Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

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dtsh
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Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#1 Post by dtsh » Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:35 pm

In the past couple of years I've managed to acquire far more microscopes than I can reasonably use. I've sent a number of them off to new homes, but I still need to condense things down further. My goal is to get down to threee scopes; a single stereo (Cycloptic) and a brightfield/phase combo, plus an AO series 35 I just adore. I've used the 34mm phase system that the 10 uses in my AO150 phase (sad as it makes me, I will likely rehome this too) and while I ackowledge that the MS4 is superior, for the things I tend to do with it the difference seems negligible. I'd like to just keep a stand dedicated to each method like I have now (stereo, phase contrast, brightfield, darkfield) but I really can't maintain that diversity going forward and must trim things down. Just getting rid of the remaining extra 10's, the 50, 150, 20 stand, and the various parts isn't going to be enough, I really need to get down to no more than 3 scopes.

Here are the arguments I've thought of where things are relatively equal...
Both platforms have a 5 objective nose, so I'm not losing any objective capacity.
The MS4 has superior optics, but I rarely use it and reach for the 10 almost every time.
On both platforms I have a centerable condenser (not standard on a 10)
Both use modified koehler.
Both are effectively limited to plan achromats. There are some apochromats for both, but it's pricey and I'm largely satisfied with plan achromats.

If I abandon the Series Ten...
I can still use the darkfield condenser I have on the 35, but it's not as nice since the objectives aren't plan.
I retain a little less space due to the larger footprint of the MS4.
I have a less inense light source since my AO10 has been upgraded with a powerful LED.
I have to acquire no new parts.
I could then unload all of my 34mm parts.

If I abandon the Microstar IV...
I lose a bit of optical quality that comes from the newer objectives.
I retain the ability to use darkfield with plan objectives.
I will need to acquire a phase system for the 10. (turret, condenser, objectives (10x, 20x, 40x, and 100x to match the MS4), plus annuli and bertrand lens)
I could unload all of my MS4 parts, which are in higher demand.
I have a teaching head for the 10, which allows extra imaging and viewing options.

Some other things that I've thought about, but don't individually change anything by themselves....
There are tons and tons of 34mm expansions and objectives.
The 34mm system offers more phase options (bright, dark, B minus)
The 34mm system tends to be a little cheaper, due to it's age, but doesn't perform quite as well.
The 45mm system is compatible with more objectives from other vendors (even if limited)
The 45mm system is optically superior.
For aesthetics, I prefer the 10, but looks don't mean a whole lot.
In either case I stand to recover some investment, but since neither system is exceptionally valuable it's not likely significant.

Help poke holes in my thinking and help me figure out a reasonable plan going forward.
If you had these options, what would you choose and why?

PeteM
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#2 Post by PeteM » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:00 am

You might consider looking for a Diastar 420 stand. Compared to the MicroStar IV, you'd get a brighter illumination system and the option of interchangeable nosepieces. Compared to a Series 10 you get all that plus somewhat better optics, a slightly more reliable illumination system, and a somewhat wider field of view. Be sure to add an intermediate analyzer regardless of what you get - polarization is cool.

Then get one nosepiece for phase objectives. Another for brightfield and darkfield. You might even get a third to experiment with other DIN 45 parfocal infinity objectives. You already have most of the optics you need for this and the underlying focus parts etc. are pretty much the same if you need to fix something.

So, you might look a relatively affordable incomplete Diastar stand. It's also easy to convert to a very bright LED (as you've already done once ) if the lamp housing is broken. When you're done, sell the Microstar IV and A.O. 10 to someone else - should cover the cost and more.

In the best of all worlds, a compatible Reichert DIC system might come along, making you forget all about various phase options. Should you actually have a use for those phase options, put whatever 34mm parfocal phase objectives you stumble upon and yet another turret and keep a spare older series head around. The stage adjusts easily. It's pretty easy to adapt the phase condenser.

apochronaut
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#3 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:01 am

Unfortunately , you would have to be a magician to find spare Diastar nosepieces. The only way I have any is courtesy of 2 entire functional Diastars, so now I am at a crossroads regarding those. One never knows , though. I thought that about cat.# 1973 1.4 N.A. condensers for the series 400 and then something like 8 show up from the same seller. Probably the only time I will ever see any.
The question I have is : why are you overlooking the value of a series 20?

dtsh
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#4 Post by dtsh » Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:56 am

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:00 am
You might consider looking for a Diastar 420 stand. Compared to the MicroStar IV, you'd get a brighter illumination system and the option of interchangeable nosepieces. Compared to a Series 10 you get all that plus somewhat better optics, a slightly more reliable illumination system, and a somewhat wider field of view. Be sure to add an intermediate analyzer regardless of what you get - polarization is cool.

Then get one nosepiece for phase objectives. Another for brightfield and darkfield. You might even get a third to experiment with other DIN 45 parfocal infinity objectives. You already have most of the optics you need for this and the underlying focus parts etc. are pretty much the same if you need to fix something.

So, you might look a relatively affordable incomplete Diastar stand. It's also easy to convert to a very bright LED (as you've already done once ) if the lamp housing is broken. When you're done, sell the Microstar IV and A.O. 10 to someone else - should cover the cost and more.

In the best of all worlds, a compatible Reichert DIC system might come along, making you forget all about various phase options. Should you actually have a use for those phase options, put whatever 34mm parfocal phase objectives you stumble upon and yet another turret and keep a spare older series head around. The stage adjusts easily. It's pretty easy to adapt the phase condenser.
The problem with the 420 is that I haven't seen any affordable incomplete units, plus it takes up even more real estate than even the 410. Space is very much a constraint here and part of the motivation is that I am likely downsizing my home in the near future further reducing my already tight space considerably.

apochronaut wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:01 am
Unfortunately , you would have to be a magician to find spare Diastar nosepieces. The only way I have any is courtesy of 2 entire functional Diastars, so now I am at a crossroads regarding those. One never knows , though. I thought that about cat.# 1973 1.4 N.A. condensers for the series 400 and then something like 8 show up from the same seller. Probably the only time I will ever see any.
The question I have is : why are you overlooking the value of a series 20?
I have a 20 stand, but it doesn't have an illuminator or any filters, though the rest appears in excellent condition and it has the illuminator housing at least. I did put an LED in it at one time, but I didn't use it enough to really get a feel for it; maybe I should revist that. The full koehler would be nice, but I rarely use filters, so it doesn't seem the 20 offers much over the 10, unless I am overlooking something. If I did go with the 20, the situation would be the same as with the 10 in that I'd need to acquire the phase kit for the 34mm system.

apochronaut
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#5 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:46 pm

The main advantage of the 20 or any other 100 watt stand is that you can realize high resolution DF. I am not sure that bumping up a 10 with a bright led can achieve the same results. I can see a contrast differential between the two, which would limit the value of the DF. With the correct filters too, you could also do transmitted fluorescence, which was one of the 20's values in it's day. A well fitted out Diastar isn't going to be that cheap and if it isn't well fitted out, then it offers little advantage over a 20.
but
Since you don't have those filters, the illuminator nor likely a power supply for the 20, that makes things a little difficult.Those items can be found though.

Further to complicate your decision. It is entirely possible to lower the stage on the 10/20 and fit the series 400 objectives. You then use a series 400 head with eyepieces, since the dovetail is common. You retain the ergonomics of the stand, minus a little relief under the stage : it makes things really tight under the stage and you gain the 400 series optics plus a gain in f.o.v. I mention this because you serm to like the series 10 stand. I agree. I have a planachro dark phase plus a 4X, so 4 dark phase and then 3 DF on the same stand. It is a go to microscope.

However, if I were to miraculously come across several Diastar nosepieces that weren't hitched to stands? I would fill 3 of them with 34mm objectives and use a series 100 head on the Diastar, with # 180 10X and # 184 15X eyepieces.
#1 nosepiece) 2.5X planachro, 4X planachro, 10X planachro dark phase, 20X planachro dark phase, 40X planachro dark phase, 100X oil planachro dark phase.
#2 nosepiece) 4X planachro, 10X achro bright phase, 20X achro bright phase, 40X achro bright phase, 100X oil achro bright phase, 100X oil achro B-Minus phase.
#3 nosepiece) 10X planapo, 20X planachro, 40X planapo, 50X oil planachro, 63X semi-plan achro, 100X oil planachro with iris.
3 easily changeable condensers : a # 1242 phase condenser threaded into a #1205 diaphragm housing , a # 1096 toric DF condenser and a #1973 1.4 N.A. achromat aplanat
That would provide with a BF condenser.100X,150X,200X,300X,400X,500X oil,600X,630X,750X oil,945X,1000X oil and 1500X oil a little over the line.
With a DF condenser. 200X, 300X,400X,500X oil,600X,630X,750X oil,945X,1000X oil and 1500X oil a little over the line.
With a phase condenser and nosepiece #1 : 25X DF, 37.5X DF, 40X DF, 60X DF, 100X DF, 150X DF, 200X DF, 300X DF, 100X DARK PHASE , 150X DARK PHASE, 200X DARK PHASE, 300X DARK PHASE, 400X DARK PHASE, 600X DARK PHASE, 1000X DARK PHASE, 1500X DARK PHASE a little over the limit.
With phase nosepiece # 2 : 40X DF, 60X DF, 100X DF, 150X DF, 200X DF, 300X, DF, 100X BRIGHT PHASE, 150X BRIGHT PHASE, 200X BRIGHT PHASE, 300X BRIGHT PHASE, 400X BRIGHT PHASE,600X BRIGHT PHASE, 1000X BRIGHT PHASE, 1000X B-MINUS PHASE,1500X BRIGHT PHASE and 1500X B-MINUS PHASE.

So that is 16 magnifications with the upper one just over the technical limit by a bit in 5 contrast types.

dtsh
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#6 Post by dtsh » Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:50 pm

apochronaut wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:46 pm
Further to complicate your decision. It is entirely possible to lower the stage on the 10/20 and fit the series 400 objectives. You then use a series 400 head with eyepieces, since the dovetail is common. You retain the ergonomics of the stand, minus a little relief under the stage : it makes things really tight under the stage and you gain the 400 series optics plus a gain in f.o.v. I mention this because you serm to like the series 10 stand. I agree. I have a planachro dark phase plus a 4X, so 4 dark phase and then 3 DF on the same stand. It is a go to microscope.
For a little while I had put the 400 plan achros on a 110 stand with a spare 400 head. It worked much as you describe, but it was a pain to work with due to the limited clearances.

apochronaut wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:46 pm
However, if I were to miraculously come across several Diastar nosepieces that weren't hitched to stands? I would fill 3 of them with 34mm objectives and use a series 100 head on the Diastar, with # 180 10X and # 184 15X eyepieces.
#1 nosepiece) 2.5X planachro, 4X planachro, 10X planachro dark phase, 20X planachro dark phase, 40X planachro dark phase, 100X oil planachro dark phase.
#2 nosepiece) 4X planachro, 10X achro bright phase, 20X achro bright phase, 40X achro bright phase, 100X oil achro bright phase, 100X oil achro B-Minus phase.
#3 nosepiece) 10X planapo, 20X planachro, 40X planapo, 50X oil planachro, 63X semi-plan achro, 100X oil planachro with iris.
3 easily changeable condensers : a # 1242 phase condenser threaded into a #1205 diaphragm housing , a # 1096 toric DF condenser and a #1973 1.4 N.A. achromat aplanat
That would provide with a BF condenser.100X,150X,200X,300X,400X,500X oil,600X,630X,750X oil,945X,1000X oil and 1500X oil a little over the line.
With a DF condenser. 200X, 300X,400X,500X oil,600X,630X,750X oil,945X,1000X oil and 1500X oil a little over the line.
With a phase condenser and nosepiece #1 : 25X DF, 37.5X DF, 40X DF, 60X DF, 100X DF, 150X DF, 200X DF, 300X DF, 100X DARK PHASE , 150X DARK PHASE, 200X DARK PHASE, 300X DARK PHASE, 400X DARK PHASE, 600X DARK PHASE, 1000X DARK PHASE, 1500X DARK PHASE a little over the limit.
With phase nosepiece # 2 : 40X DF, 60X DF, 100X DF, 150X DF, 200X DF, 300X, DF, 100X BRIGHT PHASE, 150X BRIGHT PHASE, 200X BRIGHT PHASE, 300X BRIGHT PHASE, 400X BRIGHT PHASE,600X BRIGHT PHASE, 1000X BRIGHT PHASE, 1000X B-MINUS PHASE,1500X BRIGHT PHASE and 1500X B-MINUS PHASE.

So that is 16 magnifications with the upper one just over the technical limit by a bit in 5 contrast types.
That would be impressive, but unfortunately I think I could get a DIC scope for what that would probably cost. :lol:

My needs aren't great as I'm not a professional. I like the phase contrast a lot and could easily get along with 10x, 40x, and 100x in phase with two objectives for for brightfield/darkfield (likely 20x and 40x). That combinded with a 100x with a funnel stop/iris I could swap in would cover pretty much all my use cases and then some. I don't often use the 100x objectives, in the past year I think the only times I've used them was to make images to post here and even then I'm struggling to remember if I used them, but I like having them available should the need arise. I don't like swapping objectives, but to do so occasionally isn't a big impediment.

I rarely use a 4x (same for the 2.5x), all of those are in storage, prefering the stereo at that point. At one point I tried using 2.5x, 4x, 10x, 40x, and 100x and forgoing the stereo alltogether, but found manipulating insects under the compound frustrating in comparison to the stereo and it's a frequent use case for me, so the stereo is a given making the 2.5x and 4x kinda moot.

As I have them now, the 410 has 10x planachro, 40x Reichert planfuor, 10x, 20x, and 40x phase. The 10 has 10x, 20x, 40x, 45, 100x planachro. The 40x and 45x being somewhat redundant except for the working distance as the 40 is a 1309 and the 45 is the 1116; I like the views the 1309 gives, but the 1116 is far more forgiving on less than ideal samples. Both stands are setup not for efficiency of use, but rather to facilitate seeing what I need/use and what I don't.

If I didn't already have them, I'm not sure I'd bother with triocular heads as my camera setup works well enough with either and I find myself using the display as often as not. They do fit the bill for satisfying some of my tinkering urges though.
Much of my love affair with the 10 is it's small footprint (especially when there's no need for the transformer) and it's build quality. I feel like one could fend off an assailant with a 10 and only need to clean it before using. :lol: :o
Last edited by dtsh on Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

apochronaut
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#7 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:12 pm

Yes it would be expensive. I have all of that stuff, except the nosepieces, so not an expensive option for me. I'm considering seeing if a Nikon nosepiece could be machined to fit. There are so many of them around. Alternately; putting 5 place nosepieces in the two Diastars and using those two 6 place.

You may find in future, especially if you get into more complex samples; that having a scanning objective is very useful. 4X objectives are not normally dialled in for 40X epi work but for locating and sometimes relocating.

PeteM
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#8 Post by PeteM » Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:04 pm

I suspect it would be pretty easy to adapt interchangeable nosepieces from Olympus or Nikon. They're plentiful and often cheap ($50 or so for 5 hole versions). The female holder parts show up on Ebay now and then and should be relatively easy to adapt. Since we're talking infinity scopes, the vertical spacing isn't critical except to be fairly compact.

One example - I converted an Olympus BX40 (without interchangeable nosepieces) to interchangeable Olympus BH2 nosepieces which are far cheaper and more plentiful than the BX versions.

The AO/Reichert nosepieces attach with three thumb screws and, recollection is, they can be removed by keeping the back two in place and unscrewing the front one. I don't know how repeatable this method of changing nosepieces would be, but someone might have tried it. The two screws kept in place should provide registration. third one -- maybe adapted to a small knurled knob -- might want something more than aluminum to bear on if used repeatedly - perhaps some sort of harder insert in the nosepieces??

dtsh
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#9 Post by dtsh » Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:29 pm

apochronaut wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:12 pm
Yes it would be expensive. I have all of that stuff, except the nosepieces, so not an expensive option for me. I'm considering seeing if a Nikon nosepiece could be machined to fit. There are so many of them around. Alternately; putting 5 place nosepieces in the two Diastars and using those two 6 place.

You may find in future, especially if you get into more complex samples; that having a scanning objective is very useful. 4X objectives are not normally dialled in for 40X epi work but for locating and sometimes relocating.
I think adapting could be an option, a good fixture would go a long way to making them close enough to be repeatable.

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:04 pm
The AO/Reichert nosepieces attach with three thumb screws and, recollection is, they can be removed by keeping the back two in place and unscrewing the front one. I don't know how repeatable this method of changing nosepieces would be, but someone might have tried it. The two screws kept in place should provide registration. third one -- maybe adapted to a small knurled knob -- might want something more than aluminum to bear on if used repeatedly - perhaps some sort of harder insert in the nosepieces??
I'd considered this in the past, but I'm not sure how closely any two AO noses match one another. Were I ambitious, I'd toss a couple on the surface plate and look, but it's mighty cold out in the shop right now. If they differ significantly I'm sure it would be possible to scrape them into being good matches if one were so inclined. An alternative would be to put matching set screws in the nose and adjust those so that the registration of the rear sets would be identical for all the noses. For my uses, this seems overkill though as I'm just doing basic hobby stuff to quench my curiosity and to facilitate my insect study and animal care needs (also just hobby). The stuff I have already is more than my needs call for and probably can deliver more than my skill can muster.

apochronaut
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#10 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:10 pm

The Diastar nosepiece dovetail unfortunately is a female, machined directly into the nosepiece body so adapting other nosepieces to slide onto the male dovetail will be a trick. The male dovetail travels with the focuser and is also machined directly into an intermediary piece that effectively replaces the 5 place nosepiece with the circular dovetail on the Microstar IV. It is easy to fit a 5 place nosepiece in a Diastar, simply by dropping that intermediate piece out and just putting in a nosepiece instead. In fact any nosepiece from a series 10 forward will work, the circular dovetail is the same and you can make it forward facing if you prefer that.
If several interchangeable nosepieces are required, it is likely that scavenging them from the two other Diastars and replacing them with 5 objective models from a Microstar IV would be best. Those could still carry 4X, 10X, 20X, 40X and 100X with iris so they would work for high resolution DF.

Very very oddly, the PZO Biolar dovetail slider on the nosepiece is a male carbon copy of that on the Diastar focuser?? 32.5mm x 36.5mm. You can slide the PZO and Diastar nosepieces together like back to back Siamese twin potato bugs. I don't know how this fact could be turned to any advantage. Probably butchering a couple of old Biolar arms for their female dovetails and then attaching them to very cheap flat 6 hole nosepieces? The geometry would have to be perfect and so would the prices involved.

dtsh
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#11 Post by dtsh » Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:34 pm

An interesting new wrinkle....
The disscussion of the 400 optics on a 10, or a 110 as I had tested, kept simmering at the back of my mind. I know the condenser dovetail isn't the same for the two different series so I was wondering if it would be possible to put the annuli from the 400 series into a turret for the 10, but I don't have such a turret to test with; even then the non-adjustable condenser on the 10 seemed like that would make it difficult to use phase in such a setup anyhow. Then I wondered if the mounts for the two condenser forks were anything similar or if perhaps I could adapt the 400 fork to a 10, a question I still don't know because before I got that far I wondered if the condenser mount dovetail itself might be the same.....and it is! So if you happen to have a 10/20 series and you really wish it had a centerable condenser and you can't find the special centerable condenser for the series (I have one, so never bothered with this before) you can just remove the entire assembly from a 400 series stage and it slides right in and engages with the series 10! Viola, centerable and now you have the newer condensers too!

At the moment I have the 1205 turret mounted in the 10 with the 10x phase objective for the 400 series in the nose and I'm looking at diatoms with phase. Bonus is that I don't have to cripple the 410 as I have an extra stage I can rob.

Thank you apochronaut for getting me thinking about this again. A bit of use may yet reveal a flaw in this, but at this moment I'm thinking I might be able to get the best of both worlds and keep the stand I love and the better optics.

dtsh
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Re: Consolidating on a platform, help me choose which phase to go with

#12 Post by dtsh » Wed Jan 19, 2022 12:49 am

OK, after a little playing with the 400 optics on the 10....
The bertrand lens doesn't fit on the 10 stand.
It works pretty much flawlessly.
Everything else fits and works as you'd expect.

I compared the phase I have in the One-Fifty Phase with the 400's phase, as you'd expect the 400 is superior and has a wider field of view. I'm not sure it's so much better that I wouldn't be happy with a 34mm phase system.
It was hard to compare apples to apples, given the lamp in the One-Fifty is no match for the 12w LED in the 10.
I have a phase telescope so the bertrand isn't required, but it seems a travesty to not use it. I could get an aperture viewing unit (bertrand) for the 10 series to solve that.

As it sits, I am unwilling to keep the 400 optics on the 10. I've learned a few things, such as the matching condenser mount dovetail, which will be useful in the future, but I think I'm willing to consider the 34mm phase as it seems to fit my needs better and pass along the 400 series phase to someone else who will actually get use out of it.

That said, for the 400 I have Aperture Viewing Unit (bertrand), 1201 condenser (0.9NA), 1205 turret, 10x 1742 phase plan achro, 20x phase plan achro (no Cat#), 40x phase 1744, 100x 1742 phase plan achro, and a 10x 1747 phase neoplan, all in excellent condition I'm considering a trade for similar 34mm parfocal (bertrand, turret, condenser, annuli, 10x, 20x, 40x, 100x, with some cash or other trade to make up the difference).
I also have a Leica branded stand with a trinocular head in excellent condition I'd part with as a whole kit. Said trinocular head has a custom made adapter for photography.
It's too bad my work area is so small, the 410 is a superior piece of kit, it's just too much for me.

Anyone interested?

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