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Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 04 8:43 pm    Post subject: Microscope  Reply with quote    

I would like to get a microscope for studying many things like fungi spores, pond life etc...

I used one when I was knee high to a grasshopper, but in this day and age I've not seen any.

Q1) Where do you buy them from?

Q2) Are there any good makes or recommendations from anyone?

Like most things, I don't mind paying for quality but I have no idea what I would be looking at. (Anything in the 0 - 400 range??)

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 04 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This all depends on whether you're going to be using a microscope for serious mushroom ID'ing. It isn't an easy task, nor is it one that is really worthwhile for a forager most of the time.

To get the kind of detail required for in-depth identification you really need to be able to go to 1000x magnification, and that means oil immersion microscopy, and it means phase contrast if you're going to do it right. And that's expensive; to buy new you'd probably struggle to get anything under a grand, as a rough guess.

I've just had a poke about at Ebay, and I haven't found anything that finishes in the next day or two that looks up to the job. I wouldn't fancy using oneof the kids toy ones for this.

If you're in themarket for a second hand microscope then do yourself a favour and buy from a reputable dealer; if anythimg is wrong with the optics then you'll really struggle to do anything useful with your microscope. Get something that has been serviced and checked out by a pro, and you'll be fine.

Useful links for you are:

http://fungus.org.uk/nwfg/micros93.htm
http://www.bluewillowpages.com/mushroomexpert/microscope.html

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 04 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Many thanks Cab, I'll have a look at the links. It's main use would not be serious 'shrooming, I just miss not having one and like to look at many things under it.

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You don't really need oil immersion or that kind of magnification for spore identification.

Assuming the eye piece lens is x10, you need no more than x40 objective to identify spores.

With the high magnification that requires oil immersion, you could identify intra cellular components such as the nucleus (if you had the techniques to prepare the sections).

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks chaps, either way I don't wish to spend 1000. One that I used when I was a nipper was quite good, I could spend hours looking at things. I would like to do the same thing now and also used it for such things as spore identification as we're both very interested in fungi.

I remember that the lighting on the one I used wasn't very good as it was hard to view things on the highest mag.

It's also the sort of thing that I'm surprised more families don't own, far more interesting than an X-box.

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Funny, I was using a microscope the other day and I had the exact same thought - why doesn't every family have one?

There are good second hand 'scopes out there for a few hundred pounds, and they're not obsolete in a year!

The educational and entertainment possibilities are endless!

Pity I didn't think of it when my kids were small.

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not that I have kids, but I think the secret is in it being entertaining and you know it's also educational.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14971
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Try toyshops. They might have something - not quite fisher-price, but likley to be cheaper than grown up ones if they'll do the job!

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33978
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

On the grounds that I can happily inject stuff into the nucleus of cells with a 20/25x Objective, 1000x Magnification maybe a tad overpowered. There are scopes available for teaching labs that'll do the job for you.

I'll have a look in our ex-demo stock and see what's available...

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 04 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This really depends on what the microscope is for; I'd be uneasy using anything much less than 1000x magnification for differentiating fungal species.

Spore work really comes into its own when you're dealing with species that are hard to differentiate otherwise, say with genus Russula. Leafing through Phillips, I find notes like "Spores ovoid, with warts or spines 1-1.2um high, some isolated, others jouned in chains or by a few lines to form at most a rather scanty network with 0-2 meshes, 8-10x7-9u" (from the notes for Russula caerulea.

For comparison, the kind of detail you need to pick out there is around the size of a Bacillus spore, and to pick that out against the background of the rest of the spore, and to work out scale, you really do need a powerful microscope, and it needs to be well calibrated; 1000x really is necessary, and then you might still sruggle.

That said, if the microscope isn't going to be used in such a way then less magnification might do.

McLay455



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 89
Location: West of Scotland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 04 8:23 am    Post subject: Pocket microscopes Reply with quote    

Here is a microscope good enough for field work
http://www.brunelmicroscopes.co.uk/Field-microscopes.html

I hope you like it

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