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Adapting Standard Digital Cameras To A Microscope

Adapting a standard digital cameras to a microscope

Common digital cameras may be adapted via a C-mount bracket or a camera to C-mount thread to a microscope. Digital cameras can 'see' down microscopes or magnifiers with a large front lens and when focused at infinity they 'see' the magnified image well. Not to be confused with a dedicated microscope digital camera for C-mount. A dedicated camera for microscopy shows a very large image on a computer screen, is free of camera shake and instantly downloads photographs. Colour, lighting and contrast adjustments may be performed prior and post capture.

Features & Requirements

  1. A digital camera can be fixed on a monocular, binocular or trinocular microscope, however, only on a trinocular would the image be visible other than through the microscope's viewfinder.
  2. The C-mount bracket fits around the sleeve holding a standard 23.2mm diameter eyepiece.
  3. The digital camera should have an international standard screw thread on the underside of the camera as used for a tripod.
  4. A wide-field, low power eyepiece (2x or lower, standard diameter) must be mounted in the trinocular tube.

Disadvantages of using a C-Mount adapter bracket
If the eyepiece field is not very wide, vignetting will occur. If a suitable low-power WF eyepiece is not available the system cannot work satisfactorily. To reduce vignetting it may help to use a little camera zoom. Mounting and centring the camera is 'fiddly'. A self-timer must be used to avoid camera shake. Images must be downloaded to a computer at a later time and the images could not be large and 'live' on a computer screen.
Most digital cameras when held with a C-mount adapter or other digital camera holding devices can produce good images in dedicated hands, but they are too slow and cumbersome for professional use.

The C-mount thread has an external diameter of 27.8mm
On some microscopes C-mounts are used in lieu of a camera eyepiece. The C-mount then screws into our camera for C-mounts. The lower end has a simple "two-points plus screw" fastening. To obtain similar magnification as through the 10x magnification viewing eyepieces, eyepiece/ C-mount or eyepiece magnification is a direct relation between film/ CMOS/ CCD size. Any digital camera would work with either the 0.5 and the 1x C-mount, but a third inch CMOS or CCD may be better with 0.5x and half inch chip better with a 1x C-mount. With 35mm film the most suitable eyepiece for the camera may have been 8x.

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