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Anyone familiar with EPI (top-light) microscopes?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, Dec 27, 2012.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Looks like I need a better microscope soon. Must be up to 500x or so and
    top light or EPI since none of the things I am looking at are
    translucent. Oil immersion microscopy is generally not possible in my
    cases either. I guess that means metallurgical microscope versus
    biological (slides). Needs to have USB camera and it would be nice if
    the microscope wasn't the usual octopus-style monster. Color aberrations
    and such don't matter much.

    I could not find a reasonably priced OMAX. Is AmScope good? There are
    often no reviews and the ones I saw are like a large octopus with
    protrusions and cables:

    This OMAX looks really nice but no decent top lighting possible I guess :-(
  2. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I've got a cheapo one with several inches working distance for
    soldering. It has top-lighting built in but because of the working
    distance I rarely need to even turn that on.

    What I'd need this one for would be things like determining whether
    there is damage in metallization features that are 10um wide or less.
    Not very often, so I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on this and
    preferably it should not clutter the whole lab bench.
  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Those are nice but size-wise they are monsters. Well, I just ordered the
    little Chinese scope Jeff pointed out. With its 5 MPixel sensor in there
    it should be able to do the trick and it is so small that I can store it
    in a cabinet while not needed. Without working up a back pain every time
    I have to schlepp it :)
  4. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Interesting, although this review was a bummer:

    But ... I'll try, thanks for the hint, I just ordered it. Under $129
    with tax, and free shipping. Now, another seller jumped in at $97.45.
    Grumble. Oh well.
  5. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I am not going to solder under this one. It's strictly for workpiece
    checks and such. Right now I have teeny sensors that I think could have
    been busted in shipping but I can't see things. So I ordered one of
    those Chinese 500x scopes Jeff mentioned. I'll post when I've got it

    For soldering I use a Veho 20x scope that I can zoom in some more on the
    computer. Several inches distance and if I fume up the place a lot it
    can even see through a protective cap so no fumes get in. Its downside
    is a screwed-up SW, has a rather pathetic flaw. Whenever I disconnect
    from USB and then re-connect it has to re-install its driver. But it
    takes nice pics.
  6. P E Schoen

    P E Schoen Guest

    "Joerg" wrote in message
    I just got one of these:

    It was only $49 including shipping, and I'm pleased with it. Here's a video
    of my teeth:

    and a quick picture of Muttley in poor light conditions:

    and just for fun, if you take a screen shot of the image it is displaying...

    I also bought this one

    It was only $19 including shipping from Hong Kong. Some pictures:

  7. Guest

    It costs more than a cheap Chinese USB camera, though. Joerg is
    tight! ;-)
    Ditto, though my phone does a pretty good job on its own.
  8. miso

    miso Guest

    I was going to suggest the Mitutoyo. It is a workhorse. The optics are
    APO. I've seen them at Outback when they used to be in San Jose. I really don't understand the need to use video gear. It is so much
    better to look through optics.

    The deal with a Mitutoyo is you can always sell it if you don't need it
    anymore. Nobody wants that Chinese junk. Even my old B&L Stereozoom
    would get what I paid for it.

    I don't think I'd trust the average schmuck to pack a microscope on ebay.
  9. Owen Roberts

    Owen Roberts Guest

  10. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    That pales rather quickly once faced with the need to work in a team
    where the members are 1000mi or more apart. Which is always the case
    with me.

    Well, I've bought one before and it works great. Just doesn't have the
    500x magnification I need now.
  11. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    But it's a Monster and I do not have the space you do. Although with the
    way things are going in CA lately it might be possible to pick up
    industrial real estate on the cheap soon.

    Plus the Mantis scopes I've used in the past were too wobbly for my
    taste. I don't get seasick but it was annoying.
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    I want manual focus. Just like with my Olympus E-PL1 camera. It has
    autofocus and all that but it will remain dormant forever because I only
    use non-Olympus lenses with it. The microscope cannot know which
    features I want to look at and nearly all my stuff in 3D.

    That scope is too big and bulky for me. I need something I can quickly
    carry out of the way or even use inside heavy machinery.
  13. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    That will collapse just as the dot-com bust and the housing bubble. 1-2
    years sounds about right. Just with a more muffled kaboom because only
    very few areas see this kind of hype. In our area ... nada. "For lease"
    signs everywhere. There is a flurry of large new stores though but I can
    almost bet that we'll see some of those go belly-up soon.
    Too bit, way too big. Plus I really need higher magnification. 300x at
    least, ideally 500x which is what I am (hopefully) getting now. Color
    abberation will probably be horrid but that's ok.

    Yeah, but too big. I need something I can move to another table or back
    into a small cabinet space in seconds. Like I can with the old
    microscope I have.
  14. miso

    miso Guest

    That foamed in shipping is fine. Some places charge for it, but better
    to get your item in one piece.

    I've used video on microscopes for documentation, but there is nothing
    like looking through the optics.

    There are Mitutoyo to M42 adapters on Ebay. While there are no M42 DSLRs
    (that I know of at least), once you are M42, you can adapt that to DSLRs. I'd try the DSLR route first before going C-mount. Most DSLRs have a PC
    interface these days, and the resolution is certainly better then NTSC
    or PAL.

    The flange to focal plane distance for EOS is less than M42, but the
    adapter looks recessed a bit. One assumes it isn't recessed so much that
    the mirror hits the lens. ;-) [The difference is about 1.5mm] Then
    again, we are talking made in China. I don't know the details for Nikon
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