While I am doing my work on describing 70-odd species of assassin bugs, I am confronted with the problem of documenting morphological structures with high efficiency and quality. Our laboratory has an imaging system. It has a real fancy set-up and a high-end camera, however, it is not quick. Most importantly, I cannot take pictures of my specimens as I do observations and descriptions. The lab next to us has another expensive and automated imaging system. It is faster and good for small structures (can capture thing smaller than 0.5mm), but it still does not allow me to do instant images. End of story? No.
Long time ago I learned that I can use a point-and-shoot camera and align it to a microscope eyepiece to capture images through the microscope. Well, why don't I try that? And I did. The images come out actually quite good. Check out the picture here. This is the so called pygophore of an assassin bug, or genital chamber. It's quite small, about 2mm. Even the hairs (setae) on the club-like structure are quite clearly captured. The only problem is that I can only focus on one thing at a time. Also I do not really have the option to take multiple images at different focus planes, which can be combined to produce a nice crisp image with all structures in focus. Well, but since I am usually only looking at one structure at time, it doesn't really bother me that much. I can always adjust the scope focus and take several images.
Oh...The camera I use is Nikon P7000. It is sort of a high-end point-and-shoot camera and definitely produces better images. The dissecting microscope in our lab is a Nikon SMZ1500.
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