Olympus BX40

Everything relating to microscopy hardware: Objectives, eyepieces, lamps and more.
Post Reply
Message
Author
karhukainen
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 3:44 pm

Olympus BX40

#1 Post by karhukainen » Wed Jan 25, 2023 8:08 pm

What would be a good price for an Olympus BX40 microscope in good condition? The one I'm looking at comes with fluorescence and four (+ possible one but I don't know the specs yet) objectives:
- UPlanFI 40x/0.75
- Plan 50x/0.90 Oil Iris
- Plan 100x/1.25 Oim
- Ach 20x/0.40 /0.17

Everything should be in good condition otherwise but the burner needs to be changed. Is it easy to find one and how much should I expect to pay? What about a trinocular head? I'd have to change the binocular head for photography purposes and get a phototube and a mount adapter for Canon EF.
Nikon Labophot

PeteM
Posts: 2492
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Olympus BX40

#2 Post by PeteM » Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:22 pm

Is a fully functioning fluorescence scope what you're after? In general, $1500 plus tax & shipping would be the Ebay price for a good BX40 with plan achromats. Plus a bit for the one 40x UPlanFl. You might check Ebay "sold" prices for the going rates.

I've got a couple of spare BX40's, and a variety of options (trinocular, ergo UplanFl's, UPlanSApo, DIC, polarization, 20 watt LED, etc.) but none with working fluorescence. They'll go for under Ebay prices; ideally to someone who can provide lessons etc. for our "Micronaut" program.

Whatever scope you buy, using just a tube lens with your camera - and doing viewing and composing on a screen - would be an affordable and perhaps even better alternative to a trinocular head for taking photos.

Fluorescence kits sometimes go cheap on Ebay, especially including for the Nikon Labophot you already have. You will want to exercise considerable care in making sure the filters are good, the bulbs not near their end of life and about to shatter, and the power supplies good. If you don't need the higher power of something like a 100 watt mercury burner, hobbyists are finding UV LED retrofits a reasonable alternative.

karhukainen
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 3:44 pm

Re: Olympus BX40

#3 Post by karhukainen » Thu Jan 26, 2023 12:06 pm

PeteM wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:22 pm
Is a fully functioning fluorescence scope what you're after? In general, $1500 plus tax & shipping would be the Ebay price for a good BX40 with plan achromats. Plus a bit for the one 40x UPlanFl. You might check Ebay "sold" prices for the going rates.

I've got a couple of spare BX40's, and a variety of options (trinocular, ergo UplanFl's, UPlanSApo, DIC, polarization, 20 watt LED, etc.) but none with working fluorescence. They'll go for under Ebay prices; ideally to someone who can provide lessons etc. for our "Micronaut" program.

Whatever scope you buy, using just a tube lens with your camera - and doing viewing and composing on a screen - would be an affordable and perhaps even better alternative to a trinocular head for taking photos.

Fluorescence kits sometimes go cheap on Ebay, especially including for the Nikon Labophot you already have. You will want to exercise considerable care in making sure the filters are good, the bulbs not near their end of life and about to shatter, and the power supplies good. If you don't need the higher power of something like a 100 watt mercury burner, hobbyists are finding UV LED retrofits a reasonable alternative.
Thanks! Yeah, I originally bought the Labophot because it had some of the fluorescence parts but then the lamp housing broke during shipping and I never bought the missing parts. My biggest problem with the microscope is that it isn't very well suited to photography, at least with the current setup. For one, the microscope gets way too high for me when there's also the trinocular head, the photo tube (which has to be continued with an extension tube to lower vignetting) and a camera. I have to keep the scope on a low table and still it's not very convenient. I'm a short person :D What kind of tube lens do you mean? How would I attach the camera?

I have already invested in the Labophot quite a bit and it'll be difficult to sell where I live, but on the other hand, I'm planning on doing microscopy more for work (I do contemporary art photography with an emphasis on biology and environmental problems). I'm fairly sure the shop that's selling the BX40 would be willing to lower the price to around 700 €, so it might be unlikely to find that kind of a deal any time soon - assuming the microscope is in good condition, of course. Unfortunately the shop is located several hours away, so I'm trying to ask the right questions before visiting. They don't quite seem to know what they are selling and I don't fully know what I'm trying to buy, since I have no experience from fluorescence scopes.
Nikon Labophot

Scarodactyl
Posts: 2347
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:09 pm

Re: Olympus BX40

#4 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:01 pm

Fluorescence is easier to retrofit than you might think, and potentially safer with LEDs.

PeteM
Posts: 2492
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Olympus BX40

#5 Post by PeteM » Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:45 pm

To add, the usual place the Nikon fluorescence head breaks is toward the back. It's not too hard to put a sleeve on the back end and then put a UV LED at about the same place where the mercury lamp would be. This is a safer and cheaper way to do some UV photography, though you still have to be careful with barrier filters and any direct eye exposure to UV.

Depending on the quality of the objectives on your Labophot you may already be well on your way. Note that while some high quality objectives (apos) may be superb for many kinds of photography, you really want fluor objectives to get the most UV down into your specimens.

As for the stack of trinocular head and adapters and camera being too high on your Labophot, there have been recent discussions on this forum about imaging directly, the pros and cons of various photo relay lenses, and using your camera and a monitor to directly view and compose your images. There's a learning curve, but past posts have a lot of good information. A properly configured Nikon Labophot or (even better) an Optiphot can be an excellent platform for digital photography of the micro world.

Stepping back, a few points. First, 700 euros is a very good price for a BX40 if all those listed objectives and the scope are in good condition. One thing to ask about - the power supply for regular diascopic illumination (regular viewing of slides) is often bad in BX40's. A 10 watt LED replacment might be in the $250 US range. It's an excellent scope and could be a fine platform for pro-level photography, but you may have additional expense to use it as a regular microscope?

In addition, optical elements (mostly the cement between lenses or things like polarizers) sometimes degrade in a microscope heavily used for fluorescence. You'll want to check that.

Stepping even further back, you might ask yourself how well the time and money invested in fluorescence photography will reward you in creating stunning art photography of the biological and environmental world? Could be you already know all about the pros and cons of fluorescence, but maybe not?

It's hard to make stunning fluorescent photos with affordable equipment. Some manage to do it, but the inherent problem is that even if a subject self-fluoresces, the images tend to be a bit blurry unless you're using something like a confocal microscope. If you're using fluorescent dyes, there will still be somewhat blurry but possibly brighter images. But - considerable difficulty for most hobbyists to find and use these dyes.

Phase contrast has a somewhat similar dilemma for most photographers. It's a superb method to image relatively transparent living cells (like pond critters), but the images typically have a bit of a halo around every object.

Some ways to get very sharp and sometimes spectacular images of the living world include regular brightfield, perhaps with stains, polarization, oblique, darkfield, and DIC imaging methods along with focus stacking. It could be you've already explored most of these (DIC is pricey, but the others are relatively affordable and can achieve very high actual and perceived resolution). However, if not, your Labophot with a more ergonomic and perhaps sharper imaging setup might delight you and those who enjoy your photos for some while to come?

karhukainen
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 3:44 pm

Re: Olympus BX40

#6 Post by karhukainen » Fri Jan 27, 2023 7:29 pm

PeteM wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:45 pm
To add, the usual place the Nikon fluorescence head breaks is toward the back. It's not too hard to put a sleeve on the back end and then put a UV LED at about the same place where the mercury lamp would be. This is a safer and cheaper way to do some UV photography, though you still have to be careful with barrier filters and any direct eye exposure to UV.

Depending on the quality of the objectives on your Labophot you may already be well on your way. Note that while some high quality objectives (apos) may be superb for many kinds of photography, you really want fluor objectives to get the most UV down into your specimens.

As for the stack of trinocular head and adapters and camera being too high on your Labophot, there have been recent discussions on this forum about imaging directly, the pros and cons of various photo relay lenses, and using your camera and a monitor to directly view and compose your images. There's a learning curve, but past posts have a lot of good information. A properly configured Nikon Labophot or (even better) an Optiphot can be an excellent platform for digital photography of the micro world.

Stepping back, a few points. First, 700 euros is a very good price for a BX40 if all those listed objectives and the scope are in good condition. One thing to ask about - the power supply for regular diascopic illumination (regular viewing of slides) is often bad in BX40's. A 10 watt LED replacment might be in the $250 US range. It's an excellent scope and could be a fine platform for pro-level photography, but you may have additional expense to use it as a regular microscope?

In addition, optical elements (mostly the cement between lenses or things like polarizers) sometimes degrade in a microscope heavily used for fluorescence. You'll want to check that.

Stepping even further back, you might ask yourself how well the time and money invested in fluorescence photography will reward you in creating stunning art photography of the biological and environmental world? Could be you already know all about the pros and cons of fluorescence, but maybe not?

It's hard to make stunning fluorescent photos with affordable equipment. Some manage to do it, but the inherent problem is that even if a subject self-fluoresces, the images tend to be a bit blurry unless you're using something like a confocal microscope. If you're using fluorescent dyes, there will still be somewhat blurry but possibly brighter images. But - considerable difficulty for most hobbyists to find and use these dyes.

Phase contrast has a somewhat similar dilemma for most photographers. It's a superb method to image relatively transparent living cells (like pond critters), but the images typically have a bit of a halo around every object.

Some ways to get very sharp and sometimes spectacular images of the living world include regular brightfield, perhaps with stains, polarization, oblique, darkfield, and DIC imaging methods along with focus stacking. It could be you've already explored most of these (DIC is pricey, but the others are relatively affordable and can achieve very high actual and perceived resolution). However, if not, your Labophot with a more ergonomic and perhaps sharper imaging setup might delight you and those who enjoy your photos for some while to come?
I got two fluor objectives (10x and 20x), but they are both a little defective and produce low-contrast images. I will definitely consider UV LED retrofit. I tried to get into reading about the topic, as well as about finding an alternative to the current photo setup, but I have chronic migraine which makes reading and learning annoyingly slow. (That is also why I do almost all viewing through the back of my camera and not the oculars.) If you happen to have any actual ideas on how to get rid of the stack of different tubes between the camera and the microscope, I'd be thrilled to hear.

The BX40 seller stopped answering me - I think they got annoyed by too difficult questions :D Makes me think the scope isn't in such good condition after all and it's too far to go see just for fun.

I've worked with fluorescence in my prior projects, so in that sense I'm not completely new to that world. I'm not much into "stunning" images (like the ones you see on Nikon small world) but I would rather use microscopy and fluorescence photography as a tool for exploring an interesting topic like microplastics. The result doesn't have to be spectacular but artistic ;) For example, I've photographed tardigrades for a project that's related to space research and also involves contemporary poetry. Although, I sometimes also do more conventional photomicrography for magazines.
Nikon Labophot

PeteM
Posts: 2492
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Olympus BX40

#7 Post by PeteM » Fri Jan 27, 2023 8:24 pm

See posts #6 and #8 in this thread as one example. This will lower your camera by half a foot or so: https://www.microbehunter.com/microscop ... hp?t=16468

Your present tall stack setup can also be fine if you just use an external monitor instead of the camera's screen for viewing, composing, and imaging.

UV imaging is seen as a potential for quickly sorting plastics for recycling. As you probably know, it should work to ID microplastics as well. Around here (SF Bay area), marine researchers use simple polarization to track the increasing load of microplastics into the Bay. Very simple approach and pretty cool images.

Post Reply