Greetings from potentially new microscopist

What is your microscopy history? What are your interests? What equipment do you use?
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wmodavis
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Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#1 Post by wmodavis » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:00 pm

At present I do not have a microscope but have a cause that is compelling me to join the ranks.
I have no experience with microscopes.
I am a retired electronics design engineer going on 73 with a big curiosity.

What is compelling me in this direction? I have an interest in viewing, analyzing and perhaps quantifying various emulsion properties. That only defines my starting point because as I have been reading on the subject I am becoming aware of the vast universe under the objective.

One of my chief quandaries at this point is in selecting the correct microscope without being to limiting of future use of this new to me device. In other words I cannot afford to us too many of them. That said neither do I plan to go so cheap as to prevent real usefulness.

So far with respect to the device itself here is what I am thinking of getting (at least in a general sense).
1. Compound for adequate magnification (40 to perhaps 2000) to view emulsions which I understand can be quite small some even likely beyond the viewing capability of a light microscope.
2. Best objectives I can afford and perhaps the plan infinity achromatic variety to allow insertion of potential contrast improving devices in the optical path and provide some correction.
3. Leaning toward wide to extreme widefield capabilities. Not quite sure how objective & ocular specifications interact to maximize clarity. My understanding is higher widefield improves resolution.
4. Trinocular head for possible addition of camera for future documentation.
5. Likely LED lighting.
6. Would at least like to have potential of adding contrast increasing devices. Not sure at this time if needed for viewing emulsions but a fascinating potential add-on down the road.
7. ???

Well that is what brings me here where I am learning a lot. Comments, ideas, corrections to possible wayward thinking on this and all kinds of help are welcome as I barely know what I'm doing and about to drop $$$ so prefer not to make big mistakes in this new endeavor.

Bill
Bill Davis
Olympus BH-2/BHS and BH-2/BHT both with trinoc head.

Charles
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#2 Post by Charles » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:18 pm

Welcome Bill,

To be able to recommend a particular type of microscope it would be good to know what types of emulsions you going to be analyzing? Does it require top lighting (epi), transmitted lighting, or both? Does it require polarization and rotating the specimen? Magnification over about 1200X is probably not realistic as you will only get empty magnification...bigger subject but no additional resolution.

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wmodavis
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#3 Post by wmodavis » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:19 pm

Charles Thanks for the reply. I am on a steep learning curve on this and am aware, at least superficially, of those items you mentioned. Since this is mostly a curiosity thing at this point there really no specific emulsions to name. It seems that the most likely branch of microscopy I can become involved in is transmitted light though I have seen top lighting accessories. Also have seen add-on polarizers to enhance contrast. I am not quite sure how to determine microscope resolution though do know that will likely be the limiting factor in examining small (but I don't know how small) emulsion particles. Of course I'd, at least in my mind, like to look at really small ones but can't go with an electron microscope. Just wanting at this point to pick the best options for what my current interest is and branching out with a new hobby without wasting too much. Probably this first microscope will have to last me for a good while.
Bill Davis
Olympus BH-2/BHS and BH-2/BHT both with trinoc head.

JimT
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#4 Post by JimT » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:38 pm

Welcome Bill. Good place to learn a lot.

My first advice is start with a good quality inexpensive trinocular scope and do not be taken with magnification claims.
A compound light scope is limited to its resolution capability which means up to about 1000x.

If you get absorbed into this hobby (like the rest of us) you can always upgrade as your interest and knowledge increases.

Don't hesitate to ask questions.

JimT

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KurtM
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#5 Post by KurtM » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:28 am

Another first fork in the road encountered is whether you want to buy new or used. Some like getting spanking new shiny things out of bright packaging and having manuals and customer support etc., while others believe there's more bang for the buck going used. There are lots of both types of us here.

Here's a little web page I put up to explain my microscope hobby to my astronomy friends, perhaps it may be of some help:
http://sawdustfactory.nfshost.com/microscopes/
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
League City, Texas
email: ngc704(at)aol(dot)com
https://www.flickr.com/photos/67904872@ ... 912223623/

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Oliver
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#6 Post by Oliver » Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:48 am

hello Bill and welcome to the forum,
1. Compound for adequate magnification (40 to perhaps 2000) to view emulsions which I understand can be quite small some even likely beyond the viewing capability of a light microscope.
as already said, 1000x is theoretical maximum (10x eyepiece and 100x objective). Everything more is a marketing thing. And 1000x is already more than you need for most cases.
2. Best objectives I can afford and perhaps the plan infinity achromatic variety to allow insertion of potential contrast improving devices in the optical path and provide some correction.
Plan: if you want to do ohotography
Infinity: very expensive and company specific (Leica, Olympus, Nikon, Zeiss). Mostly found on high end microscopes, not necessary but nice to have. Probably best to start off with a low cost (nin infinity) microscope and then upgrade later, as the cost of infinity is possibly so much higher that the cost of the first microscope can be ignored......

Achromatic is standard anyway, Apochromatic is expensive (photography)
3. Leaning toward wide to extreme widefield capabilities. Not quite sure how objective & ocular specifications interact to maximize clarity. My understanding is higher widefield improves resolution.
Field of width is determined by eyepiece. Field number is relevant. Field of width does not interact with resolution (using the definition of resolution that microscopists use, sharpness of detail). when widefield eyepieces are used, then sides can be blurry if non-plan objectives used.
7. Trinocular head for possible addition of camera for future
Yes! And Köhler illumination to increase contrast for photography.
at least like to have potential of adding contrast increasing devices. Not sure at this time if needed for viewing emulsions but a fascinating potential add-on down the road.
If emulsions are really an important topic, then phase contrast might be the way to go, if the particles are not colored. phase contrast converts differences in refractive index to brigtness.

Oliver
Last edited by Oliver on Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image Oliver Kim - http://www.microbehunter.com - Microscopes: Olympus CH40 - Olympus CH-A - Breukhoven BMS student microscope - Euromex stereo - uSCOPE MXII

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zzffnn
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#7 Post by zzffnn » Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:11 pm

Welcome, Bill!

I would suggest to follow Oliver's suggestions, word by word.

I will add a few points:

What is your maximum budget? If you have either of the extreme ends, such $100 or $2000, then you may take a different approach.

Contrast devices may cost a bit and limit your scope of choice. Many senior microscopists here buy 2nd or 3rd scope just to get another contrast device.

So maybe figure out what contrast device you need first. I am guessing that might be phase contrast in your case. Some high quality used scopes with phase contrast can be bought, for a lot less than equivalent new ones. AO Spencer, Bausch & Lomb, Olympus, Nikon, Zeiss and Leitz all offers phase contrast (your cost goes up from AO to Leitz, in general).

New scope without phase contrast may be cheaper to start with, but when you add their phase contrast kit, you may end up paying more.

Wide field will significantly limit your choice and cost you a lot. Wide field may actually reduce edge resolution and clarity. For most people, even those with strong eyeglasses like myself, a field number of 18 is enough.

You don't have to have infinity optics to get contrast devices.

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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#8 Post by gekko » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:33 pm

Welcome Bill!

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wmodavis
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#9 Post by wmodavis » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:07 am

Wow! Thanks guys for chiming in. Lots of helpful suggestions some of which I'd not looked into so I'll keep hitting the books as I seem to have some time and don't really want to rush into a bad decision. The emulsion thing just pricked my interest so not really sure how relevant it is in the long term. I have been looking around at used microscopes as was suggested. Thanks for that Sawdustfactory link. Some good stuff in there. I'm pleased to find such a range of resources. At least it seems like a lot when you don't know much. I like the learning part I'm into right now. Already thinking of lots of things I want to look at around here. I'm sure to get some questions as time goes on. This is a great place to learn. Also no real budget yet but the $1K range seems where I might start. Just sold a 60ft ham radio tower which put some coin in the bank. Again thanks for all your input.
Bill Davis
Olympus BH-2/BHS and BH-2/BHT both with trinoc head.

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Dale
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#10 Post by Dale » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:35 am

Welcome Bill, you are in the right place. Friendly and superbly knowledgeable members. I started out a year ago just
like you, computer degree, ham radio (K7MPZ), and 73 yrs young. Totally unprepared for the advancements in
microscopy hardware, but wanting one of those shiny Amscopes. I only own 3 1/2 scopes now, but the lesson I
learned here is to put your specimen first. If all you do is 15 meter dx would you want a 3 element tri-bander or
a 6 element monbander? Apply your engineering principles to this and you'll do well. 73
Dale
B&L Stereozoom 4. Nikon E600. AO Biostar 1820.

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wmodavis
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#11 Post by wmodavis » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:11 pm

Thanks Dale.
You do paint a clear picture.
For the moment I am reading reams way out of my area of expertise and learning a lot. I think you're right on with the 'friendly and superbly knowledgeable' description. I've always liked the technical side of things but there is more to focus on in my prime hopefully I cane do it with suitable contrast. You give me hope.

Bill - K7IRC/0
Bill Davis
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Dale
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#12 Post by Dale » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:07 pm

I bet we talked, I mean QSO'd in the 60's. From dreams of a Collins S-Line I have moved to a Nikon
Zeiss line!
I spent an hour looking at emulsion images, and learned zip.
Here are two of my favorite learning sites:
1. http://www.olympusmicro.com/index.html
2. http://www.microscopyu.com/
cq dx cq dx cq dx oh, sorry, wrong forum
Dale
B&L Stereozoom 4. Nikon E600. AO Biostar 1820.

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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#13 Post by wmodavis » Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:06 am

Dale I also like those two sites Have learned lots there as well as here. Yup Collins was likely every ones dream though I just had Heathkit and Halicrafter. So I may dream of the Nikons & Olympus might end up with a plastic scope from the science store up the street. Hopefully some middle ground. Tell me what you found out about emulsions.
Bill Davis
Olympus BH-2/BHS and BH-2/BHT both with trinoc head.

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Dale
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Re: Greetings from potentially new microscopist

#14 Post by Dale » Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:47 am

I googled emusion microscopy - images. I found the replys in this thread of the most value.
What general kinds of emulsions does an EE find entertaining?
There are scopes similar to our old dreams. I probably have the optical equivalent
of a KWM2, an American Optical 10. l re-read everything I read on this forum until I
understand it, the 'a ha' moments are priceless.
Dale
B&L Stereozoom 4. Nikon E600. AO Biostar 1820.

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