Microscope Camera: Introduction & Technical Data

Published on August 15, 2016 by TIS Marketing.

Originally published in Mikroskopie in January 2016, this article was written by J. Piper and M. Torzewski. The English translation, written by Amy Groth, was serialized into: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.


At the end of 2014, The Imaging Source (Bremen, Germany) brought the DFK MKU130-10x22, a new microscope camera on the market with the intention of offering a detachable eyepiece camera with excellent image quality which could be used with practically every standard microscope on the market.

If such a 'universal camera' is even technically possible is often the question asked since the optical systems (and the resulting calculations) of various microscopes are usually very heterogeneous. Normally, therefore, any camera must be configured to fit the optical design of a particular microscope. Given these fundamental challenges, we were of course very interested to test this innovative camera. The manufacturer provided us with a loaner camera for testing purposes.

Basic Technical Data

The camera is equipped with a 13 MP CMOS color sensor (1/2.5 Sony Exmor, pixel size 1.4 x 1.4 µm). The maximum resolution is 4128 x 3096 pixels, but lower resolutions can also be selected (3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1280 x 720 pixels). Images can be saved as Bitamp, TIF or JPG files. Video clips (AVI only) can be saved at a maximum of 30 frames per second (FPS) at full HD format (1920 x 1080 pixels) and using higher resolutions at 1 FPS. Exposure times of 1 s to 1/5000 s range were achieved; the ISO sensitivity ('gain') spans from ISO 50 to ISO 3200. In addition to automatic white balance, further adjustments to the color characteristics of six different light sources (e.g. lighting set ups) can be preset. The camera is controlled using software (available for Windows and Linux) which can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

The manufacturer's software, IC Capture, enables the image capture of photos and videos. When the various toolbars are temporarily collapsed, this software can also be used for live observations and demonstrations of the microscope's output image. Additionally for this purpose, there is also IC Fullscreen Presenter software which enables the use of the entire monitor for real-time viewing of the camera image. This software is complimented by measurement software; this additional software component is not included in the scope of our testing.