Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Instruction Manual for Olympus Photomicrographic System Group
Part I

 

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Whether you're photographing the intricate patterns of metal structures, or microscopic organisms such as plankton as they move under the microscope, you're participating in the realm of photomicrography. Photomicrography is of tremendous value both in the fields of scientific research and industry. Whether you're a professional or amateur photographer, photographing fascinating structures under the microscope will be a truly refreshing experience. The OM System Photomicro Group wits developed to help the OM photographer meet the challenge of this intriguing world of photography. This booklet outlines the various accessories and aids available to help you obtain good results in Photomicrography, and it also gives you the basic techniques to enhance the photography of your subject matter. Be sure to read the booklet carefully to familiarize yourself with the basics of this exciting realm of photography.

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The World of Photomicrography ... Features of the Photomicro Group ..... The Basics of Photomicrography .... Selecting the Connecting Units ... Camera Connecting Units .... Microscope Connecting Units .... Automatic Photomicrographic System PM-10-AD .... Manual Photomicrographic System PM-10-M .... Selection of Viewfinder Units .... Other Units ... Photomicro Group System Chart ... Chart of Photographic Ranges .... How to Use the Photomicro Adapters L&H .... Use of the Adapter L ... Use of the Adapter H ...


Credit: SB Teoh Dr, for rectifying a mistake made on this page.

The World of Photo-Microphotography

The world around us is filled with countless objects that make fascinating subject matter for photomicrography. The blades of grass that surround the house, the beautiful flowers that line the walk in front of the florist shop, insects in the garden, or a spider weaving its web. You can even find interesting subject matter inside the house, such as the various vegetables and fruits in the kitchen, whether it be onions, potatoes, pears or apples; in fact, even the various sauces and spices in the kitchen make excellent subject matter for photomicrography. Most the objects that make good subject matter for photomicrography, however, are usually troublesome to handle. You can not pick them up just as they are and stick them under the microscope, for example. In fact, one of the key factors in photomicrography is how to prepare the subject matter so that it photographs well.

The prepared subject matter is called "the specimen" and it must be mounted on a slide glass that usually measures 26mm x 76mm and is approximately 1.2mm thick. It's also generally used with a cover glass which is approximately 0.17mm thick. After you've obtained these (which can almost always be found in a local department store), the general procedure is to place the specimen on the slide glass along with a drop of water and to cover 4, it with the cover glass. Then, the specimen is observed anywhere from a relatively low magnification of 40X, to a relatively high magnifications of 400X.

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Specimens for photomicrography can be prepared in a wide variety of types and patterns. For preparing a specimen, it is useful to pick out a microscope guidebook at a bookstore, or to consult with a person with a knowledge of the subject. The best way to proceed is to start with the easier specimens and work up to the more difficult ones. You can simply sprinkle some pollen in the center of the slide glass and observe the specimen as it is. Or, you can make a more difficult slide by slitting the back of a leaf, tearing off the outer layer and placing the specimen on a slide glass with a drop of water. You, then, seal it with the cover glass and observe its inner structure through the microscope. This type of specimen is called a temporary one. There are also permanent specimens which can be made by sealing the wing of an insect, etc., in xylene balsam. Specimens can also be prepared by making replicas by pressing objects against a special plastic mounting material whereby the antenna of insects, the pores of leaves, etc., can be preserved permanently.

Then there are difficult slides which require much skill and preparation such as the cross-sections of the stem of a leaf or the structures of animal organisms. Unless you have previous experience, it is often better to purchase these slides ready-made.You should also exercise care in handling both the slide and the microscope. Photornicrography belongs to the photography of the natural sciences, and preparation of the specimen, handling of the microscope and handling the photographic equipment involved are especially difficult and require experience. Persistent practice is the best way to successful progress. The categories of late photornicrography is often divided into artistic, educational, scientific and industrial fields. For instance photomicrography pertaining to formative art is very interesting with both amateur and professional photographers alike. There's a lot of fun involved with preparing the specimen and observing it, and it's a joy to make exciting discoveries or to be awed by the beauty of the subject matter. Last but not least, of course, there's the joy of making the photograph. On the surface, photomicrography is not glamorous like commercial photography. You advance only a step at a time, and it is sometimes tedious. But once you've mastered this intriguing art, the joy of seeing your own photographs of fascinating art and sciences is often beyond words to describe.

Main Features of the Olympus OM Photomicro Group

In photography at microscopic levels (i.e., magnifications of 10 X or greater), it becomes difficult to obtain high resolution images and special Photomicro techniques and equipment are needed. For such purposes, Olympus, one of the world's leading microscope manufacturers and simultaneously one of the leading camera manufacturers, was able to combine its experience in both fields, to offer you the unique OM System Photomicro Group. Including an abundant array of Photomicro units, this special division of the OM System was designed to enable extremely high quality photographs of microscopic subject matter with minimum ease. Used in the various combinations specified, the units enable a wide range of Photomicro techniques with your OM camera. Included among the Photomicro units are a variety of adapters such as OM Mount Photomicro Adapter L for low -magnification work, Photomicro Adapter H which can be used with special shutter control devices to prevent vibration for high-magnification work, plus eyepiece adapters for use with the different microscope stands. There are also special exposure metres and exposure systems for photomicrography, including both automatic units with electronic shutters and manual units - all on hand to enable you to discover the unlimited possibilities in the study of microscopic organisms, medical specimens and other varieties of microscopic subject matter.

At present, Olympus has eight precision SLR cameras for use with its Photomicro units. Of the five, the OM4 and OM-2 (2SP, 2S) offer incomparable convenience for Photomicro work. These cameras that offer the TTL Direct (off the film) Light Measuring allow you exposures up to 60 (120) seconds on auto, and is also useful for copy work with subjects on a dark field background, vertical illumination with stereo microscopes and other difficult Photomicro techniques. When taking a photomicrography, you must first change the standard focusing screen with the 1-12 screen, which is especially designed for photomicrography, where parallel light entering the camera body directly makes it too, dark and difficult to focus with the standard screen, especially when magnifications exceed 40OX. Also, when used with the Varimagni Finder, the entire field of view via the 1-12 screen can be enlarged to 1.2X, or the central cross pattern enlarged to 2.5X to facilitate focusing even more. In addition, the Varimagni Finder is used in conjunction with the Eye Coupler to prevent darkening of the peripheral areas of the finder, one of the unique features of the Varimagni Finder. As for the Adapters, the Photomicro Adapters L and H serve as the basic unit, depending on whether you are taking high or low magnification pictures.

In addition, other adapters must be attached to the microscope side. There are three types which vary with the type of eyepiece being used. PM-ADP Eyepiece Adapter required for P Eyepieces, while the PM-ADF Eyepiece Adapter required for the NFK (FK) Eyepieces. These NFK (FK) lenses were especially developed to focus a real image at a projection length of 125mm - the same plane as the 35mm film plane, compensating ideally for Photomicrographic aberrations at each magnification. In addition, Eyepiece Adapter PM-ADG-3 is available for attaching eyepieces to stereo microscopes.

Adapter L.jpg
* Photomicro Adapter L For low-magnification photomicrography at objective power 20X or below Photomicro Adapter L is the principal unit. For objective power 4OX or higher, special exposure equipment is needed to prevent shutter vibration by the camera's focal plane shutter; there are two ways to solve this problem; one is with this adapter L; the other is with the auto bellows as follows:

(1) The Adapter L attaches the camera body to the microscope with or without an eyepiece adapter, depending on the microscope used. Generally it is best to use a slow shutter speed, between 1/30 sec. and 1/2 sec. to minimize shutter vibration. By doing this, objectives with magnification power 40X or higher can also be used with minimal vibration

(2) The auto bellows can also be used for high magnification photomicrography in conjunction with the light shield tube. If this method is used with both P and N F K (F K) eyepieces, a projection length of a real image on the film plane can be varied from 125mm to longer. In addition, magnifications can be changed at the film plane and shutter vibration is minimized. You can also set the bellows extension at 111 mm, equivalent to the 125mm projection length. With this method, the camera is separated from the microscope by the bellows, PM-SDM light shield tube and PM-MTob objective mount, and the bellows is mounted on a copy stand or similar sturdy support device.
Adapter H.jpg
** Photomicro Adapter H The basic unit for high magnification photomicrography at 40X and above is Photomicro Adapter H. The adapter is used in conjunction with PM-10 Automatic Exposure System, PM-10 Manual Exposure System or the respective PM-PBS automatic and PM-PBM manual exposure bodies as needed. The PM-D35S SLR Adapter is use to connect these units with the camera.

The Basics of Photo-Microphotography

The Two Basic Methods

Two principle methods are employed in photomicrography: (1) the "virtual image" method, whereby the image of a subject is photographed as seen in the microscope eyepiece, and (2) the "actual image" method, whereby the image reproduced by the objective is photographed directly without the aid of an eyepiece. The first, or "virtual image" method is used with coupled rangefinder cameras or renders an image of the subject surrounded by a circular field of view. The second or "actual image" method is used for photographing with the SLR camera body with macro lens alone or in conjunction with various Photomicro units.

The Basic Principles of a Microscope
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Fig. 1 shows the basic principles of the microscope. The image of the subject (AB) is transmitted through the objective (ob) and rendered as the actual image or first image (A'B').The actual image is then magnified by the eyepiece lens (oc) which produces the "virtual image (A"B") which is situated at a point 250mm from the viewer. Photomicrography, then, is the photography of the image produced, based on this principle.


A. Selection of Materials and Equipment for Photomicrography

(1) The Specimen Photornicrography entails photographing subject matter that is very thin. Much of the subject matter, or the specimen, as it is called, consists of living organisms such as paramecia or Spirogyra that are only 1.2mm thick. You place a drop of water containing the specimen on a slide that is only 36mm x 76mm and seal it with a cover glass that is usually a 18mm square which is only 0.17mm thick. Although this is easy enough to accomplish with simple organisms, in photographing the structure of plant and animal specimens, in the beginning it is often better to purchase ready-made slides containing the specimen, rather than attempt to prepare your own. Also, remember that various precautions are necessary. Fresh subject matter such as living organisms must be photographed before they dry out, while ready-made specimens of the structure of plants and animals contain dyes and are of little value for photographing if only slightly damaged.

(2) The Microscope Commonly used microscopes consist of two types, the type in which the tube moves to and fro from the subject and the type in which the stage moves while the tube remains stationary. If you're using the first type, the coarse adjustment knobs must be fixed very tightly, or the tube will fall when you attach the camera. Microscopes with a fixed tube and an adjustable stage can be further divided into monocular, binocular and triocular tubes. The triocular tube is ideal for photornicrography as the camera can be attached to the photo tube, and you can switch the light path to the binocular tube for observation. The camera can also be attached directly to monocular microscopes or one of the binocular eyepiece tubes. With all three types, it is possible to obtain good results for high magnification photomicrography all the way from 40X to 60OX. The most important objectives are the 4X, 1OX, 40X and, if available, 20X. Recent objective designs include short barrel objectives for general use and long barrel objectives for higher precision use. (Note: The two types feature a distance of 36.5mm and 45mm from the objective screw thread to the specimen, respectively.)

(3) Film Types The subject matter for photomicrography has flat contrast and the film should be selected on the basis of subject contrast. For black and white photography, films recommended are Neopan F (ISO32), Panatomic X(32), Neopan SS(1100), Mini Copy HR-I 1(32) (with the actual ISO values reduced to ISO 12), etc. As for color films, reversal films over a wide range from ISO 25 to ISO 400 are suitable, but care should be taken to see that daylight and tungsten types are used properly. Due to their color temperature characteristics, color negative films are not suitable for photomicrography.

(4) The Camera and Accessories As mentioned, the 1-12 focusing screen is basically a necessity for photomicrography. (The screen for the OM-10 can be changed to either the 1-11 or 1-12 screen at an authorized Olympus service center for a charge.)The Varimagni Finder is a highly useful focusing aid for obtaining correct focus in the center of the finder field. It should be used with the eye coupler to decide the height for photographing; otherwise the finder will be too dark. Winder 2 is also helpful by permitting automatic film advance while photographing.

B. Basic Techniques of Photomicrography

(1) Preparing the Specimen Be extremely careful not to dirty the slide glass and the cover glass. Keep your hands clean at all times while handling these, and be sure that they have been cleaned well after the previous specimen.

Before photographing, clean both the slide glass and the cover glass with gauze and ethyl alcohol or other appropriate cleaner.

(2) Handling the Microscope After placing the slide on the top of the stage, focus on it first at a low-magnification, anywhere from 4X to 1OX. Then, change to a high magnification objective of approximately 40X, refocus, and decide the contrast with a condenser If you do not have a condenser, adjust the contrast with the reflective mirror (refer to a microscope instruction manual). At high magnifications the depth of field becomes more shallow and you must adjust the aperture depending upon the thickness of the subject.

(3) Illumination Proper illumination is essential for obtaining good results. When you cannot tell by looking in the viewfinder that the lighting is right, it's a good idea to make test photographs. The following types of illumination are possible for photomicrography, and they should be employed depending upon the type of subject and the results desired.

(a) Transmitted Light Illumination (or Kohler Method) With this method, the subject is illuminated from below the stage. It's the most commonly- used method for illumination of slides of organic life forms. One common method is the separate method where you place a slide projector or the

PM_LSD-2 Epi-Illuminator in front of the microscope and adjust the reflective mirror to reflect even lighting toward the specimen.

(b) Transmitted Light illumination (Oblique Method) This type of illumination is useful for photographing leaf pores, etc. " prepared with a replica method of specimen preparation. The lighting angle is altered with the reflective mirror so that oblique illumination is obtained, highlighting the husk of the structure of duckweed, etc.

(c) Color-Differential Illumination (Lineberg Method) For this method you can devise your own filter by coloring the center of the transparent glass blue and its periphery red. The subject will appear in a brilliant red against a blue background.

(d) Vertical Illumination With this method the subject is illuminated from above at an oblique angle by a slide projector or the PM-LSD-2 Epi-illuminator. 4X or 1OX objectives are most suitable for this type of illumination, depending upon the distance between the lens and the subject.

(e) Polarized Light Illumination Place a polarized filter between the light source and the microscope for polarized light illumination. The structure of the specimen stands out in the white light on a dark background.

(4) Exposure Setting

(a) Manual Exposure with the OM-1
Set the ISO film speed and the exposure. Take pictures at the correct exposures, varying shutter speeds. Cell structures, plankton and pollen all require different degrees of compensation. While pollen tends to require slight overexposure, you should make one exposure with the exposure needle on the M side, one on the (-) and one in the bracket (center index). Also it is necessary to fix the temperature of the light source with color film (usually 7V over with Olympus most illuminators, depending on the type of light source).

(b) Auto Exposures with the OM-4, OM-2 (2S/P, 2S) or OM-40 (PC)

The OM4 (OM-2, OM-40) is extremely convenient as it features TTL Direct Light Measuring at the film plane which allows automatic exposures (particularly for long exposure, exceeding one minute). Even so, trial photographing is still advisable for the best results. Use the plus/minus settings of the exposure compensation dial for this. The distribution of the specimen in the finder, the shading and the aperture setting effect the exposure.

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(c) Auto Exposures with the OM-10

Use the 1-11 Focusing Screen which can be used both for photomicrography and general photography. This can be changed at an Olympus Service Center. The OM-10 also features TTL Direct Light Measuring, but be aware that exposures only go down to two seconds. Focus on either the central portion of the finder or the surrounding matte of the Focusing Screen. Exposures can be compensated for with the compensation dial (within ±2 f-stops).

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Credit: My old time buddy, Ahmad Ikram, Dr of Rubber Research Institute (RRI), Malaysia who has loaned me his copy of the manual to prepare this section of the OM site; Mr Poon of Foto Poon, Ipoh, Mr Richard, Ampang Park, Mr Lim and Miss Jenny of Foto Edar for their generosity for their OM1(n), OM2n camera and some Zuiko lenses. Mr Hans van Veluwen for mistakenly using some content earlier from his OM website; J Sorensen for providing some useful images to rectify some technical "flaws"; Mr Gen Holst for helping during the early stages of development of this OM site; Mr KKLow for some of his earlier images on the OM-1appeared in this website; Miss Wati and Mirza for helping me to convert this Operation Manual into a HTML format. Mr MCLau for rectifying some mistakes made on the earlier preview sites. Site created 'unfortunately' again with a PowerMac. A personal tribute to the creator of the OM system and also a site dedicated to all the fans of Olympuses and Zuiko Optics worldwide. Some of the content and images appeared in this site were scanned from OM official marketing leaflets, brochures and instruction manual(s) for educational purposes. Olympus is a registered tradename of Olympus Optical Inc., Japan.