My parents, apparently comfortable with being microbiology “enablers“, ran into a digital microscope (pictured at right) that they pointed me to. It looks pretty nifty for the price, except for one issue: it only comes with three objectives, topping out at 40X. I can find marketing materials for this microscope, but no technical information beyond what’s on the company’s website (click image to reach that). Therefore, I can’t tell if the objectives are replaceable or not. If they are, the idea of picking up an inexpensive surplus 100X oil-immersion lens and ending up with a decent microscope with which to watch the Yeast Porn and such – on a nice digital screen, no less, rather than squinting into an eyepiece – has a certain appeal to it. The fact that the digital camera takes the pictures itself and only needs a computer connection to transfer files – and not even then if you use an SD card – means that I wouldn’t have to worry about ending up with something that requires Microsoft® Windows® just to look at some microbes (or post glamour shots of them to this blog).
However, I don’t think trying to view conjugating yeast cells or, say, Lactobacillus or Gluconobacter/Acetobacter bacterial cells at 400X would be very rewarding, so an oil-immersion lens is a necessity. And don’t let the “up to 1600 Power with Digital Zoom” thing fool you – it just makes the picture bigger and blockier, not actually more detailed.
So….do I WANT, or not? I sent off an email to Celestron asking about whether I could swap out objective lenses on this model or not. I got back the form “we got your email” email – we’ll see if I get a real reply from them or not. If so, I’ll update this post.
Speaking of which – still no reply from Bristol Brewing Company. Guess they’re either just not “nerd-friendly”, or the person who handles email queries is on vacation or something.
P.S. Dear Celestron – if you were to send me an evaluation model, I’d be happy to review it here on my blog for the
thousands hundreds dozens pairs of people who read my elegant prose incoherent babbling…
6 thoughts on “WANT(?)”
I couldn’t find out what the resolution of the camera or the screen is. Does it say? Definitely cool looking.
I’m a pretty new reader, and was just browsing through your “hillbilly biotech” category. Very cool stuff. I must recommend you get Make magazine issue 07: backyard biology. It has how to make a home mycology lab, and do PCR. Even if you already know the stuff in it, I’m sure you’d enjoy reading it.
No I’m not getting paid to say this.
Celestron claims “2 Mega Pixels”, which works out to about 1600×1200, so the resolution’s not too bad. Really my only complaints (other than not actually having ~$400 for the scope and a new objective at the moment) are whether or not the objective lens can be replaced, and what happens if the electronics die (i.e. is it possible to replace just the camera or possibly swap in an ordinary ocular lens?)
[Edit: The CAMERA is “2 Mega Pixels” – I can’t find anything on the screen itself either, nor if it’s possible to directly connect a higher-resolution monitor while using it, either. There is no documentation online, not even a downloadable copy of the user manual – though in fairness this thing does appear to have JUST been released.]
I actually DO have Make #7 – a very spiffy issue and highly recommended. It is, however, currently 1600+ miles away from me for the moment, back at the place I’m moving from. The place we’re trying to move TO has a decent-sized space next to the kitchen that I want to turn into a dedicated Intentional Food Microbiology And Chemistry Lab. That and a microscope and I’ll be able to start generating shiny pictures to decorate my posts with, too…
Oh yeah. If you can change out the objectives, that is definite WANT.
I was just looking at the page again, and saw this:
40 to 400 Power – up to 1600 Power with Digital Zoom
It looks like it comes with a 400x objective? Although I’m probably missing something fairly obvious…
Well, the eyepiece (for the camera) is presumably 10X, and I’m guessing the built-in objective lenses at the bottom of the scope are 4X, 10X, and 40X (which, combined with the 10X ocular gives 40X, 100X, and 400X views available).
Given the option, I’d probably swap the 10X objective for a 100X oil-immersion objective, leaving me with 40X (for initially focussing and centering whatever I’m looking at), 400X, and 1000X views available. Still waiting (im)patiently to see if I’ll even get any response from Celestron.