A photo of my current setup
As you can see, I am not using the floor stand. It is not clear that I need the floor stand, so I have not opened the box, as I may return it, and use the funds to add a foot pedal control to the digital zoom. More on that in a later update. You can see that having the monitor sitting on the table to the left of the magnifier is very workable. Why add a $190 stand? The wire problem has to be solved, however. More on that in another update. Note that I have carefully wire-tied the cables from the light, camera power, and HDML cable together to keep them out of the way. I have a better idea, but later… 🙂
The supplier of the microscope worked with me to locate a better lens for my application (one with less magnification). They found a possible better lens, but folded when I asked questions. They could not answer the questions. And actually, they copied the specs wrong…
So I asked them for a photo. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE what you can do with a photo! I used “Reverse Photo Lookup” to find where they got the photo from (they of course were buying the lens somewhere, marking it up, and offering it to me – which is why they could not answer any questions).
I found the website – AliExpress.com – which I had searched (in vain) earlier. Well, you gotta know EXACTLY what you are looking for – otherwise you get buried in billions of product suggestions that are not even close to what you want… I had given up on AliExpress.com…
But with the photo, I was able to find the exact lens, and the disturbing and weird specifications. They were almost identical to the ones they quoted me, but one was way off.
While the lens would probably be slightly better than the one I have already, I now had a few search terms to try on AliExpress, and by gosh, there were lots and lots of lenses! After looking around, I found two that were especially interesting. One promised a lot, but there were few specs. I contacted the manufacturer, but may or may not ever get a response I can understand. The other one looked very good. Here are the specs and a photo:
Working distance: 55mm-700mm
Field of view: 4mm-100mm
zoom c-mount Lens
zoom ratios: 15:1
Magnification Power by 0.13X – 2X
Size: 110mm(L) * 28mm(DIA)
With 50mm ring adapter
The key specs for me: working distance 5.5cm – 70cm. Field of view at 70cm is 10cm. That tells me that 10cm on my LCD that is 25cm wide will be effectively a magnification of 2.5. By digital zoom of 5x that goes to 12.5x. That range – 2.5-12.5x – is about perfect! Without touching anything but the digital zoom buttons!
Now 70 cm could be a problem… 🙂 that is over 2 feet above the object. The LED ring will be pretty useless at that distance, I suspect. But maybe 50 cm will work – we will experiment and see. In the photo, I am at about 25 cm away from the Arduino board. But the depth of field will be much better… (even though it is not bad at 25 cm).
Note that I am using an additional LED light from a lamp. The “white” LED’s are pretty “blue” in color, so the “green” circuit board looks blue. With the slightly more yellow LED lamp, the colors are somewhat better. I will experiment with the color controls on the camera and see what happens…
The lens also comes with a 50mm ring adapter (the big aluminum ring at the top). My current camera holder is 50mm, so it will fit perfectly.
Even better, they promise if they don’t meet the specs, they take it back (they pay shipping) or give me a rebate and I keep it. Or, if I don’t like it, I can send it back.
And, the best part, it is only $35.66 rather than $63!
So the lens is ordered, and I am strongly considering returning the stand. That would give me nearly $190 (minus return shipping) to use to add in a PCB/hood that has an Arduino “repeats” the remote control infrared commands to the camera, and combines the 12V power into one cable plus wires for the foot pedal control – also processed by the Arduino to send IR commands to the camera. The goal is to simplify the wire situation, enable the remote to work, and give foot pedal control for digital zoom.
Maybe we will turn this into a product…! My goal: easy to set up, easy to use, no fussing with wires, plugs, adjustments, trying to decode partial and incomplete specifications, or just plain stupid and false claims… It has taken hours and hours of research to get this far…
Thank you all who have donated to my GoFundMe campaign! My only surprise was the $19.66 “fee” they took out. Fortunately, a friend had donated an extra $20 to the campaign, which offset that. In addition, another friend put in $20 cash, and another will put in $30. This will cover the extension pole and lens above.