pls help with recc. a microscope

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Lisa from Oahu
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pls help with recc. a microscope

#1 Post by Lisa from Oahu » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:49 pm

Aloha Everyone,

I need some help please. I am the co-ordinator for a NOAA bwet grant in Hawaiʻi and an Elementary school librarian. I need to purchase a microscope for my teachers that meets the following criteria:
1. has a digital usb connection to a mac-air
2. can view phytoplankton, and zooplankton (the goal is to project the images onto a high-end smartboard)
3. is lightweight.
4. Iʻm looking for the lowest price model.

I am also wondering if thereʻs a handheld digital microscope available that would meet the above criteria also?
As you can probably infer, I am not a scientist, however, I do believe in the beauty of science all around us and am excited to grow my knowledge.

Any recommendations or guidance.

Thank you so much for your support.

Lisa

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75RR
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#2 Post by 75RR » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:20 pm

Hi Lisa, welcome
Iʻm looking for the lowest price model.
A couple of questions:
Can you give us some idea of your budget - it does not matter how low it is - it will help us to choose the best options.
Will you be taking photos and then projecting them or will you be working exclusively with live samples?
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

Lisa from Oahu
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#3 Post by Lisa from Oahu » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:34 pm

Aloha,

No photos, just live samples.
I submitted a budget to my boss for $200 bc a biologist friend of mine has an Aven digital microscope for about that much but heʻs not sure it could be used to view phytoplankton or zooplankton. So yes, Iʻm looking for something around that price range. Feel free to let me know the real(istic) deal of what Iʻm trying to find.

Thank you!

PeteM
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#4 Post by PeteM » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:20 pm

Three thoughts:

1) You might ask around and check if someone has a good quality microscope they would donate to the cause. There are likely dozens of old but good examples nearby, stashed in closets, doctors offices, hospital store rooms etc.

2) It will be helpful to have some way of increasing contrast. One easy way is to add a polarizing filter above the lamp in the base and have a microscope with space to insert a polarizer under the (monocular, binocular, trinocular?) head. If someone has a phase contrast microscope to donate that's even better. Cheap camera polarizers or even just a cheap bit of linear polarizer sheet cut to shape can work. Total cost maybe $20.

3) If you find a microscope -- or get one under $100 -- then you can simply buy a USB camera that inserts in place of a microscope eyepiece and connects to most any laptop or computer or even projector with a USB port. A decent one might be under $100.

MichaelG.
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#5 Post by MichaelG. » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:56 pm

Lisa,

Pete's suggestion is excellent ... but experience with UK [elementary] primary schools suggests that proper microscopes rarely get treated well or properly maintained.

Conversely: There is much in favour of an integrated solution, but anything with the requisite performance is likely to be expensive. :(

As a reality-check, it may be worth contacting Christina Veresen to enquire about the microscope featured towards the end of this article:
https://blog.education.nationalgeograph ... ood-chain/

MichaelG.
Too many 'projects'

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lorez
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#6 Post by lorez » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:50 pm

I will give you a microscope that will be better than what you can get for $200 and you can use that money to purchase a better camera. Send me a message if you are interested.

lorez

Lisa from Oahu
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#7 Post by Lisa from Oahu » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:39 am

Thank you so much for all your kind and informational replies. I did send Cristina a message. :)

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lorez
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#8 Post by lorez » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:19 am

If you would like a referral to a professional who is on Oahu send me a message.

lorez

MicroBob
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#9 Post by MicroBob » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:32 am

USB cameras often have a very low frame rate and it would be difficult to see the fast movements in plancton.
Quicker would be a HDMI output. Camcorder are able to offer a live view image for a long time. My Nikon 1j5 offers HDMI output but I don't know for how long.

We live in a funny time when it comes to images: Today people are used to images that are more colouful, more contrasty, sharper and just better than reality. In the past this was not the case, TV was SD or even black and white, photography fought with grain or questionable colours.
Therefore if one wants to catch the attention of the pupils the image quality should be quite good. Otherwise they will just say "The old ones really did strange things in the past!" :lol:

Bob

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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#10 Post by Tom Jones » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:11 am

Lisa,

Get Lorez's microscope. Get a good cell phone adapter, mount the cell phone on the microscope eyepiece (horizontally please - NO vertical video as you loose too much screen real estate and resolution), hook up an HDMI adapter from the cell phone to the HDMI input for the white board. Voila! You have a full HD microscope camera sending better video to the white board than any eyepiece camera. And you already have the camera! I just demonstrated the same thing to a teacher a couple weeks ago. Your cost is the price of the cell phone adapter (or make one) plus the HDMI adapter and cable.

Here are some instructions that will explain it in detail.

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/art ... omicro.pdf


Tom

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75RR
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#11 Post by 75RR » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:23 am

lorez wrote:I will give you a microscope that will be better than what you can get for $200 and you can use that money to purchase a better camera. Send me a message if you are interested
lorez wrote:If you would like a referral to a professional who is on Oahu send me a message.
Note to lorez

New members can receive PMs (private messages) but can not send them.

You will have to send Lisa from Oahu your contact details.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

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lorez
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#12 Post by lorez » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:40 am

Thanks Tom and 75RR.

I did not even think about the phone, but that's a great idea. Adapters are very reasonable (cheep).

I'll try to send Lisa from Oahu a private message.

lorez

Lisa from Oahu
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#13 Post by Lisa from Oahu » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:06 am

Thank you everyone for your advice. Tom, I read the article and yes, I understand it and can do that. I tried to reply pm (private msge/post msg?)to lorez but not sure I executed it correctly:)

Iʻll take Tomʻs advice and yes, pls lmk what steps to take so my students can receive the blessings of a generous gift.

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75RR
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#14 Post by 75RR » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:39 am

Microscopy is one of those areas where one is expected to just jump in and learn on one’s own.

Not sure why this is so, there is after all a not inconsiderable learning curve that can be easily eased with just a little direction.

I recommend that you find someone with access to a microscope that is willing to give you some hands on instruction.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

Hobbyst46
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#15 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:34 pm

Hello Lisa

The idea of using the phone as camera in your case is great.
About a year ago I started with a cellphone for microscopy. I struggled with it since the adapter that I purchased did not provide easy and reproducible alignment of the cellphone camera with the eyepieces. So I devised a solution based on magnets, such that one can place the phone on top of the adapter, then slide it to and fro a little bit until it aligns with the view through the eyepieces.
The phone was Samsung Galaxy S5, has a great 16MP camera and can be purchased used on eBay for $50 or less.
Here are the details of what I achieved:

"Magnetcially securing a smartphone to an eyepiece adapter - MicrobeHunter.com Microscopy Forum.html" posted on Dec 30, 2017.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5518&p=49821&hilit=samsung#p49821

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

MicroBob
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#16 Post by MicroBob » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:32 pm

Hi Tom,
I knew that smartphones are especially easy to adapt to microscopes for photography, but I had never heard of MHL.
Is this available as a standard in some android versions or does it depend on the make and model?

Bob

Tom Jones
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#17 Post by Tom Jones » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:24 am

Hi Bob,

I'm not sure it's in all of them, but it's certainly in most of them. It's been around for quite a while. iOS has it's own method that works fine too, with iPhones and iPads.

Here's a list: http://www.mhltech.org/devices.aspx and another: https://hudly.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/arti ... led-Phones

Here's the MHL home: http://www.mhltech.org/consumer.aspx

Tom

MicroBob
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#18 Post by MicroBob » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:26 am

Hi Tom, I checked it, and my cheap chinese UHANS smartphone does not support it. There is an app that can check the smartphone for compatability. But many more expensive smartphones do have this support, and it is probably a nice method to get a live view image an a screen. One disadvantage will be the the wide angle camera of most smartphones that will offer a small circular image unless digital zoom is applied.

Bob

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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#19 Post by Tom Jones » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:55 pm

Hi Bob,

Remember, a bit of digital zoom isn't much of an issue when you start with a 4K sensor and are down sampling to HD for the output anyway. It is still pretty much guaranteed to be better than an eyepiece camera at 640 x 480 with their hideously slow frame transfer rates.

As a cure for your MHL-less smart phone, you could pick up an older used phone that supports it and never use it for anything else. I still use a Galaxy S5. I just looked on EBay and the most expensive S5 I saw was $125 w/ free shipping. Lots less than $50. You can probably find one with a beat up screen worth nothing in trade and get it free. Just don't set it up with a phone company and you're good to go. Then you can leave it on a mount, ready to shoot at a moment's notice without having to worry about answering those pesky phone calls too! :roll:

Tom

Hobbyst46
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Re: pls help with recc. a microscope

#20 Post by Hobbyst46 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:04 pm

Thanks Tom and Bob for pointing out MHL!
Have long been searching a USB-HDMI communication protocol and cable, but never heard the magic word "MHL".
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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