B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

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CurlSnout
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B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#1 Post by CurlSnout » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:02 pm

Hello Citizens,

I worked for many years at a local university where I had access to some very sophisticated microscopy and imaging systems (laser capture microdissection, confocal, two photon, etc.). Now, newly retired, I'm rediscovering the fun/hobby aspect of it all. I find that the scope I use most often at home is the old but reliable B&L Stereozoom that I bought years ago. I would really like to capture some images to share, and wonder if anyone can help lead me down the path - or at least point the way.

Thanks in any case.

Peace,

cs
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Scarodactyl
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#2 Post by Scarodactyl » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:18 pm

For a quick'n'easy solution, I have found the generic 2x DSLR adapters marked "NDPL" work pretty well on b&l stereozoom microscopes. There might be better options for the trinocular SZ7 or SZ6 but for one where an eyepiece adapter is your only choice it's probably about as good as you can do.

CurlSnout
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#3 Post by CurlSnout » Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:27 pm

Thank you for your speedy response. I do not currently own a DSLR camera - is that a whole other rabbit hole down which to go? I see many ads for USB (2.0 and 3.0) cameras that one installs in place of one of the eyepieces on a binocular scope. They seem to range from 3 MP up to around 18 MP and, of course, vary in price (many appear the same with different branding on the outside depending on who is selling). Would something like that be a workable option for capturing images with the B&L Stereozoom?

Hobbyst46
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#4 Post by Hobbyst46 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:48 pm

This post provides some data from an inexpensive, unbranded, 5MP eyepiece camera on my Olympus stereo zoom microscope. Responses #28 and onwards.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7145&hilit=inexpensive#p63185

Hope it helps.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

CurlSnout
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#5 Post by CurlSnout » Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:36 pm

That post from beginning to end is very helpful - and encouraging. Thanks for doing the work and sharing the results. I'll look further into the world of eyepiece cameras and wade through some of the options. I'm willing to spend more than $69 but on the other hand the sky is NOT the limit. Does anyone know (or want to offer an opinion on) where the sweet spot is with respect to megapixels (bearing in mind that the scope is an old B&L Stereozoom)? And, are there makers/sellers that are superior to others? As I mentioned above, it looks like many of these cameras originate from the same source but are branded differently, depending on the dealer/seller.

BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#6 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:58 pm

I would be interested in your results as I have had some difficulty in obtaining good direct images with my B&L sz7
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#7 Post by Sliding Focus » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:46 pm

I’m watching with interest, too—likewise having trouble getting good images through an SZ7 (though I’m using the trinocular tube). Weirdly, they come out great for me at 6–7x, but are a blurry mess at 1–4x...

Scarodactyl
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#8 Post by Scarodactyl » Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:22 pm

How do you have it set up?

Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#9 Post by Sliding Focus » Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:22 pm

Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:22 pm
How do you have it set up?
Not sure if this is directed at me or at BramHuntingNematodes, but I have the older style camera adapter (with the tube that screws into the adapter, rather than the one that slides in and is held by a set screw), and I'm using a Nikon CF PL 2.5x photo eyepiece to project the image on to the sensor of a Canon DSLR. The quality issue is also visible when I put a B&L 31-15-71 10x W.F. stereo eyepiece into the trinocular tube and look through it by eye, but not when I look through the left eyepiece in the normal viewing position, which makes me think that the camera adapter is the cause of the issue. I'm not sure, however, whether my equipment has a problem or if the degradation I'm seeing at the lower magnification settings is normal for the camera adapter—and, short of trying another example, I'm not sure how I'd tell! I had the microscope serviced by I. Miller last year, so if there was a problem I would've hoped that they'd've caught it, but I also don't know if that's something they'd check on if I didn't explicitly ask them to.

Scarodactyl
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#10 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:35 am

Lower mags are more sensitive to eyepiece position than higher mags--maybe it's out of position? The trinoc port on an sz7 is very simple, it's just a couple 45 degree mirrors, one which extends into the light path, plus a glass window. There shouldnt be an easy way for that to degrade image quality if it's all clean. There are a couple little adjustments to make for parcentricity and parfocality though, maybe that's related? I can send pictures of the manual if I dig it up.

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#11 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:01 am

Hmm I just shoot through the eyetube as I have the coaxial illuminator installed instead of the camera port. I thought maybe the polarizer was doing something weird with the digital sensor, but I get blurry images in any case. I use the stereoscope to work in things generally rather than for images so it hasn't been a top priority
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Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#12 Post by Sliding Focus » Fri Nov 06, 2020 2:43 am

Scarodactyl wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:35 am
Lower mags are more sensitive to eyepiece position than higher mags--maybe it's out of position? The trinoc port on an sz7 is very simple, it's just a couple 45 degree mirrors, one which extends into the light path, plus a glass window. There shouldnt be an easy way for that to degrade image quality if it's all clean. There are a couple little adjustments to make for parcentricity and parfocality though, maybe that's related? I can send pictures of the manual if I dig it up.
I have pictures of a manual, but would be interested in seeing yours if you don't mind sharing them, just in case yours might have any extra information that might be helpful. I'm happy to share mine as well if you like—how would you recommend/prefer I do that?

I have adjusted my camera adapter to be parfocal, but don't have a small enough screwdriver to parcenter it perfectly—it's very close, though (close enough that I don't think that that's my problem, but maybe it is?). I can see a small patch of streaks (scratches?) on one of the optical surfaces inside the camera adapter, but it doesn't look like something that's likely to affect image quality—if we were talking about a camera lens, I'm sure it wouldn't—but maybe I'm wrong about that? As for the eyepiece position—I'm not sure where the Nikon photo eyepiece is designed to pick up the intermediate image, but since I also saw the problem visually using the B&L viewing eyepiece, I don't think that the position of the eyepiece is my problem (again, I could be wrong, though).

Would it be helpful if I shared some test photos? I can find time to make some if so.

Thanks for the help you've been giving me!

BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#13 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Fri Nov 06, 2020 2:57 am

Hey you ever take the photo adapter out and check the mirrors? I had some bad beam splitters and polarizers both in my illuminator. I wonder if some of the same problems occured in the mirror.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#14 Post by Sliding Focus » Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:45 am

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 2:57 am
Hey you ever take the photo adapter out and check the mirrors? I had some bad beam splitters and polarizers both in my illuminator. I wonder if some of the same problems occured in the mirror.
I have not—the thought makes me a bit nervous, but the manual makes it sound reasonably easy. What might a mirror that had gone bad look like?

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#15 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:20 am

Should just be two flat head screws, right? A bad mirror might be cracked or dirty or have missing silvering
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Scarodactyl
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#16 Post by Scarodactyl » Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:28 am

You can illuminate the light path and look down it (careful not to dazzle your eyes) to see if anything looks wrong. That's probably easiest, it would have to be a dramatic problem with the mirror I would think.
I don't currently have an sz7 set up for photography at my place unfortunately, too much going on to get the one (functional) one I have all set up for a bit yet.

Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#17 Post by Sliding Focus » Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:41 pm

Scarodactyl wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:28 am
You can illuminate the light path and look down it (careful not to dazzle your eyes) to see if anything looks wrong. That's probably easiest, it would have to be a dramatic problem with the mirror I would think.
I don't currently have an sz7 set up for photography at my place unfortunately, too much going on to get the one (functional) one I have all set up for a bit yet.
That is what I've been doing, and how I found the streaks/scratches—glad to hear that it should be enough! It's hard for me to get a proper look at the mirror that slides into and out of the power pod without taking the camera adapter off, but the fixed mirror looks like it's in perfect condition, and there are no obvious signs of cracking, tarnishing, etc. in the view that would make me suspect a problem with the movable one—everything looks clear and in good condition to my eye.

FWIW, taking a look again now, those streaks/scratches appear to be on a lens or piece of glass in-between the two mirrors.

I'll try to find or make some test images to share over the weekend—hopefully visualizing the problem can help diagnose it.

Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#18 Post by Sliding Focus » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:23 am

OK, I spent some time over the weekend making test image series to illustrate the blurriness I am seeing. They are available in an album on my flickr account, here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmS3KGg4. (Would it be better for me to link the images directly?) One series was shot using the Nikon CF PL 2.5x eyepiece, and the other using the afocal method (handheld, so quick and dirty) through the B&L 31-15-71 10x W.F. stereo eyepiece. Neither eyepiece was raised. To minimize the number of variables in play, all images in each series were shot with the same exposure settings (i.e. shutter speed, ISO, and—in the afocal series—aperture speed were identical for each image). I made images for each whole magnification setting from 2x–7x (I did not make images at 1x, but they look much worse than the ones at 2x).

The test subject (the label on a packet of insect pins) isn't necessarily the best for illustrating the problem, but it is the most finely-detailed flat object I had on hand.

In both image series, there is obvious blurring at low magnifications that incrementally diminishes as the magnification approaches 7x. It is especially evident on the specular highlights. To me, the blurring looks like astigmatism, but it is much more severe than what I have seen in any of my camera lenses, and affects even the central portion of the image (astigmatism normally does not occur on-axis, but might if the optics were misaligned). This blurring is not visible through the light paths for viewing—the difference is night and day (I can share images if it would be helpful).

Scarodactyl—or anyone—have you seen this behavior before? Is it normal for the camera adapter on the B&L StereoZoom 7? If not, is there something I'm doing wrong to cause it, or is there something wrong with my camera adapter?

I hope I haven't taken this thread too far off-topic. Thanks in advance for your help, and thanks again for the guidance you've already offered me.

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#19 Post by DonSchaeffer » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:48 am

Has anyone tried to take 3D photos on a stereo microscope? You could take separate photos through each eyepiece and view them through a strereoscope.

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#20 Post by DonSchaeffer » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:48 am

Has anyone tried to take 3D photos on a stereo microscope? You could take separate photos through each eyepiece and view them through a strereoscope.

Scarodactyl
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#21 Post by Scarodactyl » Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:11 am

Just to clarify, this is the best focus it can achieve? It kind of looks like ot's just going out of focus as it zooms out.

Don--the nikon smz-10 is set up to do that easily.

Sliding Focus
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#22 Post by Sliding Focus » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:23 pm

Scarodactyl wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:11 am
Just to clarify, this is the best focus it can achieve? It kind of looks like ot's just going out of focus as it zooms out.
I agree that it kind of looks that way, but as far as I can tell (and unless I'm doing something wrong), this is the best it can do.

CurlSnout
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#23 Post by CurlSnout » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:44 pm

Update: After performing a fair bit of online looking about, I decided to purchase the 10 megapixel version of the 'Swiftcam' USB 3.0 microscope camera. I've only had the software and camera installed for a few hours at this point, so there is still much to learn and fun to be had. I certainly claim no expertise. But so far I am happy. Thought I would share some of my first/test image captures. Here are three images of an expired wood centipede (which I found dead and did not murder) representing low, medium, and high range of magnification on the B&L Stereozoom (I haven't performed any kind of calibration yet, so am unsure of the actual magnifications). Images as they were captured were 3584 x 2746; aside from re-sizing them to fit here I have not performed any post acquisition alterings.

Hi-Ho,

cs
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Last edited by CurlSnout on Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CurlSnout
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#24 Post by CurlSnout » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:45 pm

Some images (same range as mentioned above) of a bryozoan:
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CurlSnout
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#25 Post by CurlSnout » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:46 pm

And, finally, some images of an insect exoskeleton:
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BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#26 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:47 pm

Hmm yeah looks better when zoomed in. It looks pretty good though!
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

jkorten
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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#27 Post by jkorten » Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:37 pm

Hi all - I'm a newbie here but I was led here by a query on a stereozoom 7 I bought for the eyepieces.

These scopes have a confocal illuminator on them (that is factory adjusted per scope) and it appears that the optical mechanism (a two way mirror system) delaminates on the top optical surface and leaves an air bubble between the glass and the mirrored(?) surface.

This may be the cause of the poor resolution you were speaking of earlier in the thread.

The stereozoom 4 doesn't have this, and you can remove the coaxial illuminator on the stereozoom 7, but you'd need to put a plate on the access port instead of the illuminator, and you can see if this improves your resolution. (Regular slotted screwdriver required).

Regards,


Jerry

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#28 Post by Sliding Focus » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:31 pm

jkorten wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:37 pm

These scopes have a confocal illuminator on them (that is factory adjusted per scope) and it appears that the optical mechanism (a two way mirror system) delaminates on the top optical surface and leaves an air bubble between the glass and the mirrored(?) surface.

This may be the cause of the poor resolution you were speaking of earlier in the thread.

The stereozoom 4 doesn't have this, and you can remove the coaxial illuminator on the stereozoom 7, but you'd need to put a plate on the access port instead of the illuminator, and you can see if this improves your resolution. (Regular slotted screwdriver required).
Hi Jerry—welcome to the forum (from another newbie)!

Thanks for the suggestion—I appreciate it. But, I'm definitely not experiencing the same issue as you: my copy of the SZ7 does not have the optional coaxial illuminator. Instead, it has the camera adapter, as pictured here: https://www.martinmicroscope.com/bl-ste ... hotoports/. (I have the older style, specifically, but I haven't seen anything anywhere to suggest that that makes a difference.)

As mentioned in my previous posts, the blurring I see at low magnifications is not visible through the viewing eyepieces, only though the camera adapter, which makes me suspect that the camera adapter is causing the image quality issue. What I'm not sure about is a) whether my copy of the camera adapter is in some way damaged/out of adjustment, or if they all produce images like mine, and b) if mine is damaged, how I could/should go about diagnosing and fixing the damaged component (if that's possible).

It also seems possible to me that there's nothing wrong with my camera adapter, and instead that I'm doing something wrong—that would be the ideal situation! As Scarodactyl mentioned last month, the images at low magnifications in the series I shared kind of look like they are out of focus. However, as far as I can tell, they represent the best focus that the scope can achieve (I re-adjusted the camera adapter's parfocality before shooting the image series, just to make sure), and the streakiness of the specular highlights looks more to me like astigmatism than like blur from defocus. And, I don't suspect motion blur (which would also look streaky) because images at the highest magnifications always come out fine, and I'd expect the high magnifications to be the most susceptible to that issue. Is there anything I've overlooked?

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#29 Post by hans » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:39 pm

jkorten wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:37 pm
These scopes have a confocal illuminator on them (that is factory adjusted per scope) and it appears that the optical mechanism (a two way mirror system) delaminates on the top optical surface and leaves an air bubble between the glass and the mirrored(?) surface.
Post about repairing one from a couple months ago: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10403

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Re: B&L Stereozoom Photography ?

#30 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:35 pm

The camera adapter I believe is simply a periscope that slides over the left optical path or, when not in use, rests between the optical paths. If the mirrors have already been checked out there's not much else with that device. Maybe some kind of tube length mismatch with the camera? Maybe a reduction lens is warranted? Not sure.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

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