by: Martin Sagendorf
To take neat photos of little things.
That our digital cameras, web, and cell phone cameras can only take ‘life-size’ photos… but…
These cameras can also photograph images provided by other optical devices…
Microscopes and spectrographs.
These devices provide collimated images (i.e. focused at infinity) and an ordinary digital camera device can photograph these images.
Are much smaller than ‘full frame’ – a photo-handling program is an absolute necessity – to enlarge and enhance the images. For the camera images shown, the camera used is a Panasonic DMC-TZ4.
A slide-mounted hibiscus stem cross-section – through a 5X loupe.
This is the full image as it is captured by the camera:
The same image after partial cropping and enlarging:
And the same image after full crop and enlarging:
Three More Photos Of The Same Slide:
Through a 30X hand-held microscope:
Through a 30X single-eyepiece microscope:
Through one eyepiece of a Bausch & Lomb binocular microscope @ 19.5X:
And Another Slide:
A slide-mounted fish scale photographed through a 30X single-eyepiece microscope:
The same photograph enlarged even more:
Using A Web Cam:
Photo of a slide-mounted Aves Feather taken with an H.P. Webcam 3100 into a 30X microscope:
Through Spectroscopes Using A Camera:
Sunlight through a hand-held adjustable slit spectroscope:
An 18 Watt yellow Compact Florescent Lamp through a hand-held adjustable slit spectroscope:
Sunlight through a hand-held spectroscope with scale:
An 18 Watt bright white Compact Florescent Lamp through a hand-held spectroscope with scale:
It Takes Some Patience…
To align the camera to the device being used and to find the optimum exposure (light) level. Fortunately, using a digital camera allows one to immediately see the image and make adjustments if required. And using a small piece of black cardstock (with a ½” hole) will act as both a light block and protection for the camera and device lenses – sometimes it’s advantageous to tape the cardstock in place.
The Images On The Photos…
Will be quite small – a photo-handling computer program must be used to enlarge and enhance the images. Photoshop, or any of the many other image-handling routines will do this. The images in this blog were handled with Corel Paint ® Version 8 – it provides enlargement as well as changes of contrast and other photo characteristics.
Actually Doing It:
Using a digital camera to photograph a slide-mounted object through a 5X loupe. An LED flashlight illuminates the white paper under the slide. Note that the slide is supported on two pieces of wood – this avoids a shadow of the object mounted on the slide:
A 30X hand-held microscope and digital camera:
Photographing through a 5X loupe with an iPhone:
A webcam shooting into a microscope’s eyepiece:
An iPhone taking a microscope photo:
A digital camera taking a ‘spectro’- photo:
And through an adjustable-slit spectroscope (note use of the cardstock piece):
Individual or group investigative activities incorporating actual images either as single entities or as collages.
Never point any optical device towards the sun!
Experiment for the best results – especially light levels.
Marty Sagendorf is a retired physicist and teacher; he is a firm believer in the value of hands-on experiences when learning physics. He authored the book Physics Demonstration Apparatus. This amazing book is available from Educational Innovations – it includes ideas and construction details for the creation and use of a wide spectrum of awe-inspiring physics demonstrations and laboratory equipment. Included are 49 detailed sections describing hands-on apparatus illustrating mechanical, electrical, acoustical, thermal, optical, gravitational, and magnetic topics. This book also includes sections on tips and hints, materials sources, and reproducible labels.