Equipment for microscopy

Microscopy from sample water pond at Beacon Park, Lichfield, 8/4/2020 – Phase Contrast

Phase contrast, Zeiss IM35 microscope.

Live images.

x20 and x32 objectives, with Optovar magnifier x1.0 – x2.0


See also associated post about H&E stained example from same sample of pond water:

Microscopy from sample water pond at Beacon Park, Lichfield, 8/4/2020 – H&E staining

Phase Contrast Microscopy of live sample of pond water from Beacon Park:


Most of what looks like bits of debris in the slide on still photographs turns out to be alive once you look at it with phase microscopy! Cork-screwing Spirochete bacteria can be seen plus a whole range of other organisms – many are bacteria, others ciliated organisms.


Microscopy of Elodea pond weed, showing chloroplast and organelle movement 10/12/2019

Bright field

Live, unstained/unfixed


Firstly, an explanation about what is happening below:


Movement of chloroplasts around the cell is called cyclosis or cytoplasmic streaming. Other organelles such as mitochondria are also streaming, along with the chloroplasts. This movement is on intracellular tracks called microfilaments, composed of actin proteins. The organelles are attached to the actin filaments by myosin, a motor protein. These proteins transform the chemical energy in ATP into mechanical energy leading to change in protein conformation and the protein molecule “walks” down the actin filament.

In leaf cells under bright sunlight, chloroplasts may have the ability to “move into the shade” of other chloroplasts, called photorelocation. Chloroplasts gather in areas irradiated with weak light to maximize photosynthesis (the accumulation response), and move away from areas irradiated with strong light to minimize damage of the photosynthetic apparatus (the avoidance response). The processes underlying these chloroplast movements can be divided into three parts: photoperception, signal transduction, and chloroplast movement.


x40 objective:

x100 oil objective:      


x40 objective:

x100 oil objective:

Fish fin Mikrocam 5-0 Leitz Laborlux 11 011219-0005.png

Unprocessed, unstained photos of section of fish fin from Sea Bass.

Black and yellow pigment is visible – as magnification increases it can be seen that the pigment is not neatly laid out but looks almost as though someone has thrown ink out of end of pen onto the fin! Pigment is produced by pigment-producing cells so this must reflect the distribution of those cells in the fin.


x4 objective:

x10 objective:

x20 objective:

x40 objective:

Wild Sea Bass Fish scale x20 objective Mikrocam 5-0 Leitz Laborlux 11 011219

These are unstained, unprocessed images, contrast improved using the condensor on the microscope rather than processing.
I presume the grooves enable better water flow around the fish so that it swims more effectively and efficiently. A scale is made of dead skin cells but I don’t know how big those initial cells were and hence what sort of scale the cellular size is in this image.
Taking these photos encouraged me to start researching fish scales online – there is a massive amount of information and it is interesting to see how it matches the photos I have taken here!

Microscopy of sourdough starter

My daughter Hannah has made some sourdough – so I thought I’d take a look under the microscope.

Following photos – 32x objective, 2.5x Optovar, brightfield (so equivalent to 80x objective) – except last one which is Phase 2.

I am not sure whether circular bodies are air bubbles or yeast cells or something else….



Phase 2:

Phase contrast microscopy of sediment from bottom of pot pond 2/8/2019

It has been a long time since I last did some phase contrast microscopy with my Zeiss IM35 microscope so here is a quick study of some sediment from the bottom of my pot pond.


Algae – x10 objective, variety of Phase and illumination settings (all transilluminated – various aperture settings on illuminator and light intensity, and Phase 1/2):

Algae fond pot pond x32 obj x2 Optovar 020819:


Microscopy of water from Stowe Pool, Lichfield, 31/7/2019

This year, I haven’t had much opportunity to use my microscope.

My daughter Hannah and I collected a sample of water from Stowe Pool in Lichfield and I looked at it under my Zeiss IM35 microscope.




x4 objective, x2 Optovar (equivalent x8 Objective):

Shows protozoa feeding on vegetative debris. See video below for movement of multiple protozoal organisms in this field of view.

x32 objective:

Ball of cells – cilia visible on each cell:

Cilia visible from corners of stack of cells, and below this diatom:


Stack 4 cells with cilia at corners:

Photo x32 objective, x2 Optovar (equivalent to x64 Objective):

Detail of cell wall and contents at junction between two algae cells:

Algae fonds x32 Obj x2 Optovar:

Stack 4 cells with cilia at corners: