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About Me

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Many years ago walking past a downtown pawn shop I saw a microscope in the window. It caught my eye because it was very professional looking - like something out of a lab. I went in and got the particulars and when I got home researched it on the internet. The price seemed reasonable and all the advice on the internet was to buy just this type of microscope – older, used, and a good brand name – I have always purchased things based on quality. I hadn’t used a microscope since I was a kid with a little Tasco microscope that I got for Christmas. I clearly remember having pond water in a jar in my room and being amazed at the contents – especially seeing a Cyclops (Copepod) for the first time. That interest didn’t last long as the microscope wasn’t very good and was quite difficult to use – just a toy. Then our new planetarium opened I got into astronomy. I built my own telescope and went to lectures and star nights. I enjoyed this for a few years until… I got into Ham Radio… you get the idea.

So all these years later I decided to give microscopy another try after a chance encounter with a microscope in a pawn shop.

My microscope is a binocular Leitz Laborlux K from the 1980s with 4 objectives giving 25X, 100X, 250X, 400X and 1000X. I paid $1000 for it at that pawn shop and I have been very happy with its quality and performance. I started taking photos with a Nikon Coolpix 990 through one eyepiece while looking through to other – awkward but it was good enough for me at the time. I have recently upgraded from the binocular head to a trinocular head and bought a used Canon EOS Rebel T4i body to attach to it. I can connect the camera to my MacBook Pro for a live view through the microscope using DSLR Assistant. I can take both photos and videos.

I enjoy learning and find that an essential part of microscopy as a hobby. Learning about the microscope itself, viewing techniques, photography techniques, microorganisms and their cultivation – just so much to learn. Finding a new microorganism, identifying and studying it – it’s exciting and fun – a great hobby.

Pierre Robillard

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