Hello Foldscope World.
I received my first “Foldscope Deluxe Individual Kit” yesterday and set about putting it to work. First let me preface this by saying I have used digital imaging for most of my career and was super excited to learn about the Foldscope. When I found a need to have a microscope at home for garden and vermiculture bug identification I decided to try it. Below is a summary of my experience with putting it together and thoughts on design and function.
- My box came with 2 lenses so I was confused about the extra lens and wasn’t sure which to use.
- The paper instructions for putting it together were easy to follow until the end. There are no written instructions on how to mount the slide and flip the lens stage up behind the specimen and that the lens stage and lens would snap together. I eventually found out how to do this by watching the video tutorials.
- There is way too much freedom of movement in the x,y direction for specimens that take up a small fraction of the slide. I continually lose the specimen even when focussing. Using a binder clip that reaches the x stage and clamping it on after locating the specimen helps stabilize things for focussing and mounting.
The lens stage doesn’t stay aligned with the lens with large movements so I often have to stop, reposition the specimen above the lens from the back and then replace the lens stage. This seems to be from the lens stage catching on the edges of the large opening of the sample stage. It seems the opening of the sample stage could be smaller.
- When the stage is not clamped, the focus slider is too hard to move without moving the specimen and I continually pull the focus so far towards the narrow end that the edges ended up under the stage which aren’t easy to get back out. The little focus tab stopper isn’t tall/strong enough to prevent pulling the focus too far and you can’t see what you are doing when looking with your eye.
- When attached to a phone, the focus is too hard to pull without pulling the scope off of the camera and again, too often I budge the x,y stage when trying to hold the scope still while focusing.
I’m sure all of these things get easier with experience, but those are my first impressions.
I’m sure you know the stickers/couplers aren’t compatible with the iPhone 7plus dual lens, so one question is – is there an adapter?
Regardless, I was determined to get some shots of the kelp slide with the iPhone 7plus. Here is what happened when I played around with it trying both cameras. In case you don’t know, the iPhone 7 plus has 2 cameras physically right next to each other – the standard “wide lens” camera and a “telephoto” camera with a 2x optical zoom. When one camera is up against the Foldscope lens, the other is obstructed and can’t be used. I’d love suggestions on how to integrate with this phone.
- In general I got a bigger field of view if I just held the camera up to the Foldscope without trying to tape the coupler over the phone camera.
- The focus ramp makes a flat mount of the Foldscope to the phone problematic unless the Foldscope is at a 45 degree angle.
- Using “2x” on the wide-angle camera didn’t make the camera automatically switch to the telephoto camera (as some articles suggest) but it would start toggling the image from visible to black – I’ve heard said the telephoto camera will be selected when 2x is selected with high light levels so maybe that is what was happening.
- The Portrait function that lets you use the telephoto camera refused to focus on the specimen. It won’t focus if the specimen is too close and kept saying “move farther away” or if I could see the specimen it wouldn’t adjust for bright light automatically even though the image was saturated and I had a “needs more light” message. Here is a picture I finally caught of the rhizome slide that came with the Foldscope.
OK! All for now. I look forward to moving on to compost creatures.