Lost in dimensions? (III)
In the two previous issues we have been showing the potential and limits of
a classical "macro" photographic setup (here)
and a "bellows" setup (there), both
of which were able to dip a little bit into the tardigrade world.
The next step towards the microscopic world seems to be more challenging for
many of our readers. Nowadays almost everybody is used to get information via LCD screens
on mobile phones and LCD screens. But many people encounter difficulties when looking
through eye-pieces into the microscopic world. Nevertheless, once you will be able to
delve into the optics the rest of the world might possibly feel angle-of-view-limited or
pixel-limited, simply inferior in width and detail.
In particular a close comparison of a so-called "LCD microscope"
with a classical microscope will demonstrate the enormous losses in scope and detail
caused by the limitations of LCD screens. Pixel resolutions might have improved
drastically on mobile phones but very rarely on LCD microscopes. Furthermore
looking into a good classical wide angle optics microscope feels like flying over
a landscape, not like looking on a flat, inevitably small screen.
But it might definitely take some time and money in order to find the
right microscope. Nevertheless microscopy can be regarded as a simple exercise
e.g. when compared to the art of piano playing.
Today microscopy buyers are in paradise. Why? Medical doctors as a rule work
without a microscope today, most clinical tests are performed by automated
physico-chemical machinery, no more by means of the microscope. Schools show
a tendency to abolish microscopy and many scientific laboratories dump their
classical light microscopes. As a consequence the used instrument market is
overwhelmed by professional instruments which are being offered in price ranges
far below 20% or even 10% of the original list price.
Ebay offers should be taken with the usual caution, but in practice the risks
are low when looking closer at the descriptions of the respective items and the
seller's profile. A little bit of DIY repair intelligence will come in handy but
this applies also when new microscopes must be modified or upgraded for some reason.
And there is lot of practical advice all over the internet.
In general most microscopes offered, in particular those of the big brands and most
of the present Chinese imports are of a very good quality and chances are
high that they will serve much longer than your current mobile phone!