Frustration!

Everything relating to microscopy hardware: Objectives, eyepieces, lamps and more.
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JGardner
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Frustration!

#1 Post by JGardner » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:59 pm

I got into microscopy as a hobby a few years ago, and, frankly, it's been mostly frustration for me since then. Almost all of this frustration has resulted from equipment issues.

When I was first considering what to buy a few years ago, I read this site extensively and the general wisdom was that an older, used microscope from one of the big four was the way to go. I spent a lot of time watching eBay listings and eventually bought two microscopes: a Zeiss Universal and a Leitz Orthoplan. These seemed like solid choices despite their age of nearly half a century. The eBay listings indicated these two microscopes were fully functional. Wrong. When both arrived I quickly discovered each had numerous issues that needed to be fixed. Perhaps I should have just returned them to the sellers, but I stupidly chose not to do that. The Orthoplan had a completely seized field diaphragm, a mirror in the light path had become detached, the condenser centering screws did nothing, and the lighting unit had several mechanical issues. The Universal had nearly seized focusing, delaminated prisms in the binocular assembly, a bent rod in the head unit, and electrical and mechanical issues in the lighting unit.

I did my best to fix these issues, but I'm not very competent mechanically and many of my "fixes" were just kludges and band-aids. Even with the fixes, some things just barely worked, like the focusing on the Universal. As the years went by, I had a lot of fun collecting, preparing, and observing various specimens, but I felt like I was always fighting the scopes. The last straw came this weekend when the stage on the Universal seized up completely while observing some pond water. No amount of effort would coax it to move. Dismantling it requires a pin wrench, which I don't have.

I've come to the conclusion that the care and feeding of old microscopes of this vintage is just beyond both my abilities and interests. Some people find almost as much pleasure in restoring and maintaining old microscopes as they do using them, but I'm not that type.

I'd like to continue in the hobby, however, so I'm considering my options for a replacement microscope. A new microscope would be one path to take. It obviously wouldn't have any of the mechanical issues that have plagued my Orthoplan and Universal. Cost is a factor here, of course, so if I go this route I'll have to limit myself to what my budget can handle. So far, I've been content with BF and DF, and PC would be nice to have, but I realize that going with a new instrument would probably eliminate DIC from the picture in the future as new microscopes that support this seem to be out of my budget.

Another option would be be buy a used microscope from a dealer under the assumption that a good dealer wouldn't knowingly sell something with obvious defects and would have serviced it to ensure things like focusing worked smoothly. Doing so would, however, require trusting an unknown entity to do the right thing. As I have no relationship with, or experience with, any microscope dealers, this seems almost as much a crap shoot as buying a microscope on eBay.

Anyone have any advice and/or suggestions? My budget for this endeavor is $5000 USD.
Last edited by JGardner on Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: Frustration!

#2 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:05 pm

$5000 seems like it would be enough to buy a.very competent machine from a respected dealer.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Hobbyst46
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Re: Frustration!

#3 Post by Hobbyst46 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:33 pm

JGardner wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:59 pm
Anyone have any advice and/or suggestions? My budget for this endeavor is $5000 USD.
Wow, sorry about the frustration.
I believe that such budget would easily get you a modern Olympus BX, 10-15 years old at the most, (or equivalent from the other majors brands).
Frozen focus mechanisms can be a challenge even for professional technicians.
Hopefully one of the forum members can offer a reliable scope.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

MicroBob
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Re: Frustration!

#4 Post by MicroBob » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:38 pm

One alternative would be: Have one or both microscopes professionally refurbished.
A full rufurbishing job of one instrument should take a professional about one work day, so you probably would have a lot of money left.
I hope you will find a good way for you so the technical side doesn't distract you from microscopy any more.

Bob

JGardner
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Re: Frustration!

#5 Post by JGardner » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:01 pm

MicroBob wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:38 pm
One alternative would be: Have one or both microscopes professionally refurbished.
Thanks.

I didn't know this was an option. I assumed that anyone capable of rebuilding these ancient microscopes was long retired (or dead).

Do you know where I can find a list of people/companies that do this work?

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Re: Frustration!

#6 Post by wstenberg » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:47 pm

I use a Zeiss Universal.
The focusing mechanism is modular. It's a block that can be removed by taking out 6 screws. Then you can put a new one on. It is the same focusing rack as the Zeiss Standard WL, so it's possible to find a good one for under $100. I have changed out many over the years. I think that's more cost effective than rebuilding one. I can post photos of the process if needed. All you need is a hex key and flat screwdriver.

There is retired Zeiss engineer here in Dallas who does service and parts on old microscopes. His shop is in his house, but he is quite reasonable and does nice work. He's also a good source for parts. If you can send me a PM, I will provide his contact information.

It's a good microscope; sorry you have had so many problems.
William
Dallas, Texas

Zeiss Standard WL with POL
Zeiss Axiomat
Zeiss Universal
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JGardner
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Re: Frustration!

#7 Post by JGardner » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:52 pm

wstenberg wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:47 pm
I use a Zeiss Universal.
The focusing mechanism is modular. It's a block that can be removed by taking out 6 screws. Then you can put a new one on. It is the same focusing rack as the Zeiss Standard WL, so it's possible to find a good one for under $100. I have changed out many over the years. I think that's more cost effective than rebuilding one. I can post photos of the process if needed. All you need is a hex key and flat screwdriver.
Sorry. I just realized that my original post might have been misleading. When I said the stage seized up, I meant one of the X-Y axis's that are used to move the slide around on the stage. One axis works fine, the other seized up completely and won't budge. My Universal has a circular stage.

PeteM
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Re: Frustration!

#8 Post by PeteM » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:57 pm

Where are you located in California? If near Santa Cruz / Bay Area I'd be happy to help you sort things out. Don't have much experience with Zeiss, but might be able to help you with your Leitz or point you to various new scopes.

JGardner
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Re: Frustration!

#9 Post by JGardner » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:05 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:33 pm
I believe that such budget would easily get you a modern Olympus BX, 10-15 years old at the most, (or equivalent from the other majors brands).
I've looked at dealer sites selling used BX40 and BX41 instruments. For a BX41 with trinoc head and Plan 2x, 4x, 10x, 20x, and 40x objectives the going price is around $5000. For a similarly equipped BX40 the going price is around $1000 less.

I probably don't want something like a BH-2, because that's going further back in time and I'm afraid I'll run into similar issues I had with my Orthoplan and Universal.

How to know if a dealer is reliable and his offerings are checked-out and verified to work? I'm sure some dealers are better than others in this regard, but how to separate the wheat from the chaff? Is there a list of reliable dealers on this site somewhere?

Looking at something like a brand new Leica DM1000, I see they go for about $4800 with a trinoc head and the usual complement of Plan objectives. Based on this price, what would be the advantages of going with a used BX40 or 41 versus the brand new Leica?

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Re: Frustration!

#10 Post by wstenberg » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:07 pm

Oh, OK.
Those stage gears can be a problem. Still I think not insurmountable.

I have a cheap pin wrench; I think I paid 25 dollars for it. The real microscope repairman who comes by my lab has a nice one from ThorLabs. I'm sure it's much more expensive.

You can post photos of the problem, and maybe we can come up with suggestions.

Good Luck.
William
Dallas, Texas

Zeiss Standard WL with POL
Zeiss Axiomat
Zeiss Universal
Zeiss Stereomikroskop

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75RR
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Re: Frustration!

#11 Post by 75RR » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:22 pm

wstenberg wrote: There is retired Zeiss engineer here in Dallas who does service and parts on old microscopes. His shop is in his house, but he is quite reasonable and does nice work. He's also a good source for parts. If you can send me a PM, I will provide his contact information.
Given that shipping costs within the USA are quite reasonable I would suggest that you obtain the contact information.

As to getting a newer secondhand microscope, do be aware that as in older ones, condition is everything.

Also note that top of the range infinity objectives will cost more than your entire budget for the "new" microscope.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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JGardner
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Re: Frustration!

#12 Post by JGardner » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:39 pm

75RR wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:22 pm
As to getting a newer secondhand microscope, do be aware that as in older ones, condition is everything.
Good point. How does one evaluate condition? Since there are no local dealers, I assume anything I buy will come from a remote dealer or individual. I would have to trust the seller to accurately represent the instrument. I've been burned twice already buying used microscopes. Even if the microscope works initially, you never know how much use it saw previously and whether or not parts are close to wearing out. For example, the BH-2 uses plastic gears in its focus mechanism; perhaps they were on the verge of failure when the dealer tested the microscope prior to shipping it, only to wear out shortly afterwards. I don't really mind normal wear and tear and the need to occasionally fix something or get it repaired, I just don't want that to be a full-time job--I'd rather look through a microscope than tinker with it.
Also note that top of the range infinity objectives will cost more than your entire budget for the "new" microscope.
I wasn't aware of that; certainly something to consider. Buying older, used objectives sight unseen is no picnic either. I bought a few for the Orthoplan and Universal, and often what looked nice in photos and what was described in flowery prose in the item description was a big disappointment when it arrived.

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Re: Frustration!

#13 Post by apochronaut » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:49 am

In plain English. You got ripped off. One of the reasons for this, is you didn't take the seller to task immediately over the issues that the microscopes came with, it appears. It is always a good idea to expect and demand that accuracy in the description of a microscope , or anything else for that matter be stood by. I think you know this by now.
The other reason is that I suspect that you bought by reputation. That is not always a good thing, because reputations can be deserved and undeserved. You have already mentioned that you were advised to buy from one of the big four. The Big Four have only existed since about 1990. The term is used to describe those companies from the previous era that still exist. One has a guarantee of perpetuation written into the laws of it's country of origin. It has a fine reputation but not necessarily deserved. The adherence to it, rivals that to the Catholic Church. It also had forced labour camps during W.W. II. That's another kind of reputation. Another from the same country, was very active in liberating the types of people that the other company used for free. Unfortunately, by the time the microscope you purchased with that brand on it was made, the company was essentially bankrupt and was owned by another maker. Only the the consolidation with it and 5 other companies saved it, and it reemerged under a new name with new technology gleaned from it's merger. The other two come from a country that has a long history of a sleight of hand economy and fraudulent accounting practices. One of them at least was caught red handed and publicised , cooking the books. Search Olympus scandal.
It appears that you bought microscopes from an era prior to the existence of the big four, and in that era there were effectively the Big 11. A microscope from any one of those companies is as good as any other except some of them despite the fact that they do as good a job and have many accessories available, are much less expensive . True, you have to find them but they are out there. Some of them, were already infinity corrected and capable of future upgrading into the 2020's.
Your frustration , I understand but it appears that you bought by reputation, rather than by a value based on a cost/performance ratio.

Your experience is valuable for others.

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Re: Frustration!

#14 Post by PeteM » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:42 am

JGardner wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:05 pm
Hobbyst46 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:33 pm
I believe that such budget would easily get you a modern Olympus BX, 10-15 years old at the most, (or equivalent from the other majors brands).
I've looked at dealer sites selling used BX40 and BX41 instruments. For a BX41 with trinoc head and Plan 2x, 4x, 10x, 20x, and 40x objectives the going price is around $5000. For a similarly equipped BX40 the going price is around $1000 less.

I probably don't want something like a BH-2, because that's going further back in time and I'm afraid I'll run into similar issues I had with my Orthoplan and Universal.

How to know if a dealer is reliable and his offerings are checked-out and verified to work? I'm sure some dealers are better than others in this regard, but how to separate the wheat from the chaff? Is there a list of reliable dealers on this site somewhere?

Looking at something like a brand new Leica DM1000, I see they go for about $4800 with a trinoc head and the usual complement of Plan objectives. Based on this price, what would be the advantages of going with a used BX40 or 41 versus the brand new Leica?
The DM1000 is a lower end Leica. It's made in China and doesn't have the slider and DIC slots to be easily upgradeable to polarization or DIC. The older DMLS is a better built stand -- equivalent in features -- and could be had with the same objectives as a new DM1000 for well less than half that $4800 price. More like $1000. The DMLB is upgradeable to polarization and DIC and would also be much cheaper than a new DM1000. Maybe $2000 depending upon objectives and head.

I'd sell a BX40 with Olympus Plan infinity objectives and a trinocular head for less than half that dealer price. You could likely find one on Ebay with just a bit of patience as well.

$5000 might get you a BX40 or another fine microscope with polarization and at least a start at DIC capability. Or something like a DMR with DIC.

And the scopes you already have might well be fixed up to provide outstanding images - or traded in on something of more recent vintage?

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Re: Frustration!

#15 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:56 am

JGardner wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:05 pm
I probably don't want something like a BH-2, because that's going further back in time and I'm afraid I'll run into similar issues I had with my Orthoplan and Universal..
The BH-2 is a wonderful machine. As demonstrated e.g. by Charles Krebs microphotographic creations...
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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Re: Frustration!

#16 Post by PeteM » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:07 am

+1 on the BH2 - especially the BHS model.

Best way to avoid the frustration of a poorly maintained scope (and this will sound silly) is simply to buy a well-maintained one from a reliable source or at least one where you can either try it out in person first or easily return if it's not right.

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Re: Frustration!

#17 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:17 am

I can't help but say that if I had a half functional universal and five thousand bucks I might spend like a grand fixing it up and tricking it out, a few hundred on a nice camera for it, and keep like $3500 stacked up next to it to improve contrast and resolution.
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Re: Frustration!

#18 Post by MicroBob » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:55 am

Stages for Zeiss Standard, Photomicroscope, WL and Universal are easily availabe for affordable prices and easy to replace, just 4 screws.
Generally the Universal is a very nice microscope, lots of actually affordable used components are available and if something breaks spares are easy to find used. The same probably applies approximately to the Orthoplan.

When I would buy a 10-15 year old microscope now I would have to expect that it needs maintenance within my lifetime too. So I can just keep the older microscope and do the maintenance now.

When buying a used microscope it is a big difference whether it is freshly refurbished or just checked for acceptable working condition. A complete maintenance job is not cheap and many buyers wouldn't want to pay extra for it so it will make sense to clearly discuss the maintenance condition of a microscope that is being prepared for sale.

Bob

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Re: Frustration!

#19 Post by jfiresto » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:24 pm

JGardner wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:39 pm
.... How does one evaluate condition? Since there are no local dealers, I assume anything I buy will come from a remote dealer or individual. I would have to trust the seller to accurately represent the instrument. I've been burned twice already buying used microscopes. Even if the microscope works initially, you never know how much use it saw previously and whether or not parts are close to wearing out.....
In your situation, I would send off a prospective microscope for inspection, to a firm that does microscope service and repair. They might charge $100 or so, to determine what work it might need and estimate the cost; they should waive that fee if you have them refurbish the 'scope. All told, you might be looking at maybe $150 to discover a used microscope is not worth keeping and gain convincing grounds to return it. I can live with that cost, if it does not appear that often, and count it toward my further education. The experience will make you faster and better at evaluating used microscopes.

I have sent off microscopes, twice now, both times after first negotiating a rebate from the seller that would make the inspection worth my while. Both microscopes turned out to be keepers, even the second one which appeared to had been forgotten in a hot warehouse blasted by the Santa Ana winds.
-John

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Re: Frustration!

#20 Post by JGardner » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:00 pm

PeteM wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:42 am
The older DMLS is a better built stand -- equivalent in features -- and could be had with the same objectives as a new DM1000 for well less than half that $4800 price. More like $1000. The DMLB is upgradeable to polarization and DIC and would also be much cheaper than a new DM1000. Maybe $2000 depending upon objectives and head.
I wasn't familiar with the DMLB--thanks for pointing it out. Looks interesting.

I did some searching and found a dealer who sells used DMLB instruments, but the price is more than $2000--it's closer to $3500. I suppose that's due to their being a dealer who has to pay salaries, rent, etc. Also, their listings for these 'scopes say "Serviced By Experienced Techs. With Warranty." I've found your average seller on eBay doesn't know a microscope from a carburetor. As long as the light turns on when they plug it in they think it's fully operational.

At this point I'm strongly leaning towards purchasing from a dealer rather than an individual. The last thing I want is another flaky "project" microscope that I'll spend more time hunting down replacement parts for and otherwise tinkering with. If I had to rate my interests in observing versus tinkering with microscopes, I'd say it's 99.9% observing, 0.1% tinkering. Occasional tinkering is fine, but I don't want it to dominate my microscopy experience. I want something just like my daily commute car--100% reliable and dependable. I would not, for example, want to drive a 1969 Camaro SS to work every day.

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Re: Frustration!

#21 Post by 75RR » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:53 pm

I did some searching and found a dealer ...
Feel free to post links to any microscope you are interested in. I am pretty sure members here will be happy to look the listing over and suggest questions you should ask.

Likewise some members have bought regularly from some ebay sellers - your dealer may be among them.
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Re: Frustration!

#22 Post by Wes » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:33 pm

JGardner wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:59 pm
I got into microscopy as a hobby a few years ago, and, frankly, it's been mostly frustration for me since then. Almost all of this frustration has resulted from equipment issues.
Ah, yes I hate when that happens. Buy an "excellent" photo eyepiece with no issues, has fungus...buy a "perfect" Planapo, someone managed to misalign the optical train and the image quality is absolute sh!t. My advice is to always pressure the dealers when that happens, I've gotten full refunds and kept the equipment or got additional (working) stuff for free. So yeah make a fuss about it, ebay usually sides with the buyers!! Recently I bought a Zeiss Phomi III in amazing condition for 100 USD, its a bit of a hit or miss...mostly miss though :lol: :lol:

For 5k I'd expect to get a kickass DIC scope with high end lenses and accessories. I've had really good experience with buying from microscopy forum members.

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Re: Frustration!

#23 Post by JGardner » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:43 pm

75RR wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:53 pm
I did some searching and found a dealer ...
Feel free to post links to any microscope you are interested in. I am pretty sure members here will be happy to look the listing over and suggest questions you should ask.
How about this one? https://microscopecentral.com/products/ ... 4333840483

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Re: Frustration!

#24 Post by apochronaut » Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:50 pm

The odd thing about that listing is that the price sits at 4863.88( a remarkably precise number I must say) briefly, then changes to 5130.40. Maybe, their system recognizes that I am in Canada and sticks whatever surcharge has been identified as necessary on a little late. The listing has some deceptions you have to watch out for. I've dealt with the company.
Any claims they make about their "tech" checking things over has to be taken with a grain of salt. I tried to buy flat field fluorite objectives from them, deemed by them to be in perfect shape and fully checked over by their "tech" and the back element had enough de-lamination present for a couple of other extra objectives to get some for themselves. It was so bad, it could be seen with the naked eye.

The objectives in that microscope are basically newer versions of AO/Reichert infinity corrected objectives that were made up until about 2001. The listing mentions phase , phase slider, phase turret and dark field. For the price that is quoted, you only get a 4X, 40X and 100X oil plus a 10X phase and a 10X phase annuli in a slider. The eyepieces are 22mm f.o.v., which is good. The illumination is 30 watts, so if one bought into an accessory DF condenser, it might only be useful with the 40X objective. It will not have enough f.o.v. for the 4X, the 10X is phase , so it won't work that well and the 100X would need an iris diaphragm plus the illuminator would need to be boosted to at least 50 watts for magnification that high.

Aside from the nice 22mm f.o.v., the microscope is about as good as a 25 year old Reichert Microstar IV( in top shape of course) , which would cost around 500.00 , fully tricked out with 5 plan achros, one of them phase , with a phase slider condenser.

In short. The microscope is way over priced and the sales ad is deceptive.

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Re: Frustration!

#25 Post by JGardner » Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:29 am

apochronaut wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:50 pm
In short. The microscope is way over priced and the sales ad is deceptive.
Thanks. That's the kind of information I'm looking for. Do you know any (preferably U.S.) dealers that are reliable and actually do check out a microscope before selling it?

How about this one? I've never heard of this company. They claim the 'scope is "reconditioned", whatever that means...

https://www.microscopeinternational.com ... chromatic/
Last edited by JGardner on Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Frustration!

#26 Post by Sabatini » Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:32 am

Greetings.
I don't know, it might be a matter of luck too.
This black beauty even though she is 60 years old. When I bought it I just changed the hardened grease and cleaned the prisms...she stands carved from a steel block, but she is smooth as silk and with the Heine she is a delight.
IMG_20200303_192924.jpg
IMG_20200303_192924.jpg (86.63 KiB) Viewed 8581 times

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Re: Frustration!

#27 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:11 am

Surely the stand is cast then machined rather than machined straight from a block!
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

apochronaut
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Re: Frustration!

#28 Post by apochronaut » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:38 am

it's Ebony, isn't it? ......................... Microscopes need to be stable. Up until W.W. II the microscope manufacturers produced their stands in series. Although these were sometimes tightly defined and sometimes loosely defined the process still held that there were educational, educational/small lab, medical/lab and research, in a kind of hierarchy.


The weight of the stand was very important, in order to confer stability on the entire system. When 1400X magnification is being used and also being documented with photography, the stability mattered. Research stands had a lot of brass, and as the quality of the stand lowered, more cast iron became relied on, then hollow cast. Both cast iron and brass were thicker in the upper echelon stands.

By the 50's, aluminum became de riguer but as the focusing mechanisms and nosepieces and built in illumination systems became more elaborate, they made up for the deficit of brass and cast iron. The microscopes got physically larger and the weight and stability stayed pretty pat.

Some of the older research scopes were quite diminutive , and still weighed 22, maybe up to 25 lbs. fully loaded. The base was solid brass, arm solid brass.

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Re: Frustration!

#29 Post by JGardner » Wed Mar 04, 2020 2:41 am

apochronaut wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:49 am
The other reason is that I suspect that you bought by reputation. That is not always a good thing, because reputations can be deserved and undeserved. You have already mentioned that you were advised to buy from one of the big four. The Big Four have only existed since about 1990. The term is used to describe those companies from the previous era that still exist. One has a guarantee of perpetuation written into the laws of it's country of origin. It has a fine reputation but not necessarily deserved. The adherence to it, rivals that to the Catholic Church. It also had forced labour camps during W.W. II. That's another kind of reputation. Another from the same country, was very active in liberating the types of people that the other company used for free. Unfortunately, by the time the microscope you purchased with that brand on it was made, the company was essentially bankrupt and was owned by another maker. Only the the consolidation with it and 5 other companies saved it, and it reemerged under a new name with new technology gleaned from it's merger. The other two come from a country that has a long history of a sleight of hand economy and fraudulent accounting practices. One of them at least was caught red handed and publicised , cooking the books. Search Olympus scandal.
It appears that you bought microscopes from an era prior to the existence of the big four, and in that era there were effectively the Big 11. A microscope from any one of those companies is as good as any other except some of them despite the fact that they do as good a job and have many accessories available, are much less expensive . True, you have to find them but they are out there. Some of them, were already infinity corrected and capable of future upgrading into the 2020's.
Your frustration , I understand but it appears that you bought by reputation, rather than by a value based on a cost/performance ratio.
I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about here. I'm not very familiar with the microscope manufacturer family tree and how they're been related to each other over the years. Do you have any links where I can read up on this history?

Perhaps I shouldn't buy a microscope, but rather synthesize one using the barrel of whale milk you suggested I buy a few years ago. ;)

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Re: Frustration!

#30 Post by apochronaut » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:48 pm

It just gets distilled down to names. Consumers are highly influenced by brand names but only sometimes are brand names really associated with the qualities that a consumer is expecting. As often or more, the name is just a name . A rose by any other name would smell as sweet , said William Shakespeare. The idea is to get the qualities in a microscope that one is looking for at the best price possible.

There is nothing magical about Leica or Zeiss or Nikon or Olympus; the big four as they are called. For sure at the upper end of microscopy, simply because they are the only names that squeezed through the wormhole of the late 80's and came out the other end intact, they are the names that one has to rely on today but that's a lot of money right there. At the lower end of their in house production the cost is still high and the function basic, so you would be better to take a step backwards in time and have a look at some of the better microscopes from the 3 of those brands that existed , or the 7 or 8 other makers who went into a black hole, not through a wormhole. None of them ended up disappearing from the marketplace because they made lousy microscopes, they just got beaten up by the marketplace and many of those beatings occurred because of some pretty illegitimate business practices on the part of the ones that survived. Economic sleight of hand, theft of patents, deceptive marketing practices, political shenanigans; it's all in there. Having a really good look at the offerings of some of those other companies is a first line of defense at getting ripped off by someone selling a name.
On the other hand basic Chinese microscopes are still to be regarded with suspicion, if you are looking for something a little above the pale, and it seems that you are. It has been expected that the Chinese makers would fill the gap though , and they are beginning to if you are willing to pay the thousands of dollars required for a better Motic or other brand with advanced colour corrected optics . That might be an option in a new warrantied scope . Personally, I don't think you need to go that high, because t better superior optics are available second hand right now, from some of those former brands . I think you can find exactly what you are looking for in the 1000.00 to 1500.00 range with a warranty.

Regarding the Microstar IV you linked to above from microscope international. Way over priced. That's a basic 3 objective microscope and while it may have a warranty, the price should be 1/2 or less. I have bought similar scopes for 150.00.

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