Best DIC options?

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PeteM
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Best DIC options?

#1 Post by PeteM » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:10 pm

I'm hoping to put a brief comparison of transmitted (and perhaps reflected) DIC systems together - and hope others might be able to fill in their own experiences. Generally speaking, the higher contrast, lack of halos, sharp images, optical sectioning, and 3D effect on all these is a wonderful step up from phase contrast - at least in my experience.

I've had an opportunity to review, somewhat incompletely, these twelve systems:

A.O./Reichert transmitted DIC. (Good, affordable, somewhat limited objective options in part due to crowded turret. This will be the one scope I'm willing to use with a crowd of - still closely supervised - kids.)

Leica DMLB infinite DIC. (Very nice system.)
Leica DMRB infinite DIC. (Very nice system, but massive)
Leica ICR reflected prisms with PZO prisms for transmitted. (Promising but incomplete comparison)

Nikon Optiphot era finite DIC, limited to 20x,40x, and 60/100x prisms. (Nice system, works well with Nikon Plan CF, CFN Plan, and Plan Apos)
Nikon Eclipse era infinite DIC. (Favorite so far. De Senarmont system works very well, and objectives have very long working distances. Good ergonomics.)
Nikon Optiphot era reflected DIC. (Only have some parts, completing a scope still in process)

Olympus Vanox-BH-BH2 finite era DIC, limited to 10x, 40x, and 100x prisms. (My older Vanox era condenser is somewhat limited - but very good images comparable to Optiphot -- just missing a 20x prism. Works well with SPlan and SPlan Apo objectives.)
Olympus BX infinite era DIC. (Neck in neck with Nikon Eclipse; somewhat less contrast but I may not have perfect prism combos.)
Olympus MPlan & Neo SPlan reflected DIC

Reichert Univar era reflected. (Finishing up scope still in process)

Zeiss?? I have zero experience with Zeiss systems, but know there were at least three versions. Several posters here have shown astoundingly good Zeiss DIC images and I hope they can offer their experience. Questions:

1) Is anyone able to comment on the differences and pros and cons of the three or more Zeiss alternatives? Which are best? Which are most readily available?

2) Does anyone have experience with both a Zeiss system and any of the above? Any comparisons or pros and cons of Zeiss (other than the somewhat greater likelihood of delamination of older finite era optics) compared to the above systems from Leica, Nikon, Olympus etc.?

3) Does anyone have a complete PZO system - and able to comment? The one PZO condenser I have seems to (sort of) work with many other systems. My assumption is that the older PZO objective designs (older coatings, narrower fields, etc.) would compromise quality?? How does a PZO DIC system compare to something more modern?

And some specific questions on the above systems:

4a & 4b) Has anyone found the best way to do final corrections for a camera for either Leica Delta or HC optics? Direct imaging seems good, but misses the final corrections. I haven't found Leica photo relay objectives comparable to, say, a Nikon 2.5x PLI.

5) My impression, so far, is that the Nikon Eclipse system slightly outperforms the Olympus BX/UIS system in terms of contrast (with one exception). Is there any generally recognized pro/con argument to be said for either system? I'd heard one comment earlier that Olympus was "known" to lag others; though the BX system I have seems very good.

6) Are there are other somewhat, vaguely, sort-of affordable transmitted DIC scope options?? I might add that using a DIC prism offset in a condenser can often given a fairly impressive combination of oblique and DIC without necessarily having all the matching components required for evenly illuminated (no banding) DIC.
Last edited by PeteM on Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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75RR
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Re: Best DIC options?

#2 Post by 75RR » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:42 pm

I have what is probably known as the second and also the last of the 160 finite tube Zeiss transmitted DIC

As far as I know there were 4 DIC systems for the 160 finite Zeiss. Two for transmitted light and two for reflected light.

See link: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1543 (Numbers 3 and 4 are for transmitted light.)

In my opinion the last (number 4 in the previous link) is the better of the two transmitted light DIC systems.

This system has dedicated prisms designed for specific objectives - as labeled on the sliders.

The next link, which you may have come across, is to a series of compatibility tests done on several objectives, not all of them designated and not all of them Zeiss.

A lot of the results were surprisingly good.

https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/ ... hlight=dic

See below sample of some actual sliders and a list of those available
.
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3 DIC Sliders.jpg
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DIC Slider List.png
DIC Slider List.png (260.68 KiB) Viewed 1655 times
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Re: Best DIC options?

#3 Post by ImperatorRex » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:35 pm

Some notes on Olympus BX DIC:
there are 3 different options available:
- high Contrast DIC
- standard DIC
- high resolution DIC

So it really depents what specimen you have to get best results:
Great comparison and article on the Olympus DIC (standard versus high resolution) was just recently presented in the German Mikroskopy forum by Martin Kreutz:
https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... ic=37743.0

Here a link to an Olympus brochure with comparison between HC, HR and standard DIC: http://www.samkyung21.com/file/notice/p ... bl=board49

Few minutes ago also great examples for the Zeiss DIC (finite system on Zeiss Standard, DIC "new") have been postes by Ole Rieman here:
https://www.mikroskopie-forum.de/index. ... #msg278041
His conclusion is that the Zeiss DIC is more a high resolution DIC a bit like the Olympus.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#4 Post by MicroBob » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:04 pm

Hi together,

there were actually three Zeiss 160mm DIC systems. The two first look quite similar but don't mix well. Spike Walker describes these three systems and mentions serial numbers of compatible objectives. A while ago I posted a document on how to assemble and set up the second system.
The first system had 3, the second 4 and the third only 2 dic prisms in the condenser. In combination with the analyser prisms that are attatched to the objectives the third systems can be set up by a technician and used by someone else without much knowledge of the system itself. With the first two systems you had to do some adjustments after each change of objective. My impression is that more components of the third system are delaminated than those of the former two versions. The components of the old systems are made beautifully without any plastic components. The old systems are probably compatible to more objectives.
I have a version two set and it works very well. I too have a PZO system with MPI-3 head which I didn't have time to use so far. I hope to be able to use it with my Zeiss Standard Junior compact but powerful microscope for trips and holidays. The condenser might even be usable with a Zeiss version two intermediate head and analyser prism which is much more compact than the PZO MPI3. The PZO components are uncoated so they are probably not
I can't compare the image quality and the best applications to other systems. Apparently DIC systems can be optimized for different uses, but few people will have real exprience covering many systems.

Bob

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Re: Best DIC options?

#5 Post by PeteM » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:11 pm

Thanks, 75RR, Jochen, and Bob for your comments.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#6 Post by wporter » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:11 pm

Hi Pete,

I have the following DIC systems, some of which I have a lot of experience with, and some that remain subjects for deeper investigation when time permits:

Reflected:
Balplan
Zeiss Universal
Univar

Transmitted:
Univar
Zeiss Jena Sedival (an inverted scope)

I haven't done extensive toe-to-toe comparisons; comparisons can be odoriferous, especially if the camera systems are iffy or at least not optimized (as witness, the problems that crop up frequently on this forum), non-standardized test targets, etc. Plus, most of my microscopes seem to be rarer examples; I don't know how that happened, lol. Parts acquisition can be an issue; I hesitate to show an example of a system that no one could ever duplicate. Most of the discussion revolves around Nikons and Olympi, probably as it should.

But if anyone wishes me to post images from a given system I have, by all means request it. I will try to get something going, time and energy permitting.

Great topic!

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Re: Best DIC options?

#7 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:41 pm

I am not sure I can recommend Olympus BH2/BH3 epi DIC based on my own experiences, though it's not 100% clear whether my setup is exactly correct so take that with a grain of salt.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#8 Post by microb » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:14 am

wporter wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:11 pm
Reflected:
Balplan
I'd be curious to see the DIC set-up. I need to get an epi going with the right objectives.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#9 Post by Scarodactyl » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:46 am

I wonder if the balplan DIC could be adapted onto a microzoom. Kind of surprised the microzoom didn't have DIC natively like the Mitutoyo Finescope (which, if my timeline is correct, I think the microzoom was a copy of and not the other way around?) Maybe early Finescopes didn't either.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#10 Post by microb » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:12 am

Scarodactyl wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:46 am
I wonder if the balplan DIC could be adapted onto a microzoom. Kind of surprised the microzoom didn't have DIC natively like the Mitutoyo Finescope (which, if my timeline is correct, I think the microzoom was a copy of and not the other way around?) Maybe early Finescopes didn't either.
That's cool. Didn't know about that model. But I think the beam splitter for the epi is build into that body just above the nose turret. So Balplan unit can't just go under the head. Something would have to be done to one part or the other.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#11 Post by microb » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:18 am

You could put an epi on the camera tube, and not modify anything else. The eyepieces wouldn't see that light path though.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#12 Post by PeteM » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:52 am

Screenshot below, summarizes what I think I've learned from the various comments and links above. It's surely wrong in some details -- and is here for corrections and additions. Based on replies through July 3rd, an updated version is below.
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Zeiss1Screenshot 2020-07-04 15.00.09.png
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Zeiss2Screenshot 2020-07-04 15.00.26.png
Zeiss2Screenshot 2020-07-04 15.00.26.png (122.28 KiB) Viewed 835 times
Last edited by PeteM on Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#13 Post by wporter » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:30 am

I'd be curious to see the DIC set-up
microb

Sure; I'll post some images tomorrow on the other thread (Balplan)

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Re: Best DIC options?

#14 Post by MicroBob » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:59 am

Hi Pete,
according the two first Zeiss DIC-Systems:
The first one was the very first great grandfather of DIC systems and the numerns are probably small. The intermediate tube for the small stands had a little less height. There are rumors that a slider "I" existed. It was intended for the older Plan objectives up to certain serial numbers (Spikes document is right here). In my manual the right intermediate tube for system 2 is shown. I don't know whether condensers from systems 1 and 2 mix well.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HfVbP4 ... sp=sharing

A general problem with DIC components will be that the duds show up on ebay again and again as they fetch a lot of money. So it can be a tiresome process to assemble such a system.

Bob

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Re: Best DIC options?

#15 Post by microb » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:00 pm

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:10 pm

Olympus Vanox-BH-BH2 finite era DIC, limited to 10x, 40x, and 100x prisms. (My older Vanox era condenser is somewhat limited - but very good images comparable to Optiphot -- just missing a 20x prism. Works well with SPlan and SPlan Apo objectives.)
Olympus BX infinite era DIC. (Neck in neck with Nikon Eclipse; somewhat less contrast but I may not have perfect prism combos.)
Olympus MPlan & Neo SPlan reflected DIC
Hi Pete,

Do you have the double image problem with the Neo SPlan reflected DIC that is being discussed in this post on Epic DIC woes -- sorry that's Epi DIC Woes: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=9092

Thanks,
Ted

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Re: Best DIC options?

#16 Post by 75RR » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm

.
There is more information on the Zeiss 160 DIC systems on the frequently asked Question (FAQ) page of The Ultraphot Shop web site:

http://www.the-ultraphot-shop.org.uk/faq.htm

It is about halfway down.
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Re: Best DIC options?

#17 Post by apochronaut » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:30 pm

microb wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:12 am
Scarodactyl wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:46 am
I wonder if the balplan DIC could be adapted onto a microzoom. Kind of surprised the microzoom didn't have DIC natively like the Mitutoyo Finescope (which, if my timeline is correct, I think the microzoom was a copy of and not the other way around?) Maybe early Finescopes didn't either.
That's cool. Didn't know about that model. But I think the beam splitter for the epi is build into that body just above the nose turret. So Balplan unit can't just go under the head. Something would have to be done to one part or the other.
The DIC prism goes into the dovetail built into the microscope stand, then the vertical illuminator unit with beam splitter fits above that, with the head above that. Between the common telescope lens and the telan lens in the head, the light bundle is infinite.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#18 Post by MicroBob » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:34 pm

Hi Glen,
this text by Spike Walker is probably the most valuable piece of information on the two old systems as it names the serial numbers of the suitable objectives. And I can attest that the serial numers range really has to adhered to.

Bob

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Re: Best DIC options?

#19 Post by 75RR » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:23 pm

MicroBob wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:34 pm
Hi Glen,
this text by Spike Walker is probably the most valuable piece of information on the two old systems as it names the serial numbers of the suitable objectives. And I can attest that the serial numers range really has to adhered to.

Bob
It is quite detailed.

However on what he calls the 3rd DIC system (i.e. DIC 'new') he says: "... and Nomarski prisms I (objectives up to 16), II (above 16, up to 40), III (X63? X100).

Was this an intermediate or early 'new' DIC? The question mark next to the 63x suggests he is unsure.

.
Note: Anyone interested in this topic and having to use a translator for the German texts linked above will find that https://www.deepl.com/translate does a better job than https://translate.google.com/
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Re: Best DIC options?

#20 Post by MicroBob » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:20 pm

I think I have read that there were condensers with different numbers of DIC prisms for DIC Version 3. DIC 1 must have started around 1965 in small numbers. 160mm was no longer fashionable around 1985. That was quite a span of time for just three versions of a new and popular conrast system, so I would expect that will have made small changes from time to time.
In version 2 the prisms are out of order: 4,1,2,3 for 6,3:1, 16:1, 40:1, 100:1. This suggests that the prism 4 was added later. What the condenser of version 2 has not: A proper bright field port that allows to use the full n.a. of 1,4.

Bob

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Re: Best DIC options?

#21 Post by wporter » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:54 pm

PeteM,

I compared the Univar epi DIC to that of the Balplan yesterday, putting a slide with one of those tiny IC chips under each microscope, setting up comparable mags, tuning the illuminations, etc, and rolled my wheeled workshop stool back and forth from one scope to the other repeatedly to compare them.

I can say that (good news for Balplan DIC owners, wherever you are) that they were very close. It surprised me a bit; after all, the 1973-vintage Univar weighs 4x the Balplan, and cost probably 5x the Balplan. On the other hand, the Balplan was made a few years later, and B&L were no slouches, as Apochronaut has been telling us for years. (I'm not sure when the Balplan epi-DIC model came out; regular non-DIC biological models were out in 1977, but the DIC version may have been a bit later.)

The visual DIC look was very similar, in the range of DIC color and relief effects. Where the Univar had the edge was in more crispness, better field planarity, more even illumination. Not surprising. But unless you were doing a rapid, back-and-forth comparison like this one, it would be hard to tell a lot of difference. The differences might not show up in any images taken. Pound for pound, the Balplan might have originally been the better buy, since the dollars invested to get epi-DIC would have been a lot less, and fit a lot of budgets better. A company could buy many more times the number of more-portable scopes for their money.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#22 Post by PeteM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:29 am

[/quote]

Hi Pete,

Do you have the double image problem with the Neo SPlan reflected DIC that is being discussed in this post on Epic DIC woes -- sorry that's Epi DIC Woes: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=9092

Thanks,
Ted
[/quote]


Ted, My images don't show the ghosting, when viewing a wafer. My setup is:

Olympus BHM with Neo SPlan 5x, 10x, 20x, and 50x BF/DF objectives.

Only two of these have DIC prisms (the prisms switchable in and out by a lever); the 10x with a 10x prism and the 50x with a 20x ULWD prism, which works pretty well. The 5x and 20x are on parfocal extenders - so can only do BF, DF, and polarization.

My epi illuminator is equipped with a LED flashlight rather than the usual lamp. I wanted the scope easily portable. It's a bit dim at 40x - probably need to update it one of these days.

On the other topics - when I get a chance I'll update the chart of the three Zeiss systems. If anyone knows about Zeiss infinite DIC, I can add that as well.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#23 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:46 am

I can't remember if I've picked your brain about this--which prism do you have on the Olympus 10x? I have a "10 T-2"
I am really glad to hear the ghosting isn't a univeral problem with this system, but I've also seen it in pictures from other olympus system (rare though such pictures are).
Last edited by Scarodactyl on Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#24 Post by PeteM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:25 am

Scarodactyl wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:46 am
I can't remember if I've picked your brain about this--which prism do you have on the 10x?
Stephen, It's a 10x prism with the lever to move the prism in and out, marked "T2." I have no idea what the difference between T2 and T4 is.

One thought is that a wafer (what I just checked) has small height differences, while your specimen has larger differences. Maybe that makes the difference in getting a ghost image?

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Re: Best DIC options?

#25 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:27 am

Alas, I am seeing it just as strongly on the printing on a resolution test slide I got in recently. I'd love to see a picture from your system sometime.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#26 Post by microb » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:43 am

PeteM wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:25 am
One thought is that a wafer (what I just checked) has small height differences, while your specimen has larger differences. Maybe that makes the difference in getting a ghost image?
The images I posted were from a wafer.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#27 Post by PeteM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:44 am

Don't have a trinoc or camera on this scope, but might be able to try a cell phone.

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Re: Best DIC options?

#28 Post by PeteM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:45 am

Another Zeiss question - anyone know the generation of this Zeiss setup?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zeiss-microsco ... 000%7C7000

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Re: Best DIC options?

#29 Post by 75RR » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:01 am

Might be a mix of generations.

The slide holders and slides belong to the last 160 DIC system.

I have only ever seen condenser catalogue numbering with the first four figures out of six as: 46 52 --

Also the combination Darkfield and DIC is unusual.

Note: Those are the older slide holders.

Image shows 4 slide holders and a spacer.

Showing linked image below:

Image
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Re: Best DIC options?

#30 Post by MicroBob » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:35 am

The condenser doesn't look like my one and it is probably newer. My condenser has the older slightly domed metal top cover and no dark field port. I'm quite sure that my components were originally sold together as system 2.
System 3 usually come with the condensers with plastic top cover that look newer than this one. It might be an early system 3 condenser. Or perhaps for an inverted?

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