Cheaper Microscope Photography?

The sand pictures below were taken with a small microscope that attaches to a computer with a USB cable. The cable provides light to the scope which is best  supplemented by conventional, additional lights.  This scope is currently selling for $119 at B&H Photo. 

I bought this scope while getting into mineral photography for my book. Unfortunately, its five megapixel resolution was not good enough to produce publishable images in hardcopy. That’s why I got my 65 pound, $1,200 (!) microscope with its 12 megapixel accessory camera. Printable images. Still, can this little scope work fo your needs? Say producing images for the web?

Differences in color between the shots are the result of different adjustments in Elements and the fact that I only had a yellow incandescent bulb to supplement the scope’s LED light. Never-the-less, you can judge if these kind of images would suit your purposes. A caution, you will always want a microscope that magnifies more.

This shot is as magnified as I can get it. The software keeps calling for “calibration” when wants to increase the magnification but there aren’t any menu choices for calibration.  I’m not sure if that is a problem with a Windows program ported over to the Mac but it may be. The free software is made for both Windows and Mac machines. Open the jpegs the scope makes in camera RAW.

And another picture. The big color and contrasts differences are from multiple adjustments in Photoshop, trying to get the image to reproduce what I saw in person.

Another shot.

I’ve taken this little scope on the road with me to view materials in my hotel room. Runs well off my laptop but it does make my Mac’s fans turn on in just a short time.

To compare these photos to ones taken with my big scope, go to my personal writing website:

Same sand, different scope.


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