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The Cloudynights equivalent for Microscopes

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#1 gatorengineer

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 08:48 PM

Hi,

 

I have googled a bunch, and much to my surprise I cant seem to find an active microscope forum.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I have found many but they are a couple of posts a week type sites.

 

Mark



#2 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 09:36 PM

There is Microbehunter on YouTube.  His name is Oliver Kim, and he has three other channels.  His videos are well done and he has a substantial following.  You might try these channels, though they aren't a forum in the same way that Cloudy Nights is.


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#3 Plinthley

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Posted 21 August 2021 - 01:20 AM

Several good microscopy groups on Facebook. This one gets a lot of traffic:
https://www.facebook...853451294836277


Edited by Plinthley, 21 August 2021 - 01:20 AM.

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#4 EJN

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Posted 21 August 2021 - 10:19 PM

There is Microbehunter on YouTube.  His name is Oliver Kim, and he has three other channels.  His videos are well done and he has a substantial following.  You might try these channels, though they aren't a forum in the same way that Cloudy Nights is.

 

Microbehunter also has a forum

https://www.microbeh...croscopy-forum/


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#5 desertstars

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 06:40 PM

There is Microbehunter on YouTube.  His name is Oliver Kim, and he has three other channels.  His videos are well done and he has a substantial following.  You might try these channels, though they aren't a forum in the same way that Cloudy Nights is.

Those videos have been enormously useful to me.


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#6 desertstars

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 06:41 PM

Several good microscopy groups on Facebook. This one gets a lot of traffic:
https://www.facebook...853451294836277

I'm in and out of this one on a regular basis. A lot of good information posted there, along with some amazing images and videos.


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#7 Javier1978

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 08:17 AM

Microbe hunter forum is great. Lots of helpful people to share the hobby with. From my point of view, because of the way info is displayed, a forum is a better place to learn than social media.


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#8 desertstars

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Posted 18 October 2021 - 01:35 PM

Microbe hunter forum is great. Lots of helpful people to share the hobby with. From my point of view, because of the way info is displayed, a forum is a better place to learn than social media.

I lurk there a lot, but haven't done enough microscopy to actually contribute to discussions.


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#9 RocketScientist

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Posted 30 October 2021 - 06:22 PM

I agree that the microbehunter forums (there are many on various topics) is the internet equivalent of Cloudy Nights.

I've looked all over the net without finding anything similar.
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#10 gatorengineer

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for the responses.  Yes Microbehunter seems to be the rough equivalent, surprising that the microscopy community is soooo much smaller than the telescope community.  Also the only hobby where Zeiss is the cheap stuff.  LOL.  Love my black brass.


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#11 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 27 January 2022 - 12:29 PM

Another nice thing about Microbe Hunter and related channels is that he gives you suggestions for microscopes and accessories.  His Microbe Hunter Store at Amazon contains his ideas for reading and for equipment, and of course buying from his store defrays the costs of his channel(s).  As usual, reading is inexpensive, and some of the books he recommends were new discoveries for me.  I think microscopy is an interesting direction to go in for Cloudy Nighters, and after all, Neal deGrasse Tyson says that every home should own a microscope and a telescope!


Edited by Upstate New Yorker, 28 January 2022 - 08:18 AM.

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#12 mikemarotta

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Posted 27 January 2022 - 08:32 PM

Thanks!

 

There is Microbehunter on YouTube.  His name is Oliver Kim, and he has three other channels.  His videos are well done and he has a substantial following.  You might try these channels, though they aren't a forum in the same way that Cloudy Nights is.

 

I joined Microbehunter ahead of buying an adult instrument. I have two for kids that I more or less inherited and one is a Microsoft USB, much better than anything I had when I was 8-12. But I want to avoid all of the mistakes that I made in selecting instruments for astronomy. I am going to do a lot of reading of discussions and viewing of YouTube videos first.

 

Best Regards,

Mike M.


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#13 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 08:13 AM

Thanks!

 

 

I joined Microbehunter ahead of buying an adult instrument. I have two for kids that I more or less inherited and one is a Microsoft USB, much better than anything I had when I was 8-12. But I want to avoid all of the mistakes that I made in selecting instruments for astronomy. I am going to do a lot of reading of discussions and viewing of YouTube videos first.

 

Best Regards,

Mike M.

Hello Mike,

 

I think that the telescope situation has been a challenge for many.  Paraphrasing a saying in computer programming, there is the inexpensive way that is expensive, and there is the expensive way that is inexpensive.  In other words, something like the Televue 85 looks terribly expensive at first glance, but the quality, beauty, durability, portability, and versality of the instrument means that it could be the only telescope you ever need.  (I don't own it because I screwed up.)  Add to this the Light Pollution challenge, and it has been pretty frustrating.

 

But with Olver Kim's advice you buy a Swift 380 (say) for $600 and you get to enjoy it for the rest of your life.  Microscopy: a much cheaper hobby with no Light Pollution issues, and ready made for inclement weather.  


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#14 desertstars

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 07:51 PM

But with Olver Kim's advice you buy a Swift 380 (say) for $600 and you get to enjoy it for the rest of your life.  Microscopy: a much cheaper hobby with no Light Pollution issues, and ready made for inclement weather.  

I saw the video he did on the Swift 380T and ended up buying that one. It's beside me on the desk as I type these words. I've enjoyed using it visually. Haven't attached a camera of any sort yet.


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#15 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 06:49 AM

I saw the video he did on the Swift 380T and ended up buying that one. It's beside me on the desk as I type these words. I've enjoyed using it visually. Haven't attached a camera of any sort yet.

Purpose-built cameras for microscopes are inexpensive, and this is yet another way that microscopy is a winning and inexpensive pastime.  I have my eye on the 380T.  If you get a chance, your opinions on this instrument would be greatly appreciated.



#16 desertstars

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 01:22 PM

Purpose-built cameras for microscopes are inexpensive, and this is yet another way that microscopy is a winning and inexpensive pastime.  I have my eye on the 380T.  If you get a chance, your opinions on this instrument would be greatly appreciated.

I was contemplating microscopy last year, lured on by a Facebook friend posting images of creatures straight out of science fiction. Went into it with no real background (in contrast to my return to astronomy, which amounted to a refresher course). The Swift 380T was something that seemed a good compromise between too little and too much for someone just starting, so I asked questions on the Facebook microscopy group and we referred to Oliver Kim's review of this model. What I learned there convinced me to buy this one. So far, it has given me good results in the microscopy equivalent of visual observing. I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the build, optics, and ease of use. I feel no reluctance in recommending it to someone starting out.

 

I'm still climbing a learning curve. The microscope is no challenge to use, but collecting and preparing samples and specimens for study has proven another matter altogether. A wet mount is simple in concept, but as with so many things, it takes practice to realize that simplicity. And then there's the matter of identifying protozoans and similar small organisms. A steep curve all by itself.

 

The next step is imaging. I sketch some of what I see, but sketching at the microscope is nothing like doing so at a telescope eyepiece. Some of these micro critters are fast, and few of them hold still for very long. So I'm being drawn into imaging here, where it never happened with astronomy. Being able to save images for later close study should facilitate identification.


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#17 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 08:55 AM

I was contemplating microscopy last year, lured on by a Facebook friend posting images of creatures straight out of science fiction. Went into it with no real background (in contrast to my return to astronomy, which amounted to a refresher course). The Swift 380T was something that seemed a good compromise between too little and too much for someone just starting, so I asked questions on the Facebook microscopy group and we referred to Oliver Kim's review of this model. What I learned there convinced me to buy this one. So far, it has given me good results in the microscopy equivalent of visual observing. I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the build, optics, and ease of use. I feel no reluctance in recommending it to someone starting out.

 

I'm still climbing a learning curve. The microscope is no challenge to use, but collecting and preparing samples and specimens for study has proven another matter altogether. A wet mount is simple in concept, but as with so many things, it takes practice to realize that simplicity. And then there's the matter of identifying protozoans and similar small organisms. A steep curve all by itself.

 

The next step is imaging. I sketch some of what I see, but sketching at the microscope is nothing like doing so at a telescope eyepiece. Some of these micro critters are fast, and few of them hold still for very long. So I'm being drawn into imaging here, where it never happened with astronomy. Being able to save images for later close study should facilitate identification.

Thanks for this review!  It seems to me that microscopy is not only promising for contemplative adults, it is also a way to turn kids on to science.  There is a library in the region where I grew up which offers summer classes to children.  A few beginner's models of Swift microscopes, with some slides, books, and accessories, might be a useful addition to this library, which is a haven for everyone in the community.  I'm tempted to donate here, but it must be discussed first. 


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#18 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 02 February 2022 - 06:55 AM

The next step is imaging. I sketch some of what I see, but sketching at the microscope is nothing like doing so at a telescope eyepiece. Some of these micro critters are fast, and few of them hold still for very long. So I'm being drawn into imaging here, where it never happened with astronomy. Being able to save images for later close study should facilitate identification.

There is an old book under the Dover imprint named "Adventures with a Microscope,"  by Richard Headstrom.  It covers the more common microscopic animals, plants, and substances, even some forensic science.  Extensive line drawings are included.  An Ebook version is available.  Oliver Kim has some more modern recommendations that might be better, and yet he includes Headstrom's book.   (Strangely, I cannot find a biography of the author, who flourished about 80 years ago.)


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#19 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 02 February 2022 - 07:03 AM

There is an old book under the Dover imprint named "Adventures with a Microscope,"  by Richard Headstrom.  It covers the more common microscopic animals, plants, and substances, even some forensic science.  Extensive line drawings are included.  An Ebook version is available.  Oliver Kim has some more modern recommendations that might be better, and yet he includes Headstrom's book.   (Strangely, I cannot find a biography of the author, who flourished about 80 years ago.)

Richard Headstrom is now online.  Here is some information on him:   He was a high school teacher who wrote a large number of books about the natural world.  I really don't want someone like that to be forgotten.


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#20 mikemarotta

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Posted 02 February 2022 - 09:00 AM

There is an old book under the Dover imprint named "Adventures with a Microscope,"  by Richard Headstrom. 

I found it on ABE Books. 

 

Headstrom microscope abe books.jpg

 

A thousand years ago, my mother was teaching me to play the piano and I noticed that the big book of Chopin Etudes cost the same to her 1000 years before as did the six-page foldout sheet of a Frank Sinatra song. She quoted her old music teacher: "Good music is cheap. Cheap music is expensive."


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#21 mikemarotta

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Posted 02 February 2022 - 09:48 PM

There is an old book under the Dover imprint named "Adventures with a Microscope,"  by Richard Headstrom. 

I found an old hardcover edition, first Lippincott edition 1941 third printing, for $20 plus on ABE Books. Several sellers have the Dover paperback very reasonably priced often with free shipping, but as a bibliomaniac, I went for the collectible. 

 

Best Regards,

Mike M.


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#22 Brianm14

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 12:57 AM

DesertStars, “[t]he microscope is no challenge to use” is already, in February, likely to win my greatest understatement award for 2022.  Would you ever write that about the telescope?  

 

If anything, sadly, few biology, medical and teaching professionals even know how to set up no less use a light microscope properly, because there are so few people capable of teaching them.  The level of ignorance is so huge, it goes both unrecognized and unremarked.

 

.


Edited by Brianm14, 03 February 2022 - 02:17 AM.

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#23 Brianm14

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 01:39 AM

As a professional microscopist of over 50 years who has taught thousands of university students to use microscopes at the undergraduate- and graduate-level, I have had many fortunate opportunities to review books and techniques as well as to use and own quite a few microscopes.  May I make a few suggestions?

 

Headstom’s book is a classic (and is in my personal library).  I will give a copy of it with a microscope to my bright 9-year-old grand-daughter knowing that, however, she’ll be ready to move beyond it in about two or three weeks.  Nice initial introduction for the 7- to 12- year old age group.  Headstrom was much more of a good children's nature writer than any sort of microscopist, and it shows.  (As I recall, he spent some time in Aiken SC where I found several autographed copies of his books in the public library.)

 

Two other books published or reprinted by Dover are far, far more appropriate for older readers, and both contain a lot of nice technical detail, enough to be satisfying but never off-putting. The first suggests many activities. Good reading, too.  Check for them for sale online at Amazon or other places.  Or use the library or interlibrary loan.  I recommend them in this order:

 

Eric V. Gravé, Using the Microscope:  A Guide for Naturalists.

Georg Stehl.  The Microscope and How to Use it.

Plus:

Introduction to Light Microscopy (Royal Microscopical Society Microscopy Handbooks) by Savile Bradbury is a slender but excellent volume, a good place to start that is a little more academic.

 

Bradury was a fine writer and a truly great microscopist.  Buy the second edition (1997) if you can (about $100 used on Amazon), but if you need to save a few bucks, the first edition is a very good book, too (about $45 on Amazon).  (I haven’t found an RMS handbook I didn’t like; they -over 100 in the series now?- go out-of-print too quickly, and the price rises accordingly.)  Virtually all the standards for modern microscopes were decided by the RMS, down to thread size and pitch for objectives to the size of the common microscope slide and various thickness of coverslips; the RMS is the authority, the “final word,” and their books are correspondingly highly reliable sources of information.

 

Not to be missed:

 

W G Hartley, who died just a few years ago, was a masterful microscopist, superbly clear writer on everything including technical details, and a fine historian of the field.  His books are frustratingly hard to find, on-and-off, usually out-of-print.

 

Walter Gilbert Hartley’s Teach Yourself Microscopy was published in the early 1960s, and reissued by the the American Museum of Natural History in many slightly modified later printings.  It is the single best brief introduction to the competent use of the compound light microscope.  I still re-read my copy after decades of use, and continue to learn from Hartley.  A true classic.  It is what I give along with a microscope as a gift.

 

W G Hartley’s 1993 The Light Microscope: Its Use and Development is the best work this kind, a handbook and history book.  Like his mentor, Saville Bradbury, WG dug out a great deal of this information by dint of his own endless, creatively original research. The only copy currently on Amazon is $499 (!!), but I bought both my copies for under $50 each in tne last 10 or 12 years.

 

Hartley’ Microcopy is sadly out-of-print.  A true classic, too.  You have to read Hartley to appreciate his keen wit, great knowledge and unrivaled facility for clear and interesting expression.  Perhaps Dover can reissue one of his books.  

 

Hunt online for these, or use interlibrary loan.

 

Please let me know if anyone would like a list of suggested books for the advanced microscopist.

 

There are a couple of simply first-rate online microscopy groups/resources which I will look up and post about shortly.  Some of the other online places can be okay, but are also sources of misunderstanding and misinformation, especially about buying microscopes.  As with telescopes, there are quite a few very good and quite affordable used microscopes available to the reasonably discerning buyer, all quite superior to most I see mentioned here or in some other online forums,

 

As an example, for under $400 each (shipped) at different times, via eBay, I purchased two 1980s-era Olympus binocular compound microscopes equipped with excellent phase-contrast optics.  One was for my own use at play, the other for my eldest son who is a professor of comparative literature, not a biologist but a gifted amateur.  Both microscopes had been serviced and adjusted by a technician who had been trained by Zeiss and Olympus.  So good, used, professional-level ‘scopes are out there.

 

But start by reading one or two of the books recommended above.

 

CS.

 

Brian

.


Edited by Brianm14, 03 February 2022 - 02:38 AM.

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#24 desertstars

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 01:59 PM

DesertStars, “[t]he microscope is no challenge to use” is already, in February, likely to win my greatest understatement award for 2022.  Would you ever write that about the telescope?  

 

.

I did have an advantage over someone starting out cold. I have a B.S. in plant biology, and on the way to that degree I worked with compound and stereo microscopes. After that, I spent ten years working in a lab where light microscopes were often in use. Having said that, anyone with this microscope who spends fifteen or twenty minutes watching some of the getting started videos on YouTube (Oliver Kim) should be off and running in short order.

 

When I've worked with this one a little longer, I'll write up a short review of it and post that. With the caveat that I won't be able to compare it to other models elsewhere.


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#25 mikemarotta

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Posted 03 February 2022 - 02:42 PM

As a professional microscopist of over 50 years who has taught thousands of university students to use microscopes at the undergraduate- and graduate-level, I have had many fortunate opportunities to review books and techniques as well as to use and own quite a few microscopes.  May I make a few suggestions?

 

Headstom’s book is a classic (and is in my personal library).  I will give a copy of it with a microscope to my bright 9-year-old grand-daughter knowing that, however, she’ll be ready to move beyond it in about two or three weeks.  Nice initial introduction for the 7- to 12- year old age group.  Headstrom was much more of a good children's nature writer than any sort of microscopist, and it shows.  

 

Two other books published or reprinted by Dover are far, far more appropriate for older readers, and both contain a lot of nice technical detail, enough to be satisfying but never off-putting. The first suggests many activities. Good reading, too.  Check for them for sale online at Amazon or other places.  Or use the library or interlibrary loan.  I recommend them in this order:

 

Eric V. Gravé, Using the Microscope:  A Guide for Naturalists.

Georg Stehl.  The Microscope and How to Use it.

Plus:

Introduction to Light Microscopy (Royal Microscopical Society Microscopy Handbooks) by Savile Bradbury is a slender but excellent volume, a good place to start that is a little more academic.

 

 

Stehli mit einem i am Ende, and even so, thanks for the recommendations. 

 

What about Discover the Invisible: A Naturalist's Guide to Using the Microscope (Phalarope Books) Eric V. Grave especially versus Using the Microscope.

 

I found the Georg Stehli book on Google Books. I would place this also in the class of a good beginner book for an advanced child. Speaking of childhood, my childhood microscope looked a lot like this one from the book and I have another now that was given to me by a neighbor who visits yard sales.

 

Stehli Microscope illustration.jpg

 

The ones people use today from American Optical, Olympus, Bausch and Lomb, etc., look nothing like that. They look more advanced than the instruments I saw in a cytogenetics laboratory where I cleaned glassware when I was 16 back in 1966.

 

Olympus BH-2.jpg

$3800 worth of microscope and it seemed pricy when it was shown to me but when you consider a Takahashi at $6000 plus the mount it needs plus the oculars, you face the fact that every hobby will take all the money you want to spend on it. 

 

Myself, I am now considering the usual suspects: Celestron and Bresser at under $500 for an entry-level (albeit adult) instrument.

 

It may well be true that books are passe for this, that the best information comes from the user manuals and discussions on boards like this an MicrobeHunter. On the one hand, microscopes seem entirely more complicated than telescopes. Even more than Dobsonians for chasing "faint fuzzies" versus long f/ratio "planet-killer" refractors, microscopes seem to be designed and sold and then modified for very specific purposes. In fact, reading just a few web pages about modifications people have made reminds me more of automobile racing with dragsters versus 2-liter versus Indy cars versus hotrods.

 

Best Regards,

Mike M.


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