A Nice Microscopy Setup

Be honest to you, I have neither owned a microscope, nor have I used one extensively. However a recent quest to shoot some butterfly scales at 50x magnification made me build a nice setup capable of doing 50x work using a cheap digital microscope stand. Before this, I have had hard time shooting butterfly scales at high magnification and I was using horizontal setup. First problem is mounting the butterfly vertically, fiddling with specimen holder so that the butterfly is parallel with the objective’s front element, then moving camera back and forth to pre-focus it. Believe me, all of these sound easy to over come, but they are really not. After building the setup discussed here, it is a lot easy and here is one example of it:

SSMW01

The above image was captured using this setup at 30x magnification 

It turns out, I had bought a digital microscope stand about a year ago (Nov 2015) and it was sitting in my closet for over a year and I have never used it. I was frustrated with horizontal setup because it is hard to align subject and position it the way I want. So one day, I noticed that the focus block for the digital stand has 50mm hole to mount a digital microscope like below.

FocusBlockSetup_5PM

And it is perfect for a M42 extension tube.

FocusBlockSetup_3

So I finally assembled all together one day and got the setup like below

FocusBlockSetup

  • A – Camera
  • B – The focusing block from a cheap digital microscope stand
  • C – MJKZZ M42 variable extension ring
  • D – Raynox 250 (can be adapted to Raynox 150)
  • E – 50x microscope objective
  • F – Granite 8×12 inches and weights 26 lbs.
  • G – Yet another granite 16×12 inches and weighs 53 lbs.
  • H – MJKZZ StackRail SR-90P precision rail

Of course, the above picture looks a bit more and it sure is. The two granite blocks F and G are there for stability! When I first built this setup, I was using the original stand base, which is solid metal and is rather heavy, but for high magnification work, it is not good enough! Issues include vibration caused by walking by, even though my floor is solid concrete; when moving the focus block up and down, it shakes because the base is not heavy enough; last but not least, the pole that came with the stand is made of aluminum tube, not solid enough and is troublesome when camera shutter opens and closes. So the solution is to get a granite check stand. You do not need two granite blocks, just one is enough, I bought two because I was not sure if larger one is better, but it seems the smaller one is doing fine.

So here are some pictures taken with this setup

bfw01

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