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I am looking to buy a second hand microscope but I'd like to replace its eyepiece with a digital sensor. I am specifically looking at this Nikon stereo microscope Model SE. I asked the seller but they simply said they're not sure if we can remove one of the eyepiece lens or not. I'd like to use a sensor like this: https://www.opticscentral.com.au/celestron-5mp-microscope-digital-imager.html

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    $\begingroup$ Seems like a good question for the camera seller. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 1:59
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know about every Nikon stereoscope, but I know that the Nikon SMZ-U which I have, supports both replacing eyepieces with cameras, and a dual camera port accessory. But you would need to check the manual for the one you are looking at. Even if it doesn't directly support using a camera with it, you can use afocal/eyepiece projection, to use it with a camera, though this often comes with reduced image quality. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause As I mentioned, the seller didn't know the answer. Either he is not familiar with microscopes or he didn't bother to check :( $\endgroup$
    – xbmono
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Topcode So that's like an adapter that sits on top of eyepiece and project to camera? That's good point... I did a search and I found many for telescopes but not sure if it works with microscopes too... I don't see why not tho. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – xbmono
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 2:11
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    $\begingroup$ @xbmono The ones for telescopes should work, as long as you can get one the correct size for whatever eyepiece is on the microscope $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 0:18

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Short answer is yes, with a few caveats.

In general you can use a camera of any sort with a microscope if you have the right adapters and mounts. You can even manually hold a camera and take photos with the eyepeice in place, though it is difficult and hard to get good images due to you moving and the narrow window of focus with a microscope eyepiece. So, basically all you need is that the camera is held steadily at the optical focus point or has a lens mounted on it that will compensate for the eyepiece if removed. You can even get mounts that are designed to hold a cellphone for taking photos. These often have a lens in a tube similar to the eyepiece and support your cellphone via fitting into the eyepiece tube.

The camera you mention has this to say in it's advertising blurb:

The Imager will replace any standard 23mm or 30mm eyepiece on your microscope

The camera is made by Celestron, which is a good, reliable brand for telescopes and cheaper microscopes, so I think it will be a reasonable camera, though probably no better than your cellphone camera.

It looks to me like it comes with an adapter designed to centre the camera down the eyepiece tube and to fit it into the eyepiece tube (images 2, 4, 5 on the page; small black ring with 3 brass screws coming out of it). Whether this adapter will fit into your microscope will depend on the dimensions of your eyepiece.

I note that their images have it mounted on a monocular microscope, but this also shouldn't be a problem; eyepiece lens mounts are fairly standard for a given brand.

One thing to be aware of is that if you have a binocular microscope, you will need to remove the camera if you want to use the eyepieces, unless you can cope with looking down the microscope with the wrong one eye (e.g. camera in left eyepiece will mean you need to look down the right one with your left eye so your head doesn't bang into the camera). You should be able to remove the camera and place it carefully on a bench to use both eyepieces, but you should be careful to not bump it too much (knocks it out of alignment) and aim to not get dirt (fingerprints etc.) or dust on the sensor/lens end - storing in a box/case will be fine though.

I also can't tell if there is some method of preventing dust from getting down the adapter tube for the camera and into the microscope (you definitely want to avoid this!), though this should be minimal anyway. Given that it is Celestron, there's a good chance they have thought of this and have something in place.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the complete response. Do you know if the eyepiece of Model SE can be removed or it's fixed? I'm worried, I buy it and the eyepiece is fixed in place or is it standard for all microscopes to have removable eyepiece? Unfortunately the seller didn't know the answer, either he wasn't sure or he didn't bother to check $\endgroup$
    – xbmono
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 2:07
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    $\begingroup$ @xbmono I've not used that particular microscope model, and would need a more complete model number to be able to tell you for sure. However, in my experience, Nikon makes high-end microscopes, which means you get things like functionality to change eyepieces as you like. You may have to unscrew a holder screw, or maybe even unscrew the eyepiece lens (rare, typically microscopes from 50's-60's), but generally these are held in by friction and being angled above horizontal. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 3:20
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    $\begingroup$ I finally bought it and as you said, the eyepiece can be removed, easy! I also tested it with my DSLR camera and a adapter tube I had for my telescope and handheld it because the tube it's a bit large.. but it works fine. I just need another tube with smaller diameter for this microscope. $\endgroup$
    – xbmono
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 22:34

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