Microphotography

What is microphotography? Today, microphotography is taking pictures of very, very small objects using a camera, a computer, and a microscope. The goal is to capture images of subjects that can”t be seen by the naked eye.

Microscopes and cameras are an integral part of microphotography. A microscope, combined with microscopy camera, equal microscopy imaging.

Who first figured out that you can magnify an object using a lens? There are several different theories. However, Zacharias Janssen, from Holland, is usually given credit for developing the first microscope around 1595. These microscopes could magnify from 3X to 9X.

The history of microphotography goes back to the beginnings of photography. William Henry Fox Talbot was experimenting with photographic processes at the same time as was Louis Daguerre. Daguerre was the first to present his images in 1839. Talbot is, however, credited with being the first person to try microphotography when he married an early camera to a solar microscope and took a picture of a wing of an insect in 1839.

Another early pioneer in microscopy imaging was Wilson Bentley, who in 1885 became the first photographer to capture a picture of a snowflake using a microscope and a camera. It was Bentley who realized that each snowflake is unique.

Microscopy Imaging, Microcopy Camera and the 35mm Camera

A 35mm single lens reflex, or SLR, camera was the camera of choice for microphotography for decades in the past. Today, 35mm SLR cameras have generally been replaced with digital cameras.

Microscopy Imaging, Microscopy Camera and he Digital Camera

The cost of digital single lens reflex cameras have come down enough so that many more photographers can enjoy microscopy imaging using this type of camera. Even better, the attachments that were used on 35mm SLR cameras can also be used on these digital cameras, offering you more savings. If you are really planning on using your microscopy camera a lot, you might want to consider purchasing a dedicated microscope digital still camera so that your computer can more closely control the camera. A dedicated microscope digital still camera package will include software that will assist in the process.

Keep in mind that a dedicated microscope digital still camera might be much more expensive than other types of digital cameras and you will not be able to use this camera for your day-in-and-day-out pictures.

Although you can hold your camera to your microscope eyepiece if your camera has the right lens diameter, you will probably be happier with your results if you use adaptors or attachments. These adaptors help you attach your microscopy camera to your microscope and will keep your camera steady.

There are several types of adaptors from which to choose. You can pick adaptors that you can screw onto your camera that will then slide into your microscope eyepiece. If you are going to be using your camera for shooting not only on microscopes, but also on optical devices such as telescopes, you might opt for a universal adaptor.

When choosing a microscopy camera, keep in mind that the quality of the lens can be at least, or even more, important than the number of pixels that your digital camera has.

Microscopy Imaging Tips

A key to good microphotography is in the slides. A clean, well-prepared slide will make a huge difference in the quality of your images.

Computers can do wonders for cleaning up images after the images are shot. But, if your image is out of focus, no amount of cleanup is going to help make your picture pop.

Are you having trouble getting that focused picture? If you are using auto-focus, your camera might not be able to pick up enough contrasting elements in the slide or the microscopy camera might be focusing on the wrong part of your slide. You can try turning your focus to infinity and then manually adjusting the microscope to try and get a better image on your LCD screen.

Try to keep your hands off your microscopy camera as much as possible while taking the photos. If your camera has a remote cord, use it to take your pictures or use your camera timer if you cannot take remote shots. Even tiny vibrations can affect the quality of your microscopy imaging.

It is imperative that you always double check to make sure that your microscopy camera is safely attached to your microscope. You might want to consider tethering your camera to your microscope, just in case.

Microphotography: The Challenge

The challenge of microphotography is to get the best microscopy images that you can with your particular equipment. Seeing something so small become so large, so detailed, so beautiful, and so VISIBLE makes microphotography a joy for photographers and art lovers alike.