Microphotography newbie

What is your microscopy history? What are your interests? What equipment do you use?
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paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Microphotography newbie

#1 Post by paleome » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:23 am

Hello, all! Just joined this forum, and I look forward to meeting you.
My name is Debra, or Paleome, and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. I'm interested in all of the natural sciences, but particularly enjoy Paleontology.

I love preparing fossils from rough matrix and have several collections with specimens I would like to take photographs of, through my American Optical model 571 Stereostar binocular macroscope. This way, I can send images to other paleobuffs for their comments and identification assistance.

I have very little photography experience, and am mostly unfamiliar with
photography and microscope jargon. I really need to be educated, and maybe some of you could suggest books or articles for me to read.
Ultimately, I need recommendations on cameras suitable for attachment to my AO 571. I have also collected catalogs and other info about the AO stereostars and zoom models, as I would be very interested in procuring the latter. I just don't understand the specification data in the catalogs and how to interpret it in order to make a choice from what is available now.

I have lots of questions, and I was very impressed with how several of you responded to one of your own when he was enquiring about an AO stereostar zoom, model 570.

Best regards,
Paleome

DonSchaeffer
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:06 am
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Re: Microphotography newbie

#2 Post by DonSchaeffer » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:25 am

Welcome. I'm new myself. Your interests seem exciting. Looking forward to your images.

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#3 Post by paleome » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:36 am

Thank you! So do I?!

BramHuntingNematodes
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:29 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Microphotography newbie

#4 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:11 am

Well, a nice thing about a 571 is that they are pretty simple to use-- no obscure adjustments made to several knobs, dials, levers and switches all at once. I am still experimenting with camera set ups myself, but you might want to start cheaply and work your way up. Also, for stereo samples, a lot of attention should be paid to the lighting. You'll probably want several fully adjustable sources of intense directed light to bounce off of your rocks in various ways to best show off their texture.

If you have a specimen with a lot of relief you can take a separate picture in each eyepiece to produce a stereoscopic set!
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Zuul
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri May 01, 2020 9:01 pm
Location: California

Re: Microphotography newbie

#5 Post by Zuul » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:52 am

Welcome! I live in the Bay Area, too. (South Bay) You will find some of the members are practically encyclopedias of knowledge and very happy to help.

PeteM
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Microphotography newbie

#6 Post by PeteM » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:12 am

Looks like three of us in the Bay Area. Paleome - what camera equipment do you have to begin? Some of the newer cell phones have an excellent camera for micro work and an adapter to hold it in place is one option. Floating or attaching a DSLR to an eyepiece is another options. For quick documentation photos you can buy a USB or HDMI eyepiece camera -- it pops in and out to replace one of your eyepieces and is typically hooked to a laptop, tablet, or computer.

While you have a fine stereo scope, realize also that just taking photos through a macro setup might give better images if you already have some digital camera equipment.

MichaelG.
Posts: 2067
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:24 am
Location: NorthWest England

Re: Microphotography newbie

#7 Post by MichaelG. » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:24 am

paleome wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:23 am
I have very little photography experience, and am mostly unfamiliar with
photography and microscope jargon. I really need to be educated, and maybe some of you could suggest books or articles for me to read.
.

Welcome indeed, Paleome Debra

As you willingly admit to some unfamiliarity with the jargon : May I just mention that Microphotography and Photomicrography are not the same ... in fact, you might consider them polar opposites.

Have a look here, and you should see what I mean:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8308&p=82960&hilit= ... ist#p82960
http://www.manchestermicroscopical.org.uk/danchom.html
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/J-B-DANCER-M ... 3401695048

MichaelG.

.

P.S. ___ A superb [36 page] paper about photography of plant fossils is available here, for free download:
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... old_tricks
Too many 'projects'

qlog
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:26 pm

Re: Microphotography newbie

#8 Post by qlog » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:45 am

Welcome, Debra, I am new to this hobby in the sense that I am still awaiting delivery of my microscope and have never touched one before :-), but have been researching camera setups for a compound microscope in my case an Olympus BH2, does your AO 571 has a trinocular tube like this one "https://www.ebay.com/itm/AO-American-Op ... Sw-DRdNoN4" ?

Anyways from watching Olivers (microbehunter) videos on youtube and researching ebay for options for a camera hookup (expensive), I agree with Olivers/PeteM suggestion that a $20-$30 mobile phone adapter that uses ones existing phone to take a picture via eyepiece is great for starting out to about intermediate level. (low cost, and pretty decent pictures with a little practice). Once someone exhausts that option and looking for much more detail in pictures through microscope, dependency in increasing order is Microscope Experience ---> Specimen Preparation ---> Microscope Optics---> Trinocular Tube ---> Matching Tube Hardware - lenses etc. ---> Camera system (Digital/DSLR/Mirrorless etc). Naturally this setup can run into 1000's and there is no limit to it. for e.g. Olivers current go fund me drive is to be able to buy a high end 30-40k DIC microscope and use it to publish pictures under creative commons license, a community site (awesome idea imo).

I would recommend watching microbehunter videos on this topic to discern components that are commonly used. PeteM is very knowledgeable and has guided me in the right direction when I had questions:-) thanks PeteM.

Happy Paleontology!

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#9 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:20 am

I'm also very new to any kind of forum use, ashamed to say.
I am trying to respond to each of my new 7 messages in response to my original post. I hope this reply is presently going to #4, bramhunting..., as I double clicked on it to select, then clicked reply. Is that correct?
Clueless, but trying to apply logic to this process. Already sent a help message to admin board. Did I get the right person?

Zuul
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri May 01, 2020 9:01 pm
Location: California

Re: Microphotography newbie

#10 Post by Zuul » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:54 am

All posts will be in chronological order. The easiest and best way to respond to specific posts is to push the little quote (“) symbol at the top right of a post. That will copy their text into your reply and make them aware of the reply.

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#11 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:31 am

Zuul wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:54 am
All posts will be in chronological order. The easiest and best way to respond to specific posts is to push the little quote (“) symbol at the top right of a post. That will copy their text into your reply and make them aware of the reply.
Ok, I will try that. So, while I have your attention, I would like to thank you for your welcome. I am also in the south bay!

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#12 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:34 am

DonSchaeffer wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:25 am
Welcome. I'm new myself. Your interests seem exciting. Looking forward to your images.
Thank you for your welcome. I look forward to finding out how to do this!

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#13 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:48 am

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:11 am
Well, a nice thing about a 571 is that they are pretty simple to use-- no obscure adjustments made to several knobs, dials, levers and switches all at once. I am still experimenting with camera set ups myself, but you might want to start cheaply and work your way up. Also, for stereo samples, a lot of attention should be paid to the lighting. You'll probably want several fully adjustable sources of intense directed light to bounce off of your rocks in various ways to best show off their texture.

If you have a specimen with a lot of relief you can take a separate picture in each eyepiece to produce a stereoscopic set!
Thank you for your comments. I am in the process already of exploring the topics you brought up. I want to get a zoom model, like the AO 570, as my compound scope magnification starts at too high a magnification for my needs.

Guess what I presently use for a light source which is inexpensive and very effective? A clip-on desk lamp using 21 superbright LED's, with an
adjustable goose-neck, from Lowe's. One is ok for now, but I plan to get a few more to set up around my stereoscope. Paleome

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#14 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:56 am

PeteM wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:12 am
Looks like three of us in the Bay Area. Paleome - what camera equipment do you have to begin? Some of the newer cell phones have an excellent camera for micro work and an adapter to hold it in place is one option. Floating or attaching a DSLR to an eyepiece is another options. For quick documentation photos you can buy a USB or HDMI eyepiece camera -- it pops in and out to replace one of your eyepieces and is typically hooked to a laptop, tablet, or computer.

While you have a fine stereo scope, realize also that just taking photos through a macro setup might give better images if you already have some digital camera equipment.
Thanks for your welcome and comments. I don't have any digital photography equipment, just this wonderful stereoscope which sees things in just the best way. Am I being lazy in thinking all I need is a plug-in camera for my microscope, which already provides the picture I like?
It has been suggested that I get a dslr with a macrolens. Paleome

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#15 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:03 am

MichaelG. wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:24 am
paleome wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:23 am
I have very little photography experience, and am mostly unfamiliar with
photography and microscope jargon. I really need to be educated, and maybe some of you could suggest books or articles for me to read.
Thank you for your welcome, the links, plus the comments and new terminology I need to learn to use properly. Without everone's helpful input, how would I ever learn, and there's quite a plateful of learning ahead of me. Thanks again! Paleome

]Welcome indeed, Paleome Debra[/b]

As you willingly admit to some unfamiliarity with the jargon : May I just mention that Microphotography and Photomicrography are not the same ... in fact, you might consider them polar opposites.

Have a look here, and you should see what I mean:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8308&p=82960&hilit= ... ist#p82960
http://www.manchestermicroscopical.org.uk/danchom.html
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/J-B-DANCER-M ... 3401695048

MichaelG.

.

P.S. ___ A superb [36 page] paper about photography of plant fossils is available here, for free download:
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... old_tricks

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#16 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:23 am

qlog wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:45 am
Welcome, Debra, I am new to this hobby in the sense that I am still awaiting delivery of my microscope and have never touched one before :-), but have been researching camera setups for a compound microscope in my case an Olympus BH2, does your AO 571 has a trinocular tube like this one "https://www.ebay.com/itm/AO-American-Op ... Sw-DRdNoN4" ?

Anyways from watching Olivers (microbehunter) videos on youtube and researching ebay for options for a camera hookup (expensive), I agree with Olivers/PeteM suggestion that a $20-$30 mobile phone adapter that uses ones existing phone to take a picture via eyepiece is great for starting out to about intermediate level. (low cost, and pretty decent pictures with a little practice). Once someone exhausts that option and looking for much more detail in pictures through microscope, dependency in increasing order is Microscope Experience ---> Specimen Preparation ---> Microscope Optics---> Trinocular Tube ---> Matching Tube Hardware - lenses etc. ---> Camera system (Digital/DSLR/Mirrorless etc). Naturally this setup can run into 1000's and there is no limit to it. for e.g. Olivers current go fund me drive is to be able to buy a high end 30-40k DIC microscope and use it to publish pictures under creative commons license, a community site (awesome idea imo).

I would recommend watching microbehunter videos on this topic to discern components that are commonly used. PeteM is very knowledgeable and has guided me in the right direction when I had questions:-) thanks PeteM.

Happy Paleontology!
Thank you for your welcome, and for letting me in on what you are doing.
Congrats on your new scope. I hope you get it soon.

My stereoscope is a vintage one, no longer produced, but sometimes available used. No trinocular tube. Nevertheless, I think it is a fantastic one, though it is fixed. I hope to be able to procure one of the vintage American Optical stereo ZOOM models, like the 570 model.

Thank you for the links and suggestions. I love my scope, but I am torn about whether to use it with a plug in camera, buy a DSLR camera with macrolens, or buy a completely new stereoscope with built-in camera.
Each new step gets more expensive, and I don't have any money trees in my back yard. Ha, ha! Paleome

PeteM
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Microphotography newbie

#17 Post by PeteM » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:00 am

Some thoughts, Paleome:

An eyepiece camera is cheap and good enough for documentation. $100 could get you started. You won't win art photo contests with it - but it should capture your fossils.

Your own cell phone can likely take even better pictures; but is a bit cumbersome to attach and remove unless you spend a bit more for the holder. Could be not a problem if you aren't continually in view - photo - view -photo mode but can do a bunch of photos at one time. A good cell phone camera (if you already have one) and one of the better holders is another option - some slip into an eyepiece tube on one side and center the camera over the other tube -- and attach and remove quickly.

The stereo microscope you have is really quite good for viewing - it could cost a great deal to find a better one new. And, one with an integrated camera might not be a dramatic improvement in photo quality, even at $1500 for a new stereo scope with integrated camera. I'd be inclined to stick with what you have until an incredible deal on the used stereo microscope of your dreams passes by.

If macro pictures of the highest quality are desired - a DSLR or mirrorless camera and a macro setup might do very well for significantly less than the cost of a new stereo scope. That camera could also likely be adapted to other scopes you might by in the future; as well as being used in the field.

MichaelG.
Posts: 2067
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:24 am
Location: NorthWest England

Re: Microphotography newbie

#18 Post by MichaelG. » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:53 am

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:00 am
Some thoughts, Paleome:
[…]
PeteM makes some excellent points, Paleome
You already have one of the great stereoscopes there, and I would be inclined to find a way of photographing with it [*] rather than looking for a replacement.

* perhaps even making stereo pairs

MichaelG
.
P.S.
You may have this already, but here’s the ‘catalog’ for those AO instruments:
https://mightyohm.com/wiki/_media/resou ... atalog.pdf
.
Too many 'projects'

MichaelG.
Posts: 2067
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:24 am
Location: NorthWest England

Re: Microphotography newbie

#19 Post by MichaelG. » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:28 am

I’ve just stumbled across this wonderful resource, Debra

https://palaeo-electronica.org/content/about

Serious content, and an effective search facility ... and it’s free to use.

MichaelG.
Too many 'projects'

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#20 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:15 pm

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:00 am
Some thoughts, Paleome:

An eyepiece camera is cheap and good enough for documentation. $100 could get you started. You won't win art photo contests with it - but it should capture your fossils.

Your own cell phone can likely take even better pictures; but is a bit cumbersome to attach and remove unless you spend a bit more for the holder. Could be not a problem if you aren't continually in view - photo - view -photo mode but can do a bunch of photos at one time. A good cell phone camera (if you already have one) and one of the better holders is another option - some slip into an eyepiece tube on one side and center the camera over the other tube -- and attach and remove quickly.

The stereo microscope you have is really quite good for viewing - it could cost a great deal to find a better one new. And, one with an integrated camera might not be a dramatic improvement in photo quality, even at $1500 for a new stereo scope with integrated camera. I'd be inclined to stick with what you have until an incredible deal on the used stereo microscope of your dreams passes by.

If macro pictures of the highest quality are desired - a DSLR or mirrorless camera and a macro setup might do very well for significantly less than the cost of a new stereo scope. That camera could also likely be adapted to other scopes you might by in the future; as well as being used in the field.
Thank you, Pete. I was thinking along your lines of thinking. I already have a great stereoscope, and it's not like I am taking photos for publication or other professional use right now.

I was thinking eyepiece camera to start. I have seen a few online - do you have any particular recommendations? Unfortunately, I don't have enough knowledge of photography and its jargon to be able to select what I want from the online descriptions of these cameras. Perhaps I should get me a Photography for Dummies book (or anything else you can suggest) and start learning from the very bottom. Are there dictionaries for photography?

I don't need to proceed too cheaply, but need something durable and easy to maneuver, if possible. If there's something I still don't understand with all of my available resources, I am grateful to have you all to help me, and I am COMPLETELY OPEN to learning whatever I need to learn.

Thanks again. Paleome

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#21 Post by paleome » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:18 pm

MichaelG. wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:53 am
PeteM wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:00 am
Some thoughts, Paleome:
[…]
PeteM makes some excellent points, Paleome
You already have one of the great stereoscopes there, and I would be inclined to find a way of photographing with it [*] rather than looking for a replacement.

* perhaps even making stereo pairs

MichaelG
.
P.S.
You may have this already, but here’s the ‘catalog’ for those AO instruments:
https://mightyohm.com/wiki/_media/resou ... atalog.pdf
.
Yes, I quite agree. I'm so grateful for your input and links.

PeteM
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Microphotography newbie

#22 Post by PeteM » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:31 pm

I'd suggest starting with a cheap USB eyepiece camera. Normally, I'd recommend USB 3.0 or HDMI because it updates faster and is better to taking moving pictures. But your fossils should be plenty happy with stills :-) and USB 2.0 if you want to save a bit. It will be a little bit slower to get focus with larger picture sizes, but otherwise OK.

Amazon will have a selection and reviews (e.g. AmScope, Omax - same parent company, etc.). Check the reviews to make sure they aren't from shills and compatible with the OS of whatever device you will use for recording. As for pixel count, just enough to fill the screen of the laptop you might be using for the display -- or the maximum size you'd be using for the Web - maybe 3 megapixels.

If from Amazon, get it from "Prime" - try it immediately - and if you're not happy send it back.

Ebay is another option for a used version; which sometimes show up used at low cost. Try it. Return if damaged.

Later on you can see if you want to spend more -- though a holder for your cell phone could provide excellent pictures. The advantage of the eyepiece camera is how easy it is to swap in and out for a snapshot. It's also good for live pictures through a laptop or monitor.

If you're in the Santa Cruz area, PM me if you might ever be interested in showing up with fossils for a kids' "Micronaut" program. It will be some time before groups gather again; but I'd bet you'd bit a "hit" and an inspiration for some kids.

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#23 Post by paleome » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:36 am

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:31 pm
I'd suggest starting with a cheap USB eyepiece camera. Normally, I'd recommend USB 3.0 or HDMI because it updates faster and is better to taking moving pictures. But your fossils should be plenty happy with stills :-) and USB 2.0 if you want to save a bit. It will be a little bit slower to get focus with larger picture sizes, but otherwise OK.

Amazon will have a selection and reviews (e.g. AmScope, Omax - same parent company, etc.). Check the reviews to make sure they aren't from shills and compatible with the OS of whatever device you will use for recording. As for pixel count, just enough to fill the screen of the laptop you might be using for the display -- or the maximum size you'd be using for the Web - maybe 3 megapixels.

If from Amazon, get it from "Prime" - try it immediately - and if you're not happy send it back.

Ebay is another option for a used version; which sometimes show up used at low cost. Try it. Return if damaged.

Later on you can see if you want to spend more -- though a holder for your cell phone could provide excellent pictures. The advantage of the eyepiece camera is how easy it is to swap in and out for a snapshot. It's also good for live pictures through a laptop or monitor.

If you're in the Santa Cruz area, PM me if you might ever be interested in showing up with fossils for a kids' "Micronaut" program. It will be some time before groups gather again; but I'd bet you'd bit a "hit" and an inspiration for some kids.
Thanks for all, and especially for giving me some very basic starting-out pointers. I"m not very near to Santa Cruz but would be delighted to set up a visit to your micronaut group someday. I'm still learning how to maneuver in this forum, but I do know how to get to PM, much less how to use it. Just follow the prompts, I guess?

By the way, what is a "shill" (from your last message to me)?

Paleome

PeteM
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Microphotography newbie

#24 Post by PeteM » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:19 am

paleome wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:36 am
. . .
By the way, what is a "shill" (from your last message to me)?

Paleome
Hi Debra, A "shill" is an accomplice of swindler -- now brought into the Internet age.

Several sellers, often those selling goods from China, hire people to post favorable four and five star reviews of their products. I've seen products listed on Amazon with scores of positive reviews, mostly from people giving only positive reviews, followed by a few more recent deeply disappointed buyers.

Sadly, competing sellers will sometimes pay for negative reviews of their competitors.

All that said, by digging a bit deeper you can usually figure out which reviews can be trusted.

paleome
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:59 am
Location: South San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Microphotography newbie

#25 Post by paleome » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:58 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I will try to be very careful.

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