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How to use a camera with your microscope

Last Updated: 06.12.21


If you’ve reached this article, chances are that you’ve heard about the possibility of using your camera with your microscope. The process of attaching a camera to an awesome microscope for coins is often used by those that want to take pictures of the details on a coin. However, the process is regularly used by the scientists and researchers that want to easily take photographic pieces of evidence of the samples that they are examining. Nowadays, the process of capturing images by using a microscope goes by the name of photomicrography.

The first unit that allowed the combination of a microscope with a camera was the Olympus OM 35 mm SLR system that was developed in 1972 by a well-known designer named Yoshihisa Maitani. Although the Olympus OM system is now outdated, it is still seen as the first step in the development of the adaptor-based technology that we use today.

At the current time, in order to attach a camera to a microscope, one needs a lens adapter, a camera body, a camera adapter, a photo and a finder eyepiece as well as a trinocular head. According to the specialists, the finder eyepiece is optional.

The camera body

To be able to take photos of a sample by using a camera, one must connect the body of the camera through the lens adapter to the camera adapter. Moreover, due to the fact that the photo eyepiece is constructed in such a manner that it projects a given image in a sensor, one should not place an additional lens on the camera.

According to previous users of this system, the vibration caused by the mirror of the camera and the shutter can sometimes pose a problem when shooting photos. In order to avoid this, it might be best that one uses long exposure times, an electronic flash or a stand that places the camera above the microscope so that it doesn’t make direct contact with it.

Moreover, if you own an EOS camera, it most certainly comes with software that enables you to control it by using a USB connection. Therefore, in this case, you’ll be able to verify the image’s composition and/or focus on your PC or laptop. Consequently, the resulting images will be of great quality.


The lens adapters and camera adapters

These adapters are used for joining the body of the camera to the adapter of the camera. By doing so, one can make sure that the digital sensor and the film in the camera are both placed in the same spot. For cameras with EOS bodies, there are three different adapters that one can use AF confirm, no chip and EMF chip adapters.

Each of the before mentioned models comes with separate features that you should have in mind before ordering them.

However, each type of camera has to be connected to a different adapter. In order to find out what is the right adapter for your camera, we suggest that you go online and do some research on this subject. Also, if you want a 100% correct answer, you can always ask the unit’s manufacturer about this type of technical details.

Similarly to the situation of lens adapters, camera adapters also differ from one unit to another. So, our advice to you is that you go online and you order an adapter that fits your camera. In case you have difficulties finding one, you can always ask other cameras and microscopes enthusiasts for help. As a plus, the sellers of optical devices might also be of great help.


Photo eyepieces and the finder eyepiece

The photo eyepiece is utilized as a way of propelling the image created by the objective onto the sensor that the body of the camera includes. However, this process is possible thanks to additional photo eyepieces that are placed in the trinocular head’s circular dovetail. Once again, not all cameras can be used with the same eyepiece. So, do the research before you order one.

As we’ve mentioned before, the finder eyepieces are not considered a must when mounting a camera on the microscope. However, these eyepieces are particularly handy as they allow you to see what the camera’s view is, without having to look through the camera or at the screen of the computer.

Trinocular heads

Last but not least, we have to tackle the subject of trinocular heads. According to the specialists, these heads have both a pair of binocular viewing tubes as well as a vertical one for your camera. This last viewing tube cannot be adjusted, but it does have a slot where you can install a finder eyepiece.  

Using a camera in order to take pictures of the samples that you are studying under the microscope makes use of a type of technology that many invest in today thanks to its utility. For instance, some of the new microscopes for electronics repair models are built using this technology.

So, our advice to you is that you don’t waste any more time. Take your microscope and your camera and get the additional pieces to put them together and start enjoying observing life and nature in detail. Check out the quality models we found, while you’re doing your research. 

Even more so, you can use this combination and explore your photographic skills and then, later on, share the results of your hobby with your friends and loved ones.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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