Optical Microscope Camera
- Safety glasses are required in the optical microscope lab when not at the microscope table.
The petrographic microscope in M&M 714 is fitted with an OptixCam Summit 1.3 MP camera that is attached to a PC running image capture software. The following image capture software is currently available; TSView, MiCam and a twain plugin for ImageJ (which doesn't work well and will not be covered here). TSView and MiCam each have there strengths: TSView allows saving of up to three different parameter sets that are then easy to switch between allowing quick imaging with different lighting conditions. MiCam has robust measurement capabilities, is customizable for the objective used and writes handy comment files containing pertinent data upon saving an image (objective power, units per pixel, etc.).
To facilitate access to your images, initiate a VPN session with MTU, map a drive to the multidrive and save the images in your home folder. If this is not possible, plug a flash drive into the USB hub on the microscope table and save images on it. Don't save images to a path local to the PC and expect them to long stay there.
TSView allows saving of up to three different exposure and image settings which makes it ideal for snapping images of the same area of interest under three different lighting conditions (ppl, xpl and epifluorescent, or HDR imaging). This sets it apart from the other applications. Note that in epifluorscent microscopy, selecting automatic white balance is probably counterproductive; it is likely a better choice to set the gain of all the colors to the same value, unity.
- Setup the microscope to produce a good image in the binocular.
- Set the light path selector on the microscope arm to binocular & camera or just the camera.
- Start TSView (shortcut on the desktop) and adjust microscope focus to produce a sharp image on the screen.
- Click the Properties button in the toolbar at the bottom of the TSView window to access exposure, image and other settings. Following is the procedure presently used to yield quality images from the camera - these are only guidelines and you are free to explore the multitude of options made available by the software.
- Turn off automatic exposure.
- Turn off color enhancement.
- Set the Gain to 0.
- Adjust exposure to produce an image.
- Click the Auto White balance button.
- Adjust gamma and contrast to produce as high a contrast image as possible while minimizing clipping of high and low intensity areas.
- Click the Auto White balance button again.
- Snap a picture and open it in the viewer.
- Generate a histogram and see if data is being clipped at maximum or minimum intensities. Increasing contrast will broaden the distribution whereas decreasing contrast will compress the distribution. Decreasing gamma will shift the distribution to the right (increasing the population of high intensity pixels) while increasing gamma shifts the distribution to the left (increasing the population of low intensity pixels).
- If necessary, return to TSView and adjust gamma and/or contrast to capture as much information as possible while still maintaining high contrast.
- If more than one lighting condition is to be used while on the same area, save the settings by selecting one of the condition IDs (A, B or C) and click the Save button.