Really cheap camera, any opinion?

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Kevin_r
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Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#1 Post by Kevin_r » Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:41 pm

My sister is about to buy me a cheap microscope camera (for Olympus Cx23).
She just sent these pictures... (:

5.0 mp model
10-10-2020 SC 001.png
10-10-2020 SC 001.png (182.91 KiB) Viewed 461 times
and, 2.0 mp model
10-10-2020 SC 002.png
10-10-2020 SC 002.png (194.76 KiB) Viewed 461 times
Any thoughts about the cheap microscope cameras?

Hobbyst46
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#2 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:51 pm

Some time ago I posted results of a "similar"* USB 2 5MP camera on my Zeiss microscope. They were fairly decent for documentation. The resolution is acceptable.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7145&p=63185&hilit= ... ive#p63185
The field of view, when using the 0.5X reduction lens that comes with it, is roughly half of the view through the binocular.
These cameras are easily and reliably operated from the very good Toupview software which sometime sis bundled with it, as well as the MICAM freeware.
My camera is limited in that white balance and exposure time are not fully controlled by the software.
I suppose that the USB 2 is a limitation on frame rate, but I only take stills not videos.

On the infinity corrected optics of the Olympus CX, the performance will likely be better, IMHO. Unfortunately only a few results and comparisons of performance of such cameras have been posted.
----------------------
* unbranded Chinese USB camera.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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mrsonchus
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#3 Post by mrsonchus » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:00 pm

Hi, I started with a 2mp USB2 ToupCam a few years back now, but found it to be a little lacking in pixels and performance.
I then upgraded to a 5mp USB2 ToupCam - the 'LCMOS' version as opposed to the 'CMOS' version. The former is supposed to have a slightly higher frame-rate than the straight 'CMOS' version, by virtue of some on-board caching memory I think.
Anyway for video the ToupCams - including the 5mp LCMOS version I have, are pretty hopeless for video (achieving about 3-5 fps if you're lucky - Windows 10 64-bit seems to perform far worse with it in terms of frame-rate than does Windows 10 32-bit version..). In use tethered with the superb ToupCam software the 5mp LCMOS is a pleasure to use - slightly low - even for stills - frame-rate notwithstanding.

I have a couple of images taken for measurement calibration with ToupView, from a Canon with an APSC sensor (EOS D200) and from the 5mp Toupcam with the amazingly large field-coverage of an Olympus U-TV0.35XC-2 C-mount adapter, mounted on the photoport of my BX50.

The 0.35X adapter,
Image

The Canon's APSC sensor's image connected with the Olympus U-PMTVC + U-SPT (with 2.5X Olympus PE projection eyepiece inside) gives this FOV with a 20x objective of FN22,
Image

The far greater coverage - about as large as it can be without encroaching onto the edges of the circular eyepiece-view - essentially it's a 'full frame' coverage with the 1/2.5 sensor-size,
Image

There's one of these adapters (the 0.35X) on e-bay right now for £200 I think, although mine was less than that as I just 'got lucky' and snapped one of 2 for sale a while back as soon as they were listed... At a price where I could try it and take a chance - very pleased I did.

To sum-up, in my experience, the ToupCams are hopeless for video and the DSLRs are very good for video AND stills - but field coverage is very small without and expensive adapter to bapture either the APSC sensor fit or even a full-frame sensor's fit....

I now use both, the ToupCam for stitching (possible in real-time with ToupView) and the 200D for stills, usually.

A couple of images to compare coverage,
first the DSLR EOS200D 24.2mp APSC sensor,
Image

then the ToupCam 5mp 1/2.5 sensor,
Image

The 5mp ToupCam performs well, especially when posting images to internet.
John B

Hobbyst46
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#4 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:37 pm

mrsonchus wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:00 pm
...
That is informative comparison mrsonchus, thanks for posting.
(Foolish question) - I assume that the 0.35X adapter was used as is, without the 0.5X or similar reduction lens supplied with the Toupcam camera - correct ?

Incidentally, the Olympus C-mount adapters with reducing lenses (0.5X-0.63X I think) provide excellent coverage of the FOV with Olympus dedicated small sensor microscope cameras. Those cost way more than the Toupcams of course...
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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mrsonchus
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#5 Post by mrsonchus » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:42 pm

Yes, the ToupCam mounts onto the 0.35X which mounts directly onto the BX50's photoport - o lovely and small installation - no great tower as with the other system!
John B

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mrsonchus
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#6 Post by mrsonchus » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:53 pm

URK - I just thought!

I have a full adapter for sale on e-bay right now to connect a ToupCam to an Olympus. It's the C-Mount version of the DSLR kit I just posted about...
Here's a link to my listing. Can't believe I just thought of it as I was perusing e-bay.... :oops:

This one is complete and includes the Olympus PE2.5X projection (photo) eyepiece - ready in fact to mount a C-Mount camera such as a ToupCam.
This won't have the coverage of the 0.35X of course - but it's ready to use!

I think the ToupCam image below is taken with the above adapter,

Image


EOS image compared,
Image
Last edited by mrsonchus on Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John B

micro
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#7 Post by micro » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:34 pm

I don't think the usb cameras are ever worth the money. Smartphone camera pictures will work better anyway. Makes more sense to just put the $50 towards a dslr.

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mrsonchus
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#8 Post by mrsonchus » Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:18 pm

What makes them so good though is their combination with the excellent software - ToupView - which is also supplied with other branded ToupCameras, just with the name in the top bar changed to theirs. The ToupView software can stack (including in live-mode realtime as the focus is moved through the subject), stitch (again live - as the subject is scanned the stitched image is built in a window as you go - even with a focus-quality indicator to allow you to see if it's OK for the ongoing stitch) and it can perform measurement too - adding a measurement layer to an image, once the objectives are calibrated with images such as those above...

But they are pretty poor with video - the DSLR always massacres them in this respect - and of course DSLRs have such high pixel-counts now at affordable prices.

The USB cameras are just so dashed convenient across the whole imaging workflow though.... Definitely a case of 'horses for courses' though - hence my regular use of both accordingly...

Smartphone images - yes good quality - but good-grief the workflow!
John B

Hobbyst46
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#9 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 10:07 pm

micro wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:34 pm
I don't think the usb cameras are ever worth the money. Smartphone camera pictures will work better anyway. Makes more sense to just put the $50 towards a dslr.
The problem with phone cameras is having to align and re-align them on the eyepiece tube adapter (itself often problematic, at least those that cost <$50), to achieve coaxiality of the phone camera lens with the objective-eyepiece axis. So, USB eyepiece cameras are ergonomically better. Add to it the immediate availability of the image on the computer (as mentioned by mrsonchus above), the ease of shooting without physical contact, and for $50 it is good value - relative to messing around with the DSLR adapter, as is common with old microscope.
Just my opinion.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

micro
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#10 Post by micro » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:02 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 10:07 pm
micro wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:34 pm
I don't think the usb cameras are ever worth the money. Smartphone camera pictures will work better anyway. Makes more sense to just put the $50 towards a dslr.
The problem with phone cameras is having to align and re-align them on the eyepiece tube adapter (itself often problematic, at least those that cost <$50), to achieve coaxiality of the phone camera lens with the objective-eyepiece axis. So, USB eyepiece cameras are ergonomically better. Add to it the immediate availability of the image on the computer (as mentioned by mrsonchus above), the ease of shooting without physical contact, and for $50 it is good value - relative to messing around with the DSLR adapter, as is common with old microscope.
Just my opinion.
I've never thought the usb footage I've seen looked reasonable but I guess it depends what you are observing. The above pictures look decent enough but using usb cameras for things like rotifers seems far harder to get a good image.

DonSchaeffer
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#11 Post by DonSchaeffer » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:39 pm

I started with a similar camera still images were just fine. When I used to make motion videos, I found the videos were very jerky. Those eyepiece cameras are very easy to use. You will make a lot of great pictures. I use mine to view through the mIcroscope. I never use the eyepiece.

Kevin_r
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#12 Post by Kevin_r » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:53 am

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:51 pm
Some time ago I posted results of a "similar"* USB 2 5MP camera on my Zeiss microscope. They were fairly decent for documentation. The resolution is acceptable.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7145&p=63185&hilit= ... ive#p63185
Thanks! I should have searched first the entire forum prior to posting this one.
Your post is really helpful

Stay safe!

Kevin_r
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#13 Post by Kevin_r » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:56 am

mrsonchus wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:00 pm
Hi, I started with a 2mp USB2 ToupCam ...
Woah! Nice review about the toupcam.
I wish it is available in my country (in Ph), tho.


Stay safe!

Kevin_r
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#14 Post by Kevin_r » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:59 am

micro wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:34 pm
I don't think the usb cameras are ever worth the money. Smartphone camera pictures will work better anyway. Makes more sense to just put the $50 towards a dslr.

Thanks for the comment.
I've been using a smartphone camera. It just sucks in alignment and for taking videos.
Some "adaptor" to place the camera over the eyepiece works really well. However, Olympus CX23 is unforgiving. It doesn't really allow these mounts and I still have to hold the phone.

Stay safe!

Kevin_r
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#15 Post by Kevin_r » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:59 am

mrsonchus wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:18 pm
Smartphone images - yes good quality - but good-grief the workflow!
Agreeeeee!

Kevin_r
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Re: Really cheap camera, any opinion?

#16 Post by Kevin_r » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:00 am

DonSchaeffer wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:39 pm
I started with a similar camera still images were just fine. When I used to make motion videos, I found the videos were very jerky. Those eyepiece cameras are very easy to use. You will make a lot of great pictures. I use mine to view through the mIcroscope. I never use the eyepiece.
I can't wait to receive my eyepiece cam.


Stay safe!

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