Fossil Images
Captured using the Celestron hand-held microscope


I had some time to play with my Celestron handheld microscope this afternoon, and have attached some of the pictures. These are actually reduced to 45% of their original size (1280 x 1024), and 70% compression. I tweaked the brightness and contrast.

Click on pictures to Magnify

Two of these are from the Windom Shale (M. Dev.) slab shown on the
home page of my site (,
i.e. the Polypora bryozoan and the Dolatocrinus crinoid arms:

Polypora bryozoan  Dolatocrinus crinoid

The Arthroacantha crinoid column with ciri is also from the Windom Shale, but different site:
The Phacops rana eye is from the Wanakah Shale (M. Dev.).

Arthroacantha crinoid  Phacops rana eye

Pro's for the Celestron:

1) Cheap!
2) Light weight - my field setup will be the microscope and an Acer netbook.
3) Operation of microscope relatively simple, and reasonably described in the instructions

Cons (some may be due to my having not mastered all of the software?):

1) Depth of field (not a problem limited to the Celestron - a general problem)
2) Lighting - a ring of LEDs coaxial with the lens - too uniform for good imaging of most fossils. I will experiment with covering some of the LEDs to get light more directional - e.g from the "conventional" 10 o'clock direction.
3) Documentation for the software is minimal. I finally figured out how to use the measuring function, but it only works before you take the image (at least as far as I can tell). And you have to input the magnification - low or high. This is ill-defined. And this feature doesn't work on stored images.
4) To run the software (including viewing image albums), you have to have the microscope plugged into the USB post (with all the LEDs active!). I found where the images are stored, so I could just access them with my image processing program (I use Photoimpact).

I think with some practice I may find this fairly useful. But at the moment I think my Canon Powershot Pro 1 in super macro mode will remain my prime close up tool.

Karl A. Wilson

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Digital handheld microscopes