Hi, noob from Alabama here...

What is your microscopy history? What are your interests? What equipment do you use?
Post Reply
Message
Author
Captain_Howdy1
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:48 am

Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#1 Post by Captain_Howdy1 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:58 am

Hi everyone,

Real name is Wes. About me...I am approaching 50 real fast as I am almost 47 so I guess I am a middle aged guy at this point in my life. Guess we will all get old if we live long enough and that's not a bad thing. I have always enjoyed science be it natural science, physical science, life science, or chemical science. In my youth I had wanted to be a history teacher but I came up poor and ended up joining the USAF right out of high school serving as a crew chief for 8 years. Currently I still serve as a civilian aviation contract mechanic at a large aviation helicopter training facility. And although I wouldn't trade my past service for anything I still dabble in minor learning...be it building my own computers, looking through a telescope, or having a few too many drinks and blowing the door off the microwave in the middle of the night fooling around with a mix of water and sugar and potassium nitrate and...anyway...you get the picture...I am almost a jack of all trades but master of none...so

There I was...with my wife in Toys'R'Us. When I seen some cheap old kiddie microscope for half off. I thought what the heck...last time I looked through one I was in the 7th grade. The teach let all of us students look through it for like 30 seconds. I could have peered into that thing for weeks! So I bought it. A week later I bought another microscope from Ebay. An AmScope T490B. I picked up a few accessories with it. I guess I should have known better. But I was bitten I say!

Another one of my many hobbies is long range shooting. I will tell someone in a heartbeat to stay far away from a Chinese riflescope. Chinese glass and their riflecopes are junk. Poor optical quality aside it's the tracking and the fact that the scope will break that keeps me away...

But...I digress...I bought a chinese made microscope anyway. I have had this thing for several weeks now and I have very mixed feelings about it. There are times when it surprises me with its abilities to bring an image out of the depths but yet I am disappointed when I just cant focus the subject into clarity. I guess one could almost compare it to being sweet and sour at the same time. As a mechanic and amature machinist I find lots of very minor faults with this thing that equate to nothing more than sloppiness in manufacturing and assembly process or basic quality control. It's very frustrating when it has the potential to be an outstanding product.

All that said, I will say that I have indeed enjoyed myself even though I have done so feeling a little gypped. I have taken pictures and posted on facebook and put videos on youtube. Most importantly I have studied and grown a new brain cell or so in the process and enjoyed several strong drinks peering into the optics trying to drive those new brain cells back!!!

I've never been happy watching or seeing things done by others...I want to see and do myself...the small world is truly a wondrous place!

I hope to learn and see what others here have seen before me! Through my own eyes!

User avatar
zzffnn
Posts: 2711
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:57 am
Location: Houston, Texas
Contact:

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#2 Post by zzffnn » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:43 am

Welcome to the forum, Wes.

AmScope T490B is mechanically and optically decent, but can be better for the price.

You said you cannot "focus subject into clarity". Please explain in detail. What subject, which objective were you using and did you use a cover slip?

I could be wrong, but I am guessing the scope is not to be blamed. You might be using its 40x objective and looking at a pond water sample with too much water under cover slip? Too much water under cover slip is the most common cause of failure to focus clearly. Plane of focus is also naturally very thin for objective equal or more power than 40x; too thick of a water layer just makes that worse. That is no way around it, except for removing some water under cover slip.

User avatar
75RR
Posts: 6259
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:34 am
Location: Estepona

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#3 Post by 75RR » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:24 am

Welcome
... I am approaching 50 real fast as I am almost 47 so I guess I am a middle aged guy at this point in my life.
I would have gone with a convertible sports car! ;)
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2163
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#4 Post by Hobbyst46 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:25 pm

Welcome aboard Captain,
Captain_Howdy1 wrote:I am almost a jack of all trades but master of none...
Given your experience with methodical machinist's projects, you have a very good starting point in microscopy.
A significant fraction of the handling and usage of home microscopes is mechanics...
I would avoid, and easily diagnose focusing problems, by starting every session at a fixed standard point:
for example -
verify that the microscope is clean and orderly,
no immersion oil residues anywhere,
a well-known (to me) specimen slide - onion skin, insect wing, diatom, anything that is easy to recognize
the 10x (or lower mag) objective in the optical path,
parfocality between the camera and eyepieces,
Kohler illumination, this includes proper alignment of the condenser
Next I tweak things around for my specific purpose.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Captain_Howdy1
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:48 am

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#5 Post by Captain_Howdy1 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:50 am

Wish I could have gotten back sooner. But had a medical emergency with my puppy yesterday...he's ok now so I am thankful

I think I made an obvious miscommunication about clear focus on my microscope. That is my fault. And yes I always start on the lowest power and adjust condenser to each subject accordingly and the illumination as well. I don't have a Kohler adapter and I am unsure if there is a way to instal one as well. I've tried the oil objective a few times and to be honest I don't see myself as using it very often.

I have mainly looked at small things from my aquarium and the 'green' tank I have growing whatever "GOD" 'sees fit' that is sitting on the back patio and also some moss I picked from around my A/C unit.

I guess I just might be really too hard or picky about what I see. Because while I can see the little guys the little defects jump out at me as well...being an aircraft mechanic makes me a bit OCD I am sure. I have real issues with color shift and aberration errors. I don't know what the microscope guys call what I am about to say here: edge distortion, but as a rifle shooter looking through a high end rifle scope edge distortion drives me nuts...color drop off, light diffusion, image skewing....I am sure I will learn the suitable terminology for what I am seeing but you get the idea. It's like when I know I have white light illumination but the edge of the field of view shows up blue or the camera is even imaging it the same way...I'll get it straight. No matter. I have still enjoyed myself so far.

I am going to try and link a video I put on youtube a while back. I think these guys are paramecium of some type. If not correct me and I will edit my description. The 3.1 mp AmScope camera cant keep up...and these particular guys are very small...if I remember I was viewing this slide under the 40x objective.

https://youtu.be/foUYSgmoegQ

So tell me what you think...and I'll try to settle in and be more realistic of what I am looking at.

Thanks,
Wes

Edit:

Another video I had saved. Unknown worm. 4x. I think, maybe 10 at most. From my Cichlid tank, I have an isolated plant grow out basket floating up top that I let a few different types grow in for them to have a green treat occasionally, as with all types of things green comes algae and unknown boogers!

https://youtu.be/SwWBR_yVz_o

User avatar
coominya
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:33 am
Location: Brisbane Aust

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#6 Post by coominya » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:41 am

Welcome Wes, hope you find many hours of enjoyment with the hobby. It has so many levels, so many variations that you never get bored.
75RR wrote: I would have gone with a convertible sports car! ;)
No way, a Japanese or European motorcycle, hands down :twisted:

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2163
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#7 Post by Hobbyst46 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:13 am

Captain_Howdy1 wrote: Because while I can see the little guys the little defects jump out at me as well......I'll get it straight.
Having seen the video clips, they are nice and fairly clear. It is difficult to reach accurate focus on a moving object, let alone rapid swimmers like Paramecia. Need to slow them down somehow.
Question: Do they look sharper and crispier on eye view than in the video clips? if so, there might be a slight parfocality issue between the camera and
eyepieces.

The bluish hue could result from a color filter, or from the white balance setting of the camera.
Seems to me that the algae and worm video was shot under darkfield view; darkfield illumination declines with depth of field so the worm appears to be in the dark...
I have real issues with color shift and aberration errors...color drop off, light diffusion, image skewing....I am sure I will learn the suitable terminology for what I am seeing but you get the idea. It's like when I know I have white light illumination but the edge of the field of view shows up blue or the camera is even imaging it the same way
Apart from the bluish hue, I think that those specific issues you mention are not discernible from the clips. A thin colored rim around an otherwise white field of view, for example, is not necessarily an "issue". Still pictures of flat, thin, reasonably uniform-texture specimens (examples: stage micrometer; plant/animal cells; very thin fibres) will better demonstrate the capability of the optics.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

User avatar
IanW
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:58 pm
Location: Lancashire England

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#8 Post by IanW » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:55 am

75RR wrote:Welcome
... I am approaching 50 real fast as I am almost 47 so I guess I am a middle aged guy at this point in my life.
I would have gone with a convertible sports car! ;)
I did:-)
Zeiss Jena NF, Zeiss Standard 18 and WL

Captain_Howdy1
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:48 am

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#9 Post by Captain_Howdy1 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:59 am

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Captain_Howdy1 wrote: Because while I can see the little guys the little defects jump out at me as well......I'll get it straight.
Having seen the video clips, they are nice and fairly clear. It is difficult to reach accurate focus on a moving object, let alone rapid swimmers like Paramecia. Need to slow them down somehow.
Question: Do they look sharper and crispier on eye view than in the video clips? if so, there might be a slight parfocality issue between the camera and
eyepieces.

The bluish hue could result from a color filter, or from the white balance setting of the camera.
Seems to me that the algae and worm video was shot under darkfield view; darkfield illumination declines with depth of field so the worm appears to be in the dark...
I have real issues with color shift and aberration errors...color drop off, light diffusion, image skewing....I am sure I will learn the suitable terminology for what I am seeing but you get the idea. It's like when I know I have white light illumination but the edge of the field of view shows up blue or the camera is even imaging it the same way
Apart from the bluish hue, I think that those specific issues you mention are not discernible from the clips. A thin colored rim around an otherwise white field of view, for example, is not necessarily an "issue". Still pictures of flat, thin, reasonably uniform-texture specimens (examples: stage micrometer; plant/animal cells; very thin fibres) will better demonstrate the capability of the optics.
I didn't have any color filters installed...but the camera does strange things. The optics look ok using the 4x and 10x objectives. And I absolutely love using the darkfield condenser. It actually brings out colors that the brightfield seems to wash out entirely. Those clips really didn't show what I was talking about. I haven't really saved anything showing my complaints as I don't like looking at stuff that annoys me. I actually liked looking at the worm video. I shared it because I thought it was cool looking. The paramecia disappointed me a little as I was hoping I would have been able to see more detail on the internal structure but if this is a correct image for this scope then I will be happy with it.

Captain_Howdy1
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:48 am

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#10 Post by Captain_Howdy1 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:14 am

IanW wrote:
75RR wrote:Welcome
... I am approaching 50 real fast as I am almost 47 so I guess I am a middle aged guy at this point in my life.
I would have gone with a convertible sports car! ;)
I did:-)
I have a Harley in the garage. One I really don't ride as much as I used to or should. But the way other people drive any more I don't know...

I had a fast sports car when I was younger...I'd sooner have a good running comfortable 4wd truck. Something with lots of room and power that can tow my boat, go off road, or that I can do work with if need. More room to haul stuff back and forth to the gun range or the fishing hole...

I hate riding in a convertible...can't stand the dirty feeling in my hair at the end of a long ride ;)

Captain_Howdy1
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:48 am

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#11 Post by Captain_Howdy1 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:43 am

thank you all for the welcomes and the time you have given reading my post! I will ask one question before I get this thread off topic too much and I'll let it go and move on to a different subsection.

Since you guys seem to know your stuff do any of you know whether or not the AmScope Plan Achro objectives would be worth the cost to upgrade or would I notice enough difference to warrant spending the money?

I thought about maybe just getting the 4x and the 10x to see if really liked them, I use those objectives the most any way, especially the 10x. I kinda wish there was a good option between the 10x and the 40x and between the 40x and the 100x I have seen a 20x and a 60x. It seems like those would be a good fit but since it looks to be uncommon size perhaps there are issues with them?

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2163
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#12 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:03 am

Captain_Howdy1 wrote:...I have seen a 20x and a 60x. It seems like those would be a good fit but since it looks to be uncommon size perhaps there are issues with them?
The 20x, 50x, 60x (or 63x) are standard magnifications, at least for professional microscopists.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

User avatar
75RR
Posts: 6259
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:34 am
Location: Estepona

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#13 Post by 75RR » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:46 pm

Standard microscope configurations tend to be 4x, 10x, 40x and 100x

In practice most people do not use the 100x very much, preferring to use dry objectives.

In this case 4x, 10x, 20x and 40x makes much more sense.

The 60x is a nice magnification but is harder to use as it is more demanding. It not only requires a very precise setup but it also has a smaller working distance.

Depending on the manufacturer there are several intermediate magnification objectives available.

I have 6.3x, 16x, 25x and 40x set up on mine. I alternate between a 40x oil and a 63x oil on the last remaining space.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

User avatar
Aenima
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:01 am
Location: sunny UK

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#14 Post by Aenima » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:16 pm

Hello Wes and welcome from myself in UK. :)

I haven't been here long, and still a bit of a 'noob' but i wanted to post a welcome nonetheless. :) :mrgreen:

I sympathise with the frustration in seeing problems in the optical quality - most of my objectives are Achromat design and give a lot of chromatic aberration, (colour fringes, especially around high contrast areas) with this in mind I would suggest finding out the tube length of your amscope to see if it has a 160mm tube-length or similar?

If so, you could look on ebay for second-hand or vintage objectives. With a standard tube length you can experiment with other brands and find bargain used optics that will perform way better than the stock new ones.

For example - I recently won a bid for a Zeiss 25x plan-apo for £25 which will give much more reduced chromatic aberration (CA) even though it's not the same brand as my microscope body.
So that might be an option to consider, maybe a bit later on?

When you are more familiar with the workings of the Amscope and with some research, you can pick up some bargains.


But anyway, yeah - this forum has some knowledgeable members, worth listening to. :)

Best of luck in your new hobby. Sounds like you're already well on your way. :)

Regards

Jay

JimT
Posts: 3247
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:57 pm

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#15 Post by JimT » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:34 pm

Captain_Howdy1, I hope you are not from Tuscaloosa:-(

I have an Amscope and have had it for four years. I think for the price for someone just starting it is a great intro scope. If you really get serious and as you continue to learn you you may find that it is less the scope Vs. the person behind it.

I upgraded to Plan objectives for the 4x, 10x, and 40x and added 20x and 60x objs. I use the 4x as a “Spotting” lens and the 10x and 20x the most. By all means buy additional objectives from Amscope because they are designed to work with the Amscope eye pieces to offset the CA.

Also, throw the 20x eyepieces away. They are useless (Empty magnification) and are not even heavy enough for paper weights.

Captain_Howdy1
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:48 am

Re: Hi, noob from Alabama here...

#16 Post by Captain_Howdy1 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:30 am

JimT wrote:Captain_Howdy1, I hope you are not from Tuscaloosa:-(

I have an Amscope and have had it for four years. I think for the price for someone just starting it is a great intro scope. If you really get serious and as you continue to learn you you may find that it is less the scope Vs. the person behind it.

I upgraded to Plan objectives for the 4x, 10x, and 40x and added 20x and 60x objs. I use the 4x as a “Spotting” lens and the 10x and 20x the most. By all means buy additional objectives from Amscope because they are designed to work with the Amscope eye pieces to offset the CA.

Also, throw the 20x eyepieces away. They are useless (Empty magnification) and are not even heavy enough for paper weights.
Lol @ JimT :D No, I am not from Tuscaloosa, but there is a good football team from up that way :D Roll Tide!!!

Thanks for the information and suggestions on the objectives! That's the kind of information I was looking for...a first hand review. Yes I noticed the 20x eyepieces are garbage as well.

I have learned a lot already from ready peoples posts on this site as well as watching youtube videos and learning things on my own. Many things dealing with optics in general pass into this hobby that I have learned from studying rifle scopes and telescopes. The physics of bending light dont change. The application of microscopy is just majorly different.

I am getting there. And for the people that have commented on the AmScope it has a 160mm tube length for objective requirements. And it also uses DIN sizing. I just bought an old Nikon off Ebay and hadn't properly studied what I was getting. I kinda shafted myself with the purchase because by the time I spend the money required to get it up to a comfortable working condition I could have gotten one in relative good working shape...live and learn. But my amscope glass fit right onto the Nikon chassis and everything worked fine. So I just need glass and an adjustable stage that works.

I learning experience...maybe I will make it into a project and gift it to my son...who knows!

Post Reply