Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

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Ilikeplants
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Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#1 Post by Ilikeplants » Mon Oct 24, 2022 11:52 pm

Hi all!

I have a Nikon Labophot-2 with a binocular head, and am wondering what the next step up from a eyepiece phone holder is in terms of image quality. I am a starving academic right now, so my budget is pretty low, but I was wondering if there is some way I can get better quality images on the cheap. My ideas are:
1) Get a cheap trinocular head from ebay and get my friend to make an 3D printed adapter to a camera (mirrorless digital? DSLR? Designated microscope camera all used on ebay or somewhere?).
2) Is there a way to ditch the head and put a camera tube on top of the scope instead?
3) Cheap (>100usd) microscope/telescope eyepiece camera


Any ideas of how to do any of these/any better ideas or opinions on which are best are very much welcome.

Edit: Also, I already have plan objectives (thankfully) --got the setup for ~150usd!

Thank you,
ILP

MicroBob
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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#2 Post by MicroBob » Tue Oct 25, 2022 12:47 am

What components do you already have?
- DSLR DSLM?
- third eyepiece fitting to your microscopes optics?
- phone with good camera?

Ilikeplants
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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#3 Post by Ilikeplants » Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:44 pm

Right now I just have a phone with an OK camera and a couple of those phone holders for the eyepiece on one of the binocular eyepieces. Just looking to improve my image quality, FOV, and reproducibility, and decrease the finickiness.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#4 Post by MicroBob » Tue Oct 25, 2022 7:33 pm

It helps a lot to have a dedicated eypiece mounted permanently to the phone holder. The eyepiece has to fit to the used system. For the typical wide angle phone camera a wide angle eyepiece would be ideal. These are eyepieces with comparatively high magnifications and at the same time high fields of view. E.g. a 12,5x 20mm and not a 8x 18mm.

Depending on the format of image you need this might already be good enough. In this forum you can only post 1024 pixel images! The limitation will be that the images won't stand that much post processing without showing artefacts.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#5 Post by Phill Brown » Tue Oct 25, 2022 8:04 pm

I have a labophot 2. I found a trinocular head cheap on eBay.
It's possible to insert an eyepiece into the trinocular tube and project directly onto the sensor of a DSLR but a coupling will not making up.
I modified the outer tube on my lathe so not straight forward.
There are also DSLR microscope adapter to 23mm which have a lens already to give full frame
for around £25 (eBay) which drop into the trinocular tube that give good results with the mirror locked.

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blekenbleu
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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#6 Post by blekenbleu » Tue Oct 25, 2022 9:33 pm

If you get a Nikon trinocular "F" head, of which there are several on U.S. eBay for < $100,
then it can be directly adapted for mirrorless camera body by removing its photo "chimney"
and replacing that with an M42 to 38mm tube https://www.ebay.com/itm/274696367794
along with a thin M42 or T2 adapter for your mirrorless camera body lens flange.
Here is one for Canon's recently obsoleted M-series bodies: https://www.ebay.com/itm/164350722232
Here is another for Sony's E-mount: https://www.ebay.com/itm/304598332926
If you want to continue using your smartphone camera and clamp,
then a 23.2mm WF10/22 eyepiece can be inserted in the "F" head chimney,
https://www.ebay.com/itm/273482756677
but the outer casting must be cut down for the smartphone clamp to access that eyepiece.

Some folks dislike "F" heads, because simultaneous binocular viewing and camera imaging is not possible,
but the "F" is unique among Labophot-compatible trinocular heads by inserting no optics between objectives and the photo port.
Image
https://blekenbleu.github.io/microscope ... rinoc/#F38
Metaphot, Optiphot 1, 66; AO 10, 120, EPIStar, Cycloptic

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#7 Post by Phill Brown » Thu Oct 27, 2022 9:20 am

The trinocular tube on the epi is different from most F type.
If I remember correctly the longer tube fitted to many listed on eBay is not (easily)removable so some machining or maybe a hacksaw at a push will need to be used to get full frame.
It's possible the inside of the bottom of the standard tube isn't 23mm.
There will be a budget workaround with any F head, well worth picking one up when funds allow.
Use JIS screwdrivers on Nikon if they are tight or thread locked. there are very small ball bearings inside the rotating mech which are testy to reassemble.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#8 Post by sreynolds » Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:05 pm

blekenbleu wrote:
Tue Oct 25, 2022 9:33 pm
If you get a Nikon trinocular "F" head, of which there are several on U.S. eBay for < $100,
then it can be directly adapted for mirrorless camera body by removing its photo "chimney"
and replacing that with an M42 to 38mm tube https://www.ebay.com/itm/274696367794
along with a thin M42 or T2 adapter for your mirrorless camera body lens flange.
I have a Labophot with the F head which I want to try the 'short chimney direct projection' method with. I find 2 F heads on Ebay - or, at least 2 different tube arrangements. I will call them 'Variant 1' -
F head variant 1.jpg
F head variant 1.jpg (27.83 KiB) Viewed 776 times
and 'Variant 2' -
F head variant 2.jpg
F head variant 2.jpg (26.72 KiB) Viewed 776 times
The tube arrangement shown in this post is Variant 1 -
F head variant 1 example in use.jpg
F head variant 1 example in use.jpg (29.51 KiB) Viewed 776 times
My Labophot has Variant 2, the most commonly seen tube arrangement. How do I convert to the setup with the short tube? Am I correct that the only difference between the 2 heads is the tube? I intend to use a Canon mirrorless camera. Thanks.
Steve

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#9 Post by Sure Squintsalot » Thu Jan 12, 2023 8:08 pm

sreynolds wrote:
Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:05 pm
How do I convert to the setup with the short tube? Am I correct that the only difference between the 2 heads is the tube? I intend to use a Canon mirrorless camera. Thanks.
Hardware store / Plumbing & Irrigation section / PVC fittings / anything that will fit or nearly fit with some filing or sanding. The hardest part will be maintaining parallel, if you have to cut anything. But PVC is pretty easy to sand down, even a few microns at a time.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#10 Post by blekenbleu » Thu Jan 12, 2023 8:31 pm

sreynolds wrote:
Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:05 pm
My Labophot has Variant 2, the most commonly seen tube arrangement.
How do I convert to the setup with the short tube?
I have never handled a Variant 2. Based on eBay images, it seemingly
a) like variant 1, has no optic at the dovetail flange:
Image

b) unlike variant 1, may have a photo tube separate from its outer chimney:
Image
Am I correct that the only difference between the 2 heads is the tube? I intend to use a Canon mirrorless camera.
My guess:
After removing the outer "chimney" (presumably by loosening set screws)
and the inner photo tube (presumably by unscrewing),
then there should be nothing but air to the objective's back focal plane.
If, for mechanical attachment to the head,
there is only the inside thread as used by that unscrewed photo tube,
then one must source an adapter matching that thread and also e.g. 42mm
for compatibility with a helicoid (to obtain parfocality) and T2 or M42 adapter for your EOS M or R camera.
Metaphot, Optiphot 1, 66; AO 10, 120, EPIStar, Cycloptic

Scarodactyl
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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#11 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Jan 12, 2023 11:59 pm

If you have a mirrorless camera you can probably just put it over the chimney with a thin adapter given the short flange focal distance.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#12 Post by sreynolds » Tue Jan 17, 2023 11:06 pm

I bought a 'Variant 1' 'F' head and want to proceed with my plan to try direct projection. Does the upper chimney come off simply by loosening these two 2.5mm hex screws? Is anything going to pop out at me when I do - springs, bearings, etc?
F head variant 1 hex screws.jpg
F head variant 1 hex screws.jpg (35.99 KiB) Viewed 565 times
Last edited by sreynolds on Wed Jan 25, 2023 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#13 Post by Phill Brown » Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:11 am

It's slightly different to my version but there's nothing in that part, it's just an outer tube.
The bearings are on the inside,remove the dovetail, when the dovetail is clamped on the microscope and the head is rotated you will see the part that slides on bearings.
Only disassemble in a container and have a lot of fun getting it back together.
Seem to remember there is a prism and lens assembly that you will need to mark to avoid poor alignment.
Better still don't take the bottom off.
Only the 2 plastic sides need removing to clean and service.
Only use JIS on tight Nikon screws.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#14 Post by sreynolds » Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:50 am

OK, there were 3 hex screws, not 2, and by loosening them the upper chimney just pulls straight up and off, revealing a 38mm ID tube. I have one of the D10NLC adapters that I use on my Wild M7A for connecting a mirrorless camera, and this fits into the F head tube. I will see how parfocal it is with the eyepieces, and adjust adapter height from there.
Steve

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#15 Post by Scarodactyl » Wed Jan 18, 2023 8:24 am

It's not a coincidence that nikon and wild have the same 38mm diameter. They followed the same ISO standard and are cross compatible.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#16 Post by Phill Brown » Wed Jan 18, 2023 11:08 pm

If I recall correctly the dodgy screws to remove are the ones under the four glued on caps, there are miniature roller bearings not ball. No springs.
The caps come off easily enough, leave them alone maybe.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#17 Post by sreynolds » Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:45 am

I tried the 'F' head with the short chimney (what I called 'Variant 1' above) with a 38mm to C-mount adapter and appropriate camera adapter, in my case a Canon M200 mirrorless APS-C. It is exactly parfocal with the eyepieces, and gives decent images that may be limited by chromatic aberration due to omitting the projection lens and whatever corrections it might apply. My objectives are Nikon Plan and E-Plan 160mm finite tube length. I used the D10NLC adapter described in this post, which I measured and found to be identical in the critical dimensions to the Nikon adapter also mentioned in that post. For the Labophot, I've ordered a direct-from-China adapter that appears the same, but only costs $19 including shipping. Below, the setup and some initial shots - winged ant, edge of Xacto knife, diatom.
EOS M200_1715a.JPG
EOS M200_1715a.JPG (266.74 KiB) Viewed 363 times
EOS M200_1723a.JPG
EOS M200_1723a.JPG (162.22 KiB) Viewed 363 times
EOS M200_1738b.JPG
EOS M200_1738b.JPG (243.41 KiB) Viewed 2 times
Attachments
CAM15263.JPG
CAM15263.JPG (143.9 KiB) Viewed 280 times
Last edited by sreynolds on Tue Jan 31, 2023 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#18 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:49 am

sreynolds wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:45 am
images that may be limited by chromatic aberration due to omitting the projection lens and whatever corrections it might apply.
You're in luck, you picked the brand where omitting the projective eyepieces significantly improves image quality.
That said having a c mount in the light path is cropping the image down more than it should be. You can get a 38mm od to m42 adapter and an m42 to canon ef-m adapter for even better results.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#19 Post by Phill Brown » Sat Jan 21, 2023 9:41 am

Great result on a budget,it runs away with itself quick enough.
Stills are much easier than video.
Hope you have enough light to capture moving subjects also.
Possibly will need an IR filter at the field lens to avoid boiling the subjects if you are using halogen.
The only real upside to LED that I have found.

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#20 Post by blekenbleu » Sat Jan 21, 2023 8:33 pm

Scarodactyl wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:49 am
You can get a 38mm od to m42 adapter and an m42 to canon ef-m adapter for even better results.
RAF Camera makes high quality adapters and seems the only source for some microscope dovetails adapters.
Today, I received less expensive M42-EOSM adapter from AliExpress that fits well.
M42-EF.M.jpg
M42-EF.M.jpg (42.44 KiB) Viewed 265 times
Metaphot, Optiphot 1, 66; AO 10, 120, EPIStar, Cycloptic

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Re: Best quality budget imaging for binocular Nikon Labophot-2

#21 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat Jan 21, 2023 11:14 pm

Oh yeah, I'm not suggesting a particular vendor (though I have only had good experiences with RAF), just linking examples of the correct type of part.

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