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SLR Type T-Mount Adapters for Eyepiece Tubes

ATTACHING DSLR-TYPE CAMERAS TO MICROSCOPES

As we all know modern cameras can produce fantastic images with accurate colour rendition and very high resolutions and the cameras are packed with useful features, it is therefore desirable to attach cameras of this quality to your microscope system.  GT Vision Ltd are experts in this field and we manufacture our own digital camera adapter systems and we can supply third party manufactured systems.  When set up well the results can be truly excellent.

However, customers should be aware that, even with our expertise in this area, it is often a difficult thing to get right.  The main reason for this is that DSLR-type cameras were never designed to attach to microscopes and, equally important, no microscope manufacturer has designed their microscope to have this class of camera attached.  So, given an enormous and constantly changing range of cameras and an even larger range of microscopes and camera attachment points on microscopes, it is simply impossible to design a perfect solution for every permutation of camera and microscope.  A very high proportion of these permutations have never been tried and therefore cannot be guaranteed to succeed.  Because of this the microscope industry as a whole is reluctant to offer a solution because it is low volume, time consuming and an extremely uncertain area of business with a high level of customer support and expensive returns required.  Furthermore, because the DSLR-type cameras are not designed for microsopy they are often not the easiest devices to use for microscopy especially when focussing, a great deal depends on an individual model’s capability and the user’s understanding of the capabilities (and limitations) of their camera when a lens is not attached.  Finally getting the same field of view going to the camera as you see through the eyepieces and getting camera and the eyepieces in focus at the same time (parfocality) is also rather tricky to get right and often is simply impossible to achieve.

The reader should be aware that there are cameras that are designed for microscopes (c-mount microscope cameras) and all microscope manufacturers design their microscopes to accept these cameras.  These c-mount camera solutions are thoroughly tested and are easy to support and therefore always promoted in preference to DSLR solutions by all microscope companies such as ours.

However it is impossible to ignore the fact that, when correctly adapted, a DSLR-type camera will undoubtedly outperform most c-mount cameras for brightfield imaging, albeit less conveniently.

Attaching to an eyepiece tube (and camera ports that are eyepiece tubes)

BINOCULAR and MONOCULAR MICROSCOPES
Some microscopes do not have a camera port, these microscopes are normally described as binocular or monocular .  It is possible to attach a DSLR-Type camera to an eyepiece tube once an eyepiece has been removed.

TRINOCULAR MICROSCOPES
On some models of microscopes that do have a camera port (known as trinocular) the camera port can also be an eyepiece tube – typically if the camera port’s internal diameter is 23.2mm then it is also capable of taking an eyepiece and is therefore an eyepiece tube.  For instance Meiji microscopes and our own GXM ZTX-T stereo microscopes often have this type of camera port.
Converting a larger diameter camera port to an eyepiece tube is also possible with some models of microscopes such as our GXM L series (biological and materials upright and inverted models) GMX XTL series stereo zoom microscopes using the adapters listed HERE

To attach a DSLR-Type camera to an eyepiece tube you will need an Eyepiece Tube:T-Mount Adapter . There are a number of these available on the market, we have tested many and this is our currently preferred one for a reasonable price:

There are some other adapters costing over 700GBP which are much better quality but rarely purchased with long delivery times.

This type of adapter has one end that fits into an eyepiece tube, this has a diameter of approximately 23mm.  The other end is 42mm in diameter, commonly known as T-Mount.  On many standard biological and materilas upright microscopes the eyepiece tube measures 23.2mm. However many microscopes a fitted with wider field of view eyepieces (eg stereo microscopes and more expensive microscopes) and these often have a diameter of 30mm or 30.5mm.  To make this type of adapter fit these tubes snugly a spacer ring can be supplied.  However it should be noted that the view to the camera provided by the adapter will inevitably a region of the centre of the field of view, in other words it will give a more magnified view of your specimen than you are viewing throgh your microscope.  We know of no camera adapter of this type that is designed properly for a wider diameter eyepiece tube than 23.2mm.

To attach your camera to the T-Mount end of the adapter you will need to purchase a T-mount adapter for your camera – this is camera specific and readily available from most camera stores.  We do hold a small stock of the most common types if you need it.

Getting the camera and the eyepieces in focus at the same time (parfocality) may require the purchase of some T-Mount Extension rings which moves your camera further from the camera adapter, you can buy inexpensive 5mm and 10mm T-rings for your experimentation.  It is quite often the case that you cannot achieve perfect parfocality.
Please bear in mind that hanging a heavy camera off an angled eyepiece tube may not be the best idea!  You may need to mount the camera onto a tripod. Also on some stereo microscopes the weight of the camera may move the focus, you will need to adjust the focus tension (please ask us if you are unsure how to do this on a GXM model)

Attaching to camera ports on trinocular headed microscopes

To do this you will need buy a 1X C-mount adapter which is specific to your microscope and can normally only be supplied by a a company specialising in your particular make of microscope.  At GT Vision we can supply C-mount adapters for the following microscopes (manufactured within the last 10 or 15 years) (not all are in stock as they are relatively rare purchases):

GX Microscopes (our own brand)
Olympus
Leica
Nikon
Zeiss
Meiji
Huvitz
Optika
Meiji
Mitutoyu

Obtaining adapters for older microscopes maybe possible, we will be pleased to advise.  Sometimes 1X c-mount adapters are simply not available but we can usally convert other magnification c-mount adapters to become 1X.  1X c-mount adapters are the lowest cost type of c-mount adapter.
Sometimes the adapter we propose below will work with a c-mount adapter with a lower magnification (eg 0.5X) but 1X usually gives the best outcome.

Now that the camera port has been ‘normalised’ with a 1X C-mount adapter, we know exactly where the image will be formed and can then attach a C-Mount:T-Mount Adapter .  There are a number of this type of adapter on the market, the very best ones cost over 500GBP (some as much as 1500GBP).

We have developed our own adapter kit which includes an interchangeable/removable relay-lens which gives you further opportunity to experiment (left).

To attach your camera to the T-Mount end of the adapter you will need to purchase a T-mount adapter for your camera – this is camera specific and readily available from most camera stores.  We do hold a small stock of the most common types if you need it.

Getting the camera and the eyepieces in focus at the same time (parfocality) may require the purchase of some T-Mount Extension rings which moves your camera further from the camera adapter, you can buy inexpensive 5mm and 10mm T-rings for your experimentation.  It is quite often the case that you cannot achieve perfect parfocality.

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