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Stereo Microscope/Camera

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  • Stereo Microscope/Camera

    For those interested in getting up close and peering into the very small details of the photos which cross your path, there is no better way than doing it with a stereo low power microscope. While at first glance, such an insturment may seem unnecesssary and even slightly worthless to those engaged in photo restoration--please withhold judgement and read on. Properly configured, these can be a real boon to business.
    The unit that I purchased from an Outfit named Microscope World, , is offically known as the DC3-420T. This unit features a post stand and base,( with ample room to examine standard sized photos), has Zoom capability from 10-30x, a factory installed color video camera, and has the electronics in the base to connect the unit to either a TV or computer via USB, Composite Video or S-video---it even comes with all cables. Accessories which are avaliable include different power eyepieces and aux. objective lens assemblies.
    First the bad---the software which comes with the camera is not exceptional. The USB drivers conflict with other USB drivers, such as mouse and Wacom tablet type. This led to a total crash of my system and required my upgrading to a video card with S-video/composite video inputs and capture capability. I was told by the folks who do the software that future insturments will not include the USB feature.
    Now the good. The quality of the insturment is excellent. All through the zoom range, the image,both on screen and through the eyepieces remain clear until you begin getting into extreme magnifications,when slight tweaking of the focus is needed. The quality of the video and the images grabbed as individual photos is excellent also. The support offered by the retailer is exceptional. These folks really take care of the customer and go the extra mile to help you out.
    One interesting thing this unit does,and well I might add, is to make enlargements of small areas of photos. See Attachment. This past week I have done around six enlargements for customers and although the clairity is not that of a studio shot, all were pleased enough to pay cash for copys. I like that.
    These insturments are not cheap but then they are not toys. The work you can do with them is serious and very capable of producing income over the long haul. For some, these type of insturments are not necessary but for those who see a need for what they can do--positively identify photo types, make good enlargements from very small areas etc., they are well worth looking into. Tom

  • #2
    I want one!

    Heck, I've been wanting one of those toy Intel USB microscopes. But it never occured to me to use it for photographs (although I once thought one would be good for copying microfilm).

    Interesting review. If you have the time and inclination maybe you could post some of your favorite micro-views.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      Looks just like what I used when I was doing brain surgery on micro chips and circuitry back in my electronic days. Work with one for a day and you better take dramamine. Does a number on your eyes looking in that thing several hours at a time. I liked the monitor alot better but only one company had that set up. Magnified bugs in our off time and when one moved on the screne, I almost flew out of my seat. I can see the benefits for our restoration but I can't see that price tag. Good link though. Had fun looking at all the picture examples.


      • #4
        The beauty of these units is that a person can put one together by using a reconditioned stereo microscope with a camera port and a boom mount. Adapters are avaliable for common film 35mm cameras,ccd cameras such as the Nikon cool pix line and others or for small video cameras.By searching out components, I think a few hundred bucks could be shaved off the price, but my skills at assembling components are pretty dismal, so I opted for a complete unit. The ability to optically enlarge a section of photo then capture it sure helps get rid of the fuzzies and pixelated look. Additionally, most of these units can display on TV and computer at the same time--a great advantage. My customers love looking at the enlarged details of their photos on the TV monitor, telling me what "snapshot" they want and see it captured on the computer--That has made 2 sales thus far that would not have occured otherwise, generated several inquires, and no one has complained about price-- seeing the equipment has a definate positive effect on them. I am putting together some composites of views showing up close what tears, rips, etc. look like and hopefully will post 'em shortly.


        • #5

          I've got a Leitz stereoscopic microscope which has a facility for a camera(Film at the time)so I suppose given the correct adaptor it could be modified for digi images ?


          • #6
            There should not be a problem with that. The link I listed in the review will fill you in on whats needed, be it video or still image capture. Attaching the camera should be very easy and with the correct adapter the camera should be parafocal with the eyepieces, making focusing a snap. Tom


            • #7
              Not dissimilar to your astro-photography I suppose Tom. The Leitz scope was rescued from a rubbish skip 10 years ago after a lab block was being rebuilt. Brought it home thinking it must have an irreperable fault but a friendly instrument mechanic ran the rag over it and its been fine ever since.


              • #8
                Some of the techniques applicable to video astronomy work well with using the micro/video camera, chiefly taking a series of still shots and stacking them to bring out faint detail. Leitz insturments have a good reputation--with a bit of tinkering you should be able to put together an excellent system. Chief thing to do is to aquire either a video capture board or combined capture board/video card which can handle both S-video and Composite video input. Tom


                • #9
                  I had some fun with an Ati board a few years ago but it was probably a software clash. I run a Matrox G400 card at the moment which was the crem de la crem a couple of years ago but geriatric now although most graphics cards are developed for games now I suppose. Have you been feasting during your 'Thanksgiving' ?


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