Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

Here you can discuss different microscopic techniques and illumination methods, such as Brightfield, Darkfield, Phase Contrast, DIC, Oblique illumination, etc.
Post Reply
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 2:52 pm

Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

#1 Post by Apteryx » Sat May 04, 2019 2:44 pm

Hi All, my first post at this site. I’ve just bought the first serious stereomicroscope, a Wild M7A (I attached a picture of it). The optical quality is excellent but it lacks any kind of lighting. I’ll use the microscope mainly to see entomological and paleontological samples, but also to observe other kinds of microscopic stuff. The microscope’s stand is quite simple but it has a mirror inside and allows vision in transmitted light. I’d like to get a complete lighting system (transmitted + incident) but I don't know if it's worth buying a traditional system (with halogen lights, or a fiber optic system) or a LED system (often cheaper). Can someone recommend a system suited to my needs? Thanks in advance, Fabio
wild m7a.jpg
wild m7a.jpg (481.05 KiB) Viewed 2519 times

Posts: 2381
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:24 am
Location: NorthWest England

Re: Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

#2 Post by MichaelG. » Sat May 04, 2019 5:06 pm

Welcome, Fabio ... Nice stereo you have there !!

Suitable LED for transillumination should be very easy to configure.

Too many 'projects'

Posts: 2890
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

#3 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat May 04, 2019 7:04 pm

There are several possibilities.

Perhaps the cheapest commercial solution is a 60/144 LED ring, which fits around the nose (the objective front lenses) and shines downwards. Usually the light is cool-white. It comes with a built-in dimmer.
1. Cheap (eBay from the Far East - a few tens of dollars)
2. Fairly uniform epi-illumination (at least as judged by eye vision)
3. Easily mounted on the scope with three thumb-screws (but verify that the inner diameter fits your scope).
1. Bulges downwards and sideways, so limits the working space under the objectives, for example in dissection of specimens
2. Dimming is not smooth - this is not critical at least for me
3. Shadow-less illumination, not ideal for photography.

A fairly popular solution for epi-illumination is a halogen or LED gooseneck, like Ikea Jansjo desk lamps (very inexpensive), or fiber-optics illuminators. The latter, if a brand (Dolan-Jenner for example) are more expensive.

I find that both epi- and trans- illuminators make the stereoscope very useful. I made a simple DIY LED strip illuminator for trans-illumination, see here
The diffuser can be 1-2 layers of a thin plastic cloth. Other versions might be even simpler, like a 3W SMD LED instead of the LED strip. Forum member mrsonchus suggested a commercial flat LED illuminator for trans-illumination.

With the mirror in the base of your scope, there are other possibilities, using an external lamp.

Hope this helps.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 2:52 pm

Re: Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

#4 Post by Apteryx » Sat May 04, 2019 9:37 pm

Hi, thanks for the answers. Actually the optical fiber solution is a bit expensive (I saw Schott or Dolan-Jenner stuff on ebay and it would cost more or less what I paid for the microscope). I could start with a pair of gooseneck lights (Ikea's lights are cheap but I don't know if their 1.5 watt light bulbs have enough power). Even if my microscope is not the best model for photography, in the future I’d like to try to take pictures: in that case the led ring maybe couldn’t be the best choice and the warm halogen lights probably would work better. Thanks again, Fabio

Posts: 953
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:09 pm

Re: Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

#5 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat May 04, 2019 10:07 pm

If you are in the us, a used 150w halogen illuminator can be had for under 100 with a dual gooseneck with a bit of shopping (here is one for 100 which I found in the forst few results, no doubt there are cheaper ones to be had too). These are really excellent tools and well worth the cost. I have a bunch of different brands and I don't think it makes a big difference for this kind of work, just get the cheapest working condition one you can find with a dual stiff gooseneck already attached. They are nice as a totally independant tool since they will be useful for any stereo microscope, and the same type is used on a top end research stereo as an intro stereo so you are unlikely to need to change or upgrade.
That being said, as far as a cheap and easy option an led ring light is very convenient and does provide useful illumination.

Posts: 1288
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:03 am

Re: Lighting system for a Wild stereomicroscope

#6 Post by einman » Sun May 05, 2019 2:28 am

I have many light sources ranging from the cheap Ikea LED lamps, which by the way have more than sufficient light, to the more expesnive Leica LED illumination systems selling for hundreds of dollars.

The best value is the LED IKEA lamp for about $10. I have 6 of them. Although I prefer different lighting depending on my objective. LED lighting tends to be colder and whiter, or put it another way harsh. So for certain situations I prefer halogen lighting. I have acquired several Halogen Dual gooseneck as well as ring illuminators. They can be had for as little as $50 if you are patient. I purchased those I own for less than $75 each.


Post Reply