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Old Sep 25, 2006, 11:08 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I had this over in the what camera forum, however JimC thought I might have more luck over here.

We've been using some Canon PS A95's for microscopy work for about a year, and its time to buy some more cameras. Unfortunately the A95's have had... issues from the beginning, and we'd like to improve on those this time around.

By issues I mean focus limitations. The live image capture software doesn't give us a high enough quality image to accurately focus the microscope, and the LCD on the camera is even worse. It appears that no camera manufacturer builds a higher-quality (throughput) live image via USB, so to improve the situation I want some more zoom to get closer to our chromosomes.

What we need from a digital camera are the following:

5 or 6x optical zoom. 10x is too much as the barrel length inhibits the image we can get at very close range (get terrible vignetting). Currently working with 3x and that is too low. Estimate 5x should be optimal, but 6x gives us head room (and are more common).

Lens mount attachment. The camera MUST be able to take some kind of lens mount, as we need to attach it to a microscope. We can have the final mount custom made, but the camera must have a lens mount that we can actually attach it to!

Control and image capture via PC & software. As we need to be able to focus the microscope using what the camera sees and immediately import the photo into custom software for editing and storage, we need live image capture software.

We've tried other software, but the limitation is with the camera, not the software. And using the TV out feature is even worse, as the resolution is even lower than the USB output. Without crisp images, we can't get accurate focus.

A camera that'd be almost perfect if it had software capture is the Canon PowerShot A700, except Canon have for some reason decided to stop supporting computer control for most of their cameras and only offer it for the A620 now. Nice work Canon

So if anyone can offer suggestions as to what cameras might actually fit our criteria that would be very appreciated. Been looking at review sites etc but its quite a lot to go through when nothing (that I have seen) allows you to just input criteria and get a list of cameras that meet it.

Olympus have now told us that they don't have any cameras that can be controlled by a computer, Fuji won't have one until next year some time (and even then its a DSLR, which means no 'live' image for focussing), and Canon have actually just stopped selling the A620 (although apparently the A640 will support live computer control).

So does anyone know of anything that might actually be what we're looking for?

Thanks!

SA
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Old Oct 20, 2006, 11:55 AM   #2
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SiliconAngel wrote:
Quote:
Hi all,

I had this over in the what camera forum, however JimC thought I might have more luck over here.

We've been using some Canon PS A95's for microscopy work for about a year, and its time to buy some more cameras. Unfortunately the A95's have had... issues from the beginning, and we'd like to improve on those this time around.

By issues I mean focus limitations. The live image capture software doesn't give us a high enough quality image to accurately focus the microscope, and the LCD on the camera is even worse. It appears that no camera manufacturer builds a higher-quality (throughput) live image via USB, so to improve the situation I want some more zoom to get closer to our chromosomes.

What we need from a digital camera are the following:

5 or 6x optical zoom. 10x is too much as the barrel length inhibits the image we can get at very close range (get terrible vignetting). Currently working with 3x and that is too low. Estimate 5x should be optimal, but 6x gives us head room (and are more common).

Lens mount attachment. The camera MUST be able to take some kind of lens mount, as we need to attach it to a microscope. We can have the final mount custom made, but the camera must have a lens mount that we can actually attach it to!

Control and image capture via PC & software. As we need to be able to focus the microscope using what the camera sees and immediately import the photo into custom software for editing and storage, we need live image capture software.

We've tried other software, but the limitation is with the camera, not the software. And using the TV out feature is even worse, as the resolution is even lower than the USB output. Without crisp images, we can't get accurate focus.

A camera that'd be almost perfect if it had software capture is the Canon PowerShot A700, except Canon have for some reason decided to stop supporting computer control for most of their cameras and only offer it for the A620 now. Nice work Canon

So if anyone can offer suggestions as to what cameras might actually fit our criteria that would be very appreciated. Been looking at review sites etc but its quite a lot to go through when nothing (that I have seen) allows you to just input criteria and get a list of cameras that meet it.

Olympus have now told us that they don't have any cameras that can be controlled by a computer, Fuji won't have one until next year some time (and even then its a DSLR, which means no 'live' image for focussing), and Canon have actually just stopped selling the A620 (although apparently the A640 will support live computer control).

So does anyone know of anything that might actually be what we're looking for?

Thanks!

SA
Quote:
I'm a bit confused. Normally magnification is achieved as desired via the microscope's objective lens - that is if you want closer you move the turret to select a different magnification?
Using anything higher than a 3x zoom with a microscope will undoubtedly lead to severe vignetting. Are you trying to possibly focus the microscope on differential components on the slide by moving the slide or barrel? If so, then what's probably happening is that your camera is focusing on the highest contrasting objects rather than where you want it to focus and you have no way of knowing with the low resolution LCD exactly which "feature" on the multi-depth slide is being selected.

The "best" digicams we were ever able to use afocal (through the microscope's eyepiece) were the little Nikon CP990 models. Nikon had a feature which let you visually see what the camera had chosen as the focus point. These were 3x zoom cameras with 3.37 megapixel files.

Unfortunately, there are no truly ideal candidates among currently available digicams for doing what you wish. Probably a microscope with a dedicated 35mm port would be your best bet as far as I can determine.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Nov 6, 2006, 11:39 AM   #3
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hi there

i have digiscoped very successfully with Nikon's 990 and 995 cameras ,

they have a screw on filter , and are used almost universally by digiscopers.

regards bob
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