Geeks's Corner

 Learn a little more about the set-up used to create these images.


All the microscopic images have been acquired using an Olympus BH2S microscope, a model from the late-eighties / early nineties that is still widely used due to the quality of its construction. The number of these microscopes that were (and indeed still are) used as high-end research instruments means that there is still a vibrant market for accessories and spares. For an cutaway diagram of this microscope showing the main components go to the Olympus BH2 cutaway diagram.

The sharpness and 'flatness' of images from microscopes is largely due to the quality of the optics. My BH2 has a full set of SPlan Acromat objectives, lenses that were the most popular high quality objectives specified when these microscopes were originally bought, second only to the SPlan Apochromats, which are sadly out of most people's reach financially!

A full list of the objectives I have:

SPlan FL 2x

SPlan 4x

SPlan 10x PL

Splan 20x

SPlan 40x

A 40x PL

SPlan 100x oil.


The lighting possibilities I have set up are as follows - link to Wikipedia for a more basic description of these, or Olympus for the real geek!.




Polarised light;

Phase contrast;

Differential Interference Contrast (though I have yet to get to grips with the set up for this!);

I am also currently trying to set up fluorescence using LEDs - very much a work in progress.


Photographs are taken using a Canon EOS 500D mounted on a custom built mount with the plane of the CMOS chip at the level of the previously mounted 35mm film camera (an NFK 3.3x photoeyepiece relay lens is used to focus the image on the chip). The camera is tethered to a laptop running Liveview software to save images directly to the hard drive.

Images are post-processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Due to the shallow depth of field resulting from microscopic images focus stacking is sometimes used to allow an increased depth of field. This is carried out in either Photoshop or the free program CombineZP depending on the subject.