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Cheap Microscopes on Digital Cellphone Cameras

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 4:27 pm
by dappershaves
My posts are intended to be educational/informative. Experiment and obtain your own knowledge, the rest is all someone else point of view.

In a world full of wonderful technologies and cheap gadgets its no surpise that products such as attachable cellphone microscopes are often used by honers to inspect razor/knife edges. Even though they are cheap they can be useful to get a better look at whats going.

But before we get into the nuts and bolts let understand what the “standard” is used for inspecting polished finishes, fine art, collectables and quality control used by industries such and jewellers, watchmakers and razor honers. They all use high quality optical eyepieces or loupes ranging from 10-20x magnification. Its also vital to interpret what you see and not be fooled by light conditions, angles and point of view especially at magnifications beyond 10x. With an quality 10x optical (loupe) magnification you are able to clearly see precise detail, nothing more is required.

Understanding Optic & Digital Processing
The use of optical imaging in microscopes requires accurate quantification of features such as object size, color, light and brightness. These qualities is definitely not in the realm of cheap R200 plastic optic.

High pixel density cameras available on modern mobile phones have made photography simple and convenient for consumer; however the camera hardware and software that enables this simplicity can present a barrier to accurately quantify image data whilst being amplified by cheap optic inputs.

These issues is exacerbated by automated settings and proprietary image processing algorithms. If mobile phone cameras are to live up to their potential to increase access to optical magnification via attachment microscope the limitations of mobile phone-based imaging and optics must be fully understood. Additionally optic quality, light quality, light direction ,lens position and distance will further impact results. Furthermore fibre, skin and dirt particles will reflect light further degrading/distorting image quality. If you can’t distinguish between foreign particles, steel, edge shape, damage or deformation how do you intent to translate what you see.

To illustrate some if these things let me share some photos made with a cell phone at 1x magnification on a iPhone 11. No flash, not settin, no cheap microscopes. etc. The same razor was used for all the photos and taken consecutively, I only changed light position, angle using all natural light.

These photos is of a shave ready and comfortable Gold Dollar 208 straight razor that was also used by a member here. Its a highly polished edge of a Black Novaculite whetstone.

This does not look good, does it? Significant scratch pattern, that will surely tug, cause irritation, weepers and discomfort :crazy . 1x Magnification

Digital crop x4

Is that a double bevel?

digital crop x6

Is that burr, edge damage or just a fibre?

After stropping, That’s a nice polish, where’s the damage, double bevels, significantly scratch patterns :hmmm digital crop x10

The use of magnification for inspecting razor edges is only useful if you understand optics, light and how these inputs alter digital interpretations though pictures. As mentioned these are 1x magnification images, no poor quality optics in the form of the mobile camera. Any digital or optical magnification will further degrade/distort image quality.