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We recently moved to a small farm and we have been looking at our soil biology under a microscope. It was hard to see clearly so we bought a ‘Celestron’ Microscope camera (model #44421) from Amazon for about $40. The packet doesn’t specify that it works with Apple computers, but it does and is very simple to use. It plugs into the usb port on your computer, and the camera replaces the eyepiece on the microscope. It doesn’t need any drivers or extra software. Read on to find out how we set it up.
First, we set up the microscope. We used a second hand Kyowa Biolux 12 with iris diaphragm and 4x, 10x, and 40x objectives that was on eBay for under $100.
Then we pulled out the eyepiece and replaced it with the camera, and pluged the other end of the camera’s cord into the usb port on our macbook pro. You can adjust the focus of the camera if you want by loosening the little screws on it.
When we plugged it in, nothing happened, but as soon as we opened Photo Booth (which is a part of OS X) it automatically showed the image from the microscope. It didn’t need any special setting up or drivers. If you want higher resolution, you can use other software, like iStopMotion (we tested it and it worked for us), but Photo Booth was nice and simple.
Here’s a video of what we recorded.
We were very happy with how it worked. What showed up on the computer was more detailed than what we could see through the normal eyepiece, and it also had the advantage that we could record photos and videos for later use.
The only problem we had was that because the image was slightly delayed, it was harder to focus in real time. We got around this by adjusting the coarse focus looking through the eyepiece, then swapping it for the camera. Overall, it’s a great microscope camera that is very easy to use on a macintosh computer.