Hi! And some advice if you have any?

What is your microscopy history? What are your interests? What equipment do you use?
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B.M.O.C.
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Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:25 am

Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#1 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:32 am

Hi Everyone,

I just got offered to have one of two dissecting microscopes. A motic SMZ-168, and a Zeiss Stemi DRC, not sure of the precise model number. They are both pretty old. The Motic has a variable zoom from 0.75-5.0, while the Zeiss has two objectives that you can slide back and force in a rail, a 0.8 and a 4.0. The Zeiss is more compact and seems better quality (when looking through) with a brighter light, the only reason I hesistate to take it is only having those two magnification levels. If I had another say, 2x magnification for the zeiss I'd definitely take it.

What would you guys do?

apochronaut
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#2 Post by apochronaut » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:34 am

Depends whether you feel you really need a zoom microscope. There are zooms and then there are high resolution zooms. Zooms,especially earlier generation Chinese ones, had to sacrifice optical quality for the convenience of zoom. Older American higher end zooms such as the AO 580 and the B & L SZ 7, barely did, as well as some harder to find European ones.
With a mediocre zoom microscope, a fair amount of the zoom range doesn't get used, so having better optical and also mechanical quality in a series of convenient steps can often be much better. They might be hard to find but patience would probably yield other objectives for the Zeiss, so if zoom isn't' a neccessity, I would consider otherwise.

I know someone who uses a modest 3x zoom to work on manuscript restoration but comments on how the microscopes at school were better. There isn't the possibility to invest in a newer higher end zoom at this point. I suggested that a really economical Cycloptic apochromat with perhaps a fractional supplementary apochromat lens would give better imaging. The response was that a zoom was necessary because sometimes she needed just a little bit more magnification to see a detail. It is impossible to convince her that with the added resolution , the extra "little bit more" magnification wouldn't be necessary . Cheaper zooms are plagued by the law of diminishing returns.

einman
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#3 Post by einman » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:36 am

I owned a Motic SMZ-168 and quickly sold it. The optical quality is inferior. It is, in actuality, much "newer" than the Zeiss DRC. I agree with Apochronaut. You would be better served to purchase an AO Cycloptic, AO 580 or Bausch & Lomb SZ7.

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#4 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:04 am

I should have clarified. I've been offered one of them for free. I'm too poor to actually buy a microscope. These are left overs from a teaching lab at my university. So with that in mind, which should I take?

gastrotrichman
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#5 Post by gastrotrichman » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:05 am

You didn't mention the ocular (= eyepiece) magnification. (Magnification of the scope) = (magnification of the ocular) x (magnification of the objective). I assume, without knowing, that you can get oculars of different magnifications for the Zeiss. If you had several sets of oculars (for example, 5x, 10x, and 15x), you could expand the range of scope magnifications with the Zeiss (for example, 4x, 8x, 12x, 20x, 40x, and 60x, with the 5x, 10x, and 15x oculars). I don't know what oculars might actually be available for the Zeiss, but it's worth exploring. I would expect the Zeiss optics to produce better images than the Motic zoom optics, but you could compare images yourself by setting the Motic and the Zeiss at the same magnification, and then examining the same objects with each, using the same lighting. If the Zeiss images are significantly better, the hassle of switching oculars to get a wider range of magnifications might be worthwhile.
gastrotrichman

Nikon Microphot
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PeteM
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#6 Post by PeteM » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:13 am

I'd second gastrotichman's suggestions; especially about comparing optical performance.

Couple other thoughts. The Zeiss might have more value if you ever trade it in. And there's some slight chance your school might eventually surplus a 2.5x or so module?

Either scope beats no scope.
Last edited by PeteM on Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#7 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:19 am

The Motic has notches on the zoom knob, but it's continuous zoom. Your view isn't obstructed between each level as it switches lenses, if that was what you meant?

PeteM
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#8 Post by PeteM » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:21 am

Thanks. Ended up checking it and was pulling out the "doesn't it have fixed stops" question as you were typing.

I had a stereo microscope similar to the Motic and thought it was reasonably good for casual use. However, it already seems the Zeiss performs better?

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#9 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:49 am

Yeah, I feel like the Zeiss has better clarity.

Where would you guys go about looking for parts for an old Zeiss? Looking on ebay I'm only seeing whole units (and they are quite expensive).

PeteM
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#10 Post by PeteM » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:48 am

At least around here (Bay Area, CA) several of the large microscope dealers are either cutting back or going out of business. Someone like a former repair tech ends up with the inventory. You might start by finding and contacting Zeiss dealers to find out if someone has a cache of old parts. Won't likely be especially cheap -- but sounds like you've gotten an education and will be making more $$$ in the future?

Other alternative is to use it as is, perhaps with different eyepieces as needed. Later, sell it and put the money to the stereo scope of your dreams?

Might also try German (Austrian etc.) Ebay. Others here (MicroBob?) might have advice.

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#11 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:44 am

The eyepieces in the Zeiss are 10x /21

Are eyepieces generally interchangeable or can I only use /21 pieces?

apochronaut
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#12 Post by apochronaut » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:35 pm

The 21 number is a field of view measurement, which is also related to the magnification of the eyepiece. If you obtain different eyepieces, the field of view will be different through them. Also, most microscopes are built to a sort of default performance level based on a specific eyepiece and it is almost always a 10x. Changing the eyepiece will change some aspects of the performance, in addition to the magnification. Raising the eyepiece magnification, always reduces the actual field of view but sometimes there are specific eyepiece designs that provide an increased circle or apparent field of view, so that the reduction in the actual field is not that great. Usually however, the reduction in the actual field of view is substantial and eyepieces with an enhanced apparent field or often called ultra wide field can be very expensive.
Zeiss was using 30mm eyepiece tubes, so the fields with the standard eyepieces are pretty good but they did also offer a 10x/25 super wide field set of eyepieces.

Just a comment about using high magnification eyepieces. Personally, I wouldn't go above 15X on the Stemi DRC and that would need to be 15X eyepieces dedicated for that microscope, not just any 15X. The principal of the microscope and in fact most stereos is to increase magnification with objectives but most systems also included 15X eyepieces as well.

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#13 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:38 pm

I actually think a lower magnification would be better, say a 5x, because that would give me a 20x zoom, intermediate between the current lowest (8x) and highest (40x).

But if the eyepieces have to be specific, then I'd say there isn't much chance of me picking any up.

apochronaut
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#14 Post by apochronaut » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:51 pm

One of the things that happens with 5X eyepieces that can be bothersome, is that the f.o.v. is double that of a 10X., which in the case of your instrument, yielding the same apparent field, would be 42mm. You can't have a 42mm f.o.v. in a 30mm tube, so although the 5X eyepieces have a wider f.o.v., the apparent f.o.v. has to be narrower; often giving the impression that you are looking down a tube.

Microscope mfg. tend to use low magnification supplementary objective lenses in order to reduce magnification. Since the 1960's fewer and fewer manufacturers have offered 5X eyepieces for most systems. I doubt if they are available for the Stemi DRC. You would be best to seek out a catalogue and see just what the system entailed. Unfortunately I do not know where there is one. I found a link to one but it was dead.

desertrat
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#15 Post by desertrat » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:04 pm

Sometimes if a dead link is plugged into the Wayback Machine, there will be a snapshot of it. I've had success resurrecting a few dead links that way.

Disregard if you already tried that.
Rick

A/O 10 Series Microstar
A/O 4 Series Microstar
A/O 4 Series Phasestar
A/O 4 Series Apostar
A/O Cycloptic Stereo
Several old monocular scopes in more or less decrepit but usable condition

MicroBob
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#16 Post by MicroBob » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:49 pm

Here is just for information an ebay link that shows the Zeiss scope and much of the accessories that were available: https://www.ebay.de/itm/Zeiss-Mikroskop ... :rk:1:pf:0

If I were you I would pick the Zeiss stereo microscope. Then install an ebay search for "zeiss objective pair" and wait what pops up. I have seen these pairs go for quite little money like 30€ or so. Until you get it you just use it with the two magnifications you have and you won't loose much. It is not like with a car where it would be less than ideal to only have 16 km/h and 80 km/h as possible speed steps. :lol:
What I would really miss is a total magnification of around 8x or 10x and this is available at your Zeiss mic.

If you have someone to contact there you might ask whether they could have a look through their drawers. Probably somewhere the 2x objective is flying around.

Bob

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#17 Post by B.M.O.C. » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:33 pm

Ok, I think I'm just about convinced. What do you think about the idea that the older one might be hard to find replacement parts for etc. Or if I look after it should it last a lifetime?

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#18 Post by B.M.O.C. » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:00 am

I decided I should actually put some flies under them both to compare (I work with drosophila) and I realised that if we had both in the lab, and I had to choose between one or the other for my every day work, I would pick the zeiss for sure. So I think that says it all really.

Thanks for everyone's advice! I really appreciate it. Now the search begins for some extra objectives. The teaching lab person said she hadn't seen any other attachments for it. But she'd also never seen this microscope before in her life (the rest were all motics), so hopefully there isn't a bunch of stuff sitting in a cupboard somewhere :/

MicroBob
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#19 Post by MicroBob » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:24 am

With spare parts it is always a twofold question: Do you get them and do you like the price? :cry: Many microscopes in amateur hands would be really expensive to repair when given to a dealer with repair service and when bigger parts are needed. So most amateurs find ways to do the repairs themselves or have them done by a fellow microscopists. Zeiss themselves won't have spares left for these instruments, and Motic probably was never strong in their spare part handling. So I wouldn't see a difference here. With a biological compound microscope Zeiss would beat Motic by a wide margin: These instruments are very modular and there is a huge used parts market for Zeiss and nearly none for original Motic parts.

The Motics are probably the successor generation of the Zeiss instruments. The Zeiss are probably 30 years old so you might look for contact to one of the older technicians and professors - they might know where some parts are. In a university here around they exchanged two generations of Zeiss microscope sets with new microscopes of today's quality. The old ones were moved away, dismantled, greased, adjusted - and guess how happy an amateur microscopy group with a long tradition was about them 8-) . They will for sure still be going stong when the successors have long been exchanged again. :lol:

B.M.O.C.
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Re: Hi! And some advice if you have any?

#20 Post by B.M.O.C. » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:32 am

Yeah, makes sense. Perhaps I should just be happy that I have a free scope!

Appreciate all the info!

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