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My new Balgen setup

Posted by Stephan Wolfsried  
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Stephan Wolfsried December 08, 2010 05:22PM


After months of preparation I assembled a bellows setup beside my Carl Zeiss Discovery V.20.

I took the same z axis motor driven stativ which I already have at my scope. Icrements of 0.001 mm possible.
Very stiff mounted directly on a granite plate.
Luminar lenses 15, 25, 40, 63 mm. FOV minimum 1,5 mm.
Ring light from Schott, additional conventional gooseneck illumination.
Panasonic Lumix GH2 with 16 MPixels. No mirror, big imager.
Wireless shutter release. No hands on the object while taking photos.

First results are promising.

Cheers Stephan
open | download - IMG_1630 (2).JPG (153.1 KB)
open | download - Klinoklas Clara 1g (2).jpg (181.3 KB)
open | download - Klinoklas Clara 2c (2).jpg (213.2 KB)
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Henry Barwood December 08, 2010 05:50PM
Magnificent set-up and image.

Henry Barwood
Troy University
Troy, Alabama USA
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David Von Bargen December 08, 2010 06:35PM
Looking forward to what it (and you) can do.
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Harjo Neutkens December 08, 2010 06:35PM
Stephan, this is fantastic, amazing resolution and beautiful lighting, even better than with the V20, congratulations!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2010 07:30PM by Harjo Neutkens.
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Stephan Wolfsried December 08, 2010 06:53PM
Yes, resolution is indeed better than with the V.20.
DOV is smaller, the Clinoclase picture took a stack of 68 single pictures.

Stephan
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Harjo Neutkens December 08, 2010 07:35PM
Yes of course, V20, not V12......is the difference between depth of field very big between the bellows+Luminar compared to the V20, or just slightly?
What's the FOV of the second Clinoclase photo (the one in the attachment)?
The set-up promises many fine photos to come.
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Stephan Wolfsried December 08, 2010 08:21PM
The FOV in the second photo is about 3,5 mm.
Taken with the 25 mm Luminar. Had the same taken with the V.20. Difference is remarkable.
Can send You the Original with PM.

Cheers Stephan
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Frank de Wit December 08, 2010 08:23PM
Looks very good Stephan!
With the Luminars and your setup I'm looking forward to firework to come
Cheers, Frank
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Jean-Marc Johannet December 08, 2010 08:54PM
Interesting set up Stephan.
Hopefully, this will allow you to bring back to us your legendar quality!!
And I think with you Dark field Light ring you will have a wonderful lighting and you won't be too bother by the short working distance of the Luminars.
About micro 4/3 camera, I have an Olympus Pen EP1 wich gives me very good results for a field of view more than 3mm.
Below this size, vibrations occurred, they came from shutter movements.
With higher magnifications (Luminar 16mm) It could be interesting to test flash lighting.
Friendly, Jean-Marc.
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Stephan Wolfsried December 10, 2010 09:46AM
My most important goal was to have the stiffest setup possible. The camera and the bellows are fixed at the same rig, which is also stiff. No chance for the Camera to vibrate.
Since the Pana micro 4/3 camera has no mirror there are no problems with vibration sources while capturing at all.
Typical exposure times are 0,1...0,2 seconds. So there is potential for dimming the light down and lengthen exposure time, but oviously there is no need for that. I will test a bellows length extension with extension rings to increase magnification. The 25 mm luminar allows enough WD for good variablity of lighting with the ring light and the gossneck. With that 25 mm Luminar FOV is actually 2,5 mm with full extended bellows. Adding 65 mm extension rings I will come down to appr. 1,8 mm. With the 16 mm Luminar I will come down to appr FOV 1mm then. This will be my next try.

Thanks for the compliments!

Stephan
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Eddy Vervloet December 10, 2010 12:52PM
Impressive... am I the only one who is wondering how much this took out of your budget or the only one who dares to ask?... :S

Private mail if you prefer of course! (:D

Keep up the good work!

Greetings from France,

Eddy
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Stephan Wolfsried December 10, 2010 01:29PM
Well,

every single component is available at the market so there is no secret about it:

Stativ CZ 4000 € incl. Joystick called SyCoP (System Control Panel) for controlling motor z-axis
Light source Schott 800 €
Ring light (custommade Schott) 450€
Balgen Novotech 70 € Ebay
Luminars 400-500 € each Ebay
Some Adapters FD-RMS 20€ Ebay
Camera 900 €
Some Aluminum profile 20 € Obi
Remote wireless shutter control 30 € Amazon


If You leave out the stativ its not very costly at all.
There are for sure cheaper solutions for the stativ but the stiffness of the whole setup was my main goal.

Handling of probes under the bellows is annoying and cumbersome, so the V.20 has its legitimation for handling and visualizing specimens with 30 mm WD which is really superb.
Taking photos with the bellows takes three to ten times more each. I think for the sake of better quality I will take less but better ones in future with the bellows. Maybe after training I can get the time requirements a little bit down.

Cheers Stephan
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Volker Betz December 10, 2010 03:48PM
Hello Stephan,

congratulations to this set up and to the results. For the next weeks I will try the Panasonic G2 on my present (antique)Ortholux I microscope with Luminars and Photars. The Ortholux has a (manual) focus table (design of about 1900 and made 50 years ago) for less than 10 µm adjustments. I tested it already with my Canon 450D, but even with mirror look up I lost sharpness compared to a Nikon 4500 adaption.

Its interesting that the old Luminars still have some advantage compared your high end V.20.

Cheers

Volker
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Eddy Vervloet December 13, 2010 11:11AM
How much space is left for handling below the bellows?
And may I ask why you step away from your impressive microscope setup?
For better depth of field? After a couple of years of thought and discussions with friends,
I still cannot make up my mind on what I want...

Greetings from France,

Eddy
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Stephan Wolfsried December 13, 2010 12:06PM
As I mentioned above, the V.20 is unique in viewing and handling probes. So I will not give it up, and for a quick photo the V.20 is always more than good enough.
The depth of view is narrower with the bellows. Typically I needed 10...20 layers with the V.20 and now 40...80 with the bellows.
The reason for that all is resolution, and nothing else!
Working distance with the 25 mm luminar is 21 mm. That is not much but sufficient.

Stephan
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Stephan Wolfsried December 28, 2010 03:43PM
Now some days of gaining experience passed.
My first finding was, that even a mirrorless camera like the Lumix GH has a shutter which causes vibrations.
A shutter delay feature is not (yet?) available. That may help.
The vibrations become relevant with the Luminar 16 mm and the Nikon M Plan 40 ELWD.
To overcome those long exposure times are required, they cause noise and to get rid of the noise the noise filter degrades the resolution.
Long story short: For FOV minor than 2 mm the V.20 remains the better solution.

BUT: FOV above 2 mm the resolution is significant better! I posted a bunch of examples today, judge Yourself.

Stephan
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Branko Rieck December 28, 2010 04:04PM
Stephan,

to overcome the problem of noise have you ever tried to use stacking of identical exposures? I am experimenting myself, so I cannot give a definite judgment, but my initial work is really promising.

Currently I do not do any micro-photography (my M420 has not yet arrived, but soon…). Two weeks ago I got my StackShot equipment http://www.cognisys-inc.com/stackshot/stackshot.php which makes multiple identical exposures really simple. I use PhotoAcute Studio (a trial version you can get from http://www.heise.de/software/download/photoacute_studio/30487 ) to stack for noise reduction, and then Zerene Stacker for focal depth stacking (Zerene is much better at this then PhotoAcute). The quality really improves, but on the down-side the time to compose the final image increases dramatically. A depth stack of 20 images consists of 5 images each for noise reduction, so you end up working with a set of 100 pictures taken.

All together I am really impressed by your work, thanks for sharing!

Branko
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Harald Schillhammer December 28, 2010 06:39PM
Branko Rieck Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Stephan,
>
> to overcome the problem of noise have you ever
> tried to use stacking of identical exposures? I am
> experimenting myself, so I cannot give a definite
> judgment, but my initial work is really
> promising.
>


So you already tried this image averaging technique we talked about last time. I also tried Photoacute Studio once, initially for the resolution increase thingy, but was not so impressed so I eventually gave up on it. Nowadays, I do my image averaging in Photoshop - results are as good or, IMO, even better. It takes a bit more time though, but recording the whole procedure as action should mitigate the time problem.

Harry
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Harald Schillhammer December 28, 2010 06:50PM
Stephan Wolfsried Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A shutter delay feature is not (yet?) available.

I wonder if that will ever happen.
That's one of the advantages of a DSLR - you can use flash with rear curtain sync (in addition to mirror lock-up).

>
> I posted a bunch of examples today, judge
> Yourself.

Yes, that looks very good already, but I wonder about one issue: the striation lines on some of the crystal faces are conspicuously jaggy, particularly in the Seligmannite image. Such artifacts often happen when (heavily) cropped images are over-sharpened. What is your post processing work flow?

Harry
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Branko Rieck December 28, 2010 07:04PM
Hi Harry,

yes I tried it! The "Super Resolution" is no good, but the noise reduction looks good to me. One problem that I have encountered is that I need to have an even more overlapping depth stack, because the noise reduction somehow screws up the depth stacking if you are not careful. I'll come back to you once I have a better feel for the whole thing.

Branko
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Harald Schillhammer December 28, 2010 07:41PM
Branko Rieck Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hi Harry,
>
> yes I tried it! The "Super Resolution" is no good,
> but the noise reduction looks good to me. One
> problem that I have encountered is that I need to
> have an even more overlapping depth stack, because
> the noise reduction somehow screws up the depth
> stacking if you are not careful. I'll come back to
> you once I have a better feel for the whole
> thing.
>
> Branko

And what about doing the five individual stacks first and then average the results?

Cheers

Harry
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Branko Rieck December 28, 2010 08:10PM
Harry,

that does not improve the quality, but rather decreases ist. The problem seems to be that the resulting images from depth stacking seem to vary too much in size. Something in the alignment algorithm in Zerene stacker seems to be responsible for a difference of up to 10 px in a 4500 px image stack. And Photoacute Studio does not handle this difference well.

Branko
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Harald Schillhammer December 28, 2010 08:42PM
Branko Rieck Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Harry,
>
> that does not improve the quality, but rather
> decreases ist. The problem seems to be that the
> resulting images from depth stacking seem to vary
> too much in size. Something in the alignment
> algorithm in Zerene stacker seems to be
> responsible for a difference of up to 10 px in a
> 4500 px image stack. And Photoacute Studio does
> not handle this difference well.
>
> Branko


Hm, that is what I feared, namely that the stacks would differ in size. I think that not the alignment itself is the culprit here but rather the resizing that takes place is not absolutely identical. It would be interesting to compare different stacks from the same source images.

Harry
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Branko Rieck December 28, 2010 09:05PM
Harry,

I checked that, and did 5 seperate runs with the same source images, and they all ended up the same - and I really mean the same: identical MD5 HASH.

Branko
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Keven Semple December 29, 2010 03:01AM
Stephan

Bravo!! I am continually in awe of you guys and the technical expertise you demonstrate. Just an amateur myself, who has the budget but no technical capability at all.
I look forward to living vicariously through your photographic contributions.

Cheers
Keven
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Stephan Wolfsried December 29, 2010 08:25AM


Harald,

the Seligmannite striations are no artefacts. Just have a look on the child photos with different lightings.
I cropped a part out of the 16 Mpixel original.
I use sharpening very (!) carefully, You make no better pictures either with sharpening nor with noise reduction.
The originals of each stack member should be o.k.

Cheers Stephan
open | download - Seligmannit Lengenbach 5g2.jpg (119.8 KB)
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Harald Schillhammer December 29, 2010 09:01AM
Stephan, there is a little misconception. I did not mean that the striations are artifacts, but that the striae themselves are jaggy - meaning the individual "lines" show "stair-stepping". I am even tempted to say these are moire artifacts - at least it looks like that in the web version.

Cheers

Harry
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