[Histonet] digital microphotograph system

Philip Oshel peoshel <@t> wisc.edu
Mon Apr 12 11:35:48 CDT 2004


This question keeps popping up on the microscopy mailing list. You 
might try searching their archives for the full discussion:

But briefly, what a lot of folks have done (including us) is to get a 
Nikon Coolpix and an eyepiece adapter. There are a couple of 
companies doing these, but I preferred Thales-Optem. I think MVIA is 
the other main company making the adapters. The Coolpix also requires 
a filter adapter from Nikon. For the Coolpix 5000, this is a UR-E6. 
Other digital cameras can work as well -- some people use an Olympus.
The camera then goes in phototube or an ocular tube.
The more pixels in the camera, the better. Most "personal" digital 
cameras don't have enough pixels. You can also buy digital camera 
backs to go on a C-mount (or bayonet mount) the same as film backs. 
These are then used as are film-camera backs **except** the metering 
is different. No off-the-film metering is available for the digital 
backs, so this may be interesting.
But! Make sure your camera has an optical zoom (if you don't use a 
back only), and that the adapters and tubes are all correct. You may 
also need relay lenses. It's common to get vignetting with these 
setups (the optical zoom gets around this).
And a stage micrometer to calibrate the true magnification.
We got everything but the camera from Nation Graphics. No 
affiliation, but they knew what was needed to use the digital camera 
for photomicroscopy and had good prices.
The video camera could be a good way to go, if it is a good camera, 
and not too old. What do you intend to use to capture the images? A 
computer? Video cards might be more of a problem, if so. And memory.


>I am looking to buy a digital camera to take microphotographs for my small
>business.  I do not have a large budget for this and hope to get to most for
>the buck.  I have several microscopes to use this camera with, most of them
>are Olympus models but I do have one Zeis.  One of the Olympus microscopes
>has a video camera but it is without the power source.  This scope and video
>camera has been in storage and I have no way of knowing how well it works
>without the power source. I also have a personal digital camera but it is
>only medium in mega pixels.
>Should I buy the power source for the video camera and try to get that to
>Should I buy a mount system for my personal digital camera and try that?
>Should I buy and completely new dig camera and microscope mounting system?
>Please advise.

Philip Oshel
Supervisor, BBPIC microscopy facility
Department of Animal Sciences
University of Wisconsin
1675 Observatory Drive
Madison,  WI  53706 - 1284
voice: (608) 263-4162
fax: (608) 262-5157 (dept. fax)

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