Good immersion oil

Good immersion oil

Postby Leif Goodwin » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:11 pm

Can anyone recommend good immersion oil? I recall someone mentioning that the Brunel stuff is too thick. This evening yet again I could not measure spores as the slightest adjustment of the focus caused spores to move. This is somethingI see with the Brunel oil I bought a month or two ago. I guess this could be due to it being thick and transmitting the motion of the objective to the slide. :( I did not have this trouble with Meiji oil except when using lactophenol cotton blue in glycerine. Is the ABFG oil better? Does better oil cost a lot more?
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Neil » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:20 pm

Whilst you're waiting for MJ to reply, it might be worth mentioning when I bought a Russian Biolam Biological scope about 20 years ago off a chap who was a metallurgist (it came with an extra nosepiece with the special lenses needed) he supplied me with a brand new bottle (100ml) of Zeiss immersion oil.
I am STILL using it ! The 100x standard objective was all gummed up and never retracted as it should, but it cleaned up OK. This made me think he had been using far too much oil which made it's way round the sides of the lens.

I use exactly one small drop which is all that is needed (for anybody new to microscopy), but yes, I do occasionally get the swimming spores problem but not often. When I bought my Olympus scope that came supplied with their own oil, but I've never opened it yet as I still have plenty of Zeiss oil left.

Neil.
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby davidharries » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:48 am

Hi Leif,
I had the same problem. Brunel oil is readily available and economical, but too viscous for some applications. The ABFG oil is also economical if you are ordering other items (as postage is a bit high) and far less viscous. It is based on peanut oil.

I tried immersion oil from Ebay (Scuddlebutt3). This was very economical, but very sticky and gloopy, and hard to clean up. Quite unpleasant to handle.

In the end I settled for Cargille A and B oils from McCrone (UK). Plenty of information about the products on the Cargille (US) website - seems to be pretty much the gold standard for immersion oils, and the A & b oils are miscible giving the user the full range of viscosity. Unfortunately very pricy in the UK - £16/30 mls plus p&p, but excellent service from McCrone. Hopefully my stock will last for years.
Warning - Cargille oil does not mix with Brunel oil!

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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Richard Scott » Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:03 am

When I rang Brunel and asked them about the viscosity of their oil they told me they had a new supplier and very kindly sent me a free bottle.
Absolutely no different to the old oil, so I rang them again. They then told me to put it on a radiator for a while to warm it up.
That did make some difference. Brunel Oil is nice and clear where as ABFG oil is slighlty brownish and this can be seen through the lens.
I get moving spores with both types of oil. When I first got my microscope (SP100) from Brunel it came with a tiny bottle of oil which was absolutely clear and perfect in use, they say that the oil they supply seperately is the same, it certainly was not in my case.
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Leif Goodwin » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:07 am

I checked out the cost of Zeiss oil. Over £100 a bottle. Ouch.
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Neil » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:22 am

Leif Goodwin wrote:I checked out the cost of Zeiss oil. Over £100 a bottle. Ouch.


Blimey, he told me the stuff was pricey, but I never knew that much !
I don't feel so bad now as when I got home and looked at the equipment thoroughly I eventually noticed the 100x had a scratch on the glass, but to an amateur like me, I couldn't tell if performance was really affected. It seems he must have caused the scratch with the stage in a certain position, that when he swivelled round the nosepiece the lens caught the lever of the glass slide release mechanism - bad design !

So listen up boys and girls, if you intend to buy a second-hand scope, always check the objective lenses are not scratched, or if you have your first scope, twist round the nose piece with the focussing at max and min positions to ensure the lenses are not going to catch on anything as you do so. I gave this away after 12 years use.

Neil.

Sorry Leif, I seem to have gone off topic slightly, but if you still have problems with spores not staying still you could always try lifting the coverslip slightly and inserting a Tardigrade - one look at this beasty is enough to stop spores dead in their tracks, they soon behave. :roll:
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Leif Goodwin » Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:20 pm

Neil, just a comment on your digression. One advantage of buying an old microscope with non-infinity optics is that high quality objectives are easily obtained on the second hand market at modest prices. Whereas if you buy modern infinity optics, you probably have to stick to your own manufacturer's objectives, and they will cost a fortune. That is why I wish I had bought an older scope, or a better modern one.

As an aside, I seem to recall that you have some 'posh' microscopes - including a modern Olympus I think - do you find the optics noticeably better than those on cheaper instruments?

Regarding tardigrades, I do often find animals caught under the cover glass. Nematodes are common, and living ones can give quite a surprise. I also sometimes see small creatures not unlike the tardigrade, mites or some such creature. And of course there are the simple single celled organisms.
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Neil » Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:50 pm

Hello Leif,
I have 3 compound scopes and 1 dissecting scope :

1. Wild (pronounced Vilt) Stereo Compound M11 with floating stage (Manufactured in 1954 in Switzerland) Wild later on took over Leitz and in 1990 it became Leica plc.
2. Olympus CX 31 with U TRU adaptor for adding video camera etc.
3. Olympus BX 50 trinocular.

plus Olympus SZX7 stereo dissecting scope.

When I decided to buy a new microscope I decided to go for a big name in the hope it will last a lifetime. I planned to get a Leitz scope but they never responded to my letter quick enough whereas Olympus were very quick and their latest models seemed very impressive. By the time the Leitz, Nikon and Zeiss brochures arrived I had practically already become hooked on Olympus. Strangely my supplier seemed very keen on showing me a 'top of the range' (a third of the price of the CX 31) Chinese scope even encouraging me to go out and find a fungus, prepare a slide and try out the scope.
I must say I was very impressed, but with no track record, I had no idea how good the 100x oil lens was (how well the cement holding the glass in position will keep the oil out and how well the glass will be able to resist fungal attack which can cause etching) or how long the rack and pinion would last. At the time, I couldn't compare it with the CX31 as the next consignment was in the North Sea on its way from Germany.

When I finally placed the first slide in my CX 31 I felt really chuffed with myself especially with the brightness of the subject and the overall image flatness, but the clarity was no better in my opinion than the Chinese model, although the Olympus had the advantage with image flatness and definition.
There was too much time delay in comparing the two scopes to give any 'definitive' judgement - I expect both scopes are equally robust but maybe the longevity of the Chinese objectives will let them down.

So in answer to your question, the optics were far superior to my old Russian model, but compared to the Chinese scope the difference seemed minimal, but remember I was unable to do a side by side comparison and who knows how long the Chinese scopes will last for ?
As for my Olympus BX 50, it is really something else and I urge people to 'Google it up' (It is no longer in production by the way)

Neil.
Last edited by Neil on Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Leif Goodwin » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:31 pm

Thanks Neil. I ask as I am not impressed with my Meiji, but as you surely know there is no place to try and compare different makes and models. What do you mean when you say the Oly BX 50 is something else? Are you saying it is obviously better? By the way, the low end Zeiss, Nikon, Leica and Olympus microscopes are made in China, possibly with German/Japanese designed optics.
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Re: Good immersion oil

Postby Neil » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:05 pm

There is just so much potential for the BX 50 - if, at a later date I wish to use Nomarski DIC (differential interference contrast) or maybe use the Fluorescence Unit, I simply slot them in, but I'm a long way yet from going down that road.
Mine is fitted with 15x wide angle eye-pieces and U-TR30 Trinocular Tube with Olympus Universal Plan Semi-Apochromatic Fl objectives (4, 10, 40, 60, and 100x) in conjunction with the U-D6RE Sextuple Revolving Nosepiece with U-UCD Universal Condenser.
So how do I describe the performance ? I can't really because I don't fully understand all the technical terms, but the 'picture' is noticeably bigger, brighter and better ! But is that down to it having a 100watt halogen bulb or 20% more observation coverage - I don't know.

The shame is that I only ever use it where ornamentation of spores is important or I want to take photos, otherwise I mostly use the CX 31.
The pride is simply owning such a scope.

Neil.
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