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Mineral Photography with an Leitz Ortholux I Stand

 Volker Betz, Taunusstein, Germany

Over time in search for a very solid stand for photographing very small fields of view, ( this means in the range of one Millimeter), I got  a Leitz Ortholux I stand via Ebay. It was without objective lenses,  illumination optics, oculars but with the trinocular photo tubus, a 4-fold Turret and x,y stage.

The Leitz Ortholux I was marketed in the middle of the 20th century  from about 1938 to 1970 as a modular high end microscope, followed by the Ortholux II.  

To use it for photography the Z -focus mechanics needed a re- grease otherwise else was working well. Then subsequent oculars and my macro lenses have been added and it could be used as an excellent microscope. A first camera adaption was made with the camera adapter, the famous Periplan 10x18, goggles red point fitted to Nikon cool pix 4500 as shown below with a monocular photo tube. This worked well but  i wanted to use a DSLR, as this can used without camera optics and without relay lens expecting better pictures. 

Adaption of a  digtal camera with bult in (zoom)-optics using a ocuar as relay lens.
This was done first with a Canon EOS 400. As this camera has a mirror and  slotted shutter, much more vibration happened, disturbing sharpness significant. Even with mirror lock up features the results with small field of view have not been satisfactory. Later I discussed the use of a micro four thirds camera with Stephan Wolfsried. This type of cameras have a somewhat smaller imager but no mirror, so I followed the idea of Stephan Wolfsried an adapted a Panasonic Lumix D2 to my system.  For the micro 4/3 lens mount,  adapters to  almost any type of lenses are available and the much shorter flange back of the micro 4/3 standard  allows the use of almost any lens with larger flange back by the suitable adapter.  

During the adapting process of the Lumix D2 also some trouble with vibrations from the shutter  have been observed, indicating that  the weak point is not only the within the camera, also the connection  of the camera  to the photo tube is critical.  All the adapters  have some tolerances. So the camera was fixed with an extra connection via the standard 3/8” thread at the camera bottom to the microscope stand. (see picture below). This improved sharpness much, but in very critical cases it can be helpful to use longer exposure times (3-5 sec.)

Ortholux I
The microscope turret  is loaded with the following lenses:
Lens Numerical aperture Field of view  (mm)Stack distance
Zeiss Luminar 40 mm/1:
Zeiss Luminar 25 mm/1: m
Canon macro photo lens 20 mm/1:3.5(0.12 )1.715 m
Zeiss Jena Mikrotar 15 mm/1:
All lenses are used with open aperture. The Lumix D2 camera works excellent in this configuration. For pictures a stack of typical 15 to 40 levels ist taken, distances are indicated in the table above.  Only the camera related software is relative poor,  as there is no remote control software in the package.   Results can be seen here within the pages here or at mindat.org
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