Frequently Asked Questions

General

  • How do I determine the field of view on my microscope?
  • How do I find out about prices or get a quotation?
  • Does Olympus have a GSA contract?
  • What is the adjustment, or parfocalizing, distance of a microscope?
  • How do I distinguish the resolving power of an objective from resolution?
  • How do NA and magnification relate to the brightness of an image?
  • What is Koehler Illumination?
  • How does a stereomicroscope differ from a standard, compound microscope?

Objectives

  • What is numerical aperture, or NA?
  • What is the difference between depth of field and depth of focus?
  • What is working distance?
  • What are the differences among achromat, fluorite and apochromat objectives?
  • Why do some objectives have correction caps?
  • Why do some objectives require immersion oil or water?
  • Why do some objectives have an iris?
  • Do I need special objectives for darkfield microscopy?
  • What does the inscription "0.17" on the objective mean?
  • What does the objective inscription "160" mean?
  • What is an infinity-corrected objective?
  • Why do some objectives have the inscription "Plan"?
  • Why do objectives usually have a color ring inscribed on them?
  • What do the inscriptions "LWD" or "ULWD" mean on an objective?
  • Some objectives carry the inscriptions "NIC" or "DIC." Why?
  • Why might I need UV objectives?
  • Why do some objectives of 20x or higher have a spring-loaded or retractable front lens assembly?
  • What is the maximum NA a "dry" objective (an objective requiring air between front lens and specimen) can have?
  • Can I use an infinity-corrected objective from another microscope manufacturer on an Olympus infinity-corrected system?
  • Can I use a planachromat objective in reflected light fluorescence?
  • Why might I get a worse image with a 40X than with a 20x objective?
  • How can I minimize the likelihood of getting immersion oil on the 40x dry objective?
  • How can I avoid the oiling hazard with the 40X dry objective?
  • Should I buy the highest correction objectives I can afford?
  • Should I choose the highest available NA objectives for video microscopy of minute specimen details?

Components

  • What does "C" or "K" or "WF" or "H" mean when inscribed on the eyepiece?
  • Why do some observation tubes have notches cut into them?
  • What is the external diameter of the most common observation tubes?
  • What is a photo-eyepiece?
  • With an objective of a given magnification, why can't I use eyepieces of increasingly higher magnification to achieve higher total magnification?
  • How does a substage condenser function?

Filters

  • What does a neutral density filter do?
  • What is a daylight blue filter, and do I need one?
  • How is the daylight blue filter used and misused?
  • Why place a green filter in the light path?
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