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Old Nov 16, 2008, 7:26 AM   #1
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I recently purchased a trinocular microscope and a Nikon D80 camera with a view to taking close-up pictures of my fossil collection. Unfortunatley not being a camera wizard i have found it impossible to take pictures through the microscope.

I have been all through the camera settings , changed the shutter speed, put the camera on exposure delay, switched it to manual and apature priority however everyting i try will not produce a picture. I can see the image trough the cameras view finder, which is really frustraiting, however the only picture the camera will take is of a black screen.

Please can someone tell me how i can set-up the camera to enable me to use it for photomicroscopy.

Kind regards,

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Old Nov 16, 2008, 7:46 AM   #2
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Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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I don't know much about Photomicroscopy. But, if you can see the image through the viewfinder, and it's coming out dark, then your exposure settings are likely at fault.

What lens do you have on the camera? Or, do you have an adapter that allows you do mount the camera directly?

Does the camera work OK when not attached to the Microscope?

You can't just use any shutter speed you want to. If you use a shutter speed that's too fast for the lighting, aperture and ISO speed, you'll get an underexposed (i.e., too dark) image. If you use a shutter speed that's too slow for the lighting, aperture and ISO speed, you'll get an overexposed (i.e., too bright) image.

Chances are, you'll need relatively slow shutter speeds, unless you bump up your ISO speed settings (which will increase noise levels).

What happens if you use the Auto mode dial position?

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Old Nov 16, 2008, 7:55 AM   #3
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Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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Hmmm... A quick google search found some posts that imply that the D80 won't meter with all setups if you're trying to use an adapter that attaches directly the camera. I think any of the dSLR models from Canon, Pentax or Sony will meter, regardless of whether or not it sees a compatible lens attached.

But, many Nikon models will *not* meter that way (you'll probably need to go with a D300 or higher level Nikon body to get metering if the camera doesn't see a compatible AF lens attached).

I'd give more specifics on your exact setup (adapter being used) and some of our members may be more familiar with it.

You may need to use manual exposure with slower shutter speeds if the camera won't meter with your setup (the slower you go, the brighter the exposure).

IOW, if the camera can't meter with your setup (and it may not be able to), you'll need to use trial and error until the exposure is correct). For example, start with 1/30 second and see if it's too bright or too dark. If it's still dark, try 1/15 second, if it's still dark after that, go even slower, etc.

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Old Nov 17, 2008, 9:54 PM   #4
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I have been successful in Digiscoping microscope images. My first attempts with microscopic photographs were with a DSLR, but I could not get good images. I then tried my digiscope camera/eyepiece assembly I had used for bird and astronomical photos and was quite pleased with the results. All I did was substitute a Lomo 4X Plan microscope objective for the objective lens used in my birding telescope ( or astronomical mirror). Check out the picture of a small spider at:


I also used the set-up for photographing snow-crystals:


The total cost of the fabricated microscope set-up including the 8 meg A-590 camera, Plan microscope objective, and an Expanse eyepiece was about $220 total.

Gene Smith
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Old Aug 14, 2009, 9:56 AM   #5
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Posts: 398

Hi Scott,

Try this site:


choose "Digital Camera Adaptors" from the menu, then "Digital SLR Adaptors"

Their MaxView system is quite versatile and can be adapted onto telescopes or microscopes. I bought this from them before (many years ago).
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