Microscope selection question

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mkv
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Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:03 am

Microscope selection question

#1 Post by mkv » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:58 am

Hi all,

I'm going to buy my first microscope and after some online research I'm going for Amscope's T490-DK. It will be for hobby use for me and my daughter, mostly to observe pond life and look at biology specimens. There are two options with the only difference in eyepieces/price:
- T490A with 10x, 16x eyepieces for 440 eur
- T490B with 10x, 20x eyepieces for 400 eur

I assume I won't use the 20x eyepiece at all. From what I've read the 16x could be usable with 40x objectives. Now to my question - is the 16x eyepiece worth the extra 40 eur or should I just buy the cheaper one with 10x (and not use 20x) and use the money to buy an additional objective (chinese 60x PLANACHRO)?

MicroBob
Posts: 2194
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Microscope selection question

#2 Post by MicroBob » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:27 pm

Hi,
for people with good eyesight eyepieces over 10x are only useful for special applications like counting or when used with high resolving apochromatic objectives.
So I would suggest the cheaper set.
For plancton a 10:1, 20:1 and 40:1 objective set is very useful.
Dry 60:1 objectives - some people love them, some hate them.

Bob

Chris Dee
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:02 pm

Re: Microscope selection question

#3 Post by Chris Dee » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:23 pm

Personally I find my Chinese 60x Plan Achromat useful, but careful slide preparation is needed for best results.

apochronaut
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 12:15 am

Re: Microscope selection question

#4 Post by apochronaut » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:21 pm

I see that the Amscope U.S. site has the same model at $ 420.00, so about 380.00 €. and with only the 10X eyepieces included.
On the other hand the U.K. site has the T490 B at 340.00 € right now. You never know with Amscope. Each day opens up a Hallowe'en bag.

Regarding a 60X objective, I am assuming that what they are offering is this one. https://www.amscope.co.uk/60x-achromati ... scope.html. Objectives at Amscope are even more trick or treat. While they list 3 , 60X .85 achromats in the U.S. listings, none are from the exact series that is on the T490. Here is the exact one; https://www.ebay.com/itm/RMS-DIN-Compou ... Swl9BWHUmj but out of India, and imported to India from China!

Amscope does not appear to carry the 60X objective for that series of objectives that they sell.
I would be careful of the U.K. supplier. It is minimal to say the least. A search for objectives, brings up 5 or 7 in total , depending on the words one uses. It is clearly set up to sell and not service.

Whether another 60X objective in their larder, for example the one linked to above would be o.k. is likely because it is also likely that various styles of D.I.N. objectives in any given category coming out of Chinese factories are different in barrel style only. I would want to make sure that the parfocality on that 60X is accurate at the very least.

PeteM
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Location: N. California

Re: Microscope selection question

#5 Post by PeteM » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:22 pm

As other suggest, just the 10x eyepieces would be your best bet.

I'd spend the extra to upgrade from achromat to plan achromat objectives.

mkv
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:03 am

Re: Microscope selection question

#6 Post by mkv » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:02 pm

Thanks for all the help guys, I went with Amscope T490A-PL-HC2 (the camera is basically a freebie 2MP...). I've played with it a bit already and although as an amateur I can't really compare it to anything other than toy microscopes, both me and my daughter are satisfied. I've made a quick darkfield stop out of a CD case which works nicely with 4x/10x.

I'll forget the 60x for now and get a 20x as I feel that is the middle ground I lack more than 60x. Even 40x is sometimes too much for me at the moment.
Next I'll play with proper sample preparation and staining and I'll also be ordering some Rheinberg filters.

Although the 2MP does not really do the scope justice (it's much better via eyepieces), here's some samples:

Pineapple leaf ("pro" staining with saffron spice and daughters blue paint)
20191229212847.jpg
20191229212847.jpg (99.82 KiB) Viewed 1328 times
20191223225259.jpg
20191223225259.jpg (112.81 KiB) Viewed 1328 times

Some worm smiled at us :)
20191228224834.jpg
20191228224834.jpg (35.65 KiB) Viewed 1328 times
20191228224811.jpg
20191228224811.jpg (33.22 KiB) Viewed 1328 times

A rotifer cyst waking up:
https://youtu.be/Yb1lE5VZzaE

MicroBob
Posts: 2194
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Microscope selection question

#7 Post by MicroBob » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:39 pm

Hi,
your images are actually quite ok after a bit of editing. Microscope images for web presentation don't really need more than two megapixels, as long as the image quality is good at this pixel level. I have reset the white point and moved the curves a bit and unsharp masked, all with GIMP free software.

For botanic sections there are a couple of simultaneous differentiating stains like Wacker W3A and Etzold FCA and variants. These stain different parts of the section differently and actually increase the information visible in the image. Euparal is an easy to use mountant for botanic sections, maybe you can get hold of these things.

Bob
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mkv
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:03 am

Re: Microscope selection question

#8 Post by mkv » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:41 pm

Thanks, getting stains/mountants and learning some photo editing is on my todo list.

MicroBob
Posts: 2194
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Microscope selection question

#9 Post by MicroBob » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:46 pm

Where do you live? Maybe a forum member can point you towards a source for this stuff. In a couple of countries there are microscopy groups that can offer help and impulses.
Quite a few things can be done with generally available ingredients,Walter Dioni has collected a lot of recipes of this type. He wrote a little book on this, but most of his articles are online at micscape magazine.
If you have access to the optimal stuff you are well advised to buy it because you can get stunning results with little effort like this: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7013&p=62093&hilit= ... ria#p62093

As an amateur, especially when working with children, one has to be quite conscious of the fact that many microscopy information sources freely use chemicals that are far from household compatible. I just started with paraffine embedding and in the standard book Romeis: "Mikroskopische Technik" one gets the advice to easily create a rough surface on slides for pencil marking by use of hydrofluoric acid with the remark "Attention - don't breathe vapours". It is in fact completely stupid to use such a dangerous chemical to copy something that can be bought cheaply from the factory!!! I have no idea how such an advice could have been written in 1989. :shock: So better keep this ideosyncrasy in mind when reading recipes.
On the other hand a lot of quite amateur compatible methods have been developed over the years that can be used at home very satisfactorily, like the one I show in the link above.

Bob

mkv
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:03 am

Re: Microscope selection question

#10 Post by mkv » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:45 pm

Slovakia. I'll be ordering via Internet (ebay or similar) as local companies either sell only to companies or have large markups. I'm in no rush so I'll start by educating myself, I haven't read any biology books since high school despite liking the subject. And I'm already reading micscape so I suppose I'll get there :)

I won't be letting my children anywhere near the stains/mountants and I'll be getting ones that are as safe as possible (avoiding fumes, very high/low PH, very toxic), hence the educating myself remark. Regarding safety, I think that was actually quite common, safety issues/regulations are created after incidents and not before. When I was 10-12 I attended an diy electronics club and most of the time we drew PCBs with asphalt ink, etched with ferric chloride, then cleaned the asphalt with acetone. No protection, no ventilation, around 10 children in small classrom :)

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