Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

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Antartica
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Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#1 Post by Antartica » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:51 pm

I was wondering if anyone could post comparison images taken using an Olympus BH2/BHS and a modern microscope. I would like to compare the quality of the images produced with both using the best hardware for each, for example using an Splan Apo objective on the Olympus versus the best on a more modern microscope. This is simply for curiosity and to see what differences, if any are noticeable. Something like this: https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/ ... hp?t=19924 would be nice, just to compare.

I know the old Olympus produces awesome results, and I can find images of it using Splan Apo on the internet. But I want to compare apples to apples...so it would be nice to have the same specimen imaged using the two different microscopes.

Hobbyst46
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Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#2 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:22 pm

Antartica wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:51 pm
I was wondering if anyone could post comparison images taken using an Olympus BH2/BHS and a modern microscope. I would like to compare the quality of the images produced with both using the best hardware for each, for example using an Splan Apo objective on the Olympus versus the best on a more modern microscope. This is simply for curiosity and to see what differences, if any are noticeable. Something like this: https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/ ... hp?t=19924 would be nice, just to compare.

I know the old Olympus produces awesome results, and I can find images of it using Splan Apo on the internet. But I want to compare apples to apples...so it would be nice to have the same specimen imaged using the two different microscopes.
I presume that you are looking for a comparison between the BH2 and not just a "modern microscope", since the best and most modern microscope costs probably orders of magnitude above the budget of most hobby microscopists. So, presumably, you refer to a more modern OLYMPUS microscope. That still means maybe 10 models and sub-models and a plethora of optical configurations. And almost all features of the hardware (scope, objectives, camera interface, illumination, condenser, DIC or other accessories etc) will be different from those on the BH2. However, in microscopy, image quality considerably depends on the expertise of the operator, rather than on just the hardware.
So, may I suggest that what you are looking for is the best image that an expert microscopist has ever extracted from a BH2, vs the best image that the same microscopist has ever extracted from a more modern Olympus microscope, where both images represent the same slide or nearly identical slides.
For such comparison, I would try and search the Olympus archives and brochures, where they perhaps store "brochure level" images as sale promoters. Perhaps brightfield images can be found that provide evidence.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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wporter
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Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#3 Post by wporter » Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:06 am

Most comparisons, very much such as the one you linked to, are specious, and are generally poorly done. It is most always an apples-to-oranges comparison: the N.A.s are not the same; the focus is on different points of the specimen for the different lenses; the magnifications are not the same; the post-processing is different; one of the comparison objectives is cleaner or in better condition than the other one; the illumination is different; the condenser is set up differently; the microscope is different; the camera is different; the specimen is different; ad infinitum, ad nauseum. A statistician would say, "Too many uncontrolled variables. Start over and keep everything the same except the objectives".

So many of the comparison shots either show an exaggerated difference or little at all. One has to wade through a bunch of these test comparisons and then struggle to draw some sort of conclusion which hopefully represents the reality of the situation. When I come across a new comparison, I always (not cynical enough, yet, I guess) try to get at least a few sentences into them before, unfortunately too many times, I have to roll my eyes and throw up my hands. Lol (only a bit.)

Antartica
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Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#4 Post by Antartica » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:52 am

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:22 pm
Antartica wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:51 pm
I was wondering if anyone could post comparison images taken using an Olympus BH2/BHS and a modern microscope. I would like to compare the quality of the images produced with both using the best hardware for each, for example using an Splan Apo objective on the Olympus versus the best on a more modern microscope. This is simply for curiosity and to see what differences, if any are noticeable. Something like this: https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/ ... hp?t=19924 would be nice, just to compare.

I know the old Olympus produces awesome results, and I can find images of it using Splan Apo on the internet. But I want to compare apples to apples...so it would be nice to have the same specimen imaged using the two different microscopes.
I presume that you are looking for a comparison between the BH2 and not just a "modern microscope", since the best and most modern microscope costs probably orders of magnitude above the budget of most hobby microscopists. So, presumably, you refer to a more modern OLYMPUS microscope. That still means maybe 10 models and sub-models and a plethora of optical configurations. And almost all features of the hardware (scope, objectives, camera interface, illumination, condenser, DIC or other accessories etc) will be different from those on the BH2. However, in microscopy, image quality considerably depends on the expertise of the operator, rather than on just the hardware.
So, may I suggest that what you are looking for is the best image that an expert microscopist has ever extracted from a BH2, vs the best image that the same microscopist has ever extracted from a more modern Olympus microscope, where both images represent the same slide or nearly identical slides.
For such comparison, I would try and search the Olympus archives and brochures, where they perhaps store "brochure level" images as sale promoters. Perhaps brightfield images can be found that provide evidence.
Yes, I think your reply summed up more clearly what I meant to express in my post. Again, I know there are going to be differences since technology has of course advanced. But I want to see how noticeable these differences are.

@wporter I know there are a lot of variables to optimize over. That's why I wanted the best the BH2/BHS can produce versus the best a modern microscope (pick any you want) can produce. In the end, the hardware is an apples to oranges comparison, but I want the specimen to at least be the same.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#5 Post by Scarodactyl » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:56 am

wporter wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:06 am
Most comparisons, very much such as the one you linked to, are specious, and are generally poorly done. It is most always an apples-to-oranges comparison: the N.A.s are not the same; the focus is on different points of the specimen for the different lenses; the magnifications are not the same; the post-processing is different; one of the comparison objectives is cleaner or in better condition than the other one; the illumination is different; the condenser is set up differently; the microscope is different; the camera is different; the specimen is different; ad infinitum, ad nauseum. A statistician would say, "Too many uncontrolled variables. Start over and keep everything the same except the objectives".
Per the author of the linked comparison those variables should be reasonably controlled--same sample, same scope taken at the same time with the same camera hardware and processing/cropping. I think you're doing them a disservice here. I think what they're trying to demonstrate is pretty clear in the images they've presented.

But that is literally the easiest case--two objectives on the same stand with major differences in specs that are easy to pick out. If you go between stands you're going to have different lighting and different objectives, even if you can get the subject positioned the same. That's why you see a lot of amazing comparison images (usually of chips) for reflected light photomacrography but not as much for transmitted light on microscopes. With reflected light they can generally keep the system the same and just swap lenses, which reduces the variables a lot and removes a lot of work. Even then those are apparently a ton of work.

Basically, this could be done assuming you were willing to accept some limitations as you've mentioned, but it would be a pain to coordinate. You'd probably do better to find images people have produced of popular subjects (diatoms) on different systems to see if you can spot a difference that will matter for what you want to do.

PeteM
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Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#6 Post by PeteM » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:49 pm

I have an Olympus BHS with various finite turrets, that can also (with a change of heads and objectives) use BX type (UIS) objectives. One reason for this setup was to try different objectives, so I could advise parents and mentors on what to get. I can also put Nikon, Leitz etc. objectives on the BHS with a change of eyepieces.

I'm not willing to take the time to take pictures. But I can say that objective class to objective class, the images from good finite and good infinite objectives are very close. I doubt that in a blind test and with the same field size, with brightfield, that I could tell a difference from memory between something like a finite SPlan and a UIS Plan Achro. The DPlan is what I now recommend as the most cost-effective choice for BH2 users; the SPlan even better for polarization, wider field of view, DIC etc.

Finite (BH2 era) ----- Infinite (BX era)

A------------------ UIS type Achro (only have some phase examples in UIS, but a full set of finite "A". Both OK for viewing, not as good as Plan for photos)
DPlan---------------
DPlan ApoUV-------- really meant for UV, don't have a direct UIS comparison (though UPlanFl N goes will into UV)
SPlan -------------- compares well to UIS plan achro, seems near as good as UPlanFl
------------------- UPlanFl very nice, especially for DIC
SPlan Apo ---------- only have a few UPlanApo and haven't yet made direct comparisons to the finite SPlanApos.

The main thing by way of difference I've noted is that Apo objectives lose contrast if you aren't very careful at setting up Kohler and limiting the area of illumination. Those extra glass surfaces, while providing the ultimate corrections, require extra care with stray reflections. For most people something like a DPlan or SPlan on the finite side or a Plan Achro or UPlanFl on the infinite range would be very satisfactory.

The other thing is that the 60x oil SPlanApo (and its Nikon finite equivalent) are superb high NA objectives if you have a bit of extra money to burn. I also finally found a 60x dry objective that provides satisfying images - a UPlanFl N with a .90 na. At 50x and beyond, an oil immersion objective is usually much more satisfying, at least to me.

If you go with earlier finite objectives - before computer ray tracing and modern lens coating - you're likely to find much smaller fields of view and lower contrast. Even there, however, they can resolve fine details and digital manipulation might restore some contrast.

Would also say that that we now have so many options for offsetting prisms, doing oblique or darkfield, focus stacking and digital manipulation that the final result in a photograph ends up being as much an art as anything else. With decent equipment, finite or infinite, we're likely the most important factor in achieving satisfying results. There are several members here who achieve truly stunning results with older finite setups.

Where the infinite setups shine is in a lab setting where a researcher wants to have several imaging modes on the same scope and near instant switching between them. It's also sensible in a cheaper newer scope, since it doesn't cost any more to have a computer-controlled lens grinder spit out an infinite rather than a finite design.

Antartica
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:52 am

Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#7 Post by Antartica » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:32 am

PeteM wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:49 pm
I have an Olympus BHS with various finite turrets, that can also (with a change of heads and objectives) use BX type (UIS) objectives. One reason for this setup was to try different objectives, so I could advise parents and mentors on what to get. I can also put Nikon, Leitz etc. objectives on the BHS with a change of eyepieces.

I'm not willing to take the time to take pictures. But I can say that objective class to objective class, the images from good finite and good infinite objectives are very close. I doubt that in a blind test and with the same field size, with brightfield, that I could tell a difference from memory between something like a finite SPlan and a UIS Plan Achro. The DPlan is what I now recommend as the most cost-effective choice for BH2 users; the SPlan even better for polarization, wider field of view, DIC etc.

Finite (BH2 era) ----- Infinite (BX era)

A------------------ UIS type Achro (only have some phase examples in UIS, but a full set of finite "A". Both OK for viewing, not as good as Plan for photos)
DPlan---------------
DPlan ApoUV-------- really meant for UV, don't have a direct UIS comparison (though UPlanFl N goes will into UV)
SPlan -------------- compares well to UIS plan achro, seems near as good as UPlanFl
------------------- UPlanFl very nice, especially for DIC
SPlan Apo ---------- only have a few UPlanApo and haven't yet made direct comparisons to the finite SPlanApos.

The main thing by way of difference I've noted is that Apo objectives lose contrast if you aren't very careful at setting up Kohler and limiting the area of illumination. Those extra glass surfaces, while providing the ultimate corrections, require extra care with stray reflections. For most people something like a DPlan or SPlan on the finite side or a Plan Achro or UPlanFl on the infinite range would be very satisfactory.

The other thing is that the 60x oil SPlanApo (and its Nikon finite equivalent) are superb high NA objectives if you have a bit of extra money to burn. I also finally found a 60x dry objective that provides satisfying images - a UPlanFl N with a .90 na. At 50x and beyond, an oil immersion objective is usually much more satisfying, at least to me.

If you go with earlier finite objectives - before computer ray tracing and modern lens coating - you're likely to find much smaller fields of view and lower contrast. Even there, however, they can resolve fine details and digital manipulation might restore some contrast.

Would also say that that we now have so many options for offsetting prisms, doing oblique or darkfield, focus stacking and digital manipulation that the final result in a photograph ends up being as much an art as anything else. With decent equipment, finite or infinite, we're likely the most important factor in achieving satisfying results. There are several members here who achieve truly stunning results with older finite setups.

Where the infinite setups shine is in a lab setting where a researcher wants to have several imaging modes on the same scope and near instant switching between them. It's also sensible in a cheaper newer scope, since it doesn't cost any more to have a computer-controlled lens grinder spit out an infinite rather than a finite design.

I guess it would be good if you could at least visually, in the least cumbersome way to you possible, make a comparison between those two. I've seen videos of modern microscopes on youtube, and at least to me, everything "looks" similar. But I'm not experienced enough to see differences, which is why I wanted some side by side images to compare the older with new systems. Or if anyone else with experience could describe their own observations based on visual evidence they've seen, that would be nice too.

Tom Jones
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Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#8 Post by Tom Jones » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:48 am

Antartica,

From a practical point of view, having nicer objectives serves no purpose unless, and until, you need them. If you are "not experienced enough to see differences", buy a decent microscope and learn how to use it. When you are no longer limited by your experience, and can tell the difference, you'll know what you need and why.

Or just buy the most expensive microscope you can afford and don't worry about it. It's unreasonable to ask someone else to do a time-consuming comparison for you.

Antartica
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:52 am

Re: Olympus BHS vs modern microscope

#9 Post by Antartica » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:21 am

Tom Jones wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:48 am
Antartica,

From a practical point of view, having nicer objectives serves no purpose unless, and until, you need them. If you are "not experienced enough to see differences", buy a decent microscope and learn how to use it. When you are no longer limited by your experience, and can tell the difference, you'll know what you need and why.

Or just buy the most expensive microscope you can afford and don't worry about it. It's unreasonable to ask someone else to do a time-consuming comparison for you.
Yeah, I agree. There's so much to learn, it's better to take it slow and enjoy the hobby. For future reference, I did find this old thread which answered a lot of questions. viewtopic.php?t=4143

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