How to Take Pictures With a Microscope

By Chris Hoke

Each objective lens in a microscope must be calibrated.
i microscope image by Fotocie from

The ability to take high-quality pictures through your microscope can come in very handy. You can take pictures of projects at various stages for homework or work reports and even record video. If you have a Digital SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) camera, then your camera manufacturer probably makes a special adapter available for fitting your camera onto your microscope. However, if you only have a standard digital camera or don't want to spend the money on a special adapter, the following technique will produce adequate results.

Step 1

Set up your microscope, ensuring that the lens is clean.

Step 2

Adjust the focus of the microscope so that the subject on the microscope slide is in focus.

Step 3

Check your digital camera to ensure that the lens is clean. Dust and smudges on the lens will be noticeable in the pictures, so you may want to clean the lens just to be safe.

Step 4

Set your digital camera to macro mode. This is a common setting that most digital cameras have and is used for taking pictures of objects that are only a few inches away from the camera lens. Usually the icon for macro mode has a flower or the letters "MF," for macro focus. Consult your camera's manual if necessary.

Step 5

Set up the tripod next to the microscope and attach the camera to the tripod. Tilt the tripod head so that the camera lens sits 1/2-inch to 1-inch above the lens of the microscope.

Step 6

Make a loose-fitting tube with the black construction paper to go between the camera and microscope lenses, to keep out light. Tape the tube closed.

Step 7

Set the camera auto-timer to delay two seconds. This gives the camera time to stop shaking from the motion of pushing the camera button.

Step 8

Push the button, stand back and wait for the camera to take the picture. It may be necessary to adjust the camera's distance or zoom to get a clear picture.