Microscope Cameras and Software

There are several types of cameras that can be mounted on microscopes.

  • MICROSCOPE DIGITAL CAMERAS: These cameras include software and connect directly to the computer through the USB port or the Firewire IEEE port. When connected to the computer, the included software will allow you to view a live image on your computer screen. You can capture and save still images and motion video in .jpg, .bmp, avi formats, to name a few. The software also allows you to adjust the color balance and make measurements. Before making measurements the software is calibrated with your microscope, allowing you to then take accurate measurements. The microscope digital cameras are available with a CMOS or CCD chip. The CCD chip is a higher quality imaging chip and is ideal for lower light situations or when doing work with phase contrast or darkfield microscopy. The microscope digital cameras are offered with a variety of mega pixels.
  • MICROSCOPE VIDEO CAMERAS: These cameras connect directly to a TV or LCD projector and do not require any software. The image shown on the screen is a live image and allows the user to make real-time adjustments to the specimen while students or co-workers observe. If you do not need to capture and save images this is the best route, as the images are often higher quality. You can even get a high definition video camera.
  • MICROSCOPE DIGITAL + VIDEO CAMERA IN ONE: These cameras combine the above two features into one camera. Output to both a TV or LCD projector and a computer can take place simultaneously. The only down-side to these cameras is that generally the digital portion of the camera provides a low-resolution image (usually less than 1 mega pixel).

Microscope cameras are attach to the microscope in several different ways. Each are described in detail below.

  • C-Mount Adapter - this is a microscope-speific camera adapter that produces a common thread size. Microscope cameras have c-mount threads on them (1" or 25mm diameter) and will thread directly onto a c-mount adapter. The reason that c-mount adapters are microscope-specific is so that the camera can be parfocalled with the microscope eyepieces. This means that the camera will be in focus at the same time that the eyepieces are in focus. Each microscope is built differently and therefore requires its own special c-mount adapter to achieve this result. C-Mount adapters have a lens built into them that generally corresponds with the size of the chip in a camera. For example, a camera with a 1/2" chip is usually paired with a c-mount adapter that has a 0.5x or 0.45x lens built into it. When using this combination with standard 10x eyepieces in the microscope, the camera will be able to see the same field of view as the eyepieces. C-Mount adapters fit on the trinocular port of a microscope (camera port). If you have a binocular microscope, please see below.
  • Coupler over the eyepiece - in order to mount a camera on a microscope that does not have a trinocular (camera) port often a c-mount camera can be mounted over an existing eyepiece with a coupler. Not all cameras include this coupler, but the Moticam cameras include these adapters. They are available with the 2.0 mega pixel, 3.0 mega pixel and 5.0 mega pixel cameras.

If you have a digital SLR camera or a standard digital camera and are interested in connecting it to your microscope please visit the camera adpater page for information.

Jenoptik CameraMoticam2500Hitachi Video Camera

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