Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

Everything relating to microscopy hardware: Objectives, eyepieces, lamps and more.
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BombusT
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Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#1 Post by BombusT » Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:58 pm

Hi there, I have an SMZ-U with the standard 1x ED Plan objective. It's a great setup and very pleased with it, image quality is great from 7.5 through to 75x, but I don't find it as pleasing with the 1.5x episcopic illuminator on, where I feel the image quality is a little degraded at the higher magnification. Would this be significantly improved with a 1x Apo objective? Do others also experience this? I'm thinking of giving it a good clean to make sure dust and dirt aren't at play.
Mike

Scarodactyl
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#2 Post by Scarodactyl » Mon Nov 30, 2020 11:41 pm

I have both of these objectives, though only an SMZ-10a to put them on (plus two broken smz-u bodies, alas). I know on the later 800 series the plan apo objectives have higher resolution in addition to better color correction, but I am not 100% sure that's the case on the 10a/u series. I can check if the working distance is different which should indicate something.

einman
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#3 Post by einman » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:21 am

You will see some image degradation when using episcopic illumination due to light reflecting internally. I have tried episcopic illumination on my SMZ-U, SZH, Motic, etc and never liked the results. I have found you will get higher resolution and contrast when the illumination is NOT presented directly overhead. This type of illumination was used primarily for viewing circuit boards and not biological specimens. I generally use several types of illumination; led ringlight, halogen ring light, led or halogen illumination via fiberoptic arms. An excellent and inexpensive light source is the led lamps you can purchase from IKEA. They are about $10 and are excellent for most work. Resorting to an Apo objective will not improve the results. Lighting is key on these older scopes.
Last edited by einman on Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

einman
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#4 Post by einman » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:25 am

Image

Scarodactyl
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#5 Post by Scarodactyl » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:27 am

Do you have the quarter wave plate?

einman
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#6 Post by einman » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:30 am

No I do not. Are you viewing minerals? LOL Assuming you were even talking to me, although probably not.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#7 Post by Scarodactyl » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:39 am

I haven't tried it on the smz-u but have heard it is essential to get good results, even though it is often missing on used scopes. I had one for my m420 and it did have a dramatic effect on reflections vs not using it (good control of highlights by rotating it to the right orientation). I mostly use coaxial illumination on my metallurgical scope on short working distance objectives so I haven't ever gotten it set up properly on a stereo or macroscope, just brief tests, so my first hand knowledge is limited.

einman
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#8 Post by einman » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:44 am

Although he referenced "episcopic" illumination initially, I assumed he meant coaxial illumination and thus my comments. I tend to think of "episcopic" as light presented at an angle whereas coaxial is directly above. Although I suppose technically coaxial is episcopic as well. I never really thought of it that way.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#9 Post by Scarodactyl » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:52 am

Oh yeah, he's talking episcopic as in coaxial. The smz-u coaxial illuminator can't cover the entire FoV (as many can't) and presumably the extra 1.5x mag is to compensate for that. The quarter wave plate would have shipped with that coaxial illuminator and is part of the anti reflection system.
Last edited by Scarodactyl on Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

BombusT
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#10 Post by BombusT » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:46 am

Ok so I may have been referring to the coaxial illuminator then!

I do have the quarter wave plate but took it off as I wasn't actually using the illuminator for lighting the specimen (using fibre optics and ring light instead). So assuming lighting is ok, which I think it is, does the SMZ-U Apo objective improve things much at the 100x level of mag? Also, how much does it impact the working distance?
Mike

einman
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Re: Nikon SMZ-U - ED Vs Apo Objectives?

#11 Post by einman » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:41 pm

I do not have the specs on the planAPO objective for the SMZ-U in terms of WD etc. I can not comment. I believe that objective came out much later as it is not mentioned the manuals I have. The SMZ-U has an na of 0.09 (with 1.0x ed plan objective). The Nikon SMZ-1500 plan apo 1x objective has an na of 0.1. This is not much better than the ED PLan 1 x objective on the much older SMZ-U. However, the PHR planApo 1x objective for the SMZ1500 has an na of 0.131. My guess the "regular" Plan Apo for the SMZ-U would not buy you much and is probably not worth it unless you find one at a really good price. The highest resolution using a 1.0x objective that I own, Leica M80, tops out at 0.103. I have had my eye on a few other scopes with higher na but to date they remain out of reach in terms of cost.

I can say that I tend to stay away from the upper most levels of magnification as the DOF is so bad and the image never appeared to be up to par. This is true of all my stereoscopes, unless I finally latch on to a newer scope!

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