Simply plug the digital microscope into your computers USB slot, load the software and you have an instant low powered digital microscope. This allows for easy viewing on a typical monitor or computer display.
Affordable and portable it becomes multi-faceted in it's use. Not only will it find a home on the science lab bench, but also any where it's small sized digital microscope body will fit.
The USB microscope mimics the stereoscope in that the USB microscopes primary purpose is for solid objects being that generally, they don't use transillumination from the underside for viewing, but rather rely on built-in incident light instead from the top of the subject.
The USB microscope is basically a webcam incorporationg a high powered macro lens for it's magnification. The digital microscope magnification is quite modest with typical ranges up to about 200X and is software adjustable down from this. The quoted digital microscope magnification has usually taken into account the effective enlaged view on a screen so in actual fact, probably primarily figures in at a much lower level - around 30X actual. The depth-of-field is generous while sacrificing light collected due to a smaller aperture number.
Being that images are viewed digitally through the computer (the Celestron Pentaview even has it's own incorporated display), captured vision may be saved from the USB microscope, stored, or even shared rapidly and conveniently offering versatility. This can also form an effective over-the-web visual, in-field technical support and diagnosis tool when hooked up to a laptop. We have a great range of digital microscope sale items available below.
Cheap USB microscopes become useful for when examining a range of flat objects such as rare and valuable coins, electronics such as printed circuit boards and soldered connections, or legal and high security documents such as banknotes. So when wanting to know what microscope to use for more technically related duties, the answer is a digital microscope (more commonly known as a USB microscope). Make sure you check out our special price Dino Lite Microscope models.
Electronics Industry USB Microscope - Quality control, component inspection, soldered connections and dry-joint identification
Crash Investigation USB Microscope - In-field inspection of components for possible causes or failures
Service and Repair Industry USB Microscope - Accessing difficult locations for inspection, remote assistance for image sharing and fault finding
Flora and Forna Digital Microscopes - Providing safe observation of plants and live creatures including insects.
Precious Metals & Minerals USB Microscope - Quality inspection of gold and gems checking surface finishes
Jewellery USB Microscope - Inspection, repair and assembly of various items, sepecially the watch making industry
Coins and Collectables USB Microscope - Identification and condition inspection of rare and valuable collectable, especially coins
Aviation and Manufacturing USB Microscope - Surface imperfections, corrosion or fractures that could cause catastrophes
Toolmakers Microscope - Surface inspection, manufacturing faults or fractures that could cause failures
ABOVE: FIGURE 6.1 Posterizing - The eye is very sensitive to edges, so displaying an image that should show a smooth gradation with insufficient gray values makes the image appear to break up into separate objects. Left: 80 gray levels. Right: Only 16 gray levels.
In any digital imaging system, whether it is a confocal microscope forming an image with a photomultiplier tube (PMT; Chapter 5) or a wide-field microscope using a CCD camera, we are always dealing with an image made up of individual points: pixels. Often we are also handling samples of a three-dimensional volume: voxels.
This quantization has profound effects on our image and how we must treat it. Furthermore, each point (unlike a point in a photograph) can have only certain discrete values.
In many cases, the number corresponding to one pixel is an 8-bit value, meaning that it is encoded by eight binary digits (Os and Is) and can therefore have 1 of 2 to the power of 8 (256) values; it must lie between 0 and 255.
Some confocal microscopes and most scientific CCD cameras allow 12 - or 16-bit image collection, so that each pixel can have 4,096 or 65,536 possible values.
This may seem like overkill, because the eye can perceive only 64 or so shades of gray, but it is not really overkill, particularly if we want to do anything numerical, such as ratiometric measurement, with our image.
Dividing one 8-bit value by another does not give us a very wide range of possible gray values. Another situation in which we find ourselves running low on grayscales is when we need to take several images for comparative purposes at the same gain and laser settings; the darkest ones will probably have very few tones if we use only 8 bits.
Once the number of gray values drops to the point at which the eye can recognize them as separate, the effect is dramatic. Our eyes and our visual processing system have evolved to be very efficient at spotting edges, so our built-in edge detection mechanisms kick in, and all illusion of continuous tone is lost (Figure 6.1). Often the image becomes virtually impossible to interpret.
This effect is termed posterizing because it resembles the effect of a poster printed with a limited color palette (historically, because of technical limitations in woodblock printing, but now done for dramatic effect).
The requirements for obtaining an image with maximum information content are not necessarily compatible with the best image quality as judged by eye. It is important that the mean background intensity is always a little above zero.
If this is not so, small objects or dim structures may be missed entirely. Even more important, however, is the fact that we cannot know the true boundary of an object.
Conventionally, we judge the edge of a structure as the point where the intensity falls to half the maximum, just as we commonly judge resolution as full width at half maximum (FWHM).
But without knowing the minimum, we will never know where half the maximum lies. Therefore, neither the resolution nor the true size of an object can be assessed.
In an ideal world, the background level should be the dark current from the photo-multiplier or CCD, because background fluorescence in the tissue may vary from sample to sample, but in practice you may need to compromise if there is a high level of background fluorescence.
Therefore, first remove the sample from the microscope and adjust the black level until a (just) nonzero value is present across the entire field of view.
The resulting background will probably be higher than you would choose for visual impact, but this should not be a worry—the image is digital, after all, so we can reset the levels for publication or display.
Automatic gain or black level adjustment (or both) can be useful in collecting individual two-dimensional images, but in anything involving time-course or 3D data collection they will be a disaster, because we need all such images to be collected with the same settings.
The intensity at any point in the image must never exceed the maximum that the system can record (except for isolated bits of fluorescent rubbish). If we are storing images in 16-bit form, the maximum possible intensity is approximately 65,000 counts, a value unlikely to be exceeded with any real-life specimen, at least in fluorescence.
Twelve-bit storage (4096 levels) is also fairly safe, though extravagant with disk space because the files are actually saved as 16-bit (though no stored values will actually exceed 4095).
In many cases, for compatibility reasons or to save space, we store our data as 8-bit images, in which case the maximum recordable intensity is 255. This value is all too easy to exceed, and it is very important to set the gain of the amplifier, PMT voltage, or light intensity to a value at which even your brightest sample will not saturate the image.
If the intensity values saturate at any point in an object, then once again, the object's true intensity cannot be measured and neither can its position laterally or in depth.
Furthermore, optical sectioning in the confocal microscope, which is essentially only a statistical rejection of out-of-focus light, will not work properly—an object will be smeared through multiple planes.
Confocal microscopes always offer a special color palette in which pixels close to maximum and minimum recordable intensities are shown in contrasting colors, warning when we are at risk of saturation or clipping the black level. This is not so common in CCD cameras, so we may need to take extra care with these.
Another contrast issue that often causes consternation is when an image that looked excellent on the microscope appears very dark when viewed later on a different computer.
Digital imaging systems record numerical values that are directly proportional to the amount of light collected. Computer displays, however, whether conventional monitors or flat-panel displays, do not behave in a linear way.
Most imaging systems correct for this within their own software, but this does not help when you view the image elsewhere. The relationship between numerical value and displayed intensity is called the gamma, a term borrowed from film-based photography (though the usage is not quite equivalent).
High-end imaging software, such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, enables you to set the gamma with which images are displayed, so the images will again look as they did when collected.
This software also enables you to change the gamma of the image, which is useful when an image has to be displayed elsewhere, often on a system that is not under your control.
Of course, you should change the gamma only on a copy of the original image, because the numerical values will no longer be meaningful in an image saved after you have manipulated the gamma.
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Microscope cameras of the ProgRes- family are based on more than two decades experience in the development and production of high-end solutions for digital imaging.
ProgRes* cameras are suitable for all contrast methods in light microscopy and can be easily integrated into each laboratory via C-Mount and USB 2.0/ FireWire interfaces.
ProgRes* cameras provide rapid frame rate capability while keeping power consumption at low levels - all this in support of Green Microscopy and for the sake of our environment.
High frame rates provide fast live images and provide easy workflow and convenient use .Furthermore, the high sensitivity of the ProgRes- research grade cameras meet the strict requirements of low-light applications.
The exact reproduction of colors, and the display of fine details due to the high resolution capability of these cameras, make them particularly well suited for demanding analysis and reliable documentation.
All ProgRes- microscope cameras come with the powerful ProgRes® CapturePro image capture software. This is an intuitive software suite that directly guides the user to an optimal image.
The software is suitable for both routine as well as advanced applications and is thoroughly designed for professional use. The ProgRes'1software can be operated as a standalone application and as twain plug-in. Of course, the ProgRes8 CapturePro software can be operated on Windows as well as the Apple operating system platforms.