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Can phase contrast objectives be used for normal brightfield without a real downgrade in resolution? I was planning to buy a microscope only including the zernike phase contrast condenser, but I'd like to also have the option to view specimen in brightfield.
The phase plate in the objective will reduce the resolution somewhat. But I think that there are other factors that can outweigh the loss of quality (dust, mounting medium etc).... A wrong condenser aperture setting will also reduce the resolution and I still often use it, because I get a larger depth of field, for example.
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