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Re: [APD] OT: Microscopes


The items you listed for observation span a large size. To observe fry, 
eggs, and algae you would need a low power maybe 25-50x Stereo Microscope, 
maybe even a trinocular scope to enable good microphotographs. I use a very 
old Spencer American Optical Stereo microscope here at work daily to observe 
our product. It has a very long working distance and a very uniformly sharp 
field of view. The actual field of view is about 0.300". To your eyes at 25x 
it looks like it is about 6" dia.

To view sections of plants, bacteria, etc. you really do need a good 
microscope with good effective magnification up to 1000x. You also need oil 
immersion capability. You talking about a lot of money new. Here again, 
binocular/trinocular is very important for long term comfort when viewing.

We have an old Nikon 1000x stereo microscope that has 25x as the lowest 
magnification. It is very limited for viewing large parts because it has 
such a small depth of field. It is best for flat thin sections. This one has 
through the lens illumination. A very useful feature.

Try to get a copy of "Photography Through the Microscope" published by 
Eastman Kodak. ISBN 0-87985-362-X. It has a very good chapter explaining 
microscopes and the terminology involved. A really good resource. In 1988 it 
cost $20.00 at camera shops. I don't know if it is still available.

Carl Zeiss is an excellent quality microscope, some might say the best, but 
be prepared to spend a lot of money. A stereo microscope model 2000 with 
photographic/video port is $3577.00 list in the Fisher Scientific catalog. 
This is a basic without illuminators and accessory eyepieces. Get the 
accessories and your talking another couple thousand.

I bought a used Spencer/AO for a beekeeping club I belonged to in the late 
1980's for $250.00. That was a really good price then. Check EBay.

You need good illumination for both. That is very important.

Here is a Photobucket picture of some Utricularia gibba I took with the 
Spencer scope using a digital camera without an adapter. I just placed the 
lens in direct contact with the eyepiece and focused using the zoom on the 
camera. The scale lines are 0.010" apart.


For more pictures of the Utricularia see: 

Here is a picture taken with the Nikon with a video capture print scanned 
into digital format. If you look closely you will see the scan lines in the 
print. The subject is of Cladophora. The scale lines are 1 mm apart.


For more pictures of this algae and more pictures: 

Hope this helps. Bottom line, you have to spend some big bucks for decent 

Jerry Smith
Bloomingdale, NJ

>Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 15:12:11 -0700
>From: "Brown, Daniel" <dpbrown at ea_com>
>Subject: [APD] OT: Microscopes
>I'm developing a growing interest in Biology & Biochemistry (I'm a
>Software Engineer by trade) mostly from keeping & breeding fish and
>learning about what goes on in my tank water etc.  I've been toying with
>the idea of getting a microscope so I can further examine things in my
>tank: fry, eggs, plants sections, algae, bacteria etc and see the things
>I read about in 'The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium' and other BioChem
>texts but I've no idea as to what sort of microscope I'd need
>(Magnification, lenses, style/type etc) or where to buy one from in
>Canada!  So I thought I'd ask here as I know some folk on this list are
>allot more scientific than me and may know the answers!
>Can anyone help me?

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