The trouble about photomicrography work is that it grows progressively until there is a great pile of completed material. The simplest answer is to throw out the earlier work. With readers coming in who need the earlier work either as background, or somewhere cheap to start, this is a bad idea, so all work from inception has been kept. This also keeps me honest, since I cannot change course, and pretend the new direction is how it always was. A dry-as-dust summary of work so far follows. If you can face reading it, you should be able to follow the links to an area that interests you.
By December 2000 I was using a high-intensity white LED in an optically-optimised housing that replaced the substage condenser, and eliminated the need for separate illumination. I did not know Carl Zeiss had actually introduced a similar product, a few months earlier. Since that time the housings on the ledlyt, as I call my device, have been further developed, but the optics remain as first completed.
The ledlyt gave me very even white achromatic illumination for bright-field, and there was no infra-red at all. The characteristics ideally suit both digital photosensors, and normal eyepiece work. With a tailored housing, the ledlydt can replace most microscope substage condensers, and is on sale.
With the light source taken care of, I began photomicrography on algae, in the water samples coming in regularly to Microcosm Consulting. In early 2001, all that was economically available was a Kodak webcam with a 480 x 680 pixel chip. I re-engineered the webcam and removed the lens. Photographic results were surprisingly good, but plainly limited by the size and resolution of the chip.
Background to the ledlyt, and webcam photomicrography. A whole section on the earliest ledlyt design, and webcam photography using it.
The following links update the ledlyt to current, look at digital photomicrography in general, and give a full account of the 1.3 megapixel system.
Introduction to the ledlyt, and digital photomicrography
Microscope optics - check (and criticise) if you are an expert
Microscope objectives - specifications versus Finance
Digital camera basics - what Sony won't tell you
Photomicrography options - a few of the ways to fit a camera to a microscope
Developing the digital film - not as simple as it might appear
Technical Digital camera TDC 1b - full details and photos
The ledlyt - full details and photos
Fine quality- a very few photos at original quality
On the Algal Identification Index CDR, the Casio investigation is recorded, and pictured, in full detail, and it is a big chunk of work. I cannot even abbreviate it enough to make it downloadable. The basic flaw in the system, apart from the additional height required by the second lens system, is the performance at high power. The 40X objective acts as a point source. Any optical defect in the second lens system, and in the zoom, creates visible shadows on the final picture, and the end result is an uneven mess. With the second lens perfect, and perfectly clean, the Casio zoom, like most new-age lenses, has at least one aspheric component, and this is precision moulded, not ground. Other critical photomicrographers describe machining marks on the original lens mould being visible, and according to my photography the circular 'trails' produced on the picture are not tolerable. The moment a lensless camera is used, all these secondary features vanish.
I broke new ground by reviving old 'mechanical isolation' techniques to break the link between the camera and the microscope. The result used with a 40X objective has no vibration or mechanical feedback problems. I do not even need a cable release. Until sensor improvement outdates this camera, there is no need for further work.
Photomicrography with an isolated table - shortened version (some pictures) of the full CDR report
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