Microscope Camera: Conclusion & Further Development Ideas
Published on August 25, 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.
With the camera presented here, the manufacturer has made an important contribution to the concept of the 'universal camera.' In comparison to other add-on cameras where upon disassembly an operator could look at the sensor directly, the camera tested here presented a complete and self-contained device - comprised of a lens system, autofocus and small-dimensioned aperture. These components ensure a deep depth of field and efficient correction of any deviations from the ideal focal plane. Which is why, according to our testing, this camera is capable of delivering usable images from diverse microscope designs and manufacturers. The manufacturer-provided eyepiece is made for tubes with an O.D. 30 mm and a fully corrected intermediate image. When the intermediate image is not fully corrected, it is a matter of 'luck' as to how much the residual optical error will cause a visible reduction in quality.
The camera's universal application is further supported by the fact that the camera is not limited to its own eyepiece but can also be used in conjunction with the original eyepieces of various microscope manufacturers. In this way of course, the problem of the uncorrected intermediate image is avoided altogether by combing the camera with the original compensating eyepiece.
The camera sensor has proven itself very efficient; it can indeed 'keep up with' the sensors from much costlier and more complex designs of leading microscope manufacturers.
When the complete field of view needs to be imaged, it is a disadvantage that the edge focus of the included eyepiece is less than ideal. For images with perfect edge focus, only the middle two-thirds of the field of view should be used. Other Plan-corrected large field eyepieces from leading manufacturers can - also in combination with the camera - deliver visibly better edge focus.
A real 'highlight' is the averaged and selective autofocus. This works so quickly and accurately that it delivers reproducible precision in image focus which (depending on the eye) could be seen to rival, or even be superior to, subjective visual focus.
All in all, the camera offers excellent features as well as an excellent price-to-performance ratio.
With regards to the video function, it could be discussed if a video recording via standard camera or video camera might be advantageous since, as a rule, these easily produce real-time images on the monitor even while recording in color at full HD and additionally require less disk space than the AVI format. As a positive side effect it should be noted that the camera as such, outside of its application in microscopy, can also be used for photos and videos which feature excellent depth of field and whose quality (especially in close ups) is more than adequate for simple documentation purposes. According to our tests, the camera could even prove itself useful for some medical applications such as the quick documentation of wounds and other changes in the skin or as a dental camera.
Constructive Suggestions for Further Development
It would be desirable, if the camera came with even higher performance eyepieces with less field curvature than the Meiji eyepiece with which is currently equipped. Additionally, it would be suggested that several camera tubes of various or variable (i.e. adjustable) diameters be made available. This could be accomplished with relatively little effort since these are merely cylindrical tubes with a standardized screw thread. This would enable the customer to acquire a tube whose diameter properly fits their eyepiece head / eyepiece or which is made to adapt with fewer necessary adjustments. Because the software offers extensive options to manually adjust a multitude of parameters, a suggestion would be to integrate a 'reset' function which with one mouse click would return the software to standard default settings.