Author Topic: The Ergonomics of Microscope Soldering: Direct Optical View vs Camera/Monitor  (Read 6905 times)

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Offline rsjsouza

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I couldn't take a photo from the trinocular (I don't have the accessory) but, just like CDN_Torsten, the photos straight from the oculars of my SM-1TSZ-V203 are reasonable (taken with a cellphone as well).
(...)

Hi rsjsouza, Thanks!

How zoomed in/out was that?  It's with a 0.5 Barlow?
What phone camera did you use?

Also, is it your perception that what you see through the eyepieces is comparable to what you see in the image, or is it possible that with your eyes the view is even better than what renders on the camera image?

Thanks again, EF
The Zoom factor was 2x with the 0.5x Barlow fitted. The phone camera is a Samsung Galaxy S9 - I uploaded the actual photos, thus the EXIF information is intact.

To my eyes, the image quality is very similar between the camera and the ocular - quite alright for a $250 stereo microscope. Before I got it, I put bids on a few Leicas from a local company closeout (I could see them before the bids, but lost all of them) and later I found one Olympus and one Leica in the local classified ads. However, I know very little about optics and how to repair them in case of disarray, and these units were quite bad looking, so I decided to buy new.

Here is another photo but with Zoom factor of 4.5x and the 0.5x Barlow. Only with illumination, otherwise it was too dark.
[attach=1]
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Online Mechatrommer

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i have:

1) helping hand magnifier (too little magnification)
2) head band/visor loupe with variety of magnifier (the more magnification i need, the more i will smoke solder flux)
3) eye loupe (similar to head band but loupe directly on the eye which i modified 3d printed frame for handheld loupe for quick inspection)
4) old Vision Engineering TS-2 Stereo Dynascope w/ 1.5x lens (modified here Dynascope TS-2 110V Rotating Disc AC Motor, LED Light, Articulated Arm Stand Mod
5) China 1080P 60FPS Microscope Camera 130X C-Mount Lens /comboed with Samsung 24" Monitor (34MP HDMI Microscope Camera)

(5) is my primary tool now with others as auxiliary and (4) is the least used one (due to bulkiness, less magnification albeit being true optic stereo, less working area) anyone can argue its like soldering (or walking) one eye closed, but without it, its like walking blind when soldering 0402 or less or 0.5mm pitch IC, and then i can verify solder bridge by moving the pcb up and rotate 360 degrees side to side by just dialing the focus ring and for much more magnification. i can get high resolution/magnification capture too for free, and microscopy software if anyone interested (i dont).. not an affiliate, just a happy customer, fwiw ymmv.
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Offline CDN_Torsten

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Here is another image at maximum zoom with the 0.5x Barlow lens shot through the eyepiece with a cell phone.  I have additional lighting due to the high magnification.  With the standard ring-light the image is too dark to be usable.
The part is a size 0402 thermister. 

You'll notice that at this magnification, the depth of field is very small - the PCB surface is in focus, the top of the part is slightly blurry.
 
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Offline rsjsouza

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Your boards are cleaner than mine.  :P
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Offline CDN_Torsten

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I pulled it out of the reflow oven yesterday...hasn't had time to collect Schmutz yet... :)
 
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Online Electro Fan

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Here is another image at maximum zoom with the 0.5x Barlow lens shot through the eyepiece with a cell phone.  I have additional lighting due to the high magnification.  With the standard ring-light the image is too dark to be usable.
The part is a size 0402 thermister. 

You'll notice that at this magnification, the depth of field is very small - the PCB surface is in focus, the top of the part is slightly blurry.

Just confirming, these were both made with the same microscope and the same phone, just different zoom levels?


The green one is not at max width field of view - but something in the midrange, or it's all the way zoomed out?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 12:51:05 am by Electro Fan »
 

Offline Berni

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Here you go some demos of the microscope:




Attached photo is a still image out of that 16MP camera, directly as it was saved on the SD card. The jpeg compression is pretty horrible so video mode actually looks better. The photo also shows the depth of field possible. You can see the board (Its a RaspberryPi 3) is in focus but you can also see the top of those dual height USB jacks reasonably fine. The videos up there on youtube is pretty much exactly what you see on the HDMI monitor. And as usual the cameras viewing angle is more narrow than what you see trough the eyepiece because it has to get cropped down to square+some tolerance.

Went back and found the original aliexpress listing:
So apparently what i have here is a "Minsvision 7X-45X Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope 16MP Camera HDMI TF Card Storage 60 pc Microscope Light Ring"
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32880959393.html?spm=2114.12010615.8148356.3.475b7a8feQvzBF
 
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Offline Berni

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Here is also a photo using my phone trough the ocular.

Its pretty difficult to get a good photo of it since i have to hold the phone in exactly the right spot for a good image, also my phone is fairly old so the camera is not terrific. But it does show how wide the viewing angle is.

By the way that Ethernet chip on the Raspberry Pi is a 0.5mm pitch QFN, so pretty much as fine pitch of a chip that you will regularly work with.
 
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Offline Berni

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Here is the same without the 0.5x barlow lens. And yes i know that lens is not very good, but does the job.
 
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Offline Berni

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And here is max zoom i can get out of it without the 0.5x lens. As you can see the top of capacitors are already out of focus here.

And sorry for post spam, the images are so big that only one fits per post due to attachment limits.
 
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Offline CDN_Torsten

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Just confirming, these were both made with the same microscope and the same phone, just different zoom levels?


The green one is not at max width field of view - but something in the midrange, or it's all the way zoomed out?

Correct - both images are taken with the same microscope and phone - about 6months apart.  The 'green' image is at a fairly low zoom level and illuminated with only the lighting ring.  The 'blue' image is at maximum zoom (45x /2 = 22.5x) with extra illumination.
 

Offline Renate

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Well, here's my $80 Celestron microscope.
(The manual color balance is so far off that I had to replace the ring LEDs to be able to manually adjust color balance.)
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Well, here's my $80 Celestron microscope.
(The manual color balance is so far off that I had to replace the ring LEDs to be able to manually adjust color balance.)

Is that a digital/USB microscope?
 

Offline Renate

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Is that a digital/USB microscope?
Yes, it's a USB 2.0 5MP scope (if you have the time to watch 3 frames/second).
That last posted photo was at 1280 x 1024.
https://www.celestron.com/products/handheld-digital-microscope-pro
 
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Online Electro Fan

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Here you go some demos of the microscope:




Attached photo is a still image out of that 16MP camera, directly as it was saved on the SD card. The jpeg compression is pretty horrible so video mode actually looks better. The photo also shows the depth of field possible. You can see the board (Its a RaspberryPi 3) is in focus but you can also see the top of those dual height USB jacks reasonably fine. The videos up there on youtube is pretty much exactly what you see on the HDMI monitor. And as usual the cameras viewing angle is more narrow than what you see trough the eyepiece because it has to get cropped down to square+some tolerance.

Went back and found the original aliexpress listing:
So apparently what i have here is a "Minsvision 7X-45X Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope 16MP Camera HDMI TF Card Storage 60 pc Microscope Light Ring"
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32880959393.html?spm=2114.12010615.8148356.3.475b7a8feQvzBF

Berni, thanks very much for getting all the images/videos and other info together.  I appreciate it.

The Minsvision head looks like it probably came from wherever Amscope gets their 745 heads, so I'm going to guess that the image quality is similar. 

I think based on your experience and your images and the other images so far in this thread that Amscope's image quality will be sufficient to make me somewhere between happy and very happy with their simulfocal.  Having said, I would not rule out the possibility that an Amscope binocular could have some image quality advantage vs. their simulfocals; whether this is the case or not, and if so, to what degree I can't say - just not enough info.  What I can say is that Torsten's "green" photo represents my best hope for what might be achieved; any more and I'd be ecstatic, similar/slightly less which is what I think we've seen from some of the other images will be ok.  Fwiw, I think Torsten's "green" image might represent what the typical Amscope stereo optics can achieve, but isn't often seen with digital images.  I'm guessing that this particular image is so impressive (at least to me) because not only did the scope do it's job, but Torsten captured it exceedingly well with his camera (along with his scope lighting and focusing).  I think there is a bit of a hit or miss when snapping a camera photo down an ocular, not unlike there is some hit or miss with any photo.  Occasionally a photographer nails it and sometimes it's just close.  Something about it, but that particular image (the "green" image) is as breathtaking as a soldering-related photo can be :).

Getting back to facts (I think) vs emotions, I did some research today and spoke with folks experienced with Leica and Olympus.  What I learned is that when you spend about $5k for a new scope in their current product lines they are very sure that their trinoculars/simulfocals don't degrade the binocular view.  As I understand slightly better now, the two binocular views converge with the view from the objective lens and how they converge is a bit of the engineering magic provided by the high end manufacturers.  I think each high end company has some amount of proprietary technique but they seem to agree that to make a 3rd port for the camera the basic approach is to put a prism somewhere inline with the path between the objective lens one of the ocular ports enabling the prism to share the image with the camera port.  The high end guys are very sure that this prism holds it's own with the rest of their optics - as a result they claim the light attenuation is negligible (and can easily be made up by putting more light on the subject), and they also claim, most importantly, that the prism introduces no discernible degradation to what reaches the oculars.  This is their confident position on the matter (as I understand it).  From there they will say that if you pay less something has to give (in addition to their overhead and profit margin) and that all bets are off as to whether manufacturers down the food chain can make such a claim regarding no degradation when adding the third port.

I have no doubt that when looking through the optics of a Leica or Olympus that the image would be clearer, more detailed, and more faithfully rendered and overall better magnified than a product costing 20% or 10% of what they get for a fully configured (head, boom, camera, etc) microscope.  In their case they start with exquisite optics for the binoc and then they add sufficient beam splitting optics to avoid degrading the binoc view.  It's just a matter of throwing enough knowhow and $ at the problem until there are no weak links in the chain.

So, the question is not whether Amscope can provide a binoc (or a trinoc) that matches the big guys, but whether Amscope can provide a trinoc that can match it's own binoc.  I guess time will tell but I'm inclined to give it a whirl unless anyone has any new persuasive info to surface.  My thinking is that the trinoc/simulfocal will be substantially close to the binoc and the flexibility to have the digital image will be useful.   Worst case, it's time to bailout of microscopy or upgrade the head (resale value on an Amscope trinoc head might be half?). 

In summary, microscopy is another another department within TEA. 

Thx for all the info and guidance from everyone on this thread.  Plz feel free to weigh-in with more sample images and other info/advice.  Thx again, EF
 

Offline Berni

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Id say the quality of a microscope is not really all that important as long as it does the job.

The optics for these low magnification ones are not that hard to do, so id say its not really worth the slight optical quality improvement you might get on a name brand microscope. The only thing i find a bit meh on this chinese microscope is that 0.5x barlow lens, it does the job or giving you a wide view field and lots of working distance but i can notice the reduction in image quality using it.

The bigger differences are in the microscope cameras. Depending on what camera you get there might be very large differences in resolution, framerate, latency, low light performance, dynamic range, noise etc... The particular camera on this microscope is really good value for money with with 16MP sensor, decent dynamic range, low latency HDMI output and ability to record up to 4K video to SD cards. Tho you do need a HDMI capture card to get proper 1080p 60Hz into a PC due to the USB2.0 port being too slow for that. Sure the menus are chinglish but its also pretty cheap for its performance.

There is one more good quality chinese camera out there that also has a moving lens autofocus inside, it also looks like a anodized aluminum cube. but its much bigger to fit the autofocus mechanism in front. Dave found someone showing it off on a trade show in some video (It was that camera being rebranded as something more expensive, since those are the people that pay for nice big booths at trade shows)

In any case having 60fps is a must for doing any proper live work under a camera. 30fps is fine for inspection, lower than that is a pain to use for anything other than taking static photos.
 

Online Electro Fan

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Id say the quality of a microscope is not really all that important as long as it does the job.

The optics for these low magnification ones are not that hard to do, so id say its not really worth the slight optical quality improvement you might get on a name brand microscope. The only thing i find a bit meh on this chinese microscope is that 0.5x barlow lens, it does the job or giving you a wide view field and lots of working distance but i can notice the reduction in image quality using it.

The bigger differences are in the microscope cameras. Depending on what camera you get there might be very large differences in resolution, framerate, latency, low light performance, dynamic range, noise etc... The particular camera on this microscope is really good value for money with with 16MP sensor, decent dynamic range, low latency HDMI output and ability to record up to 4K video to SD cards. Tho you do need a HDMI capture card to get proper 1080p 60Hz into a PC due to the USB2.0 port being too slow for that. Sure the menus are chinglish but its also pretty cheap for its performance.

There is one more good quality chinese camera out there that also has a moving lens autofocus inside, it also looks like a anodized aluminum cube. but its much bigger to fit the autofocus mechanism in front. Dave found someone showing it off on a trade show in some video (It was that camera being rebranded as something more expensive, since those are the people that pay for nice big booths at trade shows)

In any case having 60fps is a must for doing any proper live work under a camera. 30fps is fine for inspection, lower than that is a pain to use for anything other than taking static photos.

Roger on all that.

If there is an alternative to the Amscope 0.5 Barlow that should be considered, that would be good to know about.

Now that I think I'm headed for a simulfocal I tried a couple monitors for the soldering work bench and in the process I watched several videos - some about soldering PCBs and some just demo 1080P videos.  In adjusting the settings it struck me that 1080P at 60 fps, maybe depending on the material - at least on good recordings, is noticeably better than 30 fps.  I would have guessed as much for video games but I was a little surprised on more regular content.  So I'm holding out for a camera that does 1080P at 60 fps, for sure.  Maybe a Hayear HY-3307 but that's subject to change.  Autofocus would be great but the price seems to jump up a bunch.
 

Offline Berni

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Roger on all that.

If there is an alternative to the Amscope 0.5 Barlow that should be considered, that would be good to know about.

Now that I think I'm headed for a simulfocal I tried a couple monitors for the soldering work bench and in the process I watched several videos - some about soldering PCBs and some just demo 1080P videos.  In adjusting the settings it struck me that 1080P at 60 fps, maybe depending on the material - at least on good recordings, is noticeably better than 30 fps.  I would have guessed as much for video games but I was a little surprised on more regular content.  So I'm holding out for a camera that does 1080P at 60 fps, for sure.  Maybe a Hayear HY-3307 but that's subject to change.  Autofocus would be great but the price seems to jump up a bunch.

I think the mounting thread on these barlow lenses are somewhat standardized so you should be able to find a better one with the same thread and just screw it on. And if it does not fit you can also 3D print an adapter or something since the positioning of this lens is not so critical.

The reason why 60fps is important in games but 24fps is fine for movies is because of games being interactive. A closed loop control system is formed between your eyes, brain, hands, input, monitor. When a control loop has too much delay between its actions and seeing the result, it becomes unstable. It makes a movement input, sees the result is still not there, makes more input into that direction, still not moving enough, then the delay comes around and suddenly there is way too much movement in that direction so a strong counter movement is applied and once it gets around the loop it ends up being too much again, needs to be corrected again...etc.

So low fps causes this delay to be too long and even be irregular, since doing input just before the frame gives a shorter round trip delay than doing it just after the frame. This causes problems with the control loops in your brain just as much, making it struggle with quick accurate movements. The result is that you seam to be a lot clumsier than usual. You don't notice the delay, you just notice that all faster movements become very difficult to do with a good deal of accuracy.
 

Offline Zbig

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Sorry for plugging my own thread but it seems very much on topic here.

I am stereo-blind so any binocular devices don't work for me. I've got myself a ViTiny digital microscope and it works fine out of the box for the most part but I really did't like the inflexibility of its original smallish plate and stand assembly. More generally, I'm not big on the idea of having to move the thing you're working on under the microscope, especially after getting a set of PCBite (and liking it). So I came up with a sliding mount that hangs from under my over-bench shelf and allows me to move the microscope in an X-Y axes freely and effortlessly:



More photos, short video demo and some project details can by found there: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/sliding-microscope-mount/msg3268392/

But more on the original topic itself: I was a bit worried I wouldn't manage the eye-hand coordination when looking at the monitor that is off to the side of the thing I'm working on but I accommodated surprisingly easily. The thing I was anticipating the most - not being able to resist the urge of looking away from the monitor but directly on my hands, isn't happening much. The only funny moment is the initial "reckoning" where I'm fumbling for a while trying to get my soldering iron-wielding hand into the view. I begin to think that the fact that I am stereo-blind and had to develop some workaround solutions in my brain's circuitry that allow me to function normally and not bump into things early in my life, actually helps me working like that as to me it's not really that different than actually using my eye. Singular, as my dominant eyeball is the right one and seeing in 3D is mostly an abstract notion to me  ;)

Also - partially as a 3D-designing and -printing exercise and partially out of frustration with a generic "watchmaker" type loupe falling off and hurting my eye socket - I made my own:



The goal was for it to be anatomically-shaped and tailor-fitted to my eye socket so it wouldn't cause me pain and for my face to be able to get a better grip on it. While I've managed to achieve the former pretty well, the latter is a bit of a mixed bag; those two requirements seem to be mutually exclusive to a degree.
 
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Online jfiresto

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...  So, the question is not whether Amscope can provide a binoc (or a trinoc) that matches the big guys, but whether Amscope can provide a trinoc that can match it's own binoc.  I guess time will tell but I'm inclined to give it a whirl unless anyone has any new persuasive info to surface.  My thinking is that the trinoc/simulfocal will be substantially close to the binoc and the flexibility to have the digital image will be useful.... 

I expect you will see good images looking through the eyepieces of both the binocular and trinocular models. I would not, however, count on a good image out of Amscope's trinocular camera port. All the reviews I have read found the port images were anywhere from poor to useless. To suppose otherwise runs the great risk of buying a bill of goods – with regards to the third tube and just that tube – I expect the eyepiece images will be fine. Except it will arguably not be a bill of goods because Amscope's own website plainly show the images out of the third tube are crap. (Sorry for getting technical and probably stating the obvious.) Whether that possible (probable?) outcome is worth the money is something for you to decide.

A $5k microscope will likely be a Common Main Objective design. One of its biggest advantages, arguably its biggest one, is that you can easily insert accessories, such as a third photo tube, into an optical path and negligibly degrade its image. Inserting an accessory in to a Greenough design microscope, like the ones you are considering, is much less of a no-brainer and became so complicated that pretty much all flexible system microscopes went to CMO designs.

The art and science of producing good stereo microscopes were largely settled by the mid-1980s. The knowledge is out there: it is just a matter of making the effort, and spending the time and money, to get things exactly and consistently right. Does Amscope, or some other vendor, and for what parts of the microscope?

[Sorry about the multiple edits.]
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 02:12:09 pm by jfiresto »
 
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Online jfiresto

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Since I have been unable to convince anyone to examine the image out of a Amscope SM-4NTP, I have had to reduce myself to arguing like an economist  :-\ and have ran a cost analysis on a well regarded stereo microscope head that can be ordered with or without a trinocular photo tube.

It is the Meiji EMZ-5, which I can very well believe is the archetype that Amscope and colleagues copy. According to tequipment.net, the binocular and trinocular versions list for $1260 and $1630, respectively. If Meiji's list prices reflect their production costs, a photo tube adds 29% to the cost. Tequipment sells both at the same 19.75% discount.

The current list (and selling prices) for Amscope's look alikes, the SM745NB and SM745NTP, are $611.99 ($305.99) and $709.98 ($354.99), respectively. Adding a photo tube adds 16% to the price, suggesting that Amscope's supplier is investing only half as much in their photo tubes as Meiji – and cutting corners.

 

Online Mechatrommer

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I have had to reduce myself to arguing like an economist  :-\ and have ran a cost analysis...
list for $1260 and $1630...
are $611.99 ($305.99) and $709.98 ($354.99)...
this is one of the thing that i did which ending me up buying a $100 camera+monitor setup... to add more points..

1) being angled like 135º objective lens to eyepiece.. with my bench setup at my chest level it wont cut it, bench has to be on my belly button or on my lap level to get comfortable soldering space, or else soldering while standing.. i was searching stereoscope that can be adjusted to like 90º angle (eye looking to the front not down) but none found except the super expensive mantis.

2) i dont like to keep swinging my head to the side of stereoscope to see the actual pcb and hand+solder position. and again, so far only the mantis (or dynascope) can fullfill this, problem is no annual budget allocated yet so far for years. even if there's budget, i'm not sure if it fits my bench.

anyway, most people seems to like stereoscope, so i'm among the unpopular minority report...
It's extremely difficult to start life.. one features of nature.. physical laws are mathematical theory of great beauty... You may wonder Why? our knowledge shows that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could describe the situation by saying that... (Paul Dirac)
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Since I have been unable to convince anyone to examine the image out of a Amscope SM-4NTP, I have had to reduce myself to arguing like an economist  :-\ and have ran a cost analysis on a well regarded stereo microscope head that can be ordered with or without a trinocular photo tube.

It is the Meiji EMZ-5, which I can very well believe is the archetype that Amscope and colleagues copy. According to tequipment.net, the binocular and trinocular versions list for $1260 and $1630, respectively. If Meiji's list prices reflect their production costs, a photo tube adds 29% to the cost. Tequipment sells both at the same 19.75% discount.

The current list (and selling prices) for Amscope's look alikes, the SM745NB and SM745NTP, are $611.99 ($305.99) and $709.98 ($354.99), respectively. Adding a photo tube adds 16% to the price, suggesting that Amscope's supplier is investing only half as much in their photo tubes as Meiji – and cutting corners.

An economist/marketing type will tell you that the price of a product must be set "at the level that the market will bear", completely independently of what it costs to produce.  The correct way (from a marketing specialist perspective) to introduce a new product is to first figure out what price the market will bear, then figure out if you can produce the product cheaply enough to turn a profit.

The market will also be segmented according to what people are willing to pay -  it is a central marketing tenet that you always allow people to pay as much as they want!  Hence, you see basically the same car model sold in different variants, where the difference between the cheapest and most expensive does not reflect the difference in production costs.

In other words - taking the price of the product as an indicator of quality is full of traps for young and old players alike, and you have a lot of clever people intentionally setting those traps for you! :D
 
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Online Electro Fan

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...  So, the question is not whether Amscope can provide a binoc (or a trinoc) that matches the big guys, but whether Amscope can provide a trinoc that can match it's own binoc.  I guess time will tell but I'm inclined to give it a whirl unless anyone has any new persuasive info to surface.  My thinking is that the trinoc/simulfocal will be substantially close to the binoc and the flexibility to have the digital image will be useful.... 

I expect you will see good images looking through the eyepieces of both the binocular and trinocular models. I would not, however, count on a good image out of Amscope's trinocular camera port. All the reviews I have read found the port images were anywhere from poor to useless. To suppose otherwise runs the great risk of buying a bill of goods – with regards to the third tube and just that tube – I expect the eyepiece images will be fine. Except it will arguably not be a bill of goods because Amscope's own website plainly show the images out of the third tube are crap. (Sorry for getting technical and probably stating the obvious.) Whether that possible (probable?) outcome is worth the money is something for you to decide.

A $5k microscope will likely be a Common Main Objective design. One of its biggest advantages, arguably its biggest one, is that you can easily insert accessories, such as a third photo tube, into an optical path and negligibly degrade its image. Inserting an accessory in to a Greenough design microscope, like the ones you are considering, is much less of a no-brainer and became so complicated that pretty much all flexible system microscopes went to CMO designs.

The art and science of producing good stereo microscopes were largely settled by the mid-1980s. The knowledge is out there: it is just a matter of making the effort, and spending the time and money, to get things exactly and consistently right. Does Amscope, or some other vendor, and for what parts of the microscope?

[Sorry about the multiple edits.]

Hi jfiresto,

First and foremost, thanks for sharing your knowledge, experience, and passion regarding microscopes.  Your insight is very helpful.

As for rookies making partially informed decisions, I will definitely put myself in this bucket.  Until yesterday I was unaware of CMO and Greenough... every day is a chance to learn new stuff, for sure.

If I had a need and budget to justify $2500 - $5k on a microscope that would be a fun position to enjoy, but my reality is that I'm in the Amscope range; it's more about learning and gaining experience than doing anything super productive.  I just don't see a lot of better alternatives.  Of course there is the used market but in the same way that members in the Test Equipment forum often advise new users that unless a buyer is prepared to fix a scope the used market doesn't come without some risk of it's own.

Clearly, a choice would be to leave out the 3rd port digital view (just use a phone camera); so adding the simulfocal instead of going straight binoc is a bit of a leap of logic (it might be just faith and hope), I admit.  When talking with the Leica and Olympus folks it was clear their products had models that kept the price down (to ~2.5k from ~5k) but at the future expense of foregoing some of the more smoothly incremental upgrade path.  It's not uncommon for product lines to have some amount of digital-like step functionality rather than an analog-like continuously variable upgrade curve.  This seems to be the case with binoc vs simulfocal. 

So, once you crossover to the decision to go for a simulfocal scope, while there are multiple brands they appear to generally come from whatever factory produces Amscope's scopes.  You would think by now someone would have done a Dave-like teardown and test video on an Amscope simulfocal to address the various questions we've been discussing in this thread but I haven't found it yet.  Pieces of the info are out there but not quite the whole story measured and documented.  Just exactly how and how well the light path works in Amscope trinoculars/simulfocals remains somewhat out of the FOV (haha) as best I can tell.

Net, net:  as much as I truly am curious to understand how the watch works I'm also hoping that at least it keeps decent time.  Once I learn that the hard way (with a purchase) maybe I'll be able to better learn, understand, and appreciate how it works.  In any event, it's a journey and I definitely appreciate the attempts to keep me and others on a good path. :)

As for the forecast on likely results, if it turns out that the SM-4NTP is reasonably good with the direct view optics but just so-so with the camera view that's an outcome I can probably live with; it would definitely be better than vice versa.  My goal is to get at least a few Torsten "green"-quality images with the digital view and some correspondingly better views through the oculars.  (Knock on Wood.)

I'll do my best to share the results as I get there.
 
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Online jfiresto

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... The market will also be segmented according to what people are willing to pay -  it is a central marketing tenet that you always allow people to pay as much as they want!  Hence, you see basically the same car model sold in different variants, where the difference between the cheapest and most expensive does not reflect the difference in production costs....

So then I would argue that the photo tube fractional price increments reflect the microscopists' marginal utility, that they get nearly twice the value from Meiji's photo tube as Amscope's. Or I better stop before I get silly.
 


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