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#553397 - Thu Sep 23 2010 08:56 PM Digital Microscopy
mehaul Offline
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All my life I have enjoyed microscopes (I've even run an electron scanning one) I started with a multi-mag (5x,10x,100x,) Gilbert kids scope. In one of my job requirements I needed to use a zooming stereo-optical-microscope that had a Polaroid B&W camera attached to take stills of cracked ceramic magnetron windows utilizing a dye penetrant and flurescent lighting. In my tool chest now, I have two cheap Radio Shack optical scopes (30x, 100x)

I am now in a position where I want to do low power microscopic photographs on my mineral collection and various other natural items I encounter (Bugs, shells, flower structures, etc.) Does anyone have any experience with any particular manufacturer. The Digital Companies are mostly different than the old opticals I was familiar with (AO, Gilbert) so I no nothing about the new toys on the block's reputations. I see they range in price from $20 up to hundreds for non-corporate type equipment.

Does anyone have suggestions or know of a reputable sales outlet?


Edited by mehaul (Sat Sep 25 2010 03:09 PM)
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#553438 - Fri Sep 24 2010 03:22 AM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
tellywellies Offline
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I've only done macro shots. These can't match microscopic photography but I think, with some of the standard high megapixel cameras available, you can get in very close and capture some extremely fine detail.

This photo started off as a fairly distant spider but nonetheless, the 8 megapixel camera had picked up a good amount of detail. The part of the frame containing just the spider looked huge on the computer. Cropping, resizing and a little sharpening produced the result.

While that isn't enough to be called microscopic, I reckon I could have cropped out just one of the spider's legs and shown the hairs in fine detail if I'd wanted to. It depends how detailed you want photos to be.
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#553496 - Fri Sep 24 2010 01:35 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: tellywellies]
mehaul Offline
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Thank you for some input.
That's getting there. I'd like to zoom in to see the structure of the leg attachment to the body and view what musculature a spider has. I have a Nikon L-100 with macro zoom but It won't take me in deep enough, ergo the want to do microscopy again. I imagine part of my question should also have addressed the presentation side of it, the software. Enlarging, cropping and enlarging some more done by a good controller software should also be on my list. Thanks for pointing that out in a way.
And nice (wolf spider is it? Hard to tell from a bottomsjhot like that. Most spiders are identified by back markings, but I SEE THE HAIRS!) Arachnid shot. Too bad you couldn't have lit it with a whole spectrum of lighting. I bet it glows bright under ultraviolet.


Edited by mehaul (Fri Sep 24 2010 06:01 PM)
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#553634 - Fri Sep 24 2010 11:40 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
tellywellies Offline
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I'm not sure what sort of spider it is. It's about an inch long including the legs. If I see it again, I'll see if I can get a top shot and ask if it would mind posing under a UV light. smile

PhotoShop seems to be the editing software the professionals use and to which home users aspire to owning. It has a high price tag on it though, so many (including me) use a lesser program that can still do the job very well. Some good free programs are available too.
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#553651 - Sat Sep 25 2010 04:49 AM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: tellywellies]
martin_cube Offline
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Slightly off subject I know. I was trying to take a similar photo to your spider TW but couldn't get my camera to focus on the spider & it's web. It would only focus on the background, several feet away. Is there a technique to get the camera to focus on the subject you want it to or is this a matter of juggling with the settings to achieve the desired effect? Any advice would be appreciated.

I should say that the camera is nothing special, lens changing is not an option. There is a 'Macro' function which allows me to zoom right on to the subject, it's just the focusing issue that's bugging the heck out of me.


Edited by martin_cube (Sat Sep 25 2010 04:53 AM)
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#553693 - Sat Sep 25 2010 12:13 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: martin_cube]
mehaul Offline
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With my Nikon (and all the CPU chips are probably different inside the cameras but similar in some general regards) I have to turn on Macro (The zooming function still works if I don't but the focal point remains outside the macrorange of focal distance. Once Macro is on I zoom to frame the subject. Then I need to set exposure compensation and hit 'ok' a couple of times and then the camera is ready to shoot the subject.

I've noticed that many times I thought my pic was going to be out of focus. What I found was happening is that because it was to be a close up, I put my face closer to the viewing screen (he he he as if that'd help the camera work somehow). I realized it was the camera being too close to me that was out of focus. When I held the camera in place and just backed my head away, everything became focused. It was a strange sensation. After a lifetime of having to have a peek through a viewfinder to now remove my eye from the working zone really caused woozyness. But it's like riding a bike, once you've learned how to do it you cannot forget, (I had a Minolta SLR before that had macro on it so I may have been jumping off that diving board in my experience with the digital Nikon.)

The Nikon takes a moment to identify the up close object as the one to focus on. You may just need to give the camera an extra moment to choose the near field object to center on. REM with the digitals there's no real distance focusing going on. it's just a matter of the camera deciding how to interpret the pixelation mode to operate on.
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"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
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#553695 - Sat Sep 25 2010 02:08 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
tellywellies Offline
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The spider photo was taken with was an Olympus SP-560UZ bridge camera. It has an 18X optical zoom on it. I have found extreme close-ups taken in normal mode (rather than using macro) with a degree of zoom can produce a better focused shot for photos like the spider. The camera ends up being a couple of feet from the subject but as long as it is in the middle of the frame, the lens will auto-focus.

The spider ended up being a fairly small part of the photo but as said, the high number of pixels had captured the detail. The shot was therefore able to tolerate the surrounding area being cropped away while the remainder still contained the spider in all its glory.


Edited by tellywellies (Sat Sep 25 2010 02:11 PM)
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#553700 - Sat Sep 25 2010 04:03 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: tellywellies]
mehaul Offline
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So for my microscope investment, I should be looking for the biggest bang (most pixels) for my buck? That sounds like good sorting criteria. Then a good software package to manipulate the image and a nice dedicated laptop to make it all portable.
My lighting bank needs to move also (Nine positions for nine flurescent curly-q bulbs, 135W total, of multiple wavelengths, each switchable on/off, relies on AC but I got an Inverter to use on my home emergency power system I could make travel with it to run off car batteries if no AC is around) (It'd also run the Scope and PC) Ah, it's coming together
(Photoshop is expensive? Do they have several levels of product 'cause I've seen it inexpensive, was I not looking at the 'good' package or was I just too long ago looking at it?


Edited by mehaul (Sat Sep 25 2010 04:06 PM)
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"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
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#553978 - Mon Sep 27 2010 06:17 AM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Adobe produce three main software packages for manipulating photographic images (they also produce software for other sorts of images, like vector drawings, animation, etc. but you won't need those). The three photographic packages are Lightroom, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Lightroom is great for photographers who want to finetune RAW format images straight out of camera, e.g. by compensating for the different colour values of lenses, colour burn, straightening horizons, etc. It is best used in conjunction with Photoshop but unless you want professional print quality images you probably won't need it. Elements and Photoshop are both used for manipulating images - Elements is considerably cheaper because it is very much a cutdown version and doesn't have the multiplicity of functions that Photoshop does. If you are a registered student you can get a full Photoshop licence for a lower cost but otherwise it's fairly expensive.

However, while you're making up your mind whether to spend the money, you might want to try GIMP, which is free open source software that will do more than Elements. It's not as slick as Photoshop nor as good (I'm a dyed in the wool Photoshop user) but it will do a lot of what most people want and as it's free... start there and see if it does everything you need.
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#554075 - Mon Sep 27 2010 02:39 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: flopsymopsy]
mehaul Offline
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You hit the bullseye with that shaft oh great archer with big ears. Thank you.
Some of my early looks indicate the more expensive scopes (and this may be why) come prepackaged with some level of image software. I will have to add knowing whether the basic code can accept or merge with other softwares.

I wish there was a local science store to go to. I was thinking of adding a couple of those twenty dollar ones to my order to give to the local middle school (grades 7,8,9) for their science classes.


Edited by mehaul (Mon Sep 27 2010 03:03 PM)
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#556147 - Wed Oct 06 2010 09:07 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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An update: by way of coercing a friend to approach her brother who is Mr. Technical library to see what help he might lend,(She said he has all the catalogues and will ask him to let me read them) I mentioned the info from here that Photoshop has become expensive. She said she has it, never uses it and will give it to me. She's pee-owe'd that she paid over $600 for it and she uses the free stuff off her linux platform. GETTING CLOSER!

In the area of South Florida where I live, there has been a lot of investing in attracting big name Bio-Tech trusts, Research groups and paving the way for small start up businesses. (Since we've already got the Anthrax all over the place here, why not go for the brass ring?) There should be ample opportunities for a microscopy service to help those little start-ups who don't want to invest in having a Microscopic photographer/engineer on board or to spend the funds to keep up to date technologically and technique-wise. Since the 5 local Universities don't offer digital Microscopy programs, I might get my foot in the door on this one (to quote Ralph Kramden).


Edited by mehaul (Wed Oct 06 2010 10:44 PM)
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"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
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#556212 - Thu Oct 07 2010 07:03 AM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Just be grateful that you don't live in the UK, Mehaul. Traditionally, software companies have ripped us off bigtime because they simply converted software prices pound for dollar. So in the past if you paid $699 for Photoshop (the current cost), we'd get charged 699 - a straightforward currency conversion would produce a cost in Sterling of 375. They've changed that a bit now... the current cost of Photoshop here is only 663. Wow, what a massive discount! wink That's the price for the download - which is 20 more expensive than having them ship me the boxed software and manual; how weird is that?
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#556689 - Sat Oct 09 2010 03:17 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
Jakeroo Offline
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mehaul: I'd LOVE to have the chance to do microscopic photography. Or, for that matter, telescopic. A friend of mine managed to build a "rig" where one of his cameras is attached to a telescope. Fabulous pictures. I think he should patent the "hook-up".

Sometimes it's not all about the pixels, but rather the lens. Not all point and shoot digital cameras come with the same size/type lens. This picture was taken on a camera with "only" 4 megs max. Not in macro mode, but rather standing about 3 feet away (I'm highly allergic to bee venom so I don't want to get TOOO close lol) and zooming a wee bit.



TellyW: Your (VERY relaxed) spider is an Orb Weaver of some sort. There are hundreds of members in that family, so without seeing her "topside", it's hard to determine exactly which one she is. I say "she", because of the pedipalps (those things that look like short legs near the head). Male spiders have bulbous endings on them (which look rather like boxing gloves). Females do not. Based on general body shape and length of the palps, my best guess would be Araneus diadematus or Araneus gemmoides

Martin: re spider webs. Try to take a shot when the sun is not directly shining on the web (unless there are dewdrops for the camera to focus on, or the background is very dark). Don't bother on a windy day. Macro setting is best. Tripods are wonderful things if you have shaky hands like me lol. I think the biggest mistake people make when using the macro setting is that they ALSO use the zoom feature. Since macromode is a built-in, preset function, the camera tends to get confused when you monkey with it. If the camera doesn't seem to want to focus, physically move it/yourself either closer or farther away from the subject a couple of inches and try again. Press the shutter button only halfway at first to see if the things you want to capture will be in focus once the picture is "snapped". If it looks good at that point, press the shutter button all the way.


Edited by Jakeroo (Sat Oct 09 2010 04:29 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#556715 - Sat Oct 09 2010 05:45 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: Jakeroo]
mehaul Offline
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My learning on digital microscopes (low power ones) so far is that the lens is not really involved in any of the shot (High power do have functioning lenses for magnification). The software determines how the exposure on the CCDs is presented with each pixel being decided as acquiring the smallest amount of data acquisition and zooming back from that point by mathematical/statistical presentation of the data at that depth of field. If you want to get a closer shot at maximum res, you move the camera closer to the subject. The lens is to protect the CCDs and to do minor focusing onto the CCD array.
And with my macro-camera, the zoom is functional even in macro, you just need to let the camera figure out what happened then shoot. The Nikon Coolpix L100 has 15X optical Zoom and then 4X digital magnification (like the Microscope) allowing for a total magnification of sixty times! I'd drop a pix here but I'd need to change the resolution downwards to get a transferable image. I know I can do that but I just haven'[t played with those controls yet. I can display them now through the nikon software but transferring files has been a barrier, the files are too large. Here's one from my $50 Polaroid Digital which I have de-rezzed for file transferring of my papier clay jack-o-lantern:



Edited by mehaul (Sat Oct 09 2010 05:46 PM)
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
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#556718 - Sat Oct 09 2010 06:07 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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The Polaroid is a 5 megapixel model a530. It has 4X digital Zoom (magnification). Here is an origami crane I folded that is four inches long but I stood back and zoomed to about 3X for the shot (the blur is I moved, dang it) It is actually a yellow paper taken under a red light and a grey background. If it were on the pumpkin head it would look like a butterfly (size-wise).



Edited by mehaul (Sat Oct 09 2010 06:27 PM)
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#557824 - Fri Oct 15 2010 06:01 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Scientific American Magazine announced today the winners of their annual Photomicrosopy contest. The top twenty images are shown, They run the gamut from immature bivalves to wasp compound eye to a mineral crystal formation that looks more alive than a dandelion flower. I've got the link I hope to the #20 image here, so if you go, you can navigate up to first place. (Next year for me.)


http://www.scientificamerican.com/slides...AB6E394D835D4A8


Edited by mehaul (Fri Oct 15 2010 06:03 PM)
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Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
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#557902 - Sat Oct 16 2010 08:36 AM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
Jakeroo Offline
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Verrrry cool photographs. Thanks for the link mehaul!

If anyone wants to see all 120 entries (they're worth the trip), try the nikon website below. I think you'll find that the pages load a LOT faster and they don't fight with your computer security settings lol

http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/gallery/year/2010/1
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#557986 - Sat Oct 16 2010 05:37 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: Jakeroo]
mehaul Offline
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Thank you Jakeroo. That link has a link to Nikon's Microscopy U (niversity?) where all kinds of information about digital Microscopy and state of the art are available. If I'm not back by next week, I've enrolled in the U.

Without having to go link to link to link to... Here's the link to Microscopy U:::

http://www.microscopyu.com/


Edited by mehaul (Sat Oct 16 2010 07:34 PM)
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#558321 - Mon Oct 18 2010 03:18 AM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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I started to explore the Nikon site associated with Microscopy U and there are a lot of expensive pieces of hardware being showcased. I might go back and look through their 'not in current manufacture' list to identify a model I might like. But right now I'm just starting so...
I went to the Orion Telescopes site (I used to get their catalogs) because I remembered they carry a few microscopes. I found a beauty and if any of you have experience with it, please let me know. It's a Celestron LCD Deluxe Digital Microscope, 3 mega pixel camera internal to the unit; a port for download to a flash memory card; 4x/10x/20x/40x magnification (it is somewhat old fashioned and has selectable object lenses); 4.5x digital zoom; all run through a 5 inch LCD touch screen control panel. Internal lighting top and bottom; battery/field operable. Sounds like just the ticket for a foot in the door starter system at under $300 US! If you had shown me these specs so many years ago when I was a youngster, I guess this scope would have sold for millions because of the camera. Drawback: the specimen table may not be removable for me to load in my larger crystal specimens.
That's where I am now in my Digital Microscopy quest: Do I go starter model and get used to the realm and terms and techniques or go for the bigger, more powerful systems? Like I said, anyone with familiarity with the Celestron, let me know.
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#558733 - Tue Oct 19 2010 08:04 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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I looked at a couple of more models and they were either real starter 'scopes or big business investment, track depreciation value each year type investments. One came close, another celestron but the camera was only 2MP and the objective lenses were x100X/200X/400X which is really more of a high power scope. I just want low power right now for Crystals and bugs and flowers to start out. I had to put my foot in the door so I opted to begin my journey through the world of digital Microscopy by getting the Celestron LCD Deluxe Digital Microscope detailed above. For less than $300 including shipping, a carry/storage case and some starter slide and other minor paraphenalia, how could I go wrong? I even think I saved enough money going 'beginner' that I can afford to get several of the freestanding camera scopes for the Middle School. Just have to remember the site Isaw them at about three months ago when my search began. I'll have the scope by this weekend, I hope and look forward to posting the first pic here. Another aspect of this scope I liked was that (I am legally blind and for the life of me can't focus through a regular lens) this displays the magnified image on that 5x5 inch LCD screen making it easy for me to see (well easier anyway)!

YAY! Thanks all for your help and maybe one of these Photography threads could get dedicated to just Microscopic and/or Telescopic imaging?


Edited by mehaul (Wed Oct 20 2010 02:48 AM)
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#558756 - Tue Oct 19 2010 10:46 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Oh, a picture of it:::



Edited by mehaul (Tue Oct 19 2010 10:51 PM)
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#561538 - Sun Oct 31 2010 03:24 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Where Orion listed magnification as 4x/10x/20x/40x, that was just for the object lens, the eyepiece in front of the camera is 10x so my minimum magnification is forty times (40x), a bit large for my desire for close-ups of minerals and plant and insect images (which should be 4x-40x). So other equipment is in the research stage. The BigC people were nice enough to send me a catalog of their hand held low mag cameras.
Anyway I promised a Photomicrograph and here's one of the first. I had to get an SD card to store the image and batteries to run the thing while I hooked it to the computer to download the image. It is the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC as depicted on the reverse of a US one cent (penny) piece, circulated 2005 edition. Now I just need to find 30,000 more of these babies to pay for the scope.


Edited by mehaul (Sun Oct 31 2010 03:26 PM)
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#561546 - Sun Oct 31 2010 03:36 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Can I copy a bigger image from Photobucket?
IMG]http://i804.photobucket.com/albums/yy327/mutantnoggins/Img00004.jpg[/IMG]

I guess not. Any tips on copying the photos directly here or in a larger size?
It has some interesting presentations of the copper alloy used to make the coin which can be seen with the photo enlarged.
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#561552 - Sun Oct 31 2010 03:50 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Aha! Now you can see some of the green patina of copper crystals that weren't alloyed to the Zinc in the coin (the grey crystals are the zinc ones I believe)

[img:center]http://[/img]
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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#1011174 - Wed Sep 18 2013 03:40 PM Re: Digital Microscopy [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
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It took 3 years of saving but I've finally gotten my handheld microscope. It has magnification of x5-x50. I got two stands to use with it: a portable mini and a benchtop lab type. I've chosen to stay with the Abe Memorial on the US penny reverse as a first image. This is at x5 and was taken with all light sources off except for a single blue LED! It isn't the same penny. I spent the last one. The blue has an eerie realism to the scene, almost as if it were taken at the real memorial.
_________________________
"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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