I am a sucker for gadgets, but I am also a cynic, so when I took the leap on an affordable portable digital microscope I discovered for macro photography, I didn’t have very high expectations for it.
I am relieved to report that my low expectations on the Jiusion digital microscope that I purchased for $25 were fully fulfilled. Although it does require some additional effort on the part of the program to get a result that is worthy of sharing, I was able to find a creative and entertaining alternative way to the conventional techniques of producing close-up photographs by using this simple and inexpensive technology.
When I was looking around on Amazon, I came across the digital microscope, and its design of it piqued my interest. The handheld device resembles a Dremel tool and is meant to be carried in that manner; it also features a ring light that is attached to the end of the scope and comes with a stand that allows for operation without using the user’s hands. It has a dial on the side that says 40x-1000x. I’m not sure whether those numbers are real, but I can tell that the range is huge and it can reach extremely near.
The scope’s operation is extremely straightforward, but mastering it is by no means a walk in the park. Moving your topic physically closer or further away from the end of the scope, or vice versa is how focusing is accomplished. A steady hand is required in order to get desirable results; however, the stand may be used to set up a shot even if you are not holding either the scope or the subject of your macro photograph. The operation may be completed with one hand thanks to a shutter button located on the side.
One of the most exciting aspects of the gadget is that it is not a lens designed to be attached to the body of a camera and that instead enables you to focus on your subject from a very close distance. It is the full capture device, and the only way to utilize it is to connect it via USB to a mobile device, tablet, or computer that is running an application that captures images. In addition to storing all of the data from the capture, the application also enables you to make adjustments to the scope’s settings and enables you to release the shutter. You are able to take still photographs as well as videos.
Even though the microscope is described as having a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, sometimes known as 2K, video makers are severely deceived if they believe they will be able to produce crisp ultra-close video clips unless they have a great deal of expertise with the instrument. The video capabilities are severely hindered by the extreme effect of hand jitters as well as the device’s fundamental limitations. The use of it for static macro photography is where I found it to shine the brightest.
Its output is said to have a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, and many people will be turned off by the low-quality photographs since they have a limited potential for end users, particularly in terms of printing. Both the built-in super-resolution option in Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as the outstanding Topaz Gigapixel AI upscaling program, proved to be effective solutions for me when confronted with this challenge. I was able to get satisfactory results with both of these tools.
In addition, the application of Topaz Sharpen AI assisted in compensating for some of the significant challenges associated with focusing and shooting images with a handheld device. I was able to take low-resolution photographs that were shot on an inexpensive device with low-end optics and polish them to the point where they had genuine worth for use in creative endeavors by making strategic use of these tools that upscale and sharpen the image.
The device’s user interface is straightforward, which is one of the reasons I like using it. I keep the little scope in my pocket, where it fits nicely, and while I’m out in the field, I connect it to my Android smartphone, which is seldom far from my side anyhow.
Quite frequently, I would simply sit or kneel next to anything that interested me, taking care to concentrate effectively and carefully controlling my breathing in order to keep a steady hand. After I had gotten what I need, I would stuff the necessary equipment back into the pocket of my coat and then proceed on my journey in the direction of the following minute discovery.
This new approach allows me to avoid the weight and bulk of a camera setup, and it even encourages the practice of keeping the scope on you at all times in the event that a good photo opportunity presents itself. Previously, I had been carrying around my mirrorless camera that was equipped with a dedicated macro lens. Even under less-than-ideal situations, you’ll be able to utilize it thanks to the built-in toggle ring light that comes standard.
Alternately, you may construct a steady platform upon which to take photographs of your minuscule topic by placing the gadget on the stand that came with it on top of a desk and connecting its USB wire to a laptop that is located nearby. This goes a long way toward eliminating the problems with precise focus while handholding the camera; nevertheless, it does not do away with all of the problems because the stand is rather simple and somewhat weak.
Do not anticipate the stands to be solid and simple to adjust as they are on higher-end digital microscopes. Because of this, and also because I enjoy working while I’m moving around, I’ve discovered that I prefer to carry the little scope with me when I go out into the field.
I realized that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the ground as I searched for peculiar plants and rocks, as well as anything else that would reveal a new universe when observed in extreme detail. An object that at first glance appears to be unremarkable may, on closer inspection, turn out to be a little, colorful piece of art on a scale that is quite precise.
Something similar like this is going to go unnoticed by the overwhelming majority of photographers that come across it. The comparatively modest specifications, when paired with the necessary non-traditional design and capture methodology, can prove to be too much of a detriment for some users. However, for $25, the terrible optics, difficulty focusing, and poor build quality can be forgiven because of the ease and flexibility it gives for such a low price.
This opens the door at a very low entry point for those individuals who are interested in macro photography but only have a meager budget to work with. On top of that, if you have enough time, experience, and polish, you should be able to make some really amazing photographs using the gadget.
It is true that you may get far finer digital microscopes on the market, but you should also anticipate paying a significant premium for them. I have found that it is far simpler to test the waters on a new photographic discipline by poking your toe in first, and $25 isn’t much to lose if you find that you do not love the cautious and systematic efforts involved in photographing macro.
Having said that, now that I have used this little microscope and have had some fun with it, I have to say that I am intrigued as to the sort of fun I could have with a model that is prettier and more expensive.