Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

Everything relating to microscopy hardware: Objectives, eyepieces, lamps and more.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#1 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:02 pm

Hi all, well, the unbranded 'for Olympus' 60x achromat objective I ordered several weeks ago has arrives safe and sound. Time to compare this to the recently-acquired Olympus UPlanApo 60x with correction-collar that I bought (used) while waiting for it, as one appeared for a just-about affordable price for me.

Honestly, the difference between the two on first look, with the Olympus c-collar set to the std 0.17, is minimal!!
Incidentally they have very good parcentricity and parfocality with each other.

A few images, although the subjects - Botanical slides, are not the best for close comparison with perhaps Diatom test slides....
These are all taken with the same settings for image processing in-camera - no in-camera sharpening etc was set.

Oly 60x UPA, dividing cell of Sunflower embryo at sherical stage.
Image

Chinese 60x achromat,
Image

Oly 60x UPA, Daffodil leaf epidermis stomate.
Image

Chinese 60x achromat,
Image

Oly 60x UPA, Sunflower stem TS xylem vessel, ray parenchyma and visible perforated end-wall.
Image

Chinese 60x achromat, difference in cell-wall perforation may be due to slight difference in focus depth...
Image

Oly 60x UPA, Lily pollen grain in anther, sectioned with nucleus and cell-wall visible.
Image

Chines 60x achromat,
Image

Oly 60x UPA, Sunflower stem tracheid cell-wall simple pits,
Image

Chinese 60x achromat,
Image

Personally the differences I am able to see here are very minimal indeed, although these subjects are pretty much devoid of pin-poin focus features. The above are unprocessed and with in-camera sharpening turned off.

Here's the Olympus objective. $3000+ new
ws_60x planapo objective (2).jpg
ws_60x planapo objective (2).jpg (66.22 KiB) Viewed 1213 times
Here's the Chinese achromat 'for Olympus' version, no collar. $80 new
ws_chinese 60x achromat (1).jpg
ws_chinese 60x achromat (1).jpg (47.19 KiB) Viewed 1213 times
A very impressive 'cheapo Chinese copy' it seems.
John B

User avatar
Crater Eddie
Posts: 1824
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:39 pm
Location: Illinois USA

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#2 Post by Crater Eddie » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:21 pm

Dang John, the differences are there of course, but for the price that looks very usable.
CE
Last edited by Crater Eddie on Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Olympus BH-2 / BHTU with Olympus E-P1 MFT camera mounted
LOMO BIOLAM L-2-2
LOMO POLAM L-213 / BIOLAM L-211 hybrid
LOMO Multiscope

User avatar
75RR
Posts: 6061
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:34 am
Location: Estepona

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#3 Post by 75RR » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:43 pm

Interesting test. Not quite what I expected.

I have heard, and believe it is true, that one can lose several hundred euros/pounds/dollars off a high power/high end objective on incorrect setup alone.

Cover slip thickness being one of the main culprits. I seem to remember that you bought a micrometer for just this reason.

Did you measure the cover slip thickness and pick one that was 0.17?

If not, I would be curious to see how they stand up to each other with a cover slip of exactly 0.17mm
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2025
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#4 Post by Hobbyst46 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:47 pm

IMHO, the first three specimens show a definite, although small, advantage of the genuine Olympus in terms of contrast and color rendition.
But, this is not fair perhaps, since I know which image comes from which objective, one should perform a double-blinded test of some sort.
It appears that, on a graph of price versus quality, the trace has become nearly horizontal...

Yet the important point is that you can enjoy front-end optics for your work, which is a great pleasure.
Congratulations!
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

apochronaut
Posts: 2663
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 12:15 am

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#5 Post by apochronaut » Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:30 pm

I knew Olympus objectives aren't worth the money.........................................just kidding. Interestingly, the planapo .95 has better depth of field too.

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#6 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:41 pm

75RR wrote:Interesting test. Not quite what I expected.

I have heard, and believe it is true, that one can lose several hundred euros/pounds/dollars off a high power/high end objective on incorrect setup alone.

Cover slip thickness being one of the main culprits. I seem to remember that you bought a micrometer for just this reason.

Did you measure the cover slip thickness and pick one that was 0.17?

If not, I would be curious to see how they stand up to each other with a cover slip of exactly 0.17mm
Hi 75',
I deliberately took some 'down & dirty' images as one does with the majority of images in non-critical everyday observations. I haven't of course optimised the Olympus collar-setting or chosen a particularly illustrative specimen for that reason. I'll be as you mention measuring coverslip thickness and making some coverslip-mounted slides too of critically small features that I'd like to examine, such as egg-sac structure & organisation, pre-fertilisation that is.

I have actually found a significant difference in resolution with the Olympus collar settings with the observation of the details of the exine of the Lily pollen-grains I previously mounted into immersion-oil with coverslip. The revelation of patterning was very detailed indeed - and optimised at 0.14 rather than the std 0.17. The actual coverslip thickness as measured pre-mount is, within limits of course, of only partial importance when the mount thickness and staining manner, together with the subject of course, are brought forward as factors.

The expense of the Olympus has advantages as I experience it at this early stage of use, in two areas. The 'raw' overall resolution and in particular the colour edges are of significance most of the time. The degree is a matter of judgement for the user/investor I suspect. Where the collar-wielding Olympus shines as I've experience just the one time so far, admittedly I've only used it lightly as I've not had it long, is in those 'special moments' where something unseen suddenly becomes clear when the objective is used effectively - e.g. the pollen-exine structure.

The Olympus clearly needs to be used and 'learned' before casual but optimal use is achievable I suspect.
The entire Olympus BX40 system has literally been a revelation to me, even considering the excellent quality of my former 'scope - the Orthoplan, with it's high-quality set of objectives, including apochromats - no collars though! Almost every slide I peruse has something either new or extra to reveal it now seems.
This was a major surprise to me as I really was expecting any differences between the Orthoplan & Olympus to be of a functional nature mainly. The significant image improvements all-round were a great surprise.

This is an image from the 0.14 collar-setting session - I don't have any of the 0.17 collar-setting views to compare though, but the almost 'zig-zg' or double-row nature of the 'arms' of the lattice-like ornamentation is brough beautifully into view. The second image is a SEM image of similar ornamentations. These features I haven't been able to view before - I wonder if the immersion-oil mount was a positive or negative or maybe irrelevant factor also...?

The Olympus with it's collar set to 0.14,
Image

The SEM from an article on the web,
Image

My conclusion though may be that the Olympus is not 'worth the extra cost' - unless of course, like me you find one you can afford (albeit only-just.... :oops: ) AND have a source of slides/material for which it's use is justifiable.

Sooo, with knowledge-aforethought I may well have stuck with the Chinese one - but then, if an affordable one came-by as it did (I was able to come to an agreement for a greatly reduced price than the advetised £795 I'm relieved to say) I'd buy it! :D :D
John B

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#7 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:52 pm

apochronaut wrote:I knew Olympus objectives aren't worth the money.........................................just kidding. Interestingly, the planapo .95 has better depth of field too.
Hi Apo' - yikes! :D

Yes I noticed the deeper DOF too - quite nice!
I don't think it's really a matter of true comparison. It has to be taken in context, which in this cae is an amateur that makes his own Botanical slides and has e tiny lab at home. Using a BX40 at home on a desk with no access to the similarly high-end acoutrements that would, in a pro-setting be used, from coverslip, slide, mounting medium, expertise too.....

But, at the right price, by a whisker, all's well!

I've VERY impressed by the cheapo Chines copy though, for <$80 including P & P!!

Thanks Apo' for taking a look.
John B

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#8 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:58 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote:IMHO, the first three specimens show a definite, although small, advantage of the genuine Olympus in terms of contrast and color rendition.
But, this is not fair perhaps, since I know which image comes from which objective, one should perform a double-blinded test of some sort.
It appears that, on a graph of price versus quality, the trace has become nearly horizontal...

Yet the important point is that you can enjoy front-end optics for your work, which is a great pleasure.
Congratulations!
Hi Hobby',
I think once a blind-test is needed it's safe to conclude that the 'superiority' of the Olympus is marginal in this context, but the versatility afforded by the collar is always going to be valuable, not to mention (as you do of course) the enjoyment of having and using it.
Several advantages noticed at this stage, but nowhere near enogh to justify the (full unused) price of the Olympus I feel for certain.
John B

MichaelG.
Posts: 1393
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:24 am
Location: NorthWest England

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#9 Post by MichaelG. » Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:37 pm

John,

I think you have beautifully [and perhaps even, bravely] demonstrated 'the law of diminishing returns' ... Thank You

There is no doubt in my mind that the Olympus gives the 'cleaner' result but; on these first images, the differences are subtle, and many users would be very happy with that Chinese objective. ... As you come to know the Olympus better, you will surely get even better performance out of it.

Your experience with these two objectives reminds of comparisons between the best 'high end' audio systems, and 'hi-fi' as generally understood. You have to experience the best, to understand what's wrong with the good.

Keep up the good work, John
MichaelG.
.
P.S. it's of no consequence, but you seem to have mentioned several different prices in relation to the Olympus ...

Edited 12-Aug-2019 merely to correct an ugly typo.
Last edited by MichaelG. on Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Too many 'projects'

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#10 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:54 pm

Hi Michael, thank you my friend, it's an interesting area for sure. I'm really impressed with the Chinese objective - and as you say the Olympus as a system will, as it already has, begin to show it's capabilities as my experience with it increases.

The $5000-$3000 prices are just taken from the web, I haven't actually 'had a quote' for one from Olympus, but the order of magnitude remains of course.
Thanks for the input Michael - I'm very pleased indeed with the Olympus objective - it clearly has great versatility and potential according to various other factors yet to be explored. It's also a pleasure to basically 'fiddle-with-the-collar'! :D :oops:

Back with more 60x adventures hopefully this weekend!
John B

PeteM
Posts: 588
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#11 Post by PeteM » Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:47 pm

The interesting test, at least for me, would be with cover slips at, say, .14 and .20mm. I suspect that would show the advantage of having the (admittedly $$$) addition of a correction collar on a high N.A. dry objective.

einman
Posts: 1230
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:03 am

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#12 Post by einman » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:06 am

Review my posts on the Chinese Brand Bestscope and comments regarding/comparing to the BX40! I still have the scope and find it quite enjoyable. I have purchased an additional 20x chinese objective and was thinking of purchasing a higher end Olympus brand fluor or planapo. Your observations have been quite useful.

User avatar
75RR
Posts: 6061
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:34 am
Location: Estepona

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#13 Post by 75RR » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:46 am

einman wrote:Review my posts on the Chinese Brand Bestscope and comments regarding/comparing to the BX40! I still have the scope and find it quite enjoyable. I have purchased an additional 20x chinese objective and was thinking of purchasing a higher end Olympus brand fluor or planapo. Your observations have been quite useful.
Here is a link to one of the posts: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4243&start=60#p50574

Would just like to say that incorrect setup will degrade both a good objective and a bad one - this is not a hobby that lends itself to sloppiness.

Whenever I rush things, I am always disappointed with the results.

At the end of the day one has to decide what an objective is worth to oneself, and not confuse the actual cost (average price it sells for) with the profit that a particular seller would like to make.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

MicroBob
Posts: 1280
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:11 am

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#14 Post by MicroBob » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:18 am

Hi together,

i think the advantage of the pricey objective will become more visible when a more critical object is chosen and the thickness of cover slip and mountant are less well controlled. Apart from this the last percent of performance are always the most expensive!
In direct comparison I like the images from the Olympus quite a bit better. Without comparison I probably would be quite happy with the cheaper objective.

It is good to see that a very affordable objective can satisfy too.

When I look at Johns images here I see 95% a knowledgeable and experienced microscopist and 5% a good microscope at work.

Bob

apochronaut
Posts: 2663
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 12:15 am

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#15 Post by apochronaut » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:53 am

It is the law of diminishing returns as Michael G has pointed out but that also includes variances that cannot be controlled. My experience with the very same type of objective was much more disappointing than yours, I think because the Q.C. on such a low priced objective is also low. I suspect you got a good one and I got one at the other end of the scale. With the Olympus lens or any other lens from a manufacturer that stamps their name on the product you know what you are getting. With an ebay special, it may or may not perform to acceptable specs. If it doesn't , and that fact gets noticed, it can be returned and resold to someone else who is just happy to have 60X and thinks all is well.
I am curious too, how well centered is the Chinese 60X, an often overlooked specification that does contribute to the cost of fine objectives. Reichert used to advertise parcentering to 4 um, I believe it was, which becomes important with objectives of 50X and higher.

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#16 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:56 am

apochronaut wrote:.....
I am curious too, how well centered is the Chinese 60X, an often overlooked specification that does contribute to the cost of fine objectives. Reichert used to advertise parcentering to 4 um, I believe it was, which becomes important with objectives of 50X and higher.
An interesting factor Phil', one that I'll take a look at and get back to this thread with a bit more info' concerning....

I must say the cheapo-60x was a revelation, but, as I was discussing with my Wife only yesterday, the abscence of any meaningful QC means it's a 'buy one and hope' scenario. Most certainly I think it's a case of some are good, some very good and some appallingly-bad...
Knowing what I now know from the experience of purchasing the cheapo-60x, if I received a poor one I'd send it back and 'try again', as it's clearly and demonstrably true that pretty good ones are coming from the great-big Chinese machine at that end of the market - it's just a 'hope for the best' case which can/may actually go well on occasion.
I also remarked to her the confidence that may be had when buying for example an Olympus-branded piece of equipment, as a company such as this has an awful lot to lose if it loses confidence of the 'big-buyers'...

There is no-doubt a level of expertise necessary to glean the very best performance from the high-end equipment and I myself have found my results with the 60x improving significantly as I've familiarised myself with it's use and characteristics. The factors involved are indeed myriad and only a measure of these are able to be controlled or influenced, especially by an amateur working in an amateur environment, such as myself and my teeny lab (living-room floral carpet included...).

I find that the majority of the time the differences between collar-settings are most noticeable between the 0.17 and 0.16, although yesterday I was examining fixed (i.e. dead & preserved with FAA) moss-leaves in a wet alcohol-based mountant (coverslipped of course) where I set the collar nearer to the 0.20 thickness for best viewing.

There's no doubt whatsoever in my mind though that the subject is a significant factor - plant sections (between say 5-12µ and well-stained) are nowhere-near as demanding in terms of pure resolution as for example the fine details of Diatoms. Having said that I find that the 60x is very good at 'focus-through' use, especially relevant with plant sections thicker than perhaps 3µ , using Lily pollen as a yardstick, as again I did yesterday.

Here's an example of subject limitation I think, the infamously unsharp chromosomes as seen within a 7µ strongly-stained slide of a section through the ovule of a Daffodil. This image is from the 60x Oly objective but is nowhere near as sharp as a Diatom image of course. This is however a major improvement from what I was able to see with the Leitz.
The cell dividing on the RH side of the image has clearly defined chromosome 'arms' and indeed the mitotic-spindles below them, at least that's what I think they are, I'm no expert.
In the context of plant section slides and light-microscopy, this is a very pleasing image indeed.
Image

Here's a mono-version taken through an Olympus IF550 (green) filter - to me they're pretty-much identical in terms of resolution....
Image

I've some exiting plans to return to mitosis images, probably from root-tips as the orientation of the divisions is far more organised than in for example the nucellar-tissue seen above. I plan to concentrate on the optimisation (to my ability at least) of stain choice, combination and technique. I'm actually looking forward to Autumnal declining temperatures here in the U.K. as this very hot (by our puny standards that is, where we all think we're going to die when temperatures rise above about 25 deg C here in the sunny U.K.) period is awful for sectioning...
John B

User avatar
75RR
Posts: 6061
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:34 am
Location: Estepona

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#17 Post by 75RR » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:19 pm

I'm actually looking forward to Autumnal declining temperatures here in the U.K. as this very hot (by our puny standards that is, where we all think we're going to die when temperatures rise above about 25 deg C here in the sunny U.K.) period is awful for sectioning...
You need to let yourself flow with the seasons. How about a visit to a pond or river, where you can arrange to fall in to cool down if needed. Give yourself and your microscope a change, look at some protista.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#18 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:46 pm

Protista! Argggghhhhh......

Funnily enough I live overlooking a beautiful river (the R Lune) in Cumbria - in fact this area's absolutely stuffed with locations for just about any naturalist's interest! But it's the Botany that takes me to the realms of mystery and amazement 75'. I could I suppose put a little something squishy beneath the 'scope, but I really love being able to permanently-mount and peruse at leisure my Botanicals....

I'm going to have to look-up "protista" too! :D

I'll have a tentative probe and let you know what I find in the murky-liquid corners of my garden.....
John B

Roldorf
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:58 pm
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#19 Post by Roldorf » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:07 pm

I fished on the Lune many times when I lived in Heysham.
Alan
Bresser Science Infinity 4x 10x 40x 60x 100x oil. Canon EOS 4000d

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2025
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#20 Post by Hobbyst46 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:09 pm

mrsonchus wrote:...
IMO as well there is a "slight" supremacy of the brand-name objective over the cheapo objective, as mentioned above by Michael G and others. However, "the abscence of any meaningful QC" holds for the supplier and buyer alike. We, The Buyers who did not gain experience from dozens of objectives, seldom put the objective to an unbiased, comprehensive, statistically solid test. Rather, we take a few photos and decide we like it (or not). Only when we compare TWO objectives from different sources, can we conclude which is better, which is understandably better, which is surprisingly better etc.

I am using the Chinese 20$ Plan 4X0.1 for survey an quick looks. It is not really plan. It creates a lot of CA. It is not exactly parfocal although calimed to be D.I.N. 45mm. Mentally, though, it is OK at my level of expectations.
mrsonchus wrote:"...an amateur environment, such as myself and my teeny lab..."
John B, I personally think that your botany slides are very high quality beautiful demonstrations of plant anatomy, daresay regardless of the specific microscope.

Would it be too much to suggest a comparison between the Orthoplan and the BX40, just one or very few slides, same mag (not Chinese) ?
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

User avatar
mrsonchus
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:42 pm
Location: Cumbria, UK

Re: Olympus $5000 60x vs Chinese $80 60x

#21 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:20 pm

Hi Hobby' - I'll have a look through some images and see if I can find any that I recognise (i.e. that are from a particular slide that I still have and am able to 'take the same image from' with the newbie 60x). It may take me a bit of searching but I'll have a look.

I'm very happy with the 60x as I am finding it very nice in use, in fact the whole set of UIS2 objectives are very nice performers indeed.

I'm also waiting-upon the arrival of an Olympus PE 2.5x photo-eyepiece to complete the camera's optics - at present I have a 2.5x Meiji projection eyepiece in the train, which is held in place with a rubber-band, and is not sitting at either the correct distance or, most glaringly, truly parallel. The rubber-band around the Meiji is to prevent it from dropping through the 'socket' which takes the correct PE 2.5x objective for this 'scope. This is now 'in the country' and on it's way to me, having been sent from the U.S.A. about a week ago. I was lucky enough to get one for a pretty good price (hopefully at least - it's condition is shown and said to be good...).
John B

Post Reply