Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Microscope viewing on laptop for Biology class?

  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 09 May 2022 - 01:15 PM

I'm a high school science teacher who has mainly taught physical science classes (chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc.).  Next year I have to take over a biology class, which I haven't taught in about 20 years.  I'm wondering if there's a reasonably affordable (< $100) way to put some kind of digital device on the eyepiece (or replacing the eyepiece) of a standard microscope that I could then connect to a laptop to show students slides without them having to look through the eyepiece.  We have a set of standard student microscopes (monocular, 3 objectives, 10x eyepiece), so that's what I'll be using in class for both the students and myself.

 

Any recommendations/advice appreciated!


  • Cali likes this

#2 Basileo

Basileo

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2021
  • Loc: My 3D Models for Astronomy https://disk.yandex.ru/d/-gbgfj9bm-I5iQ

Posted 09 May 2022 - 03:17 PM


Landing eyepiece 23.2 mm or 30 or 32?

#3 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 09 May 2022 - 07:21 PM

Looks like it must be the 30mm.  I'm measuring about 27mm across with a ruler.  I'm not familiar with microscope eyepiece sizes, but it seems closest to 30.



#4 Javier1978

Javier1978

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,410
  • Joined: 12 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Posted 11 May 2022 - 03:52 PM

I'm a high school science teacher who has mainly taught physical science classes (chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc.).  Next year I have to take over a biology class, which I haven't taught in about 20 years.  I'm wondering if there's a reasonably affordable (< $100) way to put some kind of digital device on the eyepiece (or replacing the eyepiece) of a standard microscope that I could then connect to a laptop to show students slides without them having to look through the eyepiece.  We have a set of standard student microscopes (monocular, 3 objectives, 10x eyepiece), so that's what I'll be using in class for both the students and myself.

 

Any recommendations/advice appreciated!

I have little experience on microscope cameras, but I think you might want something with a decent resolution at 24 fps, otherwise your observation wont be satisfactory. This is a good option:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=N1BNAdXu8l0

 

Other than that, you can buy a few adapters so that the students can attach their cellphones. Cellphones screen are nowadays big and good enough to share the view with a small group of students. I have successfully done this with groups up to 8 children. 

 

Good luck!



#5 PatrickVt

PatrickVt

    Apollo

  • ****-
  • Posts: 1,164
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2018
  • Loc: Vermont, US

Posted 12 May 2022 - 08:03 AM

If you are starting with nothing (no type of camera, no type of monitor), a budget of less than $100 really is unrealistic.  However, there are a couple of options worth considering.

 

A cellphone was already mentioned.  However, rather than crowding a whole class around a small cellphone, you can probably project the cellphone screen to a larger television or monitor either by cable or screen mirroring.  How you accomplish this will vary greatly depending on the cellphone used and the monitor/television used.  

 

Alternately, if you already have access to a newer camera, particularly a mirrorless camera with a mini-HDMI out port, you can connect it to a monitor with an HDMI jack.  This is assuming you have access to a monitor with an HDMI port.  

 

When my grandchildren visit and we plan to do some microscopy, I have found that swapping places to see through the eyepiece is a bit of a waste of time.  This gets far more complicated if the microscope is a binocular/trinocular microscope like mine.  Adjusting the pupillary distance of the eyepieces slows us down, refocusing slows us down, swapping seats slows us down, and not being able to easily point out features is not great for a whole group.  I put a T-ring with a 23.4mm nosepiece on my Sony a6000 and then plug a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable from the camera to a monitor.   The T-ring, appropriate sized nosepiece and cable would cost less than $100 but you would need a camera and a monitor/television already. 

 

Worth noting, however, is that this type of prime imaging isn't really ideal for attaining the best image quality.  Well, at least not in my experience with my particular gear.  I found that prime imaging this way was rather soft compared to my view through the eyepiece.  Prime imaging would be good enough for pointing out larger cellular features to a larger group but it is not the way to focus on fine details or get the best image quality possible. 

 

I found that the eyepiece projection imaging method worked best for microscopy.  This, however, probably would not work well with a smaller monocular microscopy (it sounds like this is what you have available to you) due to the weight of a camera mounted on the eyepiece.  This off-balance weight would likely topple a smaller microscope. 

 

However, you could do afocal imaging with a cellphone and then somehow project the image to a nearby monitor or television.  Once you mount the cellphone on the eyepiece, you simply zoom in to eliminate the severe vignetting.  You'd need a cellphone bracket/clamp that fits your particular eyepieces and a way to project your cellphone image to a monitor/television.  

 

Let us know which solution worked for you.

 

Patrick   


Edited by PatrickVt, 12 May 2022 - 08:49 AM.

  • j.gardavsky and Brianm14 like this

#6 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 12 May 2022 - 02:40 PM

If you are starting with nothing (no type of camera, no type of monitor), a budget of less than $100 really is unrealistic.  However, there are a couple of options worth considering.

 

A cellphone was already mentioned.  However, rather than crowding a whole class around a small cellphone, you can probably project the cellphone screen to a larger television or monitor either by cable or screen mirroring.  How you accomplish this will vary greatly depending on the cellphone used and the monitor/television used.  

 

Alternately, if you already have access to a newer camera, particularly a mirrorless camera with a mini-HDMI out port, you can connect it to a monitor with an HDMI jack.  This is assuming you have access to a monitor with an HDMI port.  

 

When my grandchildren visit and we plan to do some microscopy, I have found that swapping places to see through the eyepiece is a bit of a waste of time.  This gets far more complicated if the microscope is a binocular/trinocular microscope like mine.  Adjusting the pupillary distance of the eyepieces slows us down, refocusing slows us down, swapping seats slows us down, and not being able to easily point out features is not great for a whole group.  I put a T-ring with a 23.4mm nosepiece on my Sony a6000 and then plug a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable from the camera to a monitor.   The T-ring, appropriate sized nosepiece and cable would cost less than $100 but you would need a camera and a monitor/television already. 

 

Worth noting, however, is that this type of prime imaging isn't really ideal for attaining the best image quality.  Well, at least not in my experience with my particular gear.  I found that prime imaging this way was rather soft compared to my view through the eyepiece.  Prime imaging would be good enough for pointing out larger cellular features to a larger group but it is not the way to focus on fine details or get the best image quality possible. 

 

I found that the eyepiece projection imaging method worked best for microscopy.  This, however, probably would not work well with a smaller monocular microscopy (it sounds like this is what you have available to you) due to the weight of a camera mounted on the eyepiece.  This off-balance weight would likely topple a smaller microscope. 

 

However, you could do afocal imaging with a cellphone and then somehow project the image to a nearby monitor or television.  Once you mount the cellphone on the eyepiece, you simply zoom in to eliminate the severe vignetting.  You'd need a cellphone bracket/clamp that fits your particular eyepieces and a way to project your cellphone image to a monitor/television.  

 

Let us know which solution worked for you.

 

Patrick   

 

Thanks, Patrick.  I don't have a camera.  I do have access to a monitor (and laptop) and a HDMI cord.  I had thought about possibly buying a cell phone mount, but I wasn't sure that was going to provide a decent image.  I haven't actually used a cell phone mount, so I'm basing this on the experimenting I did with holding my cell phone camera up to the eyepiece and taking a couple pictures.  I wasn't too happy with the pictures.  My cell phone is nothing special (not Apple product), so maybe it's a poor quality camera.  I have some kind of Motorola LG phone.

 

Or maybe the mount would make the pictures better than just me holding?



#7 PatrickVt

PatrickVt

    Apollo

  • ****-
  • Posts: 1,164
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2018
  • Loc: Vermont, US

Posted 12 May 2022 - 08:27 PM

Mounting the cellphone on the eyepiece will provide images that are worlds better than what you can do handheld.  This is especially true the more you zoom the image.   Trying to hold (with your hands) any sort of camera in front of a relatively small eyepiece to get a good image will likely only produce a decent image about one in a hundred times and only by a stroke of luck.  

 

Cellphones are cellphones when it comes to photos.  I believe Sony is providing all the major cellphone manufacturers with sensors in recent years so cellphones from the same years likely have the same sensor across brands.  Not having an Apple phone means nothing.  Besides, there is nothing magical needed for these types of images when you are looking to project the image to a larger HD monitor.  When the pixels get too large on larger displays, the image looks a bit soft.  Viewing at a bit of a distance helps.  That being said, I've seen exceptional cellphone images and exceptional images from quite old DSLR's when everything is done correctly.  You, however, want a live view which an old DSLR will likely no provide.  Your cellphone will though.  

 

Another thing to consider if using your cellphone is to install a camera app that will allow you to use your cellphone camera manually...  choose ISO, shutter speed, aperture and white balance rather than using the cellphone camera in the usual Auto mode.  This will help significantly too.

 

Patrick


  • Brianm14 likes this

#8 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 13 May 2022 - 08:33 AM

Mounting the cellphone on the eyepiece will provide images that are worlds better than what you can do handheld.  This is especially true the more you zoom the image.   Trying to hold (with your hands) any sort of camera in front of a relatively small eyepiece to get a good image will likely only produce a decent image about one in a hundred times and only by a stroke of luck.  

 

Cellphones are cellphones when it comes to photos.  I believe Sony is providing all the major cellphone manufacturers with sensors in recent years so cellphones from the same years likely have the same sensor across brands.  Not having an Apple phone means nothing.  Besides, there is nothing magical needed for these types of images when you are looking to project the image to a larger HD monitor.  When the pixels get too large on larger displays, the image looks a bit soft.  Viewing at a bit of a distance helps.  That being said, I've seen exceptional cellphone images and exceptional images from quite old DSLR's when everything is done correctly.  You, however, want a live view which an old DSLR will likely no provide.  Your cellphone will though.  

 

Another thing to consider if using your cellphone is to install a camera app that will allow you to use your cellphone camera manually...  choose ISO, shutter speed, aperture and white balance rather than using the cellphone camera in the usual Auto mode.  This will help significantly too.

 

Patrick

 

Great--thanks for all the information!  Do you have any recommendations for a particular cell phone adapter?  I see all kinds of adapters on Amazon, ranging from about $20 to $100.  Other than making sure the eyepiece size is correct, I don't know what to look for or if they're all more or less the same.  I don't mind spending up to $100 if I need to, but if a $25 one is going to be just as good, I'd rather not.



#9 PatrickVt

PatrickVt

    Apollo

  • ****-
  • Posts: 1,164
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2018
  • Loc: Vermont, US

Posted 13 May 2022 - 09:25 AM

Unfortunately, I have absolutely no experience with using cellphone adapters for astronomy/microscopy.  I occasionally use my cellphone for a quick snapshot (using manual controls only) but I've never used it with a microscope or telescope.  I am fortunate enough to have better options available to me.  Hopefully someone else will provide some advice in this regard.  

 

If I were looking for a cellphone adapter for myself, I'd be looking for what appears to be easy to adjust positions (ie, large comfortable securing knobs) and able to adjust large enough or small enough for my particular eyepiece.

 

Patrick



#10 Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,540
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posted 13 May 2022 - 09:33 AM

I'd go to youtube and watch microbehunter phone holder. His video's also might be a great resource for you and your class.


  • PatrickVt likes this

#11 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 13 May 2022 - 01:26 PM

Anybody have any experience with this?

 

https://www.amazon.c...uct_top?ie=UTF8



#12 Javier1978

Javier1978

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,410
  • Joined: 12 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Posted 13 May 2022 - 03:43 PM

Anybody have any experience with this?

 

https://www.amazon.c...uct_top?ie=UTF8

I wouldn't invest that much on an adapter. If you can pay a little more than your initial budget, I think this 3 MP camera will do just fine for your class. It has a frame rate of 22 fps at 1024 x 768. Not perfect, but good enough for your purposes, I would think. People seems to be happy with it. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I think a cellphone with an adapter will deliver finer images, but for a class, the ability to connect the camera to a big screen is a priority. 

 

https://amscope.com/.../products/mu300


Edited by Javier1978, 13 May 2022 - 03:46 PM.


#13 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 13 May 2022 - 04:39 PM

I wouldn't invest that much on an adapter. If you can pay a little more than your initial budget, I think this 3 MP camera will do just fine for your class. It has a frame rate of 22 fps at 1024 x 768. Not perfect, but good enough for your purposes, I would think. People seems to be happy with it. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I think a cellphone with an adapter will deliver finer images, but for a class, the ability to connect the camera to a big screen is a priority. 

 

https://amscope.com/.../products/mu300

 

Thanks for the idea, but that's way over budget.  This is coming out of my pocket, and I don't even expect to teach this class for more than 1 year.  I'm not dying to pay $70 for a cell phone adapter, but I'm willing to if it's going to work well.  I see adapters from $25 - 100 but I have no idea what's worth buying because I've never used one before.  I don't want to waste $25 on something that doesn't work.


  • Javier1978 likes this

#14 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 13 May 2022 - 05:56 PM

Did a little more research on the Celestron NexYZ and found out that there's a lot of reviews and comments on CN in regards to its used with telescopes.  Couldn't find anything about it being used with a microscope, though it claims to include an adapter that fits on a microscope eyepiece.



#15 Javier1978

Javier1978

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,410
  • Joined: 12 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Posted 13 May 2022 - 09:57 PM

I have been using a 25/30 $ cellphone adapter to take my videos for 2 years now. It works like a charm. I'm guessing most adapters will do the trick. If you find something similar to the images I'm attaching, go for it!

 

You can check some of the videos I've made with an old phone attached to an entry level scope with this adapter here:

 

https://www.youtube....9ugAjhXeYLzm6Cg

Attached Thumbnails

  • Soporte.jpg
  • soprte2.jpg

Edited by Javier1978, 13 May 2022 - 09:58 PM.

  • PatrickVt and j.gardavsky like this

#16 Tweel

Tweel

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2021
  • Loc: North Carolina

Posted 16 May 2022 - 02:52 PM

I have a cheap phone adapter like the picture below, mildly frustrating on telescopes but work better on microscopes IMO. 

https://m.media-amaz..._AC_SL1000_.jpg

 

I also have the NexYZ and it's heavy and expensive, and I wouldn't buy one for a microscope. 

 

Another alternative are the digital microscope that run $20-25 dollars. The resolution isn't as good as a real microscope but they are excellent for the price. I would go ahead and buy a stand like the one pictured because the gooseneck stand that comes with them is junk. 

https://m.media-amaz..._AC_SL1500_.jpg



#17 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 17 May 2022 - 07:29 AM

I have a cheap phone adapter like the picture below, mildly frustrating on telescopes but work better on microscopes IMO. 

https://m.media-amaz..._AC_SL1000_.jpg

 

I also have the NexYZ and it's heavy and expensive, and I wouldn't buy one for a microscope. 

 

Another alternative are the digital microscope that run $20-25 dollars. The resolution isn't as good as a real microscope but they are excellent for the price. I would go ahead and buy a stand like the one pictured because the gooseneck stand that comes with them is junk. 

https://m.media-amaz..._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Thanks for the input!  I still haven't made a decision or bought anything.  I had looked at the digital microscopes initially, but the more I read about them, the more it seemed like they were essentially fancy magnifiers rather than for microscopy.  In other words, fine for looking at small details on coins, etc, but not enough magnification for looking at cells on a slide.  Am I wrong about that?

 

I was leaning toward the NexYZ as I thought that I might try using it on my telescope as well, but it would primarily be for using with a microscope for class.  So if it's too heavy for a microscope, then maybe not the best choice for me.  Most of the positive reviews I've seen for it are for use with a telescope.



#18 Tweel

Tweel

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2021
  • Loc: North Carolina

Posted 19 May 2022 - 08:27 PM

Thanks for the input!  I still haven't made a decision or bought anything.  I had looked at the digital microscopes initially, but the more I read about them, the more it seemed like they were essentially fancy magnifiers rather than for microscopy.  In other words, fine for looking at small details on coins, etc, but not enough magnification for looking at cells on a slide.  Am I wrong about that?

 

I was leaning toward the NexYZ as I thought that I might try using it on my telescope as well, but it would primarily be for using with a microscope for class.  So if it's too heavy for a microscope, then maybe not the best choice for me.  Most of the positive reviews I've seen for it are for use with a telescope.

 

You are not wrong about the digital microscope, they are akin to stereo/dissecting microscopes.

 

The NexYZ is an excellent design that is cheaply implemented and probably had little or no testing. For example there is a common manufacturing flaw where one of the friction screws is too short making it impossible to adjust slop out of the mechanism. The friction screws are also teeny, size M2, and barely adequate IMO. The design is perfect for an iphone but just barely fits big android phones with a center camera. And they could have used more metal in the manufacturing. Still it's probably the best one made. 



#19 charlie g

charlie g

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 419
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2007

Posted 23 May 2022 - 03:00 AM

   Hello 'teach', have you considered projection microscopes for use with groups of students?  I can donate three of these microscopes to you...if you pay shipping...I'm central NY.

 

   Please online 'google' Kenner projection microscopes...you get an idea of pupil team work/ hands on   microscopy for STEM education.

 

   Is your target start fall'22?  If so still time for STEM grants for such projection microscopes.."Sand Box" microscopy can offer guidance to  grants.

 

   I have no idea of your class size for microscop[e use...but groups of students (up to ten pupils) can be meaningfully  educated with each projection microscope.  Hands on learning so much better than a class yet again: 'watching another screen'...just my thoughts for your students.   charlie g 



#20 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 24 May 2022 - 07:20 PM

A Solomark microscope lens cellphone adapter arrived today from Amazon.  It was the closest I could find to the one that Javier1978 showed a picture of.  That one looks better made, but this one does the job.

 

https://smile.amazon...product_details

 

(I almost bought the Celestron NexYZ, but it didn't seem as practical for a microscope as for a telescope, and I mostly wanted it for microscope viewing.)

 

The adapter was very easy to adjust and attach and I had a great image of a prepared slide in minutes.  I don't know how it compares to all the other ones with an adjustable grip that attaches to the microscope eyepiece, but the built-in eyepiece on this one seems to make for a very secure attachment that holds the phone at just the right distance from the rest of the scope.  I'm glad I got it, and I might get a second one, since at about $25, two of them would still be a pretty reasonable expense and should work well for my smallish class.  

 

I'm looking forward to playing with it some more this summer as I brush up on biology!


  • Javier1978 likes this

#21 Frugal Astronomer

Frugal Astronomer

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Philadelphia area

Posted 24 May 2022 - 07:26 PM

Thanks for the offer, charlie_g, but I think shipping would be more costly than the cell phone adapter I got from Amazon.  I do like the possibility of taking pictures with the phone as well, that they could include in their lab reports.   

 

(I googled Kenner projection microscope, but only came up some vintage toys?)




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics