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Thread: Looking to get a microscope can anyone advise

  1. #21
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    I have only used the DM5 stereo microscope at the current time, we're starting up a beginner's microscopy group run by an ex 'professional' microscopist, though not on bees, after easter, so I've yet to really try out the SP20 in anger so this really is a beginner's assessment:

    The stereo microscope is certainly easy to use. Grab a bee (dead preferably or they tend to run/fly off) and put it under the scope and have a look at it.

    Both come nicely packaged so there's little chance of damage in transit, both come with dust covers and seem to be well put together and solid bits of kit.

    There is little in the way of operating instructions that come with the microscopes though there was a suggestion that I should have some oil for the compound 'scope which I don't seem to have and Brunel's site is pretty weak on that side of things in terms of figuring out what other bits and bobs a budding microscopist might want or need to get started and/or take it to the next level.

    I did find some better images of the two 'scopes:





    From my limited experience point of view, what I like about the stereo 'scope is that it takes batteries so you could chuck it in a bag and take it with you to the apiary and have a look at things while you were there.

    My complaint with the compound is that the lead for the light is very short. Remembering way back when to science lessons in school, it'd be fine when you have a plug a foot or so away next to the gas tap, but for the rest of us where the sockets are a few feet a away from the table and on the floor it's not that practical.

    Otherwise they both seem to be well put together and solid bits of kit, especially considering you can have them both for a shade over 100.

    My gut feeling is that if I get into the microscopy side of things at all that I will quickly find myself outgrowing them, certainly, the compound one and wanting to get something better or more flexible relatively soon. I'd like to be able to put a camera down it without having to remove the eyepiece for example.

    Once I get a chance to use them properly in anger I'll update my thoughts.

  2. #22

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    Thanks Neils
    They do look like a seriously good buy for the money

  3. #23
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    DR, I have looked at the Lidl ones and a few others and I do think the Brunel scopes look and feel like 'proper' bits of kit in comparison. Sure there's a price premium but I do actually think that you get a lot of 'scope for your 100+

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neils View Post
    DR, I have looked at the Lidl ones and a few others and I do think the Brunel scopes look and feel like 'proper' bits of kit in comparison. Sure there's a price premium but I do actually think that you get a lot of 'scope for your 100+
    Thanks Neils I'm sure people coming to the thread will be helped by your post and the photos.
    Re the oil that's only used with the x100 objective which is not needed for pollen or nosema
    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 30-03-2013 at 09:31 AM.

  5. #25
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    Default Looking to get a microscope can anyone advise

    Happy to give you personal tuition at the weekend if you like. Essential things for the compound scope are:
    - be careful cleaning the lenses. No rubbing. Clean lens tissue only to tickle off any dust specks
    - small clearance from the objective lens to slide (so watch when switching lenses and only look at thin mounted specimens)
    - arrange the optics so that the light for the specimen comes in a parallel-sided beam just the width of the field of view. (Centre and focus the condenser if you can, and adjust the diaphragm to allow just the right amount of light)
    - there may be another diaphragm inside the condenser which further optimises the light. If so just set it at the point where it is just about to start to dim.

    Cheaper models may lack the ability to make these adjustments.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 8520 using Tapatalk

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruary View Post
    I use a compact digital camera with a 'universal digiscoping adapter' bought some years ago from Jessops. I found the Brunel one very difficult to adjust.
    Haven't bought an adapter yet so just testing with the compact camera held at the eyepiece but your right it works

    IMGP0626.jpg

    pollen
    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 01-04-2013 at 10:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    Haven't bought an adapter yet so just testing with the compact camera held at the eyepiece but your right it works
    The difficulty in hand holding the camera is getting the alignment right and camera shake, but as you have found you can get reasonable shots that way. The trouble I had with the Brunell camera kit is that unless your lens has a screw thread (when you can use the unilink) you need to have their 'link arm' the rods of which are round and so will rotate which makes life too tricky. The Jessops one (designed, I think for astronomy) has screw adjusters for everything except the camera to lens distance. Much easier to adjust.

  8. #28

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    Thanks Ruary you answered my next question before I thought of it
    There a lots of adapters which are sold for astronomy and I wasn't sure if they could do the job
    Wish I had gone to Jessops closing down sale

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    Wish I had gone to Jessops closing down sale
    I gather that the firm has re-opened. The adapter comes in two sizes ranges make sure you get the right one.

  10. #30
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    Having done a recent course, sadly not at Gormanston, on Microscopy (do I mention the NDB/Defra courses here? I suspect they're England only) I've been doing a bit of shopping around to supplement the microscopes and give me the tools to do things properly.

    First up and especially if you're considering taking the Microscopy assessment, Dade is reference. the book costs nearly 30 but you can buy just the dissection plates from IBRA for 8, they're laminated, double sided A4 and Excellent quality if lacking the look and feel of fold out paper from a book:
    http://ibrastore.org.uk/index.php?ma...roducts_id=176

    I have both Snograss and Snell when it comes to Honey Bee anatomy and I've heard it said that a lot of Dade is "influenced" by Snodgrass, so the plates on their own, and laminated, seemed a good choice.

    Beecraft do a "microbox" of the basic kit you need to "do" Microscopy. It's all supplied via Brunel and I tried putting together the same stuff from their website. I got a few extra bits or quantities here or there buying separates, but the microbox comes with a decent book for, basically, the difference. I'm still new to this so perhaps our resident experts can weigh in on their opinion as to the contents.

    Finally, beeswax and a polish tin comes in handy for dissection. Both I'd hazard might be readily to hand to a beekeeper thinking of buying microscopes rather than buying the posh and poncy kit from the major suppliers.

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