digital microscopy

Roger J. Burkhalter rjb at OU.EDU
Thu Jun 20 11:39:06 CDT 2002

On Thu, 20 Jun 2002 11:03:17 -0500, David Morris <dmorris at INHS.UIUC.EDU>

>Greetings Colleagues,
>I am trying to get some feedback on good digital camera/software
>packages for photographing microslide-mounted insect specimens.  I
>have a little experience with a video camera/AutoMontage package but,
>despite this being an outstanding solution to the problem, it is
>beyond our current budget (we are looking to spend somewhere between
>2,000 and 7,000 USD).
>We are working with small insects (0.5-15mm), and need some sort of
>camera that we can attach to our compound microscope that will
>produce high-resolution images under a range of magnifications.  It
>has been suggested that a digital camera can provide better
>resolution that and similarly priced video camera.
>I would be very interested to hear from others who have dealt with
>this problem in the past in order to try and find a solution that is
>both affordable, and appropriate for our requirements.

We no longer use a camera attached to a microscope...ther prisms and glass
(even on an old Wilde or a newer Nikon SMZ 800) cost too much light and the
depth of field was too narrow. We are using a Nikon Coolpix 5000 attached via
a Zarf Enterprises custom adpter to a Canon Autobellows and a Rodogon 50 or
80mm enlarger lens. We are using fully manual focus. Measured with images
dropped to 600dpi, with the 50mm lens we can get to 30x with bellows fully
extended and with the 80mm lens we can go from 1:1 to 15x. The depth of field
is fantastic and image quality is respectable for publication (we only use
grayscale images). The whole outfit including copy stand and two fibre optic
lights (one ringlight and one flexable gooseneck) has a cost of about
$3500.00 - $4,000.00.

Roger Burkhalter
Curator/Archivist, Invertebrate Paleontology
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

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