Cameras!

Photography is as allied with microscopy as could be, so do forgive this. -K

There was a time when possession of a microscope was a rare and novel thing. However rare it may be, it is certainly no longer novel. The same might have once been said of the photographic camera, but in the present day it might be more rare to encounter one who does not possess a camera. With the proliferation of cellular smart-phones it may seem that everyone is in constant possession of camera. This situation is apt to elicit a particular behavior; the placement of a camera at the eyepiece of a microscope.

Initially existing photographic apparatus was adapted to the microscope by the operator to meet their individual tastes and needs. Before long, manufacturers began putting out specialty photographic apparatus intended to be placed at the eyepiece of the microscope. Sometime later specialty microscopic apparatus-possessed of a beam splitter and photo tube-that required even more specialized photographic apparatus became the standard, below are two 35mm cameras of that sort.

Two varieties of integrated photomicrographic apparatus.

Two varieties of integrated photomicrographic apparatus.

Simple, and easy to use, versatile cameras like the above provide variable levels of tertiary magnification. Shutters are integrated and fittings for remote shutter release are provided, along with connections for automated exposure meters, and on some models other computerized accessories. Unfortunately, these sorts of camera are very non-standardized. One might notice that the lower optical connection on the above are of significantly different size, neither compatible with any of the standard eyepiece diameters. Apparatus of this type is only suited for use with microscopes equipped with a photographic head, and even then one can not be certain of physical-never mind optical-compatibility.

Modern stands equipped with photographic apparatus are frequently of questionable quality and universally expensive. Vintage stands tend to be incomplete and similarly expensive. Unless one is lucky or particularly knowledgeable this sort of apparatus is best pursued only cautiously. Instead, one might take a page from the microscopists of years ago and seek to adapt standard photographic apparatus to photomicrographic work.

The next few posts will treat with this topic with a goal of producing professional quality photomicrogaphs conveniently and usefully. If this goal may be reached economically in a manner that provides optically superior results it is only because of the countless microscopists who labored with cumbersome tools and complex arrangements  to provide our understanding of the required techniques.

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