Microscopy Instruction

The McCrone Research Institute provides specialized training for microscopists. Visit: www.mcri.org for their class schedules on particle analysis, polarized light microscopy, forensic microscopy, digital imaging and materials science microscopy.   "As long as there is a hunger for knowledge and a deep desire to uncover the truth, microscopy will continue to unveil Mother Nature's deepest and most beautiful secrets" (Orci and Pepper...science and art)

DEFINITIONS AND TERMS:      KODAK (aka Great Yellow Father) is an American company out of Rochester, NY.   Years ago they printed several important books that you may still find on Ebay...."PHOTOMACROGRAPHY"  and "PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH THE MICROSCOPE (1988)" by John G. Delly.  Please note we use the PHOTO prefix as the terms we use with most of our optical systems. The term "CLOSEUP" is usually somewhere less than 1:1 on the film plane or sensor. PHOTOMACROGRAPHY is defined as 1:1 to 50X......do not confuse this with "MACROPHOTOGRAPHY" which is defined as the making of LARGE PHOTOGRAPHS or PHOTOMURALS....such as what you might see at a museum entrance or on the side of a bus.
PHOTOMICROSCOPY then starts where PHOTOMACROGRAPHY ends....and higher at the film plane or sensor depending on the intermediate optics being used. Final sensor magnification in PHOTOMICROSCOPY is determined by intermediate relay lenses, photo oculars and the objective lens itself (1X to 100x).  Viewing magnification is then dependent on print size or monitor diagonal.   Don't confuse PHOTOMICROGRAPHY with MICROPHOTOGRAPHY.
MICROPHOTOGRAPHY is the art of making SMALL photographs of LARGE objects.  Don't let the German term MIKROPHOTOGRAPHIE confuse you here in the USA......MICROPHOTOGRAPHY involves MICROFILM or MICROFICHE.  OK, with terminology out of the way lets move on....

beyond the basics....

The links below are very useful websites for beginners and advanced microscopists who wish to understand the workings of an optical microscope.   Many times the owner's manuals will discuss components of a particular model without any discussion or explanation of "how and why".   Bunton stands ready to support owner's of Leitz microscopes and assist in providing correct instruction in use for all microscopes made by Leitz since about 1950. We have original Wetzlar instruction books on all accessories, cameras. We can help you trouble-shoot problems and evaluate the components you are using to be sure they are correct. There is no charge for on-line consultations from Bunton.
You will not find such assistance anywhere else and we look forward to being of service in any way we can.

Helpful Links:

  • www.microscopyu.com
  • www.scientificimaging.com
    www.microbehunter.com (Basics and DIY microscopy by Oliver)
VISIT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL....over 30 microscopy-specific clips that you will find useful
browse Now

These days we have all experienced the inconvenience of restricted travel and having to communicate with associates, students and commercial vendors via the internet. Zoom was launched at a good time that is for sure!
Thanks to websites such as YouTube and Vimeo we can all find useful information for due diligence pertaining to new products and methods.   This is all very important to anyone using an optical microscope and digital imaging tools.

Unfortunately there are many providers of information on the internet that do not know what they are talking about. It is up to those who wish to be "educated consumers" to study any information found on-line carefully....very carefully.  Our goal at Bunton is to sort out the B.S. and inaccuracies in the world of microscopy and point the microscopist in the right direction for their due diligence and quest for correct use of their microscopy and imaging tools in the lab.  Our extensive roster of YouTube presentations was a start. More is coming from Bunton and our associates ....stay tuned to our website and YouTube channel.  

TIP-OF-THE-DAY:    The useful magnification of an objective lens is based on the numerical aperture engraved on that objective.   A typical 10x achromat will have a n.a. = 0.25.  This objective used with a 10x ocular will result in a visual mag of 100x. The rule is to never exceed 1000 times the n.a.. In this case 250x. Any mag beyond 250x is called "empty magnification". No improvement in resolution beyond 250x.....the image is actually degraded.  

Confused by the many on-line microscope seller's websites?  Most of these products come from China.  Very few are familiar with the needs of beginning hobby and citizen microscopists seeking "reasonably priced" microscopes with "high quality optics", contrasting methods (darkfield, phase contrast, polarized light, oblique illumination)....and the ability to add a camera of some sort.  Even students will benefit from simple and inexpensive devices to enhance a basic brightfield microscope.  Very few even know the benefits of using an inverted microscope for many applications and areas of interest. Prospective microscope buyers must invest their time and due diligence to learn the basics of light microscopy and write down their desired requirements and budget limits for their purchase decision-making.
Consider fine old microscopes such as those from the NOZL firms (Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss and Leitz).....look at the prices on Ebay.  A Leitz Ortholux basic stand can be had for less than the price of a Chinese-made teaching microscope.   Most used microscopes found on Ebay will need service and/or repairs. They usually are in need of basic items like light sources, objectives to meet your requirements and accessories for contrasting methods. We can help you if you want to make this a DIY project....free advice. The other option is to let us do the work for you and you end up with a complete functional microscope that is bespoke for the beginning microscopist or advanced hobbyist looking for the next step up in their home-lab.  We stand ready to be of service!  We specialize in the Leitz microscopes from about 1965 to 1990.   Visit our microscope offering pages for the lineup.

Bunton Instrument
Company, Inc.


12610 Jesse Smith RD
Mount Airy, MD 21771
(301) 831-3434

Contact Us

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.