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There are two basic types of optical microscopes today .... compound and stereo. Compound microscopes come in both inverted and upright style. The typical visual magnification range of a compound microscope is about 25x to 1000x. Numerical aperture is critical for evaluating lenses on any microscope. Numerical aperture determines resolution. Further, the type of glass in the optical system is important. Lenses are either achromats, fluorites or apochromatics. Lenses can be offered with some curvature of field or totally corrected for a flat field of view across the entire visual image. Eyepiece field of view index (in "mm") is an important factor on any microscope since that determines how much of the sample you will see at one time at any particular magnification. Typical FOV index on oculars will range from 18mm to 26mm. Today many microscopists rarely use the oculars.....the computer displayer is the digital eyepiece in the 21st century.....some microscopes do not even offer eyepieces. This is a major paradigm shift and very "disruptive" to some. Still, setting up the microscope for optimal image quality calls for clean lenses and proper Kohler settings. Lighting is half the battle. LED updates provide very even illumination and saves energy and bulb replacement costs. Basic knowledge of digital image processing (from RAW image acquisitions for example) is helpful. So, after more than 300 years of using the microscope and its many innovations, we are experiencing major changes that are heavily supported by digital technology, creative hardware for motion control and optical developments that exceed the rules established by Mr. Abbe. Will artificial intelligence (AI) play a role in the microscopy of 2030....stay tuned. We need to clean up the environmental mess we are in today. We are doing our best to make changes for the better but we need to get our leaders and governments to take action to save the planet....without a total commitment to this effort all microscopy, self-driving cars and artifical intelligence will not be of much value to our children and their children.
Stereo (AKA dissecting) microscopes are actually two low magnification compound microscopes set at a certain parallax angle so that each eye is seeing a slightly different perspective of a three-dimensional object. Typical stereo microscopes will have a visual magnification range of about 3x to 50x. Student models may be fixed at 10x or 30x and sell for under $500. More advanced "zoom" stereo microscopes may range from 3x to 100x...NOZL apo stereo microscopes sell for over $10,000.00 There are Greenough style (original design) and CMO (central main objective) zoom designs. A CMO (AKA Gallilean) stereo microscope is the best choice for stereoscopic vision and/or photomicroscopy. Some Greenough styles will have a dedicated camera port integrated into the viewing tube. If the main mission is to have first-class digital imagery you will want to explore the "macrozoom" (AKA photomacroscope). These instruments are technically compound optical microscopes with a relatively low magnification range. Read more about a third microscope option from Infinity Photo Optical in Colorado. They do not produce "stereo 3D" (S3D) images! It is important to note that a digital camera mounted on any compound or stereo microscope will not give you S3D. See our Digital and Video Microscopes page on one alternative solution for true S3D digital imaging.
Compound Microscopes - inverted design for chambers, dishes and large samples found in materials science
Bunton sells new compound microscopes. MOTIC now offers an inverted compound microscope for both life sciences and industry. The workhorse phase contrast model is the AE2000. Prices start under $3,000.00 with phase contrast optics. The more advanced AE31-Elite model (BELOW RIGHT) is capable of incident light fluorescence with a full selection of filter modules. HBO 100W mercury arc or the latest LED high intensity lamp for selective spectra excitation. Both models can accept digital cameras.
The new AE2000 MET industrial inverted microscope is available with brightfield/darkfield objectives and high intensity halogen illumination. A trinocular body tube is standard issue for the attachment of digital cameras ranging from your iPhone to the new S-Series Motic digital cameras .... to DSLR and MILCs.
MOTIC also offers a full line of routine stereo microscopes for use in life science or industry. We will show just two of the more popular models here .... the K-SERIES (PHOTO LEFT)and the SMZ-168/171. Certain K-models are CMO design and the 168 is a Greenough design. All are available in trinocular configurations for photomicroscopy. A unique stereo model is the K400 that features a design adopted from the famous Wild (Swiss) model M5. See our Accessories page for optional drawing devices and phototubes for the K-Series. These will also fit current and older Wild/Leica stereo microscopes. Stay tuned for a very new line of MOTIC stereoscopic research microscopes with CMO design.....2020 introduction.
Motic (China) now has a USA headquarters located in Texas near San Antonio. Full sales and service support for the greatly expanded microscope line is now in the "lower 48". We have been involved with MOTIC microscopes for over 20 years here at Bunton Instrument. We are pleased to announce the latest biological upright model .... PANTHERA (PHOTO LEFT). We now offer a version of Panthera for the creation of virtual slides with the help of www.microvisioneer.com. The Motic BA410 Elite is the alternative for those wanting epifluorescence capabilities or motorized XYZ with our own "RetroBot" system. The MOTIC BA410 is ideal for use with RetroBOT XYZ since the stage is easily removed (or not ordered) with a single lock screw and we make a step-down ring for our 3D printed stage to connect in seconds.
Motic BA310 MET industrial microscope for materials science and BA310 POL (PHOTO RIGHT) for transmitted light investigations in the geological science arena.
Jim Averill is shown with our own prototype stepper motor drive that is easily connected to just about any fine focus knob on any optical microscope. Notice the white "gripper cup" connected to the stepper motor shaft. This cup is our own solution that is actually flexible and 3D printed in various sizes. Very efficient and inexpensive. Here we are using it with an Olympus BX microscope and the famous Cognisys Stackshot controller that is then connected to your DSLR camera and the stepper motor to allow one to pre-define the number of z-focus steps and their dimension of z-travel.....to fractions of a micron! Contact us for details on RetroZED. With the correct camera coupler you can use up to full frame sensor cameras (24x36mm...full frame). Basic RetroZED (less your camera) is under $800.00 (with controller Stackshot but not including software.....we suggest Zerene Stacker www.zerenesystems.com
MACROSCOPIC SOLUTIONS IS A USA (CT) FIRM THAT PUTS EVERYTHING INTO A PACKAGE FOR Z-STACKING AND EDF PHOTOMACRO PROJECTS....IN THE FIELD OR IN THE LAB.
Mark Smith is the founder of Macroscopic Solutions and developer of "MACROPOD". A variety of applications are offered but the key components consist of a modern DSLR, Z-stacking software, motorized rail, Stackshot controller and special sample stage/holders, electronic flash, macro lenses and support components (tripod or laboratory stand). Mark has several very well-done YouTube demos and discussions. Tune in. Contact me if you have an interest in Macropod and we can help design a system for your specific requirements. Complete systems start at $15,000.00
Digital robotic photomicro/macro. Magnify2 is a fantastic robot that moves the optical system, flash heads and camera on a motorized gantry for precision XYZ motion control and automated "stack and stitch" methods. Yes, Magnify2 not only does z-stacking but it also stitches individual image tiles (after each is "stacked") for unbelievable gigapixel images. One then uses any number of cloud viewers for interacting with virtual images that present the viewer with extremely high resolution and the ability to zoom in/out as needed. Priced in the $50,000.00 range for complete turn-key rigs with computer, software, camera, optical system, flash and basic sample fixtures.
Demo systems available on both left and right coasts. Contact us for user references in your area of interest.
Many pathology departments who are considering (validating) WSI (whole slide imaging) for virtual slide viewing might take a look a this unique image stitching solution from www.microvisioneer.com in Germany. Here you will see Jim Averill seated next to a conventional microscope with the newest global shutter camera (Sony Pregius sensors 3 or 5MP) mounted on the trinocular camera port. manualWSI is the name of the software that runs in Windows. The user "stitches" the tiles using the coaxial, manual mechanical stage. You then view directly on your computer displayer and end up with a virtual slide that may then be uploaded to any number of free cloud viewers or quickly share the virtual slide with others via the internet. Check out www.instaslide.net and www.slidepeek.com
This is ideal for a pathology group or lab that is in the validation mode for their WSI solution. Use an existing manual microscope and just add the software and camera to an existing computer meeting the manualWSI requirements.
Prices for the camera and software start at less than $5,000.00!
Most economical WSI solution for those wanting to scan special cases for archiving or image sharing with associates.
ok Jim, what are you thinking about with that RetroZED at hand? How about RetroBOT(motorized XYZ) for use with manualWSI? Stay tuned!
Here is a very portable WSI solution that sells for $15,000.00. OCUS was developed by former Nokia engineers and they have come up with a microscope with an embedded NVidia computer, camera and precision XY motorized stage and operating software....plus autofocus! The GRUNDIUM OCUS has its own 20x objective and holds a single 25mm x 75mm glass slide. LED illumination and proper camera and optical adjustments for always-ready-to-scan situations. The user does not have to make any camera or optical adjustments other than getting into the focus "ballpark" with the manual coarse focusing knob shown on the left side. Operation is simple.....initial focus, set to "AF" (autofocus), define scan area desired and push the "scan" button on the displayer. On-board image archive capacity 500GB. Yes, you supply your own desktop, tablet or laptop...including Apple units. This computer then is use simply to control the embedded functions in OCUS and view the image initially in "live view" (for focusing) and then after the scan "virtually". The newest feature is an image sharing function for up to eight (8) email addresses of your choice. OCUS weighs about 8 pounds and has a 8" x 8" footprint. Carrying case for travel to your home, remote workshop or hospitals in your network. Perfect for MOHS image archiving. Small footprint for use in the frozen section lab. Bunton Instrument Co., Inc. is working closely with our associates at Bane Bio on this one....as well as manualWSI from Microvisioneer. A new high magnification (40x objective) version of OCUS is now available ($18,000.00) and both instruments have a US Patent in place. New virtual image sharing for up to eight(8) invited associates. www.grundium.com Demos on YouTube and Vimeo.
This retro-fit kit replaces a manual mechanical stage on an upright microscope. This prototype version (white 3D printed with stepper motors XY) is shown mounted on our Olympus demo unit with the latest Sony Pregius sensor camera with GLOBAL SHUTTER. Note the white "gripper cup" on the fine focus drive. The grey controller has a Arduino board enclosed and XYZ controls can be performed manually with the two remote joysticks. We have a developer's kit offering and production models will start shipping in 2020. The XY stage travel includes end stops and a belt drive mechanism. Everything you see in grey is 3D printed....as well as the white stage itself. We even designed our own 3x1" slide holder and have that 3D printed. RetroBOT is being demonstrated on our YouTube channel "TheMICROBG". RetroBOT is being promoted and sold by a few select microscope vendors that understand this technology and have the required experience for consulting with their prospective customers for microscope motion control and PC integration with digital cameras. User RetroBOTs will be sold on Ebay directly and the grey control unit you see here will be replaced by a out-of-the-way power supply and Arduino card module. Thus, all microscope controls will be performed with your computer attached and from the displayer interaction. Nothing like this on the market.....price will be less than $3000.00! RetroBOT may be ordered minus the stage and we can then bring older Prior, ASI, Prior or Marzhauser stages (PALM) back to life with an open source Arduino solution that costs less than the old PALM controller units that have failed....making the precision stages (costing $4000 or more when new) useable again with Arduino open source technology. Contact us with any questions or let us know if you would like to be advised when RetroBOT is launched. Perfect for stack and stitch methods. DSLR camera versions are to be offered as well as small format cameras for WSI tasks. Firmware now complete for RetroBOT....visit "Computer Controlled" section for further information for early adopters and developers.
The TS-160 is the perfect solution for those wanting very high resolution micro and macro digital images. Use TS-160 with either its own "macro" lens (as shown in the photo) or simply remove that lens and replace it with the high aperture "micro" lens. Yes, this is a complete microscope and not a zoom lens. That large knurled ring in the middle of the TS-160 allows one to focus from 18mm (working distance) to INFINITY! The aperture diaphragm allows one to "stop-down" to the best setting for resolution and contrast (and depth of focus). Use TS-160 with Zerene Stacker in the manual mode....simply turn that internal focus ring on TS-160 for the focal planes you desire.....do this all on your computer displayer in "live view" mode. A new "Robusto" version of TS-160 is now offered for digital cinematography applications...or use the 2K/4K cine feature found on most modern DSLR and MILCs. TS-160 is the best choice for high performance digital photography. You will not see any results like this using a stereoscopic microscope. TS-160 will give you results equal to or better than NOZL photomacroscopes for less than $3,000.00...and made in America. Mount the TS-160 on a tripod, tabletop copy stand, stereo microscope stand (with or without backlighting). Twin head flash heads are ideal for both macro and micro lighting. Zerene even controls the flash signal along with shutter initiation. Use it in the field for everything from flowers to spiders. Nothing like this on the market.
Visit the Infinity website but bring your lunch or a big cup of java......lots of really good info on this site along with photo samples, tech specs and discussion of the full line of microscopes from Infinity Photo Optical. Check out the Infinity "KC", "MS" and "K2" while on the site: www.infinity-usa.com
The KC-Videomax is a long-distance microscope using series of special IF-Series front objectives. KC may also be used for coaxial illumination with any infinity corrected microscope objective such as Mitutouo or NOZL lenses for samples without coverglass. Infinity Photo Optical's own Achroviod objectives (2x-10x) are selected for economical long working distance requirements. Here you will see the basic KC set up with an IF objective front lens. Photo #3 shows the KC set up on the Magnify2 from Gigamacro.... notice that it includes the coaxial illuminator version for samples that are somewhat reflective and piano-parallel to the optical axis. Samples such as polished metals, wafers and ore samples will benefit from brightfield coaxial illumination. The KC-VIDEOMAX includes Infinity internal focusing and aperture diaphragm for contrast control. Perfect solution for z-stacking where sample is moved in the z-axis or, as with the GigaMacro Magnify2 gantry, the camera and microscope is moving in the z-axis for single focal plane image aquisition. The KC-Magnify2 solution is the world's only high magnification "stack and stitch" (S/S) solution. Perfect for multiple samples (metals, ores, ballistic shell casings) or large surface ( entire 12" wafers or surface studies on large manufactured 3D objects) S/S challenges in areas such as automotive QC, failure analysis and materials science documentation. Samples that would be impossible to image with a conventional microscope.... with gigapixel resolution thanks to S/S innovations from Gigamacro USA. "2012" image is the date on a penny.... note the tiny spring. Z-stack by Charles Kreb.
The MS is perfect for use in the field or laboratory. Shown with the USA-Made Arcturus iPhone adapter and our special 10x ocular with c-mount adapter, this microscope will focus from 18mm to infinity. Remove the iPhone adapter and you have a male c-mount thread to attach any small format camera of your choice. Perfect for the classroom and training operations. Includes two extender tubes to alter magnification with internal fine focusing and aperture diaphragm for DOF and contrast control by the user. Comes with a 1/4-20 clamp for mounting to your copy stand or tripod. Try doing this with a more expensive stereo microscope or zoom lens.....MS is NOT a zoom lens. Rather this is a complete microscope that is designed for portability and high resolution. About $2,000.00 with an iPhone adapter. Digital image of a Maryland stinkbug eyeball. No Z-stacking but pretty good detail. Much better than you would get with a stereoscopic type microscope. A twin-tube macro flash unit was used for this image.
A good stereoscopic microscope is ideal for viewing 3D samples so that each eye views a slightly different angle on axis.....the brain then fuses the left and right image so that one perceives DEPTH CUES. Stereopsis then is perfect for dissection applications or micromanipulation. Photomicroscopy is possible but the main mission of a stereo microscope is ocular viewing....photography is compromised somewhat since the 2D single camera sensor is only seeing one of the two optical channels. Measurements will be difficult due to parallax error...an off-axis view of the sample. Single optical channel microscopes (compound type....including all of the Infinity Photo Optical instruments) are 2D in nature but we are using the central "sweet spot" image without parallax error or reduced numerical aperture. Stereo microscopes are mostly low n.a. systems. Some microscopes are now offered with apochromatic central lenses for higher numerical aperture numbers and chromatic aberration correction....very nice but very expensive. The MEIJI "RZ" is our new research quality stereoscopic microscope. Zoom is 1:10 and it is CMO (central main objective) designed....yes, an apo front optic is available in addition to achromatic 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0x central main objectives. Binocular ergo tubes (0-50 degree variable) are offered. Prices begin at $4,000.00 with a fixed binocular, 10x oculars and 1x achromat CMO. Photo/video tubes available as well as a large selection of support stands (transillumination base for brightfield or darkfield backlighting is shown). LED and fiber optic incident lighting is also available (see our ACCESSORIES SECTION). High end NOZL stereo microscopes with apochromatic correct sell for between $10-20,000.00. MEIJI...the third largest microscope maker from Japan.