same adapter, so throwing money at it will not solve the problem. I saved your exposure advice and I'll use it for my next attempt.

thanks again,
Crusty

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#10 Post by 75RR » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:42 pm

The microscope is not parfocal.
It needs to be parfocal - follow the instructions in the link.
Are you suggesting that I use a tripod over the trinocular observation tube without an adapter...
Yes, place an eyepiece in the trinocular port and place a lens on the camera. This method is called Afocal.
Worth a try if only to check if vibration is a problem.
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#11 Post by Oktagon » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:18 pm

It is relatively easy to phocus digital camera using almost any adapter, whether with projective, or direct coupling. The trick is to achieve confocality with your eyepieces, assuming you are using trinocular head. The idea is to be able to center and focus image looking through eyepieces and capture the image by remotely triggering shutter. Typically you want the camera in the manual mode, ISO setting as low as camera will go (usually 50 or 100), and set exposure time to over a second. 2-5 seconds will get you pretty good results with normal illumination. You can also set exposure bracketing and take several images in a series, and than select the best one. I always use RAW files, as they make adjustments and editing easier than .jpegs. The reason you want long exposure as opposed to short is the vibrations from the SLR shutter (and mirror, if your camera does not allow live view). With long exposure, vibrations which occur in the beginning of exposure and at the and comprise less percentage of the total exposure time, and therefore effect the image to a lesser extent. The other important task is to make sure that your sensor is coaxial with framing through eyepieces, that is what ever is in the center of view through eyepieces should be in the center of frame of the camera. It makes scaling easier in post-processing. This is especially important when cropped sensors are used (1.7 for Canon).

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#12 Post by Crusty » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:50 pm

75RR wrote:It needs to be parfocal - follow the instructions in the link.
Krebs' instructions seem to be predicated on having a microscope with an adjustable trinocular tube. Mine is not. Please tell me if I have misunderstood the essay.
75RR wrote: place an eyepiece in the trinocular port and place a lens on the camera. This method is called Afocal.
This goes to my original question- will I get better photos if I buy the various adapters necessary to join the camera lens to the trinocular tube?
Oktagon wrote:ISO setting as low as camera will go (usually 50 or 100), and set exposure time to over a second.
Thanks for your good advice- I will take it. Just one question- how is it possible to take pictures of living, moving things with such a long exposure time?

thanks again

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#13 Post by 75RR » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:34 pm

Krebs' instructions seem to be predicated on having a microscope with an adjustable trinocular tube. Mine is not. Please tell me if I have misunderstood the essay.
You are correct. The height of the camera does need to be adjustable to achieve parfocality.

In Afocal, you can place a focusing rail on a tripod (as I do) which will give you fine adjustment or use a darkroom copy stand.
In Projection, you can use a tripod, a copy stand or you can build an adjustable photo tube for the BH2. See link:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3430&p=31167&hilit=parfocal#p31167
This goes to my original question- will I get better photos if I buy the various adapters necessary to join the camera lens to the trinocular tube?
Both Afocal and Projection will give you good images.
The one you choose will depend on your camera (vibration) and what attachments you have.

This is the setup Charles Krebs uses with his BH2 (It is a re-purposed darkroom copy stand)
Image
... how is it possible to take pictures of living, moving things with such a long exposure time?
Living yes - well possible anyway, moving no.
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#14 Post by carlh6902 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:20 am

Just a few things to keep in mind with a BH-2.

1) If you're using Olympus objectives, and not their eyepiece or NFK projection lens, you'll get uncorrected (or improperly corrected) images, with significant lateral chromatic aberration. This will limit your results you can achieve, once you work through everything else.

2) Dropping an eyepiece in the Trinoc tube does not put it at the correct location. The eyepiece and NFKs are different. I don't recall the difference, but I seem to recall that it's 10mm one way or the other.

(Edit) Just to clarify #2, the eyepiece will not drop fully into the Trinoc tube, since it's diameter is larger than the NFK. This gives an incorrect (too long) tube length.

I would suggest direct projection in the Trinoc tube, using an NFK, or afocal through one of the two eyepieces, using an Olympus WHK ocular.


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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#15 Post by Crusty » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:25 am

75RR wrote:In Afocal, you can place a focusing rail on a tripod (as I do) which will give you fine adjustment or use a darkroom copy stand.
I think yours is the solution I'm looking for. If it isn't too much trouble, would you send me a picture of your setup so that I can visualize it more clearly? There has to be some sort of physical connection between the camera lens and the NFK eyepiece, even with afocal projection. How did you do that?
carlh6902 wrote: I would suggest direct projection in the Trinoc tube, using an NFK, or afocal through one of the two eyepieces, using an Olympus WHK ocular.
I have NFK 3.3 on the trinocular eyepiece and WHK in the other 2. Is there any reason why an afocal setup should not go through the trinocular eyepiece?

thanks for wisdom and patience,
Crusty

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#16 Post by carlh6902 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:11 am

Crusty-

The eyepiece will not fit fully into the trinocular port, so only an NFK should be used here. If you use an eyepiece here, the tube length will be wrong, and the objectives will not perform at the optimal capability.

Problem with the NFK it that it won't work properly for afocal shots. Only direct projection.

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#17 Post by 75RR » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:20 am

You can use a copy stand/tripod in both Afocal and Projection.
Note that Charles Krebs' setup above is a Projection method, and while my current setup is Afocal, I have used both with my tripod.
I use a tripod because I had one at hand, but a copy stand is a neater/better solution.

There is no need for direct contact between the camera lens and the eyepiece - in fact, it is something to be avoided.
You do however want to cover the space between them* to avoid stray light and dust.
* My current camera lens has a hood which slips down over the trinocular eyepiece.

If carlh6902 says a "normal" eyepiece will not work properly in the BH2 trinocular tube then you should go with projection.
Do note that there is a relationship between the sensor size and the magnification of the NFK projection eyepiece that influences
the area of Field of View (FOV) that is projected on to the sensor.

In this setup there is about 5mm between the eyepiece and the camera lens.
Image
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#18 Post by Crusty » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:19 pm

carlh6902 wrote:so only an NFK should be used here.
I was unclear- I do have a 3.3 NFK which I have read that should be changed to a 2.5. From what I have read, for the projection method I have to drop an eyepiece adapter over that, connect it to a photomicro adapter L. The adapter L is constructed to fit into an Olympus OM camera which I neither have nor want. I have to find one or two adapters to connect the adapter L to my Nikon camera body.
75RR wrote:a copy stand is a neater/better solution.
I might lean towards the tripod because I can use it for more holding the camera, but I'll get advice from the people at B&H.

Just one more question that may or may not make sense. In order to make the microscope parfocal I have to adjust the height of the camera such that the picture coming through the trinocular piece is the same as the picture coming through the 2 eyepieces, correct? With yours or any other setup I can get the camera further from the microscope, but not closer. What if the correct focusing requires that the camera get closer?

Carl and 77RR- thank you both for your guidance. If you think that I am on the right track, I have money to spend and mechanical connections to curse, but I will be back with
more questions.

thanks again,
Crusty

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#19 Post by carlh6902 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:35 am

Crusty wrote:
carlh6902 wrote:so only an NFK should be used here.
I was unclear- I do have a 3.3 NFK which I have read that should be changed to a 2.5. From what I have read, for the projection method I have to drop an eyepiece adapter over that, connect it to a photomicro adapter L. The adapter L is constructed to fit into an Olympus OM camera which I neither have nor want. I have to find one or two adapters to connect the adapter L to my Nikon camera body.
75RR wrote:a copy stand is a neater/better solution.
I might lean towards the tripod because I can use it for more holding the camera, but I'll get advice from the people at B&H.

Just one more question that may or may not make sense. In order to make the microscope parfocal I have to adjust the height of the camera such that the picture coming through the trinocular piece is the same as the picture coming through the 2 eyepieces, correct? With yours or any other setup I can get the camera further from the microscope, but not closer. What if the correct focusing requires that the camera get closer?

Carl and 77RR- thank you both for your guidance. If you think that I am on the right track, I have money to spend and mechanical connections to curse, but I will be back with
more questions.

thanks again,
Crusty
An NFK 2.5 would be better than the 3.3x. You can just drop it in the trinocular head, and arrange a lens-less DSLR with its image sensor plane 125mm above the eyepiece using a copy stand or some similar setup. Alternatively, you can drop in the NFK, attach a photomicro L adapter, and adapt the OM mount on the L adapter to your DSLR. Some camera types can be problematic here, since the camera adapter can mess with the 125mm that the L adapter gives you. Canons work well here, since the adapter from OM to EOS mount makes it all come out right. But when they're rigidly coupled like this, vibration becomes a big deal.

Carl
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#20 Post by Crater Eddie » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:44 am

And don't count on finding an NFK 1.67. They are quite rare and very expensive.

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#21 Post by carlh6902 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:07 am

Crater Eddie,
The 1.67x NFKs are indeed very rare, and damned expensive when you find them. You're probably better off just getting a second-hand full-frame Canon body, for about the same cost either way.

Carl
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#22 Post by carlh6902 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:15 am

Another option for the BH-2 is to use an MTV-3 C-mount adapter with a Nikon J1 or V1 camera. I have not personally tried this, but it sounds good in theory.

Carl
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#23 Post by Crusty » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:11 pm

I would be happy with an NFK 2.5, but at $140 on ebay, they're not totally cheap. I realize that I would probably need to buy a canon body to pull this off. V1s and J1s are hard to find and as expensive as the used rebels I'm contemplating.

One question that occurred to me- will this solution make the camera any more parfocal?

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#24 Post by Crusty » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:39 pm

carlh6902 wrote:Just a few things to keep in mind with a BH-2.

1) If you're using Olympus objectives, and not their eyepiece or NFK projection lens, you'll get uncorrected (or improperly corrected) images, with significant lateral chromatic aberration. This will limit your results you can achieve, once you work through everything else.

2) Dropping an eyepiece in the Trinoc tube does not put it at the correct location. The eyepiece and NFKs are different. I don't recall the difference, but I seem to recall that it's 10mm one way or the other.

(Edit) Just to clarify #2, the eyepiece will not drop fully into the Trinoc tube, since it's diameter is larger than the NFK. This gives an incorrect (too long) tube length.

I would suggest direct projection in the Trinoc tube, using an NFK, or afocal through one of the two eyepieces, using an Olympus WHK ocular.


Carl
Carl- I may have misunderstood your suggestion. If I use an NFK in the trinoc tube as I have been doing, is there any problem using an afocal setup? Afocal is much cheaper and more intuitive (for me) then the other.

thanks,
Deb

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#25 Post by carlh6902 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:47 am

Crusty wrote:
carlh6902 wrote:Just a few things to keep in mind with a BH-2.

1) If you're using Olympus objectives, and not their eyepiece or NFK projection lens, you'll get uncorrected (or improperly corrected) images, with significant lateral chromatic aberration. This will limit your results you can achieve, once you work through everything else.

2) Dropping an eyepiece in the Trinoc tube does not put it at the correct location. The eyepiece and NFKs are different. I don't recall the difference, but I seem to recall that it's 10mm one way or the other.

(Edit) Just to clarify #2, the eyepiece will not drop fully into the Trinoc tube, since it's diameter is larger than the NFK. This gives an incorrect (too long) tube length.

I would suggest direct projection in the Trinoc tube, using an NFK, or afocal through one of the two eyepieces, using an Olympus WHK ocular.


Carl
Carl- I may have misunderstood your suggestion. If I use an NFK in the trinoc tube as I have been doing, is there any problem using an afocal setup? Afocal is much cheaper and more intuitive (for me) then the other.

thanks,
Deb
I "think" (but I don't know for sure) that the NFK is not suitable for afocal photography. The NFK is essentially a projector lens, which projects a 'real' image 125mm away. If the camera sensor is situated exactly there, voila.

Maybe others can explain why I'm wrong, if it turns that out the NFK CAN be used afocally, or can at least explain why it can't be used afocally.

Olympus also made a BH2-PT, which replaces the binoc or Trinoc head, and provides a straight mono tube. I think an eyepiece would fit this, and then you could shoot down it afocally with no problem. I know where one of these can be found, for about $75. PM me if you're interested.

For that matter, you can just shoot afocally through the standard eyepieces in the binoc head with your cell phone. The hard part is holding proper alignment, but it can be made to work amazingly well.

Carl
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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#26 Post by Crusty » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:24 am

Got it. Direct projection it is. thanks

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#27 Post by Oktagon » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:28 am

Oktagon wrote:ISO setting as low as camera will go (usually 50 or 100), and set exposure time to over a second.
Thanks for your good advice- I will take it. Just one question- how is it possible to take pictures of living, moving things with such a long exposure time?

thanks again[/quote]

It is not. This is for stationary objects. If your specimen moves, you have no choice but to use short exposure. Low magnifications will tolerate some vibration, but without extremely solid stand, or ability to isolate camera body from the microscope you will not bow able to get sharp images. The other option is to do frame grabs out of video feed.

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Re: camera -> microscope connection

#28 Post by Crusty » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:48 pm

I've taken a few videos of moving animals and gotten a few stills from that.

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