Setting Up and Testing the Digital Magnifier

My initial test setup for the digital magnifier system

As you can see from the photo above, the magnification of this system is quite high.  They claim 8x to 100x.  I have not tried to measure the magnification, but at its minimum, it is on the high side.

Add to this there is an excellent digital zoom in the Panasonic camera.  Since the camera is using a 14 MP sensor, and HD is only about 2 MP, it is easy to see that the digital zoom can go to nearly 8X and still have excellent sharpness and visual quality.  So a different lens, perhaps?  Anyone out there know enough about C-Mount lenses and in particular close-focusing lenses?  They claim the lens is 0.12-2X for a magnification of 8-100X on the display.  I guess that means I would want a 0.06-1X lens that focuses at 15-30 cm at the 0.06 end at least.

Zoom is by moving the lens and camera closer to the object.  There is a fine adjustment as well as a course adjustment for this.  Focus is by turning the lens.

The LED lamp works well, but causes reflections off of shiny surfaces.  I think maybe side illumination from two or more sides might work better in that case.  For non-shiny items, no problem.

Notice my problem with the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) holder.  It holds the board closer to the lens than I want.  And, I can’t move the board around easily because the feet of the holder straddle the base.  So, a much larger, and flat base would be nice – say 0.062 aluminum, maybe 12″ x 12″

They did not account for things mounted higher than the platform.  This means that I need to have the lens even higher to compensate for the height of the board or any other object that is not very flat.  Thus, a 6″ extension of the vertical tube holding the camera and lens would be very helpful.

The lens has minimum focus at the farthest distance it can focus.  Below is a photo showing the absolute minimum magnification, but taking the board off of the holder, and setting the camera at the very top of the vertical tube.

You can see that the magnification is slightly lower than before, as well.  And the board is not laying flat, so it is not reflecting directly back into the camera.  That is important:  when it does, you really can’t see much.

Now this is interesting in that the magnification is SO BIG that I can sit back and use my “normal” glasses rather than my close-up glasses.  This may actually be a big plus, because that also makes it easier to look down at where my hands are.  We shall see…

I would like to see this magnification near the top of the range, rather than near the bottom.  I guess I better measure the actual magnification and figure out exactly what I want… 🙂

So it is a good start.  We are not there quite yet.  It has been a lot of work to get to this stage, and I know many people who could use this would not be able to select the correct pieces.  It is also non-obvious how to put it together, and some cabling and other things need to be improved.  I am thinking about the idea of putting this together (with my improvements) and easy to follow instructions as a product.  What do you think about that idea?

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