How to Attach a Digital SLR Microscope

Overview

Digital microscope photography (also called "microphotography") allows the photographer to take pictures of objects that are typically far too small to capture with normal camera lenses. By using a mounting piece, photographers can attach their cameras to microscopes and create images that would otherwise only be visible when looking through the microscope's eyepiece. Attaching a digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera to a microscope is especially easy, as SLRs feature interchangeable lenses. You need only remove your current lens and attach the camera to the microscope with a compatible adapter to start exploring microphotography.

Step 1

Remove the current lens from your SLR by pressing the lens release button on the front of the camera and twisting the lens off. Angle your camera downward as you remove the lens to prevent dust from getting sucked into the body and adhering to the digital sensor.

Step 2

Attach a T-mount adapter to your SLR camera body. Different SLRs have different-sized threads, so you must purchase a T-mount that matches the threading of your camera body. This threading will be referenced in your camera's manual and will be the same threads that are used to attach filters or other types of extension tubes. The number will probably be one of the following: 28mm, 37mm or 52mm.

Step 3

Attach the T-mount and camera to the eyepiece of your microscope. The microscope will act like a normal lens attached to your camera.

Step 4

Focus using the microscope's focus controls. Your SLR's autofocus will not work with the microscope as the T-adapter has no way to relay autofocus controls to the microscope.

Tips and Warnings

  • The T-adapter will be under tremendous stress as it is the only thing holding the weight of your SLR. A trinocular microscope (one with three viewing arms as opposed to the more traditional one or two) will usually feature one viewing arm coming perpendicularly from the top of the microscope. If you are using this type of equipment, mount your SLR to the top arm for the greatest support. Monocular and binocular microscopes (ones with one and two arms respectively) will require you to hold and support your SLR at all times to avoid damaging the microscope, T-adapter or your camera's threading.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera-microscope mount (T-adapter)

References

  • Digital Photography Hi-Mag: Microscope Photography
  • True Tex: Making Digital Camera Microscope Adapters

Who Can Help

  • Great Scopes: Camera Mounts
Keywords: microphotography, microscope photography, SLR microscope

About this Author

Kyle Cavnett is a legal and political commentator whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals, and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer for three years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from UC San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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