Is Toupcam the best?

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Mars1
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Is Toupcam the best?

#1 Post by Mars1 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:17 pm

Hello all,

Ever since day one I have used Toupcam software in conjunction with my Toupcam L3CMOS 14MP camera inserted into my AmScope 40X-2000X 3W LED Siedentopf Trinocular Darkfield Brightfield Compound Microscope. In my experience, which is completely limited to the preceding, it appears to have served me well. The problem is that I have no other experience to compare it to.

Are there other software offerings that might be better to use than Toupview?

I am imaging my subjects not for science but for art. You lot have already done all the hard work with the science anyway so keep up the good work! I like to let Mother Nature run wild as she continues to wow us with her artistic abilities. Then, I capture them if I am in the right place at the right time.

Also, I would like to learn how to 'stack' images. I think Toupcam can do that but is it the right software for the job?

Any helpful comments are greatly appreciated.

Thank you all,

Mike
"God makes the wind. We set the sails."

billbillt
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#2 Post by billbillt » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:42 pm

Hello Mars1,

Have you got any photos you can share?.. I would like to see how Toupcam performs..

The Best,
BillT

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Glycolyse
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#3 Post by Glycolyse » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:34 pm

I'm interested in seeing some photos too.

Mars1
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#4 Post by Mars1 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:15 pm

Thank you for asking, and yes, I have some. Please go to [https://www.microeyes.org] to see a selection. Remember, I am still learning.
"God makes the wind. We set the sails."

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mrsonchus
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#5 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:11 pm

Hi.
I've been using a Toupcam LCMOS 5mp with ToupView software for about 4 years now and can definitely comment that the software is superb. Like you I have nothing to compare it to, but that's testament in itself in that I've never felt the need to look for a different program.... I tried 'Image-J' but found it to be too much messing about to use and keep up to date with all it's add-ons etc - just my opinion of course.

Toupview stacks at truly lightning-fast speed - far faster than Helicon Focus (and Zerene come to that), which I use with the Canon DSLR atop my compound 'scope; I use the Toupcam with my trinocular stereo-zoom 'scope. Images don't have to be taken with Toupview to be stacked by Toupview. I've compared the stacking of Toupview to that of Helicon and indeed Zerene and found it to be equal to both.

Remember though that the context of my experience is with the use of imaging through both stereo and compound 'scopes - I've no non-photomicrographic stacking experience to compare, such as macro or 'normal' photography.

Toupview also enables measurements to be overlaid onto images, as the individual objectives of your 'scope can be calibrated with Toupview and the use of a 'known length' (I use a simple micrometer-slide for this - it only needs to be done once). With measurement however it seems to me that Toupview has to be used to take the image - as I've never been able to get the text the right size on imported images during measuring.

In my experience Toupview is a superb piece of software - comprehensive, easy to use and very, very fast.

John B.
John B

billbillt
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#6 Post by billbillt » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:44 pm

Hello John B.

Thanks for your usual expert and honest report!...

BillT

Scarodactyl
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#7 Post by Scarodactyl » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:19 pm

This might be a dumb question, but have you done an apples to apples comparison of stacking speed? I have a 4mp nikon microscope camera on my smz1500, amd I was amazed how insanely fast helicon would stack those vs the 18mp from my canon, practically instantly.

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mrsonchus
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#8 Post by mrsonchus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:53 pm

Scarodactyl wrote:This might be a dumb question, but have you done an apples to apples comparison of stacking speed? I have a 4mp nikon microscope camera on my smz1500, amd I was amazed how insanely fast helicon would stack those vs the 18mp from my canon, practically instantly.
Hi, yes indeed I have, as the vast majority of my stacking is with the 18mp images from my Canon EOS1200D. Now I nearly always use Helicon as I bought the basic subscription just to have it really. In practical terms however the Toupview software equals it for quality and beats it for speed - with as mentioned my specific needs. As a free and very nicely integrated program I really rate Toupview, it will even allow 'live' stacking and stitching, where the images are not explicitly named and saved, but stacked/stitched 'on the fly' as a box prompts for each image capture before completing the operation.

For stitching I always use Microsoft's simply superb ICE (free too) software as this seems to stitch all manner of capture patterns correctly and very quickly.

John B.
John B

Mars1
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#9 Post by Mars1 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:07 pm

Thank you John B.

That was excellent information.

It seems that we are in the same boat in many ways as far as Toupview is concerned.

Do you see the ability to stack images as a way to overcome the depth of field problem?

My young life was filled with astronomy where we took PICTURES with FILM. Still had some DOF problems but not like the micro world.

You were a big help!

Mike aka Mars1
"God makes the wind. We set the sails."

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mrsonchus
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#10 Post by mrsonchus » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:39 am

Mars1 wrote:Thank you John B.

That was excellent information.

It seems that we are in the same boat in many ways as far as Toupview is concerned.

Do you see the ability to stack images as a way to overcome the depth of field problem?

My young life was filled with astronomy where we took PICTURES with FILM. Still had some DOF problems but not like the micro world.

You were a big help!

Mike aka Mars1
Hi Mike, incidentally I like your handle!
As far as the DOF problem goes, it's a very different scenario when imaging microtome-cut and stained slides such as mine, which are only about 4-10 (maybe 12 but rarely) microns thick, and to make matters significantly more complicated, translucent. When stacking opaque and incidentally-illuminated objects it's easy - simply working through the depth as required, where no two stack-slices will focus con the same X,Y position of the finished image.

This isn't the case with my and similar slides however, as at one depth into the section there may for example be a nice image of a nucleus to focus on for a stack slice, and directly beneath (or indeed above) this (on the same X,Y but different Z position) there may lie a very nice detail of a cytoplasmic strand, cell-wall or even another nucleus (in the case of tissue-depth covering two cell nuclei at once).... This would not stack well at all - one detail covering or confusing the other. When stacking such translucent subjects as this with coincident X,Y details, focus-points must be chosen to avoid this. In short the purpose of the stack must be considered, in terms of 'what information do I require from this stack?' - are the nuclei of a particular area of interest?, is an overall structural image the aim?...

I often choose not to stack or to stack only with 2-3 images as I wish to see the perspective of say a cell's side-wall (that is perpendicular to the coverslip's surface) to tell me which way a vein is oriented in the section. For an overall view a lower power is used, which of course has a far larger DOF and presents no problems, for that particular view. I often use my x70 for fine detail as it has an N.A. of 0.9 and a coverslip correction collar, and of course doesn't require immersion. The DOF of this objective is truly tiny, but the resolution it offers makes it's use worthwhile. This objective will require stacking of a single nucleus!

The other method I use is to employ 'optical sectioning' - especially useful for pollen-grain analysis as although stained the whole grain will, if stained well, still be translucent and therefore amenable to transmitted illumination. This technique involves selecting focus depths to image details that are coincident at an X,Y coordinate or will confuse or even give a false impression if stacked. For example the 'polar view' and the 'equatorial view' of such a pollen-grain is used for images to identify and catalogue pollen. The definitive view would not necessarily be a SEM image as this would show exclusively surface detail. With optical sectioning structures such as pores that allow passage of pollen tubes through the pollen's outer 'shell' may be imaged in section even with an un-sectioned (microtome section that is) whole pollen-grain.

Sooo, stacking is a very useful tool indeed, in transmitted brightfield also, but needs to be used in this context with some consideration of the above and other factors I find with experience....
The first question then to ask before stacking is - 'what do I want to see in this image?'.

Sorry to be so long-winded! :oops: Hope this helps a little to explain how I use stacking.....
John B

Roldorf
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#11 Post by Roldorf » Thu May 09, 2019 4:15 pm

Toupcam, Amscope and Bresser's MicrocamLabII are all the same software all from the Touopcam stable.
I bought a 5 mp digital camera from Bresser last year. The software supplied is dated 7th August 2018 and seems to be their current version as there are no updates on the Bresser website. The current software from Amscope is dated 9th December 2018. Toupcam's 'Toupview' offering on their website is dated 8th May 2019.
So if you want the latest software for your digital camera it seems you have to go to the Toupcam website.
Alan
Bresser Science Infinity 4x 10x 40x 60x 100x oil. Canon EOS 4000d
Stereo Microscope Optika SFX 90

Hobbyst46
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Re: Is Toupcam the best?

#12 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:44 am

I hope it is OK to add some focus stacking info to this thread.

Having tried several picture management software that can stack - ZS, Helicon, ImageJ, Picolay (my default) and more, and having read John B's (mrsonchus) positive remarks about Toupview, I thought of trying Toupview for this purpose. The software was supplied along with my USB camera. It works on all images however, not limited to output from that camera.

Toupview works seamlessly with the (old fashioned) folder-tree-hierarchical file system. So, from within the browsing pane, it is easy to pick image files for stacking and other manipulations. Stacking is started by the Process->EDF command (NOT Process->Image Stacking, which is a different command), and is straightforward, very fast and convenient.
Disclosure: I use Microsoft Windows 7 on an i5-CPU Intel PC.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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