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Posted in response to Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Specimen ID Help from Alan on June 06, 2007 at 09:15:30:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Specimen ID Help

Mike & Alan,

I use Combine ZM and Helicon Focus for photography throught the microscope. I would recommend starting with Combine ZM as it is free ware. I you find that you like it you might want to consider Helicon Focus which has several price options. I have found that there are some stacks that one will do better than others. Helicon Focus also has a dust mask option. You take an out of focus picture of a white card which will record any dust in the optical path. When added to the stack for processing it will cancel the dust specks.

I use a Meiji EMZ-5TR scope that I have enjoyed very much. Alan can attest to the quality of Meiji and belive him when he says to stay away from the cheap knock offs. He had quite a story to here a number of years ago.

It is difficult to make the focus adjustments between frames using the focus adjustments on the microscope. I use a z-axis stage from Edmunds Optics. It is micrometer driven with a total range of 1 centimeter in .01 mm increments. Most of my photos are taken with .03 mm steps between frames. I use a Nikon D50 on the microscopes photo tube. The camera adapter has to have a photo eyepiece in it. This takes the place of the camera lens. As I use 15X oculars, the photo eyepiece is matched to these so that the image the camera sees is very close to what I see looking through the oculars.

I have switched to LED lighting using a ring light with diffuser and two LED spots. Both have adjustable instensity. I also have a duel pipe 150 watt fiber optic light. I set a custom white balance on the camera using a gray card.

Since I use a DSLR camera, there is no preview of the image on the cameras LCD screen or on the computer. I have an USB connection to the computer and use the camera control software provided by Nikon. I trigger the shutter through the computer. AS the light meter is not functional when the camera is mounted to the microscope, exposure is by trial and erro. It does not take long to get a feel for what shutter speed you need to use. The point and shoot cameras, such as the Olympus C700 that I used to use, can use their built in meters. I shoot the photos in JPEG format. Both Combine ZM and Helicon Focus output the processed image in TIFF format.

Combine ZM has a Yahoo groups discussion forum. Both Alan and I had belonged to a Yahoo group a number of years ago and found it be a source of unrelenting spam. This problem seems to have been solved. If you sign up for the group, use the Yahoo mail account as the public e-mail address for the group. Any spam that does come through will go there, not to your primary account. Strahlen.org has a discussion board with a photography topic and a Hall of Fame photo gallery. You can browse the board without joining. It is simple to join if you want to post. I would go take a look at the Hall of Fame, some great photos.
Doug

From Doug Merson - June 06, 2007 at 22:51:59
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Bob Keller