I have a simple microscope, with only one lens (though two eyepieces). Is there any way to do this, without too much money and modification?

  • What do you consider too much money? You can buy dedicated microscope cameras...sometimes as cheap as $70-$80 USD. I'm not sure if that is out of your price range or not, though. – jrista Oct 18 '11 at 2:06
  • Oh I hadn't known that. I was only looking for techniques or quick constructions, but I'll look into that if I get some spare money at some point. Thanks! – Tuesday Oct 18 '11 at 21:00

If you have a SLR, it's as simple as pulling one of the microscope eyepieces, removing the SLR lens, and pointing the camera lens-box at the eyepiece hole.

You generally need to hold the camera about 1-2" from where the eyepiece sits.

Nikon D80 AF sensor

You lose contrast from light-leakage, but it works pretty well.

  • this seems tricky. you'd need some kind of dark bellows (dyi'ed with black card or something) to avoid the entrance of stray light. – JoséNunoFerreira Oct 18 '11 at 9:34
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    I Dunno, I got perfectly serviceable pictures by just making a circle with my thumb and index finger, and bracing the camera against my fingers, and bracing my fingers against the microscope. A little stray light leaks in and reduces the contrast, but you can still make out all the details. – Fake Name Oct 18 '11 at 9:37
  • +1 You could probably make-shift some kind of bellows to seal up the light leakage, and get excellent results with this tip! – jrista Oct 19 '11 at 4:23
  • @jrista - Absolutely! Some mechanism for excluding light should produce excellent photos. However, it's hard to beat the simplicity of just holding the camera against the eyepiece hole. – Fake Name Oct 19 '11 at 5:40

Scopetronix carries a whole line of eyepieces and adapters to allow afocal photography for telescopes and microscopes. I have used their stuff for my telescope assembly for planetary work where the subject is relatively small from the entire field.

Their website used to work better back when it wasn't modern, but now it's a mess with poorly designed css and no pictures.

Still, the basic premise is the same: get a camera as close to the eyepiece as you can and magnify as much as you can to avoid vignetting. Webcams work well for this kind of stuff, too.


The easiest way that I have tried is simply to put a point and shoot camera into macro mode, and hold the camera up to the lens of the microscope. The view isn't the greatest, but it works in a pinch.

If you are unfamiliar with Macro mode, usually it is the symbol of a flower or leaf on the camera, and it allows(or forces) the camera to focus on objects that are very near to the lens, such as a flower.

  • Macro would help with getting the close focal point, but my main problem is getting rid of everything that isn't what I can see through the microscope. I don't want to simply crop my image. – Tuesday Oct 17 '11 at 22:16

You can use a smartphone (e.g. Galaxy S5 + PVC piece of pipe or iPhone + Magnifi™) placed directly on the scope (onto the eyepiece section).

Result (red blood cells as shown at Aurel Manea's blog):

blood cells

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