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Wxman

What to look for buying a stereo scope?

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Wxman

Any suggestions on used stereo microscopes? Lens power? Depth of field? Lighting? Cost? Boom assembly? DIY?

Thanks

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Ptychodus04

Make sure you get a true stereo microscope, not a binocular microscope. Binos are 2d so you lose dept perception. Also, you want "low" magnification. I use 10x the most. Also, get the most working distance possible. My scope has 8" of working distance.

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Wxman
2 hours ago, Ptychodus04 said:

Make sure you get a true stereo microscope, not a binocular microscope. Binos are 2d so you lose dept perception. Also, you want "low" magnification. I use 10x the most. Also, get the most working distance possible. My scope has 8" of working distance.

Thanks @Ptychodus04 

That is the type of info I was looking for. Any recommended budget brands? Is your boom OEM or a DIY? Do you mostly use your setup when abrading?

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Ptychodus04

I got my scope from Amscope, don’t remember the brand off the top of my head. The boom is OEM and not very easily adjustable but I don’t do a lot of adjusting. Most of my scope work is on fish so the work plane is fairly consistent. Minor adjustments in focusing only to account for tilt of the specimen or differential compression.

 

I mainly use it on my cabinet as it is big enough for scribe work as well on pieces under 20”. If I have a very large plate with to work that requires a microscope, I will move the scope to my bench. Otherwise, I use my 5x magnifying lamp for the bench work.

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jpc

in addition to ptych's comments, some microscopes can accomodate a Barlow Lens.  This is a lens that goes  on the bottom of the head and allows you a bigger depth of field.  It also cuts magnification in half.  When I have mine on the scope, I can use almost all my air scribes under the scope.  I also find that conituous zoom is the only way to fly.  I have used microscopes that have only 1x and 3x magifications.  Not so good.  Continuous zoom allows you to rool smoothly form lowest power to highest stopping wherever it looks best for that project.  Get it on a boom.  This allows you to out larger things underneath.  

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Wxman
8 hours ago, jpc said:

in addition to ptych's comments, some microscopes can accomodate a Barlow Lens.  This is a lens that goes  on the bottom of the head and allows you a bigger depth of field.  It also cuts magnification in half.  When I have mine on the scope, I can use almost all my air scribes under the scope.  I also find that conituous zoom is the only way to fly.  I have used microscopes that have only 1x and 3x magifications.  Not so good.  Continuous zoom allows you to rool smoothly form lowest power to highest stopping wherever it looks best for that project.  Get it on a boom.  This allows you to out larger things underneath.  

 

Ok, so I found a stereo microscope locally, and bought it. It doesn't have zoom. Being a Noooooobie, I was hoping you fine folks could answer a few questions for me.

Its a Bausch and Laumb, I'm told. It has 8x Ziess eyepieces and was told it has a 2x objective. I paid $60 CDN for it and it operates smoothly and clearly.

My questions: Is it a good enough deal? (a bit late I know)

Is the objective missing? Its working distance seems to be about 3 to 4 inches with a narrow depth of field. Per JPC above a Barlow lens would help with those issues - Does it just screw into the bottom threaded section?

see attached photos, and thanks in advance.

B+L small.jpg

B+L objective small.jpg

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jpc

for 60 CDN this is a good deal.  It may be tough to find a Barlow lens but yes, it would screw in to the bottom, as seen in your second photo.  

 

the boom is nice.  You can put the horizontal rod the scope sits on/in and put it into the stand form the other side, then clamp the base to your worktable and you have almost infinite space to move your fossil around and not be bothered by the base.

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Wxman
5 minutes ago, jpc said:

for 60 CDN this is a good deal.  It may be tough to find a Barlow lens but yes, it would screw in to the bottom, as seen in your second photo.  

 

the boom is nice.  You can put the horizontal rod the scope sits on/in and put it into the stand form the other side, then clamp the base to your worktable and you have almost infinite space to move your fossil around and not be bothered by the base.

 

Thanks JPC. I expected that for $60 I couldn't really lose. Perfect, I was wondering about reversing the boom like that.

Is the objective currently missing entirely? I have never used a stereo scope before. 

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Bob Saunders

I believe that the objective lens is the two round lens showing in the second picture. a quick test is to focus on a coin, or a tissue to see the fibers.  a good LED light source is best. Looks like good price. 

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Wxman
6 hours ago, Bob Saunders said:

I believe that the objective lens is the two round lens showing in the second picture. a quick test is to focus on a coin, or a tissue to see the fibers.  a good LED light source is best. Looks like good price. 

Thanks @Bob Saunders. I think you are right. I did some reading on it last night. The scope focusses sharply so I'm sure it's all there. I have ordered a 0.5 Barlow lens to get more working distance and depth of field. Hopefully that helps. Still researching lighting. Have you found a favorite light?

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Nimravis

@Wxman here is a link to a Bausch and Lomb that I bought at Goodwill for $20.

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Wxman

Looks like a steal. The zoom is great. What's the zoom power range?

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snolly50

A B&L rig is a quality instrument. Assuming it is not damaged and is completely functional, you got a great deal. 

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Wxman
1 hour ago, snolly50 said:

A B&L rig is a quality instrument. Assuming it is not damaged and is completely functional, you got a great deal. 

@snolly50Thanks. It seems totally functional. One focus knob has been epoxied at some point, but work smoothly. Impressively clear lenses and sharp focus. The magnification is too strong, with a 2x objective and the 8x Ziess eyepiece. I Have ordered a 0.5 Barlow to gain some working distance. Should arrive this week. Fingers crossed. 

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snolly50
43 minutes ago, Wxman said:

I Have ordered a 0.5 Barlow

Yes, that's what i run on my B&L Zoomscope. It is just right for prep or micro matrix. The only snag I've faced is with a really big piece like a skull. I have to raise the boom so high to get focus that my seat position does not allow me to comfortably reach the eyepieces. The rig is zoom equipped, but 90% of the time it stays on the lowest power. I was fortunate to pick up at auction a fiber optic light on the cheap. It is much superior to the vintage incandescent light that came with my 'scope.

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Ptychodus04
On 2/5/2020 at 8:22 PM, Wxman said:

@snolly50Thanks. It seems totally functional. One focus knob has been epoxied at some point, but work smoothly. Impressively clear lenses and sharp focus. The magnification is too strong, with a 2x objective and the 8x Ziess eyepiece. I Have ordered a 0.5 Barlow to gain some working distance. Should arrive this week. Fingers crossed. 

The eyepiece should have a focal length marked on the side of it. Typically they are not rated in magnification because the focal length of the eyepiece times the magnification rating of your objective is what results in your actual magnification. if your eyepieces are 8mm, you are getting 16x magnification from your setup (with the 2x objective). That is definitely on the higher end of useful for prep but perfect for sorting micro-fossils from loose matrix. I use my 20x arrangement for picking out micro-teeth after dissolving fossiliferous limestone matrix.

 

A .5x barlow will double your working distance and 1/2 your magnification with your current setup, making this microscope a great prep tool. Next up, you will find that you can't get nearly enough light on your specimen. I use a double gooseneck LED lamp to illuminate my prep subject.

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