Microscope camera

Discussion about cameras, microscopes, stains, and gadgets, along with useful tips for preparation of fungi samples
JennyS
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 6:08 pm

Re: Microscope camera

Post by JennyS » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:18 pm

Hello Melanie, I read your posts with interest and am very tempted by the AmScope MU500-CK 5MP USB Microscope Camera.
As you've been using it for the last year I'd be interested in any further comments on it, and (million dollar question) would it also capture good quality still macro images from my dissecting microscope at x10?

Thanks a lot,
Jenny
Jenny

Pitufo
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Re: Microscope camera

Post by Pitufo » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:23 am

Hi Jenny

I hope you don't mind me pitching in. I've just been testing a few cameras, so you might find this useful. I haven't tested an Amscope.

http://www.themushroomlog.co.uk/microscope-camera-test/

Also, this was a quick test some of our group did also.

http://www.themushroomlog.co.uk/microsc ... lr-review/

My own experience of taking images with a stereomicroscope has not been very successful but some people seem to manage it. I think you will get images good enough to document your finds and share but not as good as a dedicated macro set up.

Kind regards,

John

Leif
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Location: East Hampshire

Re: Microscope camera

Post by Leif » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:34 am

Some people might be interested in my own experiences using a DSLR.

I used to use a Nikon D600, and before that a Nikon D200. The results were good but when using the x100 immersion objective, the ISO had to be shoved up to 1600 or 3200, and even then the results were not always optimum. The problem of course was that even using mirror lock up, the shutter introduced vibrations degraded the image quality. And neither camera is optimal from a user's point of view. I had to stand on a chair to look down at the rear LCD, or look through the viewfinder, although right angle viewfinders are available.

A few months ago I bought a Nikon D500 which, like the Nikon D810, has an electronic front curtain shutter. The upshot is that I can take exposures at ISO 100 even with the x100 immersion objective. And since it uses a Sony CMOS sensor, it has about 12 stops of dynamic range, and 21MP which is more than enough resolution. I suspect a dedicated microscope camera would struggle to match it. And if that wasn't enough, it has an articulating rear LCD, so I no longer need to stand on a chair in the kitchen leaving the neighbours to wonder what I'm up to. The LCD is a God-send as I can achieve a precise focus in live view, before I trigger the electronic shutter.

So, if you do go for a ILC (interchangeable lens camera), I recommend one with an electronic shutter. Apparently quite a few of the u4/3 cameras have this feature, and they do make rather nice 'happy snappy' (general use) cameras too. I have no idea if Sony, and Canon DSLR's have this feature, although I suspect many of the mirrorless ones do such as the Canon M3.

I also have a 5MP microscope camera which I do not use, and which I should sell. I was not impressed with the IQ. (There goes my ability to sell it here ... :lol: ) Sigh.

Pitufo
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Re: Microscope camera

Post by Pitufo » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:06 pm

My brief experiences with an SLR on a microscope have not been good ones, but I haven't given up yet.

The Canon 70D has electronic shutter, Live View mode and Wifi which means I can control it directly from my laptop, eliminating some of the SLR problems Leif mentions.

White balance (WB) was the first issue. To set custom WB using the background colour with Live View you need to pick a spot with a dropper. This only covers a very small area and varies greatly depending of the spot you pick. The Toupview software lets you draw a square to take an average WB which works very well.

The second issue was software. The Toupview software is easy to use and lets you make small fast stacks (and save them as you go) making it much quicker in day-to-day use (and as you only need to save the stacks rather than all the images,it doesn't fill your disks so quickly). Canon software is not built for use on a microscope and feels a bit laboured.

I think overall image quality might still be better with SLR's than cams if you are prepared to put the work in. However, the higher-end Touptek models also now have Sony Exmor CMOS sensors and the prices are coming down. I should be testing the new 20MP Sony Exmor sensor in the next couple of weeks which will close the pixel gap with SLR's a bit more. I am also hoping to see what Tucsen has to offer.

I agree that mirrorless 4/3 cameras are good potential candidates for the future if we can get suitable adapters.
I was not impressed with the IQ
Leif - what do you mean by IQ in relation to cameras? Ah, IQ = Image quality. Google works :)

Kind regards,

John

Leif
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Location: East Hampshire

Re: Microscope camera

Post by Leif » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:29 pm

John: I don't bother setting custom WB in camera, although Nikon do allow that. I use Nikon NXD to process my files. Although the UI is not ideal, it produces excellent results. I use auto WB and then manually adjust the colour temperature in NXD to get a quite acceptable result. And it's quick. The reason I like using my Nikon D500 is because it is so quick to use and the results are excellent.

I'm sure you can get adaptors for u4/3 cameras. At the worst you buy a Nikon to microscope adaptor, and a Nikon to u4/3 adaptor. :shock: Since you don't need any electronic coupling, cheap ones should suffice, unless I've missed something. Hopefully a u4/3 user can chime in.

Incidentally, my microscope camera - a ScopeTek DCM510 - was bought a fair few years ago, from Brunel I think, and its shortcomings include 8 bit output (JPG), a lot of digital noise, and a rather harsh looking tonal curve. It is very usable but 'unsophisticated' in comparison to a decent DSLR.

Pitufo
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Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 10:18 am

Re: Microscope camera

Post by Pitufo » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:54 pm

Thanks Leif

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