Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

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JennyJax
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Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#1 Post by JennyJax » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:44 am

Hi All,

Set to purchase a new microscope and have been in touch with a great resource but a colleague recommended this forum before I jump.

I mostly view live phytoplankton in seawater - often on a Swift dissecting scope - but am looking to get a good compound scope for visualization, photography, and live-sharing of cell structure/detail.

Considering:
Accu-Scope EXC-350-APO Trinocular. Infinity corrected S PLAN APO 10x and 40x objectives. (Remove 4x & 100x objectives); ADD: Infinity corrected S PLAN APO and 60x Infinity corrected Plan (Achrom; they don't offer APO at 60x).

Camera: View4K HDMI 8.0 M.P., WiFi, USB output.

C-mount adapter
Darkfield slider

Quote is a little over $5k for everything.

Thanks! Good to be joining you!

PeteM
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Re: Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#2 Post by PeteM » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:55 am

Welcome.

My initial take is that $5K is a lot to spend for an Accu-Scope microscope. They're decent scopes, just not maybe the best use of $5K? I also wasn't aware that Accu-Scope made Plan Apo objectives - thought the best they stocked for the brand were Plan Fluorites? I once owned an Accu-Scope with their plan fluorite objectives and while they were decent, not quite as good as something like the Olympus (UPlanFl) Plan Fluorites.

If you're interested in considering used microscopes, happy to send you a PDF copy of the guide we use locally for mentors looking to pick out a good scope among various brands and models once you have enough posts to send a message.

I'd think that you could find an Olympus BX, Nikon Eclipse, or Leica DM infinity series with a wider field of view and some top end objectives for around $3-4K and maybe even a DIC scope at $5K. Zeiss Axio another possibility, but I don't know those as well.

If you want the assurance of buying new, Motic and others likely have a comparable scope and you might want to compare prices. If your quote is from a local dealer who promises to be particularly helpful, it may be worth considering in the scheme of things.

The camera is likely to be on the high side if purchased from a microscope dealer. You might want to search for reviews here of both cheap HDMI cameras (under $150) and the RisingCam 10mp camera Rob Berdan reviewed. The latter includes excellent software.
Last edited by PeteM on Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

JennyJax
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Re: Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#3 Post by JennyJax » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:03 am

Hi!
Thanks for the quick reply!
The 5k quote was for the entire package - microscope (10x, 20x, 40x APO objectives plus a 60x achrom) plus camera and all the trimmings (c-mount, darkfield slider, etc.).

My understanding is that APO objectives (of any brand) will outperform Achrom objectives (of any brand)...

Thanks again,
Jenny

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zzffnn
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Re: Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#4 Post by zzffnn » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:15 am

Welcome Jenny,

With 4k USD, you should be able to get a used Zeiss or American Optical DIC scope that provide better imaging that that AccuScope.

Apo objectives are more important for objective NA of 0.5 and more. Under that, achromats are perfectly capable under DIC.

Save 1k for y ou or USB camera.

Forum member Apochronaut may be able to source you an apo DIC scope.

If not, I have another fellow microscopist in mind, who can probably help you. A friend of mine, who is also forum member here, bought a Zeiss DIC scope from him before.

I know Accu-Scope, but don't think they are considered to be the same league as Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss, Leitz or American Optical.

PeteM
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Re: Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#5 Post by PeteM » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:22 am

Hi Jenny,

I'm just curious to learn if what Accu-Scope is offering you are actually Plan Apos or what they call Semi-Apos? The latter are actually Plan Fluorite objectives. As you've been told, these are better than most any plain Achromat objective. Good objectives, but not as good in my experience as the Plan Fluorites from Olympus, Nikon, and Leica.

Those other Plan Fluorite objectives, on the used market and for a patient buyer might be around $300 each in the 20x and 40x range. Last I looked, Accu-Scope wanted about double that for not-quite-as-good Plan Fluorites - but with the assurance of being new. The corresponding Plan Apos from Olympus, Nikon etc. might be double that, used in good shape. With the wonderful exception of Nikon's 20x Plan Apo now being sold at bargain prices. The point being that you can (maybe) get about 2x the optics for your money if you find a suitable used scope.

Your darkfield slider will likely be good for the 20x objective, not so good for the 40x objective. So, there's the question to consider of what contrast method you might want after 200x? You might want a darkfield condenser? $5K puts DIC nearly in reach on the used market. As little as $3-4K could likely get you a Zeiss (finite) DIC system. It would be a bit older and fiddly, but you might want to search this forum for some of the stunning images some forum members with Zeiss systems have taken.

What magnification do you need to really reveal (and capture digitally) the details of your subject? That would seem to be the place to buy your best objective.

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Re: Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#6 Post by zzffnn » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:32 am

To add to PeteM's comment:

With DIC set to maximum contrast, you most likely don't need darkfield. And a darkfield slider (which would barely work for 40x NA 0.65 objective) is nowhere as good as dedicated cardioid or paraboloid darkfield condenser (will will work for an 100x iris objective).

You may add phase contrast, if your application is research (on transparent phytoplanktons) rather than photography.

If you are near a major university or research hospital, there may also be used microscope dealers who can assemble you a nice app DIC scope.

Are you located in USA?

You can message me, if member Apochronaut cannot offer a DIC scope. I will try to connect you with another dealer.

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Re: Hello and any pre-purchase 2-cents?

#7 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:05 am

Dang that better be the swankest accu scope I ever saw for that kind of dough I'd put out a few offers on some vintage SEMs
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

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