Image analysis can be conducted using any microscope or lens system which has a camera attached. There are many levels of image analysis with a wide range of prices and functionality.
The most basic level is to use a camera attached to a microscope which is supplied with software that has interactive line measurements, a calibration scale is also needed.
The next level up is to use a more professional level of software that provides more interactive measurements, which handles the data more conveniently and includes vital functions such as sample name, automatic date stamps etc.
At the next level an encoded stage could be added which allows measurements to be made at high magnifications of objects that span more than 1 field of view. The stage is linked to the software so that measurements can be made over large areas at very high precision.
Then there are the automated image analysis systems which automatically detect the features of interest based normally on their contrast or colour. Many of these image analysis systems are highly customsed for specific applications such as partcle size analysis or metallographic analysis.
The top end image analysis systems have automated feature detection, classification and take advantage of motorised sample movement and focus so, for instance, a 35mm filter can be analysed for particles in less than 2 minutes at very high magnification.
Naturally, as you would expect, prices progress upwards as you select more efficient and automated systems.
GT Vision Ltd have the largest range of systems on show at their demonstration facilities.