Quite some time ago I bought one of the plastic USB microscopes hoping to get some reasonable micro photos. Unfortunately the results were disappointing not least being the annoying way the program provided with it changed to a low resolution monitor screen and moved all my desktop icons about. Also the plastic would stick and jump when focussing, very frustrating. Oh well, you get what you pay for!
Later I bought a used optical microscope hoping to use the same technique as Phil for some of his excellent shots on his blog Beyond the Human Eye. That is to use a digital camera in place of the eyepiece of the microscope. No joy here. I just could not get the idea to work.
Finally I bought a USB microscope camera which fits in the top of the microscope in place of the eyepiece. Once again I was disappointed with the results. The 5 megapixel camera worked just fine but the depth of field was extremely limited so I packed everything away.
Can you see where this is leading? Enter the program CombineZP. I decided to try again. Not brilliant photos but a vast improvement on past experience. All I could find on scouring the garden yesterday was a discarded feather so I had a go to see what I could see.
First the setup - microscope with USB camera sticking out of the top.
I used my bright LED lamp as light source. I think the camera works about the same as a 10x optical eyepiece so this first photo is at 40x magnification.
Now at 100x magnification
Finally at what is probably 400x magnification.
Each of the above was made with a pile of nine individual photos each focussed slightly differently and processed using the program CombineZP. To give an idea this is one of the nine taken for the 100x magnification showing how quickly parts of the view go out of focus. No further processing of the photos except cropping to remove a small extra reflected area the program adds to the edge of each.
Now I have to experiment more with the lighting as this is quite critical in obtaining clear photos but at last it is worth persevering with my investment.