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Using a microscope and monitor

I’m looking at buying a microscope for my bench but I’m coming up
with a couple of questions. One company has a microscope that has a
third viewing area for a camera hookup. It says that when you use
the third port it blocks one of the binocular eyepieces. You end up
working without stereoscopic vision if you want to use the scope
while it’s hooked up to a camera.

So I tried closing down one of my eyes using my current scope and
found it next to impossible. I can imagine times when it’s not so
big a deal, but I’ve been doing a lot of bezel setting and trying to
get the bezels cleaned up without hitting the stone with the ceramic
wheel was just too dicey.

I can only imagine that the same would hold true working "heads up"
with a monitor. I’d like to use the monitor to alleviate some of the
neck strain that I get with the scope, but I don’t want to spend the
extra money if it’s not going to be usable.

Also, one problem I have with my old scope is that it has very
narrow depth of feild. I end up adjusting the focus a lot. Do some
scopes have better depth of field than others? When I look at the
technical specs of scopes on the Internet I don’t see any reference
to DOF except for one company that said their scopes had better DOF
for a lot less money (a claim that seemed easy to make but
impossible to follow up on).

Anyone have any comments?


You have hit the problem square. The depth of field, or three-D
effect I have a Harbor Fright underwater TV camera kit.

It works very well on land. Have never used it underwater. But I
have used it in sewer lines, walls under furniture looking for small
stuff and working on a car in locations that you can’t see what it
looks like. I would not have guessed how unbelievably hard it is to
put a socket and extension on a nut watching it on a monitor. They
have them for sale with close up camera’s for the sight impaired,
for reading books, maps, and newspapers. For looking at something at
a great magnification with little or no interaction with the subject
the monitors work fine. for direct interaction with something go for
the Bi-ocular scope.

been there, done that was a 3-d guy in a 2-d world !


Have you seen the “Digital Blue”? It is sold as a child’s toy yet my
physicist son-in-law uses one at work. About $100. They have a web
site. Very simple to use. Got one for my 6 year old grand daughter. has a nifty litttle digital monocular and camera that
you can use with a monitor that magnifies work well, is surplus so
you can rig it as you like and doesn’t cost as much as a professional
dissection scope/microscope. you may want to check it out. it isn’t
cheap, but is more versatile than one on a stand at any rate. I have
used it for photographing gems, close pave’ setting work, and
engraving( if that’s what you’d call my end product!). It takes time
to get used to looking at a monitor while working closely on a
setting for instance, but if you are seeking it, you must be ready to
make that leap…good luck in your search.

if you go with what is termed a surgical microscope, you can get
increased depth of field, at, say up to 40x, 150 mm working
distance, about 20mm depth of field. leica, zeiss, weck, etc, costs
about $7-25,000

best bet? $25 get you an optivisor. i like it better, for jewelry
work and gemcutting, than my $6,000 Zeiss, or the $12,000 weck. i
use a 10-80x zoom a/o scope of the bench, for when I really do need
to get a better look at something.

with the optivisor, I have eliminated head strain, and it is simply
easier to work with, always follows me around. takes up less space
than one of the surgical scopes.

Mark Zirinsky, Denver

I would suggest that you look into Design’s for Vision Surgical
loupes. They have been working for me for the past 12 years and I
have full mobility, a large field of vision, Very fine lens’s
(plastic optivisors ugggh!) and I have my reading script in the
large lens area so I can pick up everything on the bench comfortably.
They come with different levels of magnification and the short lenses
at 4.5x are very light. Feel free to contact me offline if you like.


you probably already have one of the best ways to see your setting
work a good 10X loupe. I mounted my 10x to a modified GRS third
hand. it works great I use it when I have to and swing it out of the
way when I don’t need it. also if you focus it right you do not need
to be on top of it. I can bead set sitting back in a “semi” reclined


With apologies to everyone for the fact that I still haven’t
finished my manuscript (tentatively titled Optical Aids for Jewelers)
and I’ve been off line retrieving my wife from an automobile accident
down in Colorado; a few comments.

To avoid a difficult learning curve you want to be looking at what
you’re working on, not a remote viewing screen. For most of us it is
also necessary to have full stereo to achieve normal depth
perception. Video-microscopy with high resolution, head mounted,
stereo displays will eventually be a great solution, but the hardware
is not yet available at a reasonable price. Consequently a stereo
optical microscope is the best current solution.

The mounting system of the 'scope is hugely important, height,
angulation, working distances, etc., as well as seat and bench
height. All of these “little factors” determine comfort and the
avoidance of strain.

Most 'scopes can be modified (at no cost) to enhance the depth of
field. Under the ocular (eye piece) lenses there is an optical plane
where you can place a piece of black paper with a small hole in it’s
center. It takes two pieces, each with a hole, and you’ll have to
experiment a little to find the best size hole and the exact
location-but you can considerably increase the DOF. This is a trade
off with image brightness but can be balanced with brighter external
lighting, especially with LEDs to minimize heat.

Surgical microscopes of the sort I spent my professional life with
cost $50-60,000 these days-BUT there are a ton of old stereo
microscopes on eBay, some pricey and some very reasonable. I’ll be
happy to discuss details with any of you.

Dr. Mac (206 954-4166)

Dr. Mac here is another vision aid… this link is
full of charts to make your eyes better. My friend says she no longer
needs reading glasses!


There have been a vast number of eye exercise programs over the past
150 to 200 years. Each of them that has been scientifically studied
has been found a fraud. When we ordinary humans throw our energy into
any such venture we feel successful-but the guy with the successful
venture is the one who’s selling the “program”. Check on your
friend’s reading glasses in a year.

There just comes a time when we need a little help.

Dr. Mac

Yes mac I understand what your saying, though there is no "program"
and the charts are free, they even tell you how to make your own. It
costs a little time on my part, if it helps great if not I can live
with that too. I figure I can look at the chart while I’m doing my
morning exercises!

Dr Mac,

I use perscription reading glasse when I work… 400 power with
prisms in them to keep my eyes from crossing, I’ve used these since
th mid 80’s