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Microscope Camera Adapter Information

Types of camera mounts

C-MOUNT CAMERA ADAPTERS The most common microscopy camera is c-mount, these c-mount adapters are generally the lowest cost and most effective class of adapter for microscopy and the entire microscope manufacturing industry has standardised on this type of camera adapter.  Anything else is considered 'a special.  The more expensive is your brand of microscope, the more expensive will be the adapter.

  • GT Vision Supply C-Mount Adapters for Phototubes i.e. typically microscopes with a trinocular head for most common microscope makes  - SEE Microscope C-Mount Camera Adapters for Phototubes
  • GT Vision Supply C-Mount Adapters for Eyepiece Tubes i.e. typically microscopes without a trinocular head so the camera fits into an eyepiece tube  - SEE Microscope C-Mount Camera Adapters for Eyepiece Tubes
  • GT Vision Supply C-Mount Adapters for Monozoom Microscopes specialist single lens microscopes which have a c-mount camer a coupler - SEE our Monozoom microscope section

DSLR CAMERA ADAPTERS  Frequently requested are adapters to connect normal retail digital (non-c-mount) cameras to microscopes.  GT Vision have a huge amount of expertise in this area and we design and manufacture our own range of adapters, we supply a T-Mount adapter kit.  ​

  • GT Vision Supply DSLR Adapters for Phototubes i.e. typically microscopes with a trinocular head for most common microscope makes  - SEE Microscope DSLR Camera Adapters for Phototubes
  • GT Vision Supply DSLR Adapters for Eyepiece Tubes i.e. typically microscopes without a trinocular head so the camera fits into an eyepiece tube - SEE Microscope DSLR Adapters for Eyepiece Tubes

The microscope camera port

  • Trinocular headed microscopes with a photoport are the best type for attaching cameras because you are still free to view through the eyepiece(s).

  • Eyepiece tubes can be used to attach cameras but with obvious inconveniencing effects and trying to attach heavy DSLR-type cameras to an eyepiece tube often requires additional support for the camera.

Microscope make and model

  • All microscopes have different diameter camera ports and the formation of the image occurs are different distances above the ports and some require additonal relay lenses to be inserted.  There is no such thing as a single adapter that will fit multiple models of micoscope.  Please give us a call or email with the precise microscope model and age so we can provide you with the best solution.

​Magnification of adapters

  • C-Mount microscope camera adapters and DSLR microscope camera adapters are available in a variety of different magnifications which affects field of view, potential vignetting of the image and the brightness of the image

  • Typically a 0.5x Microscope C-mount microscope camera is recommended for most c-mount microscopy camera types as more magnification requires more light and creates a narrower field of view. However if you have the additional lighting available a 1x C-Mount will give you the true magnification of the microscope

  • For DSLR adapters the magnification is much more complex to calculate, our DSLR adapters have been designed optimise performanc​e

What is 'C-Mount'?

  • A C mount is a type threaded mount commonly found on CCTV security cameras, machine vision cameras and, most importantly nearly all microscope cameras. C-mount adapters provide a male thread, which mates with a female thread on the camera.

  • The C-mount connection is described in the specification 1-32UN-2A. It is an imperial thread with a diameter of one inch and a pitch of 32 threads per inch. This means that it virtually corresponds to a metric thread M25.5 x 0.75 mm.

  • The back focal distance of a C-mount connector is 17.526 mm. This makes it exactly 5 mm longer than the back focal distance of the CS-mount connector. This means that a C-mount connector can be used on a camera with a CS-mount connector if a CS-mount adapter (5 mm spacer ring) is inserted between the lens and the camera.

  • Because of its relatively small diameter of 1 inch (25.4 mm), a C-mount connector is not suitable for larger sensors such as those used in ultra high- resolution cameras or line scan cameras

What mount do DSLR/Mirrorless cameras have?

  • DSLR cameras do not have a c-mount and cannot be used with a c-mount adapter

  • All DSLR/Mirrorless cameras have their own proprietary type of bayonet mount

  • All of the DSLR camera adapters that GT Vision supply terminate in a T-Mount. 

  • Therefore as part of any DSLR adapter kit that GT Vision supply, a 'T-Mount to Bayonet mount' adapter that is specific to your camera is included.

  • All DSLR adapter kits include some form of optics to project the correct size image to the camera sensor.

  • The quality of this lens is absolutely vital, we can supply low grade, low cost optial adapters but we do not recommend them.  GT Vision has undertaken extensive tests of all classes of adapters with microscopes and have a great deal of experience in this area.

Microscope Eyepiece Tube to C-Mount Camera Adapter Mounting Methods and Uses:

Eyepiece_tube_c-mount_adapters

 

ATTACHING DSLR-TYPE CAMERAS TO MICROSCOPES

Camera AdapterAs we all know modern cameras can produce fantastic images with accurate colour rendition and very high resolutions and the cameras are packed with useful features, it is therefore desirable to attach cameras of this quality to your microscope system.  GT Vision Ltd are experts in this field and we manufacture our own digital camera adapter systems and we can supply third party manufactured systems.  When set up well the results can be truly excellent.

However, customers should be aware that, even with our expertise in this area, it is often a difficult thing to get right.  The main reason for this is that DSLR-type cameras were never designed to attach to microscopes and, equally important, no microscope manufacturer has designed their microscope to have this class of camera attached.  So, given an enormous and constantly changing range of cameras and an even larger range of microscopes and camera attachment points on microscopes, it is simply impossible to design a perfect solution for every permutation of camera and microscope.  A very high proportion of these permutations have never been tried and therefore cannot be guaranteed to succeed.  Because of this the microscope industry as a whole is reluctant to offer a solution because it is low volume, time consuming and an extremely uncertain area of business with a high level of customer support and expensive returns required.  Furthermore, because the DSLR-type cameras are not designed for microsopy they are often not the easiest devices to use for microscopy especially when focussing, a great deal depends on an individual model's capability and the user's understanding of the capabilities (and limitations) of their camera when a lens is not attached.  Finally getting the same field of view going to the camera as you see through the eyepieces and getting camera and the eyepieces in focus at the same time (parfocality) is also rather tricky to get right and often is simply impossible to achieve.

However it is impossible to ignore the fact that, when correctly adapted, a DSLR-type camera will undoubtedly outperform most c-mount cameras for brightfield imaging, albeit less conveniently.

Attaching a DSLR camera to an eyepiece tube and to camera ports (phototubes) that have a 23.2mm internal diameter 

BINOCULAR and MONOCULAR MICROSCOPES
Some microscopes do not have a camera port, these microscopes are normally described as binocular or monocular .  It is possible to attach a DSLR-Type camera to an eyepiece tube once an eyepiece has been removed.  The camera should be supported with a tripod or similar.  You will need an 'Eyepiece Tube:DSLR Kit' - see below

TRINOCULAR MICROSCOPES
Some models of microscopes have a camera port (photoport) with an internal diameter is 23.2mm and because this is the same as an eyepiece tube an 'Eyepiece Tube:DSLR Camera Adapter Kit' can be used.  For instance Meiji microscopes and many GXMicroscopes microscopes often have this type of camera port or can be adapted to have one with a converter tube.

Microscope_Camera_Adapter_DSLR_Eyepiece_phototube

This type of adapter has one end that fits into an eyepiece tube, this has a diameter of approximately 23.2mm.  The other end is 42mm in diameter, commonly known as T-Mount.  This adapter has a lens inside it which can have different magnification lenses according to the size of the sensor in your camera.  In certain types of adapters larger sensors typically require 1.6X-1.9X, while most require 2.5X.   You then need an adapter which is a T-Mount to the relevant Bayonet Mount of your camera. 

If you are connecting to an Eyepiece Tube:
On many standard biological and materials upright microscopes the eyepiece tube measures 23.2mm. However many microscopes a fitted with wider field of view eyepieces (eg stereo microscopes and more expensive microscopes) and these often have a diameter of 30mm, 30.5mm or 31.75mm.  To make this type of adapter fit these tubes snugly a spacer ring can be supplied.  However it should be noted that the view to the camera provided by the adapter will inevitably a region of the centre of the field of view, in other words it will give a more magnified view of your specimen than you are viewing throgh your microscope.  We know of no camera adapter of this type that is designed properly for a wider diameter eyepiece tube than 23.2mm.

Getting the camera and the eyepieces in focus at the same time (parfocality) may require the purchase of some T-Mount Extension rings which moves your camera further from the camera adapter, you can buy inexpensive 5mm and 10mm T-rings for your experimentation.  It is quite often the case that you cannot achieve perfect parfocality.
Please bear in mind that hanging a heavy camera off an angled eyepiece tube may not be the best idea!  You may need to mount the camera onto a tripod. Also on some stereo microscopes the weight of the camera may move the focus, you will need to adjust the focus tension (please ask us if you are unsure how to do this on a GXM model)

Attaching a DSLR camera to camera ports on trinocular headed microscopes

Microscope_Camera_Adapter_DSLR_Phototube

One method to do this is by using a 1X C-mount adapter which is specific to your microscope, this normalises the camera port of your microscope and can normally only be supplied by a a company specialising in your particular make of microscope.  At GT Vision we can supply C-mount adapters for the following microscopes (manufactured within the last 10 or 15 years) (not all are in stock as they are relatively rare purchases), examples of the most common are:

GX Microscopes
Olympus
Leica
Nikon

Zeiss
Meiji
Huvitz
Optika
Meiji
Mitutoyu
Euromex
Motic
Kern
Bresser

Obtaining adapters for older microscopes maybe possible, we will be pleased to advise.  Sometimes 1X c-mount adapters are simply not available but we can usally convert other magnification c-mount adapters to become 1X.  1X c-mount adapters are the lowest cost type of c-mount adapter.
Sometimes the adapter we propose below will work with a c-mount adapter with a lower magnification (eg 0.5X) but 1X usually gives the best outcome.

Now that the camera port has been 'normalised' with a 1X C-mount adapter, we know exactly where the image will be formed and can then attach a C-Mount:T-Mount Adapter .  There are a number of this type of adapter on the market, good quality ones are not inexpensive.