new microscope

new microscope

Postby jonathan need » Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:51 pm

Hi everyone,,

I need a microscope to study fungi and maybe even photograph what i see.

Can anyon give me an idea where to start. ie a particulare good make or even where to buy.
Any advice would be gratefully recieved.

:)
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Re: new microscope

Postby Leif Goodwin » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:01 pm

I'll start, then others can give you proper advice ...

For years I used an old monocular microscope with a mirror, and all I can say is don't do it. You need a built in lamp for reasons of sanity, and preferably with a binocular head as binocular viewing is more comfortable, albeit not a necessity. To study cystidia, basidia, asci and so on, you need about x400. For measuring spores, and seeing fine detail, you need x1000. Any more than that is probably empty magnification.

Where to buy? Well, there are lots of Chinese instruments around, some good, some not. Many are rebadged as Bresser, or Meade, and so on. If that is your chosen route, then buy from a reputable dealer such as Brunel microscopes, who wil not sell tat. You can spend £1000 or more on a new instrument, but IMO it is a waste. The value of a microscope once sold falls faster than the reputation of an MP whose expenses have just appeared in the Telegraph. Second hand ones offer tremendous value. (Microscopes that is, not MPs.) But the problem is getting one in good condition. Some ebay sellers are reputable. Most aren't, or at least they don't know much about what they are selling. Again I think the safest route is a dealer ... such as Brunel Microscopes. Sadly I do not get commission from them. There are some other apparently reputable dealers in the UK. Google can find them. Ebay is good if the dealer is sound, and you can check the instrument, and you know what to look for. There are incredible bargains. Caveat emptor.

Regarding photography, you can buy a trinocular instrument, and stick a digital SLR on the photo port. But vibrations from the shutter and mirror are an issue. Or you can mount a digicam on the photo port, with an adaptor and a projection eyepiece. Or you can mount a digicam in front of an eyepiece. Or you can buy a dedicated camera, with a direct connection to your PC. The latter is the most convenient, but it is not cheap.

One thing I have learnt is that the ability to prepare a slide is as important as anything. You will need tweezers, several pairs, slides, cover glasses, razor blades, and stains. And patience. But to end on a positive note, it is immense fun when you identify an anonymous fungus on the basis of microscopic features. In fact many species can only be identified with microscopy.

You can see examples of photomicrographs taken using a DSLR on a trinocular microscope on my web site. It is not easy. I am thinking about buying a dedicated camera. I have no experience of anything but photographing the image from the objective by placing a DSLR on the photo port. It works but vibrations are problematic.
Fungi and Nature Photography: http://www.leifgoodwin.co.uk/Fungi/Fungi.html
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Re: new microscope

Postby jonathan need » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:43 pm

Many thanks Leif, just the info i needed.

I checked out your website and am very impressed. just what i would like to acieve.

jon
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Re: new microscope

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:46 am

Members of the forum may not necessarily be aware that the Association of British Fungus Groups issues grants of new laboratory grade compound microscopes to ABFG member groups when these groups reach an agreed number of paid-up ABFG members. The ABFG has been handing over a limited number of these sound quality Winchester microscopes each year, calibrated and equipped with wide field binocular heads, measuring graticules and oil immersion objectives. Any field group that is a member of the Association can apply.

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Re: new microscope

Postby heather martin » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 pm

I have just joined the group and am also looking to buy a microscope. After making a very daft mistake with a Neuroterus quercusbaccarum (Common Spangle Gall) unable to tell, using my old school microscope, whether the specimen was animal, vegetable or mineral I would really like to know what I am looking at rather than guess. However I trained as an artist not an engineer and although I know what I want the microscope to do for me and how much I want to spend, I am absolutely flummoxed when faced with lists of technical specifications for various models. I know from purchasing cameras that several may have similar specifications on paper but there can be wide variations in performance. Does anyone have any idea whether there are any good dealers in the Eastbourne/Hastings/Tunbridge Wells area that I can actually talk to or can someone give me the name of a model they have tried and tested? I would like it to last for the rest of my lifetime and really want the equivalent of a high quality 'point and shoot' camera.
Many thanks.
Heather
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Re: new microscope

Postby jonathan need » Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:57 pm

Hi Heather,

Welcome to the group,

I am also new to the world of the microscope so i do not think my advice could help you there but i do know a little more about cameras.

If you do not want to invest in a digital SLR but want a good performing point and shoot i would recomend the canon G9 ,G10,OR G11 G9 was the first one and they have developed along the way.
I do not usually recomend one brand over another but i have used a G10 on a proffesional basis as a back up to my SLR and would not do without it.

A Digital SLR would be a lot more useful for youto develop your camera skills and at not much extra cost but it depends on what you think you would be happy with.

Jon
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Re: new microscope

Postby jonathan need » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:00 pm

Hi Heather,

Sorry i failed to mention that there will be a microscopy workshop held in Sussex by MJ and myself in March in Sussex if you are interested. A good time to get some info.

Jon.
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Re: new microscope

Postby heather martin » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:09 pm

Thank you Jon - the microscopy workshop sounds ideal. Just what I need to save me from making an expensive mistake.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Heather
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Re: new microscope

Postby Richard Scott » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:21 pm

Jon,
Is there any other workshops planned, March is skiing season, not shrooming?
Richard
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Re: new microscope

Postby NicholasAplin » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:25 pm

Hi Ladies and gents,

I shall hopefully see you all at the workshop in March.
I've recently 'upgraded' my microscope so I will centainly come along armed with many questions.

Cheers, Nick.
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