Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

Everything relating to microscopy hardware: Objectives, eyepieces, lamps and more.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
kkokkolis
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:46 pm
Location: Piraeus, Hellas

Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#1 Post by kkokkolis » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:30 am

Hello.
I have a stereomicroscope already and I always thought I would buy a biological as well.

There's an Olympus CX21 up for sale. It looks like it has both eyepieces and 4x, 10x, 40x objectives.

It goes for 500 euros, which is substantial for today's Greece, deep into the financial crisis.

So I would like to know your opinion about it. Is it of ant worth?

Thank you very much.
Attachments
15032433_1201894409849953_1731313748_n.jpg
15032433_1201894409849953_1731313748_n.jpg (22.21 KiB) Viewed 2512 times
15049579_1201894293183298_381732143_n.jpg
15049579_1201894293183298_381732143_n.jpg (28.86 KiB) Viewed 2513 times

einman
Posts: 1294
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:03 am

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#2 Post by einman » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:37 pm

I believe that is the scope Oliver, the founder of this site, uses. He likes it quite well.

My opinion is the CX21, like most Olympus scopes, is sturdily built and would serve you well. My personal preference in the Olympus line would be the BH-2 as more accessories are available and its target demographic was more research oriented. They are selling on E-bay for less than 500 euros. You just want to make sure you get a good clean one.

I purchased one that was in like new condition with the rare Wide-field head and eyepieces and then sold it to another forum member to trim down my collection. It was an awesome scope.

Others will weigh in I am sure.

Hobbyst46
Posts: 3049
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#3 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:56 pm

Olympus microscopes are in general excellent and a pleasure to use. CX21 has been manufactured until recently, hence the price

It uses infinity-corrected optics such as the UIS2 series. These are great lenses but are expensive, so any new objective you may wish to add will be relatively expensive. And you cannot replace optical components with (less expensive) components from other brands - must continue with infinity-corrected objectives from Olympus. No 160mm tube objectives to choose from.

If going for Olympus, I would look first for a BH-2 series (BHS or others). These are workhorses, 160mm tube length optics, easy to use, and should be less expensive than the CX21 on eBay. Many of them are available with a trinocular head which is an advantage. Their only issue (for me) is the weight of the microscope - >12Kg I think.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

MicroBob
Posts: 2270
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#4 Post by MicroBob » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:54 pm

I don't know this Olympus model, but generally it can be said that newer microscopes are more developed for easy handling while older models offer more adjustments. If you are more interested in your slides than in the instrument a newer model is probably very good. If you enjoy fine workmanship and like to cope with detailed adjustments an older scope might be more appealing.

User avatar
kkokkolis
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:46 pm
Location: Piraeus, Hellas

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#5 Post by kkokkolis » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:34 pm

Thank you.
I saw BH2 on eBay. There’s a great range of prices, up to 2500$ plus. Those close to 500 come without objectives. And most come from America or Asia. That means more money for shipping and maybe customs.
The microscope above is in Greece and has 3 objectives included. It would see light use in my hands. I mostly have technical needs, were the Stereomicroscope or even my Belomo or Emoscope are enough.

I need to think more about it.

User avatar
hkv
Posts: 967
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:57 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#6 Post by hkv » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:11 pm

I think 500 is a decent price. I had a CX40 which looks very similar. They also have infinity objectives and I paid $700. That was like 5 years ago. I would for sure go for infinity objectives as it is more future proof. It will allow you to upgrade to a more advance stand later if needed. Microscopes are like cameras. It is the selection of lenses and lens-technology that will be the major investment decision. If you like this hobby, you will spend far more on objectives over time than what you will spend on stands. The objectives on the CX21 is the same technology as on the latest BX53. If you start to invest in 160mm, then if you want to upgrade to a modern stand later, you will have to replace all your objectives. Infinity is fully compatible across CX and BX lines and a more future proof investment. However, more expensive which is a drawback. Image quality wise, you will not gain much with the infinity objectives. Some of the best micrographs on this site are taken with finite objectives. In my humble view, image quality has not improved much over the last decades. The biggest advantage with infinity objectives is that you can add components in the light path that alters the tube length without changing the optical performance of the system. This gives great flexibility in how you choose to configure your scope. A fixed length tube is more picky on how it is configured. What you need to look for is the markings on the objectives that is included. If they are plain "Plan 10X, Plan 20X, etc" they are OK, but not the best for photomicrography. Still OK, but not the best in terms of arberation. If they are marked "ACH" they are even simpler. Next step would be "Plan XXX FL" which are fluorite objectives. The best of Olympus would be "Plan APO" or "Plan SAPO". They are very expensive and 40X would be around $1000 used.
I would make sure it has at least "Plan" objectives.

If you want to take pictures a trinocular head is the next investment. Taking picture through the eyepieces is also OK, but it is harder to get decent images. A good start though. You will find plenty of trinocs on ebay.

The weight of the scope is important. Normally you want it to be as heavy as possible to reduce vibrations. A heavy stand is more tolerant to floor vibration, but also camera vibration. At higher magnifications vibration can become an issue. I have my scope on a 800 pound diabase plate on a steel stand. With microscopes, weight is your friend.

Remember though that a CX-series scope is an entry level scope and upgrade options, like Pol, Phase, Fluo, etc may be limited. An older BH2 has more configuration options.

User avatar
zzffnn
Posts: 2714
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:57 am
Location: Houston, Texas
Contact:

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#7 Post by zzffnn » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:24 am

Whether or not that scope fits your needs depends on what your subject of interest is. Objectives are more expensive than the scope body and objective types differ based on subject of interest.

If you subjects are opaque (such as insect parts, minerals or coins), then you should buy a scope with no cover (metallurgical) objectives. Maybe long working distance versions.

If your subjects are transparent, such as living cells or pond protists, then you need a scope with biological (0.17mm corrected) objectives.

If your subjects of interest is everything (both opaque and transparent types), then buy the one you would use most first.

apochronaut
Posts: 3667
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 12:15 am

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#8 Post by apochronaut » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:37 pm

kkokkolis wrote:Thank you.
I saw BH2 on eBay. There’s a great range of prices, up to 2500$ plus. Those close to 500 come without objectives. And most come from America or Asia. That means more money for shipping and maybe customs.
The microscope above is in Greece and has 3 objectives included. It would see light use in my hands. I mostly have technical needs, were the Stereomicroscope or even my Belomo or Emoscope are enough.

I need to think more about it.
That does look like a fairly well priced instrument to me, especially in Greece, where I assume you live. Shipping will not be too bad and it seems that microscopes are more expensive in Europe, than in N.A. I second HKV's support for infinity correction. You are not necessarily limited to Olympus objectives, either. Most of the infinity corrected Chinese made objectives are configured for a 180mm tube , like the Olympus, and while run of the mill Chinese objectives are not going to be an improvement, there already is a current well priced plan fluor set from Amscope, which will work on the Olympus. Those should be an improvement over any of the Olympus achromat series but probably less good than Olympus fluorites, which are just a shade less good than apochromats.

MicroBob
Posts: 2270
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#9 Post by MicroBob » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:11 pm

kkokkolis wrote:I mostly have technical needs, were the Stereomicroscope or even my Belomo or Emoscope are enough.
What are the objects you are going to look at?

User avatar
kkokkolis
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:46 pm
Location: Piraeus, Hellas

Re: Olympus CX21. Your opinion?

#10 Post by kkokkolis » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:39 pm

Sorry for being late.

I look at opaque objects mostly, so I use a stereo microscope. I look at gemstones, minerals, sand, paintwork on my lead soldiers, stamps, blade edges etc, all are hobbies of mine.

I am a physician and I was unimpressed looking at bacteria during University. Finally I became a Psychiatrist. If, repeat, if I by a biological microscope, I would be making a fresh start.

The man selling this didn’t answer, so it goes for the future.

Post Reply