Author Topic: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor  (Read 6894 times)

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Offline Renate

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #125 on: November 01, 2020, 08:05:45 pm »
https://www.microscopyu.com/techniques/stereomicroscopy/introduction-to-stereomicroscopy
Nice article, but when was it written?
Quote
The microscope presented in Figure 9 is a state-of-the-art Nikon research-level stereomicroscope equipped for both traditional imaging with Polaroid film...
I went to my chemist but they were all out of Polaroid film.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #126 on: November 01, 2020, 08:28:58 pm »
Ok, Thanks.  I'm still trying to get it figured out.  My thought is to find exploded part diagrams to show how entry-mid level stereo microscopes work and then move on from the stereo baseline to learn how entry-mid level trinocular and simul-focal microscopes work.

Have you seen Nikon's online, partly interactive tutorials? Here is one to start with.

EDIT: I see you have. Strange, the very-italic post just before this one appeared after I had posted it.

Quote
As to how the stereo scopes work I saw this:

http://microscopy.berkeley.edu/courses/tlm/stereo/index.html

a) is Common Main Objective and b) is Greenough, yes?

Yes.

Quote
... my main mission is to next run to ground the notion of what degradation might occur to the Greenough stereo configuration when it's adapted to accommodate trinocular and simul-focal.

I would not sweat it. Giving a microscope continuous zoom rather than stepped magnifications probably makes more of a difference. I would choose the camera tube that is best for the things you are looking at: that either takes half the light from and shares the view with one eyepiece, or takes all of it and lets the eyepiece go dark.

It bugs me that Nikon seems to only offer Trinocular and not Simu-focal.
 
"The SMZ745T incorporates an optical path switching lever that enables easy switchover between eyepiece and camera. A
Nikon Digital Sight series camera can be attached."


https://www.nikon.com/products/industrial-metrology/lineup/microscope/stereoscopic_microscopes/smz745_745t/

If simul-focal could meet their quality standards why wouldn't they offer it?  I'm guessing they know something about the subject :)

Look at their switching lever.  The marking seems to indicate that you can go from 0 to 100 on one end and 0 to 100 on the other end.  What isn't clear is whether it's binary, continuously variable, or maybe has some click stops in between.  If it's continuously variable or click stops, I'm feeling better because anything other than binary would seem to indicate some degree of simul-focal; otherwise with binary it would seem to be trinocular but not simul-focal.  Time to find the manual :)

Edit:  found
http://www.mvi-inc.com/wp-content/uploads/SMZ745T-manual.pdf
reading....

Edit 2:
Ok, Page 12 indicates it's binary.  It's Trinocular but not simul-focal.  You can send 100% of the light from the right eyepiece to the camera port (and presumably keep viewing in mono with the left eye piece while the camera gets a mono view).  Gotta make you wonder why they wouldn't give you a simul-focal view....?  Must be a good reason.  Can't believe they haven't considered it.  Sure would be nice to have Amscope make a video showing the difference between their stereo, trinoc, and simul 745s.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 08:39:55 pm by Electro Fan »
 

Online jfiresto

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #127 on: November 01, 2020, 08:46:19 pm »
It bugs me that Nikon seems to only offer Trinocular and not Simu-focal.

My father's SMZ-2T is the same way, the camera or an eyepiece takes all or gets nothing, and the -2T was meant for microphotography. It is still a lot better than having no phototube.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #128 on: November 01, 2020, 09:23:07 pm »
https://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-trinocular-zoom-stereo-microscope-head.html

https://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-trinocular-zoom-stereo-microscope-simul-focal-head.html

I just don't get it.  $6 difference.  Sure would be nice to know what the difference inside is.

Not even much difference ($23) from the baseline binoc to the trinoc:
https://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-binocular-zoom-power-stereo-microscope-head.html

Introduction to Splitters
https://www.photometrics.com/products/imaging-splitters/introduction-to-splitters

Doesn't seem like $6 -$23 or all the way to $29 could be buying a lot of super high quality splitter parts, not to mention some share of the incremental revenue that has to go to overhead and profit.  Either splitters are the cheapest easiest multiplexers known to mankind and therefore therefore there is little to no impact on image quality, or there is some discernible impact.  Obviously the light needs to be replaced (no big deal) but what if anything is happening to the image quality once the light is replaced/augmented?

Amscope could charge more than total $29 delta top to bottom in return for sharing some info that would save customers (or at least one :)) the time in trying to figure it out. 
 

Online jfiresto

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #129 on: November 02, 2020, 09:46:33 am »
https://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-trinocular-zoom-stereo-microscope-head.html

https://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-trinocular-zoom-stereo-microscope-simul-focal-head.html

I just don't get it.  $6 difference.  Sure would be nice to know what the difference inside is.

Not even much difference ($23) from the baseline binoc to the trinoc:
https://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-binocular-zoom-power-stereo-microscope-head.html

Marketers can move in strange and mysterious ways.
 
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Online Berni

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #130 on: November 02, 2020, 12:40:21 pm »
Not all markets make sense.

For example when buying a certain sports car you can pay a few grand extra to have the door handles replaced by the weight reduced racing alternative of a steel cable loop hanging in the door handle location that you pull on to open the door. So you are essentially paying for them to not put door handles on the car.
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #131 on: November 02, 2020, 01:50:20 pm »
...


Update:  I think the files were too big for the forum and for some reason my scanner seemed to hiccup at the same time; I can't explain why it did, it's kind of unusual.  I happened to this review from another user:

https://www.amazon.com/HAYEAR-C-Mount-Electronic-Industry-Microscope/dp/B07MPY1BHV#customerReviews

So I'm kind of on-watch.  If anyone else uses a Hayear camera, maybe run some scans and let us know if you see anything out of the ordinary.  For now I'm going to move from code red to code yellow.  Thx

.... back to microscope stuff :)

That camera looks nice.  I would like to try one.     

I tried to replicate some of your photos using the same transistor package with my old Olympus and it is apparent that I do not have near the depth you do.  It's not been a problem for me when soldering but I am impressed with how good yours looks. 

I saw a microscope a few years ago that would scan the depth and stitch the images together, live.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #132 on: November 02, 2020, 05:26:55 pm »
...


Update:  I think the files were too big for the forum and for some reason my scanner seemed to hiccup at the same time; I can't explain why it did, it's kind of unusual.  I happened to this review from another user:

https://www.amazon.com/HAYEAR-C-Mount-Electronic-Industry-Microscope/dp/B07MPY1BHV#customerReviews

So I'm kind of on-watch.  If anyone else uses a Hayear camera, maybe run some scans and let us know if you see anything out of the ordinary.  For now I'm going to move from code red to code yellow.  Thx

.... back to microscope stuff :)

That camera looks nice.  I would like to try one.     

I tried to replicate some of your photos using the same transistor package with my old Olympus and it is apparent that I do not have near the depth you do.  It's not been a problem for me when soldering but I am impressed with how good yours looks. 

I saw a microscope a few years ago that would scan the depth and stitch the images together, live.   

Thanks.

Just to avoid any confusion the link above is not my camera but for a review of another Hayear camera where the user had some concerns about a virus.  I didn’t use the Hayear software on the included small CD, just the embedded software, and I am mostly over this concern but I would recommend people run their virus scanners.  I’m think the EEV msg I got was just a standard msg that simply meant the default file size was too large.  Moving on…

The camera I am using is this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DYV815S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Speaking of goofy marketing it appears there is no indication of the particular model number - but I think it is a Hayear HY-3307.

The camera has some basic but pretty good embedded software but the UI is not 100% intuitive.  I recommend learning the Hayear UI conventions with the button pushes on the camera rather than learning with the remote.  The remote is very intermittent and/or random so learning the UI with remote can be kind of frustrating.  Once you have the general Hayear concept figured out on the camera button pushes then you can try your luck with the remote - maybe your remote will work better than mine (ymmv).  The remote would of course be nice if it worked properly to avoid camera shake.

I have found the results using HDMI (1080P 60 fps) straight to the monitor (with no computer) to be pretty good.

Here is the lens I am using.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016NPUE9C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I think the lens (of course) helps determine the depth that is in focus and while this configuration is ok-ish I have a hunch there are still better lens focal lengths for soldering.  I have some ideas and will report back as I do some more testing.

As I mentioned yesterday, what has dawned on me (duh) is that while we can fight for more optimized depth (dof) and width (fov) by choosing different focal length and aperture parameters (and potentially different sensors) the real key to getting good depth perception is stereo.  Stereo with binocular viewing gives the brain information to create perspective which is why binocular stereo scopes kick butt on depth vs digital monocular scopes.  Digital is not likely to be our limiting factor, it's the lack of the two views needed to achieve a sense of depth.  Of course digital has a bunch of advantages (freedom of movement while large screen viewing vs having your head stationary looking into to oculars, shared viewing for teaching including local in-lab collaboration plus remote collaboration with image and video sharing via networks, plus on-screen measurements, etc.).  Digital viewing and sharing is nice but if the primary purpose is soldering depth of field is also nice if not required.  So it would definitely be very nice to have the best of both worlds (or at least sufficient in both worlds) which is why I'm diligently trying to find a reasonably cost-effective simul-focal configuration. 

It's worth noting that one parameter within digital than can be (is) a limiting factor is USB 2.0.  It's not enough bandwidth to avoid motion lag.  USB 3.0 is better than 2.0 but HDMI at 1080P 60 fps seems to get the job done for microscope soldering.  Of course if you play video games you can read-up on HDMI vs Display Port and there is a good case to be made for DP especially when you start pushing up both frame rates and higher resolutions - but the standards for all three (USB, HDMI, and DP) keep moving so system engineering can be an ongoing pursuit.


Transistor label etching is the point of focus; one leg is sort of in focus; the whole thing could be sharper but it's a start.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #133 on: November 02, 2020, 05:30:56 pm »
Torsten's "green" image is still the reference champ.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #134 on: November 06, 2020, 03:08:33 am »
Update

First try today with the Amscope SM745NTP.

fwiw, the packaging was done very well by Amscope.  Hard to imagine something that weighed as much and had as many parts (some heavy and some delicate) could have been packed better to protect everything and to survive shipping.  So nice work Amscope on the packing.

I still don't have the camera set up but the rest took about 30 minutes to put it together, no surprises.

All the parts seems to be of very good quality.  Everything seems to have good fit and finish and is very durable, very substantial.

The 144 LED plus the double gooseneck with the individual light controls are a great combination for controlling light.

I tried the scope without the 0.5 Barlow and just looked at the brass cleaning pad; I have one of these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/120989275793?mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=711-53200-19255-0&campid=5338679340&customid=120989275793_3&toolid=11000

My first impression was WOW.  There is excellent clarity and sharpness, very good width (FOV), and excellent depth.  I could see the entire silver holder all the way around the top circumference, and I could look deep inside the brass pad to pick any brass loop of interest and focus with very sharp detail on the particular loop.  Zooming in and out is easy.  Compared to the USB camera it was 3D; almost like being at an Imax with the 3D glasses.  You could almost feel being inside the brass pad among the loops.  Overall, it met my expectations and probably exceeded them.  (I really didn't know what to expect, but I was hoping it would be good.)

Next I tried the 0.5 Barlow.  My impression is that it is still good but not as good as without the Barlow.  I'm already thinking about trying to find a better Barlow - maybe an Olympus or Nikon, etc. if there is such a thing that will fit.  I have a hunch that when you stack glass it might be an additive sort of challenge, but if I could get better glass and minimize the additive problem that would be good.  The view without the Barlow spoiled me.  It was REALLY good.

The working distance is similar to what everyone describes: about 8" with the 0.5 Barlow and about 4" without it.  It might be possible to solder with just the 4" clearance if it turns out the added sharpness is the way to fly (without the Barlow).

I tried holding a phone camera to the lens but it's pretty tricky to get it lined up and focused.  My guess is you might have to take about 100 to get one really good photo with the handholding method.  I tried setting a small tripod on cardboard box to get the phone camera lined up better but it was too rickety to get anything that resembles what you can see with your eyes.

There is no doubt that what your eyes can see with the optical view is substantially better than what the HDMI camera captures in terms of sharpness and it's a different experience completely with respect to depth.  Overall, I'd say the direct optical view is somewhere between substantially better and dramatically better compared to what I saw with my interim HDMI camera tests.  And to be fair what you see with the HDMI camera on a good 1080P 60 fps monitor is not bad, it just doesn't compare to what your eyes see directly through the scope.

Tomorrow I'll try to get the simul-focal part of the scope with the camera running and see what happens.

So far, I'd rate the experience as worthwhile but I'm still early - only about an hour so of initial impressions. 
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #135 on: November 06, 2020, 09:31:02 pm »
I installed the HDMI camera and included some photos of what shows on the monitor.  All of the HDMI camera images are just pictures of the monitor, none are directly from the micro SD card.

I tried to get some photos through an ocular with the phone camera.  It is very hard to get a good photo this way but I've attached some attempts to show how just slight movement adjusts the angle and focus (mostly lack of focus).  There is almost nothing other than the general subject that looks the same with these camera shots vs. what you can see through the oculars, but you get a sense of what's in view.  Both the phone camera through an ocular and the HDMI camera can't match the quality of the direct optical view - with stereo the direct optical view kicks butt on the mono camera view.

Overall there is a bit of a learning curve - it's kind of like learning to drive.  At a coarse level it's easy but to get precision takes a little bit of experience and I'm only a couple hours into the process.

The two first major but still preliminary conclusions continue to be:  1) the direct optical view is way beyond what you can get with a camera, and 2) the scope is sharper without the 0.5 Barlow but you give up half the working distance.  I have a hunch that for soldering you might just have to live without some the sharpness and then if you really need the sharpest details for inspection you can remove the Barlow.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #136 on: November 06, 2020, 09:34:15 pm »
Part 2
« Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 09:39:03 pm by Electro Fan »
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #137 on: November 06, 2020, 11:44:03 pm »
Part 3

I tried a second 0.5 Barlow, it might be a tad sharper and I think sharp enough when viewed through the oculars. 

These are with the 0.5; they still don't show what you see on the direct view in terms of either sharpness or depth but you get a sense of what can see through one eyepiece and on a monitor.  That's a Hakko T18-D24 for scale.

The components look 3D with real depth and good sharpness through the oculars.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #138 on: November 08, 2020, 01:27:17 am »
Working on the camera through the ocular approach... just can't get it to show show the sharpness and depth you can see with your eyes.

Edit: Still trying, some more :)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 04:20:56 am by Electro Fan »
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #139 on: November 08, 2020, 12:29:58 pm »

Looks awesome!  -  The HDMI images are awesome as well.  You don't need the ultimate high res for soldering, just like you don't need a 500hp car...  but it is nevertheless nice!  :D
 

Online jfiresto

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #140 on: November 08, 2020, 01:37:41 pm »
The eyepiece images look good.

Any chance you could post some images that the HDMI camera saved to the micro SD card? The monitor images show some picture-of-a-picture artifacts.
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #141 on: November 08, 2020, 09:02:19 pm »

Looks awesome!  -  The HDMI images are awesome as well.  You don't need the ultimate high res for soldering, just like you don't need a 500hp car...  but it is nevertheless nice!  :D

Thanks.  I'm very happy to report that so far so good. 

For anyone who hasn't experienced first hand the differences I think you can take it at face value that the human view through the oculars is well beyond what you can get from the monitor with a camera photo of the monitor or what you can get from a SD card image (I'll post one of those below), or even what you can get with a camera view down an ocular.

As for soldering (which of course was the use case driver for the scope) I completely agree that you don't need ultimate high res.  The clarity/sharpness of what you get with an Amscope through the oculars will probably help anyone who had capped out with through hole to start doing SMD with some decent confidence.  This of course depends somewhat on your eye sight and dexterity and general soldering skills but in my case none of those have been the greatest (far from it) but already I'm able to remove and replace SMD components with a much better ability to visualize what's happening - and now that I can see it some of it isn't too pretty :)  In fact, crossing over to seeing SMD with the microscope is leading to all sorts of questions about soldering in general and SMD in particular.  I'll probably have lots of questions and comments on various flavors of soldering shortly, probably in another thread.

As for how much better another step up in optical could be (like 500 hp and beyond), I am certain that with higher end microscopes that the wow factor would increase (while possibly also reducing some eye fatigue).  I can already catch myself trying to focus in the middle vs. the edges and sometimes I can see flat surfaces that don't look flat - probably optics imperfections.  Volt nuts and time nuts probably have some cousin optic nuts but I think for SMD soldering an Amscope can get you there and maybe at an entry cost in the $200 - $350 range depending on the options.  I like the double boom stand for it's flexibility.  I know about the boom rod groove problem and I've tried to deal with that by highly minimizing the sliding to necessary vs fun sliding, and by trying to handhold assist the sliding process to go easy on the rods and bearings.  The net of this is I think for most casual soldering use you could pick a location on the bench and maybe not need all the double boom flexibility, thereby lowering the overall cost.  Likewise, the Amscope double gooseneck with individual light controls is VERY nice but I think there are lower cost alternatives that will get the job done.  I think if you leave off the bells and whistles the entry price for an Amscope might come within $100 or so of various digital alternatives and I'd say for anyone doing more than infrequent soldering Amscope is a good way to fly.  For pro users or other daily drivers I could see why they would be interested in more bells and whistles and still better optics.

I don't have any long term results yet of course, but on a preliminary base I'm giving the Amscope SM4NTP  :-+ :-+
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 11:26:31 pm by Electro Fan »
 
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Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #142 on: November 08, 2020, 09:06:27 pm »
The eyepiece images look good.

Any chance you could post some images that the HDMI camera saved to the micro SD card? The monitor images show some picture-of-a-picture artifacts.

Here you go - posted below.  Thanks for all the good coaching along the way.

Edit:  The following is the EF made some stuff up on the fly microscope scale :)

If on a scale of 1-10 the difference between the SD card and the photo taken of the image on the monitor is less than 1 point (and together they start at about 1 as the reference point), the difference between either of these and the phone camera view down the ocular (when done well which is somewhat challenging) is 2 points (for improved overall clarity and detailed sharpness of the camera down the ocular), and the difference between the camera view down the ocular and what your eye can see in one ocular is another 2 points (for still better clarity and sharpness for what one eye can see in one ocular), and the view with two eyes down the two oculars is yet another 2 points (for better fov and better sense of depth).  So if you started toward the bottom around 1, you might get to 7 leaving some room for Nikon et al further up the scale (often by spending 80% more you can get 20% better), or depending on how good Nikon et all are you might have to compress 7 by some factor, possibly two to 3.5.

Disclaimer:  this is Rev 1.0 on this scale and I reserve the right to modify the scale, the values assigned, and the associated definitions, along with all other Terms and Conditions :)

Current Conclusion:  In any event, scale attempt aside, in my experience, two eyes down two oculars will noticeably and easily surpass any of the camera views I've seen (although admittedly I'm limited by what I've experienced so far....).  YMMV
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 10:02:46 pm by Electro Fan »
 

Online Berni

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #143 on: November 09, 2020, 05:37:14 am »
Not being able to focus both the center and edges is common.

This is because edges are actually slightly farther away from the lens than the center. The board would actually need to be slightly domed inwards to keep a constant distance to the lens. This is rarely a problem in photography (or in some cases might even be desired for the artistic effect) but is often an issue with microscopes that are most commonly used looking straight down at something flat. For this reason microscope objectives with so called flatplane correction having the word "plan" in front. These objectives are designed to focus slightly farther away at the edges using some more funky lens shapes that are more difficult to grind so they tend to be rather expensive.

But with the typical depth of field in these soldering microscopes and the fact your eyes can adjust themselves to focus a bit means that this is usually not a problem anyway. I find that a lot of the time during soldering i end up using the microscope near the minimum possible zoom level where depth of field is really wide. Trough the eyepiece things are still large enough to see while giving the most possible viewing area. Its only when soldering particularly tricky tiny components like bodge wiring on a 0201 resistor where the high magnifications are used to work under. Otherwise the high zoom levels are more for close inspection and taking close up photos for documentation. If you want a really nice crisp photo with everything sharp at those zoom levels you need to do focus stacking anyway.
 

Offline Renate

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #144 on: November 09, 2020, 01:20:12 pm »
I appreciate the benefits of stereo vision.
So how about an Oculus VR headset and a dual HDMI microscope? >:D
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #145 on: November 09, 2020, 05:10:02 pm »
I appreciate the benefits of stereo vision.
So how about an Oculus VR headset and a dual HDMI microscope? >:D

That would actually be kind of cool...  With dual cameras on the soldering iron as well, for the ultimate immersive soldering experience! :D
 

Online jfiresto

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #146 on: November 09, 2020, 05:56:33 pm »
Thank you for the micro SD card image. I started shrinking it down until I got a sharp image – which you could then display at full, 640x468 resolution on a VGA monitor.  :( If the image on the 24 inch(?) monitor was in best focus, I think something is not right with one or more of the following: the photo port, the relay lens or the camera.

EDIT: Have you seen this review, especially the photo toward the end (Amscope Optics vs. Nikon Optics)? I was expecting more like that.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 06:10:33 pm by jfiresto »
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #147 on: November 09, 2020, 08:27:24 pm »
Thank you for the micro SD card image. I started shrinking it down until I got a sharp image – which you could then display at full, 640x468 resolution on a VGA monitor.  :( If the image on the 24 inch(?) monitor was in best focus, I think something is not right with one or more of the following: the photo port, the relay lens or the camera.

EDIT: Have you seen this review, especially the photo toward the end (Amscope Optics vs. Nikon Optics)? I was expecting more like that.

Thanks for the review link.  I hadn't seen it but did look it over including the comparison with the Nikon scope.  The difference in the images is fairly consistent with what I've seen from the Amscope, and I can believe the Nikon is sharper - as it hopefully is for what I'm guessing is a 2-5x price (not sure exactly what the configurations and prices need to be in order to be apples and apples).  I am not claiming that Amscope is as good as Nikon et al, for sure. 

Not sure what leads you to believe that there is a problem with some combination of the the photo port, the relay lens or the camera but I trust your experience.  I can try another camera and I might do that.  The camera I am using I think is very similar to the one in the article but an extra 2MP (16 vs 14); other than that the design and specs look pretty much the same but maybe there are other differences.  Or maybe there is some unit to unit variation and I just need another copy of the same camera model I am using. 

Not sure what can go wrong with the photo port - any ideas?  I'm guessing the relay lens is the relay lens and it's unlikely there is much I can do about that but maybe you have some suggestions on how to diagnose it if not adjust it.

Fwiw, my main hope for the microscope was that the direct view optics would be sufficient to solder most SMD components and I think the scope has already enabled me to gain confidence that this will be doable.  The direct view optics have been the primary purpose and the camera views have been the secondary purpose, so I think I can live with the camera views even if they are marginal.  Having said that, I find the view on the monitor (24" HDMI input 60 fps 1920 x 1200) to be pretty good.  It's not like I'm wondering where the components are or what condition they are in.  In fact, for some reason, what I see on the monitor seems to render more "enjoyable" (only a semi-technical term) than the SD card images.  I can't think of any reason why this would be the case but if you look at the images I posted of the two, even though the images of the monitor are a picture of a picture, the monitor images hold up pretty well vs. the SD card images.  (You might notice that this is something I tried to describe in my 1-10 scale in one of the posts above.)  I would have expected the SD card images to render better than the picture of the images on the monitor.  Either way, the images aren't going to be any better than what the camera sees or captures, or so it would seem.  So maybe there is an issue with the camera, or as you say something between the object being imaged and the camera.  If I can improve any of this path that would be good but if not I can live with it.

One possible explanation for what you see in the camera view image (and maybe even why some of my picture of the monitor images look better than what you saw on your examination of the SD card) is that in order to get either the monitor image or an SD card image to look good you have to focus the 3rd port tube.  This is a pretty fincky up-down back and forth alternately bound up and slippery sliding process with no detents in a so-so cylinder in a cylinder fit that needs probably a fraction of a mm to perfectly focus and then needs to be tightened down with the set screw.  During which the only reference is the monitor view because until I get that looking about right there is no sense in taking a still frame image (writing to the SD card).  And even after the camera looks focused (up-down) it can easily rotate.  The point is that it's possible that in the case of the SD card image you studied I didn't have this very manual up-down slide focusing process dialed-in and maybe some of the similar but different images made with a photo of the monitor happened to be taken when I got lucky with a better up-down port focus.  (What the 3rd port needs is a good knob for focusing.)  All this is just guessin'....  I can do some more trial and error tests.  Actually, now that I think about another operator area with room for error there is the "shutter" release.  Sometimes I hit the button on the camera (which wiggles everything no matter how gentle you try) and sometimes I use the remote which should be much better but I've found it to be somewhat intermittent on the communications so I don't rely on it as much as I should - but I'll try harder with the remote now.

What I would like to improve most, if possible and practical, is the 0.5 Barlow view.  Through the oculars 0.5 view is good (much better than what any of the digital views show) but the ocular view is even better with the regular 1.0 configuration (which gives up ~half the working distance).  Any chance there is a better 0.5 Barlow from Nikon et al that would fit?  I believe the specs are 1-7/8" (48mm) mounting thread.  I'd be willing to invest in a better 0.5 Barlow if that had a reasonable chance of improving what I see through the scope with another 0.5.

Thanks again for the observations and critiques, it's all very helpful.

Edit:  seems like there should be a more precisely adjustable C mount 0.5 relay lens; and one that maybe is sharper, and as long as we are asking for everything maybe one that provides a slightly wider view.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 10:30:24 pm by Electro Fan »
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #148 on: November 09, 2020, 11:34:44 pm »
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Offline Electro Fan

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Re: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor
« Reply #149 on: November 09, 2020, 11:37:22 pm »
another (too big to post together)
 


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