Nikon Optiphot with DIC

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Lomonaut
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#1 Post by Lomonaut » Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:52 pm

Hi all,

After many hours of reading, looking for manuals etc I bit the bullet last week and ordered this Optiphot with POL and DIC. They told me the DIC only worked for the 20x, hence it was relatively affordable (1560 euro). I'm mainly interested in polarisation and 20x is my favourite objective anyway, so that was acceptable to me.
Yesterday it arrived! My muscles are sore from hauling it home and up the stairs, what a beast.

First impression: wow! The focusing is smooth (I was a bit worried about that). The DIC indeed works for the 20x and looks amazing through the CFUW eyepieces!

So much to learn... the complexity is on a whole new level compared to my old Lomo MBU-4.

A few minor issues:
- I'm having some trouble keeping my eyes at exactly the right place, I guess it takes some practice.
- the rotatable stage is off-centered and the centering screw doesn't seem to work (or I'm doing it wrong)
- I can't achieve simple cross-pol without any sliders, what's going on here...

Next step: fitting my camera (Olympus E-500 micro4/3) on the trino tube, I haven't even checked that yet!
And add Nikon CF 4x and 10x objectives (the 10x is an Olympus - weird).

I hope to take some pictures in the next few days.
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PeteM
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Location: N. California

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#2 Post by PeteM » Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:20 pm

A couple close-up views might help.

The condenser doesn't look like any of the three Nikon Optiphot DIC turret type condensers that have passed me by. Of course, there are a zillion I haven't seen. Is it Nikon, with one or more DIC prisms inside and a polarizer underneath?

Also not sure where the upper DIC prism resides from the overall view. Is the wave plate somehow being used as a DIC prism - and working OK at 20x??

Assuming you have a polarizer somewhere between the field lens and slide and that slider inserted above, Nikon sometimes used quarter wave plates with the polarizer. If you can't get extinction with crossed polars (simple polarization), you might try flipping the orientation of the polarizer or analyser.

Lomonaut
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#3 Post by Lomonaut » Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:41 am

The close-ups were too blurry, I'll try again tomorrow!

Yes, the condensor is Nikon, it has a polarizer underneath and the turret has 5 settings: '0' (an empty hole I assume), DF (darkfield), 20x, 40x and 100x. Also, it has a retractable quarterwave plate. The diaphragm is operated by a wheel at the front. Oh, and it's achromatic-aplanatic, I believe :) I'll try to get it out and have a closer look tomorrow.

The '/' slider may be a de-polariser, if it's in place (just above the objective) the analyser has no effect. The analyser is rotatable and retractable. The 'Quarzkeil' DIC slider goes between the analyser and the '/' slider. Man, I have to be very careful with that thing, I don't like pulling it out too often :shock:

More to follow, thanks for the reply!

Phill Brown
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#4 Post by Phill Brown » Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:25 am

Excellent. That looks specifically designed to attract every dust particle from its environment.
I might get one just to keep the dust off one I use.

Lomonaut
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#5 Post by Lomonaut » Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:33 pm

Haha, yes, I can't believe Nikon never advertized this extra functionality :lol:
Seriously, the cat hairs are a curse.

I took some closeup shots (a bit blurry, sorry). Haven't figured out how to detach the condenser yet, it's too scary until I've learned more.

For photography, I guess I'll need a photo projection piece, a better camera and an adapter, rings etc., or some DIY pvc tubing... The image is inside the trino tube and I don't think the tube is removable for direct projection on a sensor (haven't tried brute force yet).

Meanwhile, I'll just use it visually and train some automatisms. It's funny how my hands are still conditioned to the old Lomo: when I want to focus, they automatically go to the wrong Lomo position :)

Oh btw the quartz wedge appears to be from Leica. It's a bit of a Frankenscope.
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PeteM
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#6 Post by PeteM » Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:54 pm

A few thoughts . . .

- A very knowledgeable Nikon user (John - "abednego1995") sometimes tunes in here. He might be able to identify what you have.

- That Nikon condenser is new to me. However, it looks to be held in a standard Optiphot mount with the two centering screws and likely a third holding screw on the left side. If you raise the stage and drop the focus it should be able to loosen it and pull it out. You could then do a census of what's inside.

- Assuming there is a polarizer in the circular rotating bit at the bottom of the condenser and one present in the analyzer position, you should be able to cross polars and get extinction. Remove every bit of other supplemental glass - the quartz plate, the slider, with an open path through the condenser. If you still can't get extinction, the only thing that comes to mind is that one of the polarizing bits has something like a quarter wave plated attached and either is reversed or isn't right for the scope.

- The "slider" marked in your photos has me confused. Pulled out and as photographed it looks more like a (3rd?) polarizer than the DIC sliding prisms I"m used to. Does it contain a DIC prism? Labelled in any way beside the axis arrow?

viktor j nilsson
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#7 Post by viktor j nilsson » Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:00 pm

I remember seeing this microscope listed online a while ago (I just compared the photos, and it's 100% the same microscope). I asked about it in the Nikon microscope users group on Facebook and got the following answer from one of the most knowledgeable persons there:
The DIC condenser and nosepiece are for the Biophot, the intermediate tube is the analyzer unit for the Optiphot/Labophot. Not sure how the person assembled this....

Lomonaut
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#8 Post by Lomonaut » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:02 pm

Ah, that explains a lot!

Yes, it was for sale for a long time at microscopen-specialist.nl, then they dropped the price drastically and I got tempted.
Well, now I have this monster while I could have gone for a Euromex or something... but hey, the DIC works beautifully for the 20x just like they said, POL does work for the rest but something in the condenser prohibits a black background.

Thanks for the tips and info!

PeteM
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Location: N. California

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#9 Post by PeteM » Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:19 pm

Hoping you can tell us what DIC prisms are being used to get DIC at 20x? Does that slider have a DIC prism in it? And one or more DIC prisms in the condenser?

It does look to be a fine scope, even with not-quite-right DIC for the time being.

Lomonaut
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#10 Post by Lomonaut » Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:11 pm

Now I'm really confused. This Leica quartz wedge ('quarzkeil') is not even necessary for the DIC! Why is it even there??
Are the objective prisms in the nosepiece or even the objectives themselves? I can't get them loose to take a look.
The other slide ' \ ' appears to be a circular polfilter, when flipped it has no effect. I overlooked this initially...
This one is necessary for the DIC to work. Or maybe I'll find out more.

I tried your tip to remove the condenser, but the polarizer is in the way, it doesn't fit through the opening. It must be removable, how else could they have installed it? I feel so clumsy.

I contacted the seller, maybe they know more...

Here's a interesting article I found, you probably know it already:
https://www.microscopyu.com/techniques/ ... figuration
Tuning the image by rotating the polarizer fits this, so it's probably De Sénarmont.

Meanwhile I managed to take some test shots (tiny crops), hendheld and with some PVC piping, Lomo 7x eyepiece ;)
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Lomonaut
Posts: 22
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#11 Post by Lomonaut » Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:15 am

I'm now almost sure the sliders are for POL measurements, a 'Senarmont compensator' and quartz wedge are mentioned in this manual. Also because the upper part appears to be from a POL scope.
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/17255 ... =19#manual

Lomonaut
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#12 Post by Lomonaut » Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:29 pm

The seller told me the previous owner had passed away...

Scarodactyl
Posts: 1418
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:09 pm

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#13 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:27 pm

That doesn't surprise me. Unlike some questionable kludges we've probably all seen offered for sale this scope looks like something someone assembled for their own usage. You're in uncharted territory so it'll take some tinkering and exploration.
The quartz wedge might just be there to boost color.
Direct projection is possible with the nikon UW head but requires some extra work. It's a lot easier to set up with a projective eyepiece, though the results are probably jot quite as good.

Lomonaut
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#14 Post by Lomonaut » Fri Jun 25, 2021 5:54 pm

Thanks for the tip about the UW head, I'll look into it in due time!

Wow, those sliders were some red herrings! I'll need some tools before going on with the detective work (a tiny screwdriver to loosen the polarizer). There might be some delaminated or displaced prisms in there (the 100x/0.9 'dry' image is very bad), the chance they were scavenged is now smaller.

For now, I'll just have some fun with the amazing 20x :)

abednego1995
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#15 Post by abednego1995 » Sat Jun 26, 2021 2:16 pm

Yup, I remember seeing this beast some time ago. Viktor's excerpt explains the components, but what eluded me at the time, is "where would the nosepiece Nomarski prism be?" It seems likely you've got it working as a pol scope, but not so sure about it being DIC.

John

Lomonaut
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#16 Post by Lomonaut » Sat Jun 26, 2021 4:19 pm

Well, I finally had the courage to disassemble the nosepiece. The prisms are in there, just above the objectives!
turret.jpg
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And... the 40x DIC didn't work because it was in the wrong slot!! How simple can it be?
Now I have 20x and 40x DIC :D
I took some improvised test shots of cheeks cells.

The 100x is useless in this setup, it's EPI. What were they thinking..?

Thanks for tuning in.
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cheek20x.jpg
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abednego1995
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#17 Post by abednego1995 » Sat Jun 26, 2021 11:52 pm

Thanks for getting the additional shots! Yes, that definitely would be DIC. The Biophot DIC kit allows for 20, 40,100x DIC so getting 100x working would only be a matter of finding a CF Plan 100x NA1.25. That prism placement points to the system to being a de-Senarmont type compensator DIC as you've already found. Great frankenskop that actually works!

btw, does it work without the intermediate analyzer just above the nosepiece? I'm not sure how a third pol element would affect the image making, but if it already has an analyzer on top, it should work sans that middle pol slide.

Cheers,
John

Lomonaut
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#18 Post by Lomonaut » Sun Jun 27, 2021 7:10 pm

What I said earlier about this intermediate analyser ( '/' slider) is wrong, sorry - it's not necessary for the DIC to work at all. It makes the image slightly more colorful than the rotating analyser at the top when the retardation plate of the condenser is in place.

Yeah, I feel like hitting the jackpot! There is no reason to assume a suitable 100x would not work for DIC, now it's a matter of completing this monster :lol:

Thanks for all the help and tips!

viktor j nilsson
Posts: 459
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Location: Lund, Sweden

Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#19 Post by viktor j nilsson » Sun Jun 27, 2021 7:15 pm

Very glad to hear it has worked out so well! Not exactly the right ones, but if you want to try a Nikon CF E plan 10x 0.25 and E plan 100x 1.25, I have some that I don't need and could sell for cheap. You are in Europe somewhere? I'm in Sweden.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#20 Post by Scarodactyl » Sun Jun 27, 2021 8:23 pm

Congratluations, this does seem like a winning setup.

PeteM
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#21 Post by PeteM » Sun Jun 27, 2021 9:30 pm

The prisms hidden away in the nosepiece also explain why you weren't able to get exinction in simple polarization. Move the nosepiece to an open position (no prism) and all should be well.

Lomonaut
Posts: 22
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Re: Nikon Optiphot with DIC

#22 Post by Lomonaut » Mon Jun 28, 2021 11:21 pm

Yes PeteM, the 10x was probably in the 40x prism slot, the 40x in an empty one!
There still is the built-in waveplate in the condensor, but now I can get almost total extinction with the 10x if I rotate the polarizer and analyser together relative to the condenser, and finetune.

Pretty embarrasing it took me so long to figure it out more or less (and still not 100%) :oops:


Victor, thanks for your generous offer, these objectives are very interesting!
I'm in the Netherlands.


In the meantime, all the lenses need a cleanup, some finetuning and lamp centering, stage centering, enough work to do...

'tinkering and exploration' like you said Scarodactyl!

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