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The Wait is over - Zeiss Axiostar Plus arrived

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#26 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:06 PM

and here is the last one

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#27 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:21 PM

So the preliminary conclusions are the following:
1) Overall, If the objectives pass further optical testing ( with real samples actual glass slides and some immersion oil. I think I made a moderately good deal.
2) the Camera is a very nice bonus, but needs to be further tested under "real conditions".
3) Appart from the condenser and one occular, the microscope is generaly in very good condition.
4) I cannot yet pass a final verdict as I need to do more testing and fine tunning of the Kohler ilumination and get me some prepared slides for truely testing the optics.

5) If you think that a Carl Zeiss microscope means very high quality parts, an all-metal sturdy construction and superior mechanical design and execution, THINK AGAIN !
This is not what I expected at all from a Microscope that carries a price tag ( for new micrtoscope) in excess of $5K.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDY !

Stay tuned for further reports once I get me some slides and climb the photomicrography learning curve.

#28 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:38 PM

Lihu,

I shared your senses of excitement, anxiety, shock and relief through this well illustrated report.

That has to be the poorest example of packaging I've ever seen.

What WAS the packer thinking about, I wonder?

Good luck with the remainder of this adventure!

Kenny


Kenny,
Thanks, I realy don't know who is to blame here. The packing was not perfect but it wasn't that bad.
I am more worried by the fact that apparently, the seller let the microscope be packed without inspecting it for loose screws and wirhout separately packing and protecting the objectives.
Also when a seller claims a microscope is in good working order and has been refurbished, I would not expect receiving one eyepiece which is mechanically dilapidated and a faulty mechanically inadequate condenser sticky with lubricant.
If I was a seller of a high-end miocroscope I would have carefully cleaned and inspected all mechanical and optical part and would have disclosed to the buyer the true state of the equipment or replaced any defective parts before shipping.

#29 KennyJ

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:43 PM

Lihu,

Thank you for taking the tremendous time and effort that I know is involved in providing such a report.

I'm no stranger to creating multiple, photo-accompanied posts to start new threads on this forum, and as such am familiar with how exclusively engaging the process is, and how almost FRUSTRATING it is to find, upon looking back yourself to make a final check that all has appeared as intended, that some other member has "interrupted" the natural flow of the thread by posting one or two comments whilst your own process was still ongoing, just as I have done during the past half hour or so with this thread.

I'm sorry about that, but there was no indication as to how many posts you were going to make at the time.

If you prefer, for the sake of artistic impressions, I will delete my previous posts and re-post them afterwards.

To reduce the possibility of this recurring in any future, similar style of reports, one suggestion is to make a statement right at the beginning of a thread like this to the effect that :

" This is going to consist of 20 separate posts - PLEASE wait until I indicate the final one has been posted until posting any replies -- Thank You In Advance "

Thanks again for a very interesting report !

Kenny

#30 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

It's no big secret that Carl Zeiss has factories worldwide.

The company has had a presence in Mexico for over 100 years.

http://www.phoenixfi...l-zeiss-mexico/

Kenny


Kenny,
having a presence in mexico is fine with me. the problem is when a precision instrument commands a definitely "German" price, you somehow tend to expect "German" quality.

Using flimsy plastic eyepice barrels and plastic condenser and illuminator parts is not exactly what people associate with the name "Carl Zeiss".
But I guess, you live and learn.
With this kind of shenanigans, brand name loyalty may soon be a thing of the past. :shrug:

#31 KennyJ

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:55 PM

Lihu,

I know from first hand experiences, which I've reported here on various CN forums, that certain items bearing the Carl Zeiss logo are little short of scandalously overpriced.

That includes a plastic " special adapter" I once paid around £80 for(BEFORE waiting WEEKS for it to be delivered) that didn't even include any GLASS and looked like it could easily have been made for less than £1.

I once owned Zeiss binoculars and a Zeiss scope that cost me a total of £2000 with additions such as that little piece of plastic.

Both were very good instruments it must be said, but the fact that I finally sold both of them to raise funds for other projects tells a little story.

Kenny

#32 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:22 PM

Kenny,
I hear you loud and clear.
This is my first microscope so I thought to myself that a used "high quality" Zeiss might certainly be better made than a brand new Amscope or other chinese microscope, with Inferior optics.
I dont know yet if I was right or wrong on this, as I dont yet know if the optics are indeed superior on the Zeiss. but I certainly had high hopes.
And as they always say, CAVEAT EMPTOR ! :roflmao:

#33 azure1961p

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:21 PM

Well I'm glad u got the microscope but I'm sorry to hear about the cheap parts. Can you get these by another maker that'll still fit on the zeiss. Its utterly disgusting when this kind of thing occurs and I feel your disappointment. I'm glad I'm not getting a zeiss.

Pete

#34 ASTERON

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:40 AM

Kenny,
I have no objection at all to your "interrupting the report".
to me this is the essence and beauty of CN forums. You get instant up to the point comments from CN fellows - What a pleasure ! I couldn't ask for more.
Anyway, this "preliminary unpacking" report is not intended
as a Review or to convey any final conclusions. It is just an attempt to share my experiences (Good and Bad) with fellow CN member and hobby microscopists and it is far from being complete or comprehencive ( let alone artistic).
So, please dont remove your posts or change anything, I love it as it is and I hope many more people care to comment and provide tips or anything they think may be usefull in the current situation.
Thank you for your comments.

#35 ASTERON

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:02 AM

Well I'm glad u got the microscope but I'm sorry to hear about the cheap parts. Can you get these by another maker that'll still fit on the zeiss. Its utterly disgusting when this kind of thing occurs and I feel your disappointment. I'm glad I'm not getting a zeiss.

Pete


Hi Pete,
Thanks for the comment. I may have unintentionally presented a somewhat negative impression.
Don't get me wrong. While I think the mangled eyepiece and the less than perfect condenser, shouldn't have been shipped to me as they were, especially since the seller advertized the microscope as in good (refurbished) mechanical condition, I still got a good functional microscope which is now working after some tinkering on my side.
After all, according to my calculation I paid only 17% of the retail new price of the combination package.
Even if I have to buy a new eyepiece and a new condenser ( which is not the case), I still think I made a great Deal.
What gave me an initial shock was the realization that Carl Zeiss were cutting corners on a "Past flagship" microscope line by integrating sup-par plastic components into the product. I was almost sure I will be getting a sturdy, All metal construction High end microscope.
I don't think I could get another condenser from another company because Zeiss make sure you can only use their parts by designing the condenser holder in a way that locks the customer to buying their parts only.
With eypieces and objectives, the situation is much better as they mostly come in standardized sizes and threads.
I still havent checked the optics carefully, once I do that, I may opt for buying other parts, if necessary.
However, testing and cleaning the parts may take me a long time and only after I am sure of what I want and what can be done with the equipment as it is will I venture into getting any additional or replacement parts.

#36 ASTERON

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:23 AM

BTW,
If any member has any thoughts about how the optical quality of the Zeiss A-Plan objectives compares to current similar class producs made by Chinese manufacturers, I would love to hear any informed comments.
While surfing the web for Microscopes I have seen statements by AmScope that their microscopes and optics were made on the same production line on which they make microscopes for companies like Zeiss and Olympus. I was kind of leary of these statements ( may be a marketing stunt and maybe the Zeiss/Olympus Chinese microscopes may have better QA.

However, if the optics on the relatively inexpensive Chinese microscopes is as good as and is manufactured to the same specifications as the much higher priced Zeiss or Olympus brand names, whats the logic of paying a premium for the branded stuff ??
Would anyone with experience of a direct side by side comparison of such optics ( Zeiss Vs. Amscope eyepieces and objective of the same class - Achro Plan, for example) care to comment here ?

Thanks for any comments.

#37 ASTERON

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:00 AM

Update,
I just sent an e-mail to the e-Bay seller ( Block Scientific Inc.) with details of the eyepiece and condenser problems I encountered.
I hope they can help me with rectifying the situation.

I'll keep you posted as to any progress made

#38 azure1961p

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:42 PM

So what is it you intend to observe?

Pete

#39 KennyJ

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 03:49 PM

azure,

Was that question intentionally directed at ME, or was my name being in the "reply to bracket" simply a quirk of the forum software ?

Kenny

#40 ASTERON

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:49 PM

Pete,
I intend to observe and photograph, micro organisms.
Algae , bacteria, ciliates and such stuff.

#41 azure1961p

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:31 PM

A quirk Kenny - but hey Im open to what your interests are here too!

Pete

#42 ASTERON

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:22 AM

Second update.
1) Turns out the second eyepiece ( with focusing capability) has a serious scratch on an internal surface of one of the two lenses of the doublet - probably not something I can or even want to deal with.

2) The seller has responded quickly and positively and offered to give me a partial refund or get me some replacement part.
I approached the local Zeiss agent to find out replacement costs.
So far The seller is really trying to help which is commendable. Once we reach some kind of resolution I'll let you know How it proceeds. However, right now I have reasons to be very optimistic.

#43 KennyJ

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:32 AM

Pete,

I was instrumental in setting up this Cloudy Days forum 9 years ago, before microscopes were added to the title menu.

As with the Binoculars forum here,I've read every single post in every single thread ever since.

I've no personal interest in microscopes, per se, but the word Zeiss always piques my interest, and until just over a year ago I owned Zeiss binoculars and a Zeiss spotting scope, that with accessories cost me well over £2000, which is a small fortune for me.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,I've no real complaint about the optical or build quality of the instruments themselves, but things like being charged almost £100 for a little piece of plastic with no lenses, which I'm certain must be manufactured for around £3, that constituted a "special adapter" that enable the Zeiss zoom lens to be used in conjunction with a standard astro refractor, really annoys me.

It perhaps wouldn't have seemed so bad if the thing had actually WORKED properly, but it wouldn't come to focus at infinity anyway.

Kind Regards,
Kenny

#44 ASTERON

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:55 PM

Kenny,
Zeiss microscopes as well as other optical equipment used to be the Rolls Royce of the optical industry. The lenses were made to ver exacting specifications and polishing used to be superb with scratch and dig numbers twice as good as other competing products.
Their mechanical design was also first class, all metal construction with extreme durability and precision. That was 25 years ago.
That is , I think why they were very costly and much appreciated by proffesional users. And for this reason they cost a fortune.
However, apparently that is not the case any more.
They are not made in Germany any more and ( as I learned to my dismay) they include many parts made of plastic with mediocre quality and limited durability.
I do not know whether the optics are still as good as the old zeiss quality as I have no other microscope to compare it to.
However, if one goes cheap on construction and materials, what is to prevent me from the nagging suspicion that they will skimp on the optics?

Mind you - this is not an attempt at Zeiss bashing. I am merely trying to convey to you a lesson I learned with my hard earned cash.
I may have been better served by buying an older all metal zeiss microscope or for the same price a brand new Chinese microscope brand.
The verdict on the optical quality is still out. If I indeed manage to get brand new Zeiss eyepieces, it will be easy to compare quality because I can buy the same eyepiece from amscope for much less money compare it to the zeiss eyepiece , keep the better or equivalent eyepice and sell the other one. Same thing with objectives.
It will be a very interesting experiment, methinks.
So stay tuned for any further developments.

#45 ASTERON

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:10 AM

Third and final update.
The ebay seller gave me a generous refund on my purchase that would go a long way into rectifying the eyepiece and condenser problem.
I am a happy camper now and I have still to decide whether I want to buy new Carl zeiss eyepieces or less expensive Chinese eyepieces.
I wholeheartedly recommend the ebay seller: BLOCK SCIENTIFIC who proved to be very responsive and honest and made every possible effort to keep me happy.
I would buy from them with confidence in the future.
All in all it was a good transaction and I ended having exactly what I
wanted .
now I just need enough time to Master the camera software and improve my macro photography skills.

in short a Happy end !

#46 ASTERON

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 02:56 PM

Fourth update,
I somehow gathered enough courage to take apart the second eyepiece ( The one I thought had a serious scratch on an internal lens element). To my surprise I found out that what I believed to be a very serious scratch on the glass, was actually a hefty smear of some greasy stuff residing on one of the lenses of the eyepiece. I took out my optics cleaning Kit, some A grade pure cotton wool and 80% ethanol and within five minutes the eyepice was clean and shiny. I am really curious to know how a piece of grease might get inside a sealed eyepiece. :shrug:
Anyhow. After some more cleaning the eyepiece functions well.
Since I have already got myself some carrier glass slides and coverslips in the meantime, I celebrated this finding by testing the microscope on a real sample.
I used a drop of brackish water left in a pot in the garden and put it on a slide with a coverslip on top. The microscope worked very well and I was able to observe several species of live swimming ciliates and other micro organisms of various shapes including paramecium, Rotifera, volvox, vorticella, amoeba and some other unidentified critters. The views were great at X100 and x400 and I saw many fine details like beating cilia and other structures. I didn't have time or oil to use the oil objectives at higher magnifications.
I tried the camera and I could get nice contrasty views of the FOV on my desktop screen by fiddling with the gain, exposure and gamma of the software. Unfortunately I have not yet figured how to save videos and single frames to my hard disc. I don't have any manual for the imaging software so I have to guess my way around.
Once I figure this out, I'll post some photos for you to judge.
Anyway, it seems that the major hurdles have now been crossed and I will be able to enjoy the microscope after all.
Stay tuned for future reports.

#47 KennyJ

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:38 AM

Thanks for the updates, Asteron.

I'm particularly pleased you managed to resolve the problem with the perceived scratched lens and that it turned out to be nothing more serious than a greasy smear.

It's a mystery isn't it how these substances end up in such places.

An expensive telescope diagonal I once purchased brand new from a very reputable company arrived with around half a teaspoonful of fine metallic filings collected in one corner of it.

I commented about the issue to one of the forums here at the time, but my post was swiftly deleted, presumably to avoid bad publicity for the company, so I won't mention the manufacturer by name.

At any rate, the VIEW through the TELEscope was unaffected once I'd carefully vacuumed away the offended matter.

Similarly, now you can really begin to enjoy the views through your microscope.

Looking forward to seeing some photos or even moving pictures!

Kenny

#48 ASTERON

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:46 PM

Kenny,
Thanks. Believe me I was very happy to discover that the "scratch" was indeed some dirt. However, the other eyepiece is still a problem and falls apart if taken out of the turret. I am still debating whether to buy a new one (very, Very expensive...) or to just glue the eypiece parts together permanently with crazy glue (or semipermanetly with RTV silicone) - any help or tips from anyone here will be greatly appreciated.
I have a particularly hectic week or two ahead of me at work. :stuck:
I will try to do my best to do some captures but don't hold your breath :lol:

#49 mayidunk

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 01:38 PM

One thing to think about would be if the adhesive you use will out-gas into the inside of the objective housing, and possibly cloud up the lens' surface...

#50 ASTERON

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:10 PM

Mayidunk,
Thanks for the tip.
I have not considered out gassing.
Do you have any idea what adhesive can be safely used in eyepieces?






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