Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

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DeepEnd
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Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by DeepEnd » 15 Jun 2019 14:48

Inspired by the work of Ray Parkhurst I thought I would have a go at trying to do good quality pictures of stylus tips using my existing Olympus micro 4/3 camera and bits and my older OM series cameras and parts. The best m4/3 lens I have will only do about 0.42:1 which is OK for cartridge shots but for my OM camera I had a Tamron SP 90mm F2.5 with the matching 1:1 adaptor (0.5:1 without this) with a Tamron to m4/3 adaptor and again this is only good for cantilever shots and the size makes not getting vibrations a bit of an issue.
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So having studied Ray's set up, and picked his brain a bit, I purchased a used Olympus Macro rail (~<£90)
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This is a nice piece of kit well built with super smooth adjustment and because both front and back move you can balance the weight over the mounting point.

I also ordered and XYZ table (60mm x 60mm) from Germany (still not arrived!!) [<£100] to provide the fine movements and allow focus staking etc. but was racking my brains trying to work out the best way of mounting all these solidly enough for the pictures but adjustable. Purely by chance came across some parts made by a company called "smallrig" that are supposed to be used to make shoulder rigs for video camera use, particularly for the smaller cameras now being used, so for less then £60 I now have the following 40cm assembly
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Again with the clamps tightened up there is no twist movement etc. I will use two of the cross pieces to mount the XYZ table one to mount some LED light onto and the forth to mount the Macro rail/camera. By adding some feet to the bottom of the blocks at the end of the rails this can be placed and a suitable surface and be ready to use quickly.

It then turns out I have been unable to find an adaptor to fit the 15mm thread the objectives from my cheap digital microscope so ended up buying some AmScope RMS style Objective (4x Achromatic @$15 and a 10x Plan Achromatic ($35) along with RMS to M42 adaptor, a OM to 4/3 adaptor and OM to M42 adaptor (not arrived yet) and a reversing adaptor for fitting my 28mm and 50mm OM lenses reversed on the macro rail to give 1:1, 2:1, 4:1 and 10:1 most of these were between £2 and £6. A few table tennis balls for diffusers.

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Once I get all the bits I will update things further. :D

ray_parkhurst
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Re: Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jun 2019 19:33

Looks like a good start! Can't wait to see some photos.

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Re: Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by ]eep » 18 Jun 2019 02:53

Duh, finally I got it... The title. I was hoping to see pretty pictures for free. :o

You don't need a professional camera for that though. I just purchased an USB digital microscope that connects to my phone via the USB-otg usb-c. It has plenty of enlargement and enough resolution to see the stylus. And it costs less than €20.

Before I used a jewelers 60x microscope and simply held it in front of my lens. That sort of worked. It made great vintage vignettes. OK, not great but at least I could share something. See example below.

The digital microscope should improve a lot on that. I watched Analog Planets visit to the Rega factory and saw they used the same sort of microscopes to monitor the coil winding process. A bit more money buys you better resolution but 1080p is enough for me.

Edit: like nobody knew that already... I'm not a complete idiot though. I do know how to make professional pictures, have several cameras and used to study for bio analist so spent lots of hours behind a real microscope, but I didn't realise what your purpose was. Picture stacking. But that's actually using software on the wrong tool. You don't want the kind of microscope that uses the little glass trays but a stereo microscope that has less magnification but a lot more depth of field. The kind that AJ vd Hul etc use. And then capture that.

The software for stacking is like what an MRI does, slice by slice, but you would want something like an electron microscope to see what's going on. I'll await my usb microscope first.
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DeepEnd
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Re: Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by DeepEnd » 24 Jun 2019 16:12

I’ve already tried a 40x and 120x magnifier and also a USB microscope none have been entirely successful hence trying further options. Getting closer but need to find a way to fix my XYZ table onto the rails as mounting holes are at 50mm spacing but no centre hole on base only on top plate :(
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ray_parkhurst
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Re: Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by ray_parkhurst » 24 Jun 2019 16:46

DeepEnd wrote:
24 Jun 2019 16:12
I’ve already tried a 40x and 120x magnifier and also a USB microscope none have been entirely successful hence trying further options. Getting closer but need to find a way to fix my XYZ table onto the rails as mounting holes are at 50mm spacing but no centre hole on base only on top plate :(

2417EACA-BDDE-4789-B9D6-B114AA6A9D46.jpeg
Why not just flip the table over?

DeepEnd
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Re: Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by DeepEnd » 24 Jun 2019 17:59

I was planning to use the centre holes on the top for a mounting a 45 degree block that I can turnround for 90 degree shots so block didn't need to be the full width.

I was just a bit surprised as drawing seemed to indicate the same 9 tapped holes top and bottom but there are only 4 on the base and they are clearance only. Just need to make a block 60mm x 80mm x (6-10mmmm thick) with tapped holes in four places at 50 mm pitch and two clearance holes at 70mm pitch down the centreline.

PS here is a picture from my USB of a Paratrace in Aluminium cantilever.
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Re: Stylus images on the not cheap (but not massively expensive)

Post by ray_parkhurst » 27 Jun 2019 03:57

I'm still working on putting together a spec for a stylus imaging system that is affordable and capable. It's really not an easy thing to do! My standard rig relies on very high quality optics from Nikon to get highest image quality. I've tried to create "acceptable" quality with different optics, and have had some good results, but the overall system is still fairly expensive. I put together 4 different systems, with a range of objectives and a few different cameras, and none gave acceptable cost/quality results. I will keep trying to find the right combination of camera and optics, but so far it seems the optics are the limiting factor (as expected), and I have more complete failures than near-successes.

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