Macro lens through microscope?

Abdulkarim Elnaas

Arachnosquire
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Oct 15, 2016
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Just a stupid thought that came to my head. What happens when you use a 1:1 true macro lens through a stereo/compound- microscope? I don't have access to the equipment so I can't test it myself. I suppose you are ultimately limited by the resolution of the microscope? Does it even make a difference in photo quality?
 

AphonopelmaTX

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May 7, 2004
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Just a stupid thought that came to my head. What happens when you use a 1:1 true macro lens through a stereo/compound- microscope? I don't have access to the equipment so I can't test it myself. I suppose you are ultimately limited by the resolution of the microscope? Does it even make a difference in photo quality?
Not sure if you are still interested in the answer to your question, but I can tell you exactly what happens. I tried this using my DSLR with APS-C sensor and 55mm macro kit lens and stereo microscope before I bought a dedicated microscope camera.

What happens is you will get a dark, blurry, highly magnified image with black border. If you use a DSLR with a lens attached to take photos through a microscope, you have to hold the camera to the ocular lens and line up the lens perfectly to where the camera 'sees' through the microscope. That is an incredibly difficult action to perform since you have to hold the camera perfectly still. Using a tripod doesn't help either.

If you manage to accomplish this, then you have to worry about filling the microscope stage with so much light it will blind you and that won't even be enough light to travel up through the objective lens, through the ocular lens, then to your camera's sensor. But if your camera has excellent low light functionality, forget about using an ISO of 100-200, you still have to contend with the black circular border in your image. You can't get around that because you would be taking an picture through a tube (the ocular lens). I can't remember why that happens exactly, but it may not occur with a DSLR with full frame sensor. I only tried with a APS-C sensor and couldn't get rid of the black border. You can get around the black border with a camera with a zoom lens, like the camera on a smart phone, though. Again, not sure if the black border appears with a dedicated macro lens.

The trouble you would have to go through to line up the camera lens with the microscope's ocular lens is enough to make it not worthwhile. If you are interested in taking high magnification images it is better to use either a macro photography setup or use a dedicated microscope camera. It makes no sense to combine both. There are attachments for DSLR cameras to attach a camera body to a microscope though.
 
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