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Digital or Optical microscope - which way to jump ?


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I'm very new to both watch repairing in general and this channel in particular, so I'm also still in the mode of buying/finding enough tools to enable me to strip and rebuild a mechanical watch.

( And I'm still gasping at some of the prices of these tools... )

However, it seems that some form of magnifier is a MUST and the 3x over-glasses that I already have just don't cut the mustard. I've scanned through this forum and I've read through several of the topics and I can't see this exact question aired anywhere else. And I wear corrective lens glasses - have done for forty years now..

So, a question for the hive mind, please... Should I plump for some sort of digital microscope (Andonstar or equivalent), or should I settle on some sort of optical microscope (A Brunel BM1 for example)? They both seem to be about the same price...

Thanks

Ian

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Hi

In my opinion Optical Microscopes are far superior to digital scopes for one main reason and that is depth perception offered by the use of a Stereo microscope, plus its easer to work looking down at the work area rather than looking up at a screen, it just feels wrong.

This is the one I use, you will need to add a Barlow lens which is about £20 to give a greater working distance between work and lens so you can get your screwdrivers etc in under the lens but that's it, it will take a camera should you want to add one, I did and its a boon to be able to review video or pictures you took during the disassembly to help remember where all the bits go, it does not need to be super hi resolution so again not too expensive.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/124373214244?hash=item1cf538a424:g:RBoAAOSwOQpfmcWS

Its said that once you try a Microscope you will never go back to using a loupe and with that I can agree.  

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1 hour ago, railwaymaniac said:

So, a question for the hive mind, please... Should I plump for some sort of digital microscope (Andonstar or equivalent), or should I settle on some sort of optical microscope (A Brunel BM1 for example)? They both seem to be about the same price...

Don't feel you have to buy new either, plenty of used scopes turn up on eBay. Many of them have standardised parts... I originally bought a x10/x30 microscope but with a little research and shopping around I found more eyepieces that fitted (30mm) which increased the magnification to x20/x60/x90.

The higher magnification is really useful on tuning fork watches and cleaning dials.

I agree with @Paul80 about the optical scopes although I only have a cheap Celestion digital to compare.

 

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Thank you to @Paul80and @Platofor the replies. 

I hear the words, but ...

Firstly, I wear glasses. I need to wear glasses. Can I look through one of these optical magnifiers with my glasses on, given that they all seem to come with padded eye-pieces, or can I focus the thing down to accommodate for my eyes' imperfections?

And secondly, given that I have history with neither of these, would I not just get used to working with whatever I buy?

TIA

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For what it's worth, I wear glasses to read as well as glasses when I drive (distance). Last year I had a series of strokes and following the last one I ended up with retina damage to my left eye. If you were standing in front of me and I closed my right eye I wouldn't be able to see your head/face. With both eyes open I sorta see OK but my close depth perception is really poor.

I didn't know how I was going to reconcile that with using a microscope.

I don't use glasses on the microscope and the stereo scope that I purchased does in fact allow me to see in depth despite my eye problems. In fact, the depth perception is magnificent!

On page 23 of the Stereo Microscope thread I posted a photo of the multi-lens visor that I use as well as the subsequent AmScope that I purchased.

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With mine although I can adjust the eyepieces so that I don't need my close vision glasses I actually find it better to wear my glasses and adjust the eyepieces accordingly, that way I not only get a better view on the scope but can see the bench when I look away from the scope, to find a tool or pinged part. I found wearing the glasses held my eyes at the perfect position to see a unified circle image which I struggled with without the glasses.

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On 7/4/2022 at 5:37 AM, railwaymaniac said:

Thank you to @Paul80and @Platofor the replies. 

I hear the words, but ...

Firstly, I wear glasses. I need to wear glasses. Can I look through one of these optical magnifiers with my glasses on, given that they all seem to come with padded eye-pieces, or can I focus the thing down to accommodate for my eyes' imperfections?

And secondly, given that I have history with neither of these, would I not just get used to working with whatever I buy?

TIA

Hey Ian,

I am also just starting out. The loupe was what I used to begin with but I do not have that special eye muscle to make it stay in my eye socket. I tried the ones with the wire around my neck and I find that the working distance is not ideal. So I got one of these. 

I got it from taobao, and it worked out to be about USD 120. I can adjust both eyes (left and right distance) and also the diopter so it accommodates for my myopia I can use them without glasses.

I also learned that I am not really supposed to smash my eyes to the padded eye pieces, more like hover a little above them. I can get better working distance, although I still struggle with my screw drivers to get under the scope.

I can give you the link if you want, but it is not in English.

 

Good luck! 

20220704_123709.JPG

20220704_123733.JPG

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Other than the colour that looks identical to mine, so that's an excellent price.

Regarding struggling to get your screwdrivers under it, just add a 0.5 Barlow lens, that will raise the head up enough to give plenty of room for drivers etc, I get about 8 inches of working space on mine with the Barlow fitted.

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1 hour ago, Paul80 said:

Other than the colour that looks identical to mine, so that's an excellent price.

Regarding struggling to get your screwdrivers under it, just add a 0.5 Barlow lens, that will raise the head up enough to give plenty of room for drivers etc, I get about 8 inches of working space on mine with the Barlow fitted.

Thanks Paul, I will look into that. 8 inches? nice! (Thats what she said..) The barlow lens will go underneath the scope?

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1 hour ago, suomaf said:

Thanks Paul, I will look into that. 8 inches? nice! (Thats what she said..) The barlow lens will go underneath the scope?

Jumping in. Yes the Barlow lens screws in as a last lens before the viewing table.

hth

 

Tom

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Posted (edited)

1085789774_20220706_145342(Copy).thumb.jpg.da7cf64dbc0fd210b861bfa04208e204.jpgAnd the 0.7 Barlow with give even more room but you may find the head it now too high to use, useful if you can stand your scope on a lower bench, or you have one of those fancy adjustable height benches like the one IKEA Sells, but for me and my workbench 0.5 is perfect.

And yes it screws on the bottom lens set where the ring light clamps, if you have one that is 😉

Here is my little setup

Showing around 8 inches to the bottom of the original lens set with the Barlow lens fitted which is hidden by the ring light.

 

 

20220706_145342 (Copy).jpg

20220706_145333 (Copy).jpg

Edited by Paul80
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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2022 at 7:27 PM, Paul80 said:

you will need to add a Barlow lens which is about £20 to give a greater working distance between work and lens

Thanks @Paul80 - I now have wifely permission to pull the trigger on buying one of these Relife trinocular microscopes. 👍

There seems to be a large selection of Barlow lenses available - which one did you use here, please? Did someone say I need a '0.5' magnification? 

Edited by railwaymaniac
Added extra words for clarification
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