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Powerful Sony system cameras on the microscope: remote capture (tethered shooting) with Live View 

Sony Imaging Edge: a useful software suite for controlling Sony DSLR and system cameras remotely from a PC or Mac

The Imaging Edge software allows navigation of Sony’s current Alpha series cameras via PC or Mac – a very convenient tool since the ability to control the camera remotely is particularly important for the specialised areas of photography we are interested in: photomicro- and photomacrography.

Sony Alpha 6600 with adapter solution on microscope, demo-photo, software review

Sony’s mirrorless system cameras are among the best performers in the market. With our LM microscope adapters, they can be attached to a microscope in a few easy steps. Particularly outstanding features of these cameras are their superior image quality, ease of operation and excellent price-performance ratio.

Operating the camera via a PC or Mac is very convenient and ergonomic, especially when the camera is attached to the phototube of a microscope. The Live View image is displayed directly on the computer monitor and can be controlled and configured remotely. It just takes a mouse click to release the shutter, and the image captured can be stored directly on the PC’s hard drive or online in the cloud. 

The connection for remote capture (tethered shooting) can either be wired (using a USB cable) or wireless via Wi-Fi/WLAN. Sony’s Imaging Edge software is a combination of three photography applications: “Remote”, “Viewer”, and “Edit“. It can be downloaded for free from the Sony website. This is a particular advantage if cameras are to be tethered to several computers.

Imaging Edge Desktop Software for microscopy

We downloaded version 3.1.00.01080. Other versions may be slightly different.

The test report below provides a step-by-step walkthrough of the settings that are most important in photomicrography.

Once the program has launched, you can search for and select the camera you would like to use. We used a Sony Alpha 6600 for our test. In Imaging Edge, the camera is called “ILCE-6600”. Once selected, the camera is accessed and connected to the PC: 

select camera Sony Alpha 6600

microscope camera Alpha 6600 systemcamera connect with pc

The “Imaging Remote” application starts:

Sony application Imaging Remote for microscopy 

The Live View screen (A) and the operation panel (B) are displayed in the Remote window. 
The Live View screen (A) shows the current view of the camera. The operation panel (B) provides basic shooting settings that are clearly laid out. The settings are applied to the camera immediately:

Desktop live view screen operation panel

Menu tab overview

The other two components of the software suite – “Viewer” and “Edit” – can also be launched from the “File” menu tab. 

components of menu Imaging Edge software File Sony microscopecamera

The settings for the software and the camera can be adjusted in “Tools” and “Camera Settings”:

menu setting Sony Imaging Remote control

camera settings imaging edge remote software shutter speed

In addition to the menu tabs, the most important settings can also be adjusted by using the buttons on top of the Live View screen and from the operation panel.

Overview of the settings on top of the Live View screen

The focus magnifier is very important and useful for focussing the image: 

focussing image with focus magnifier Software microscope photo
enlargement of microscope photo Sony imaging edge remoteShown in the photo: the image 5.9-times enlarged 

focus magnifier Sony imaging edge software

The Live View image can also be rotated.

Rotate live view microscope photo Sony software clounterclockwise, clockwise

The overlay option is another convenient feature, which allows any object (e.g. a ruler or other scale marks) to be placed over the image displayed in the window. Overlay guide lines are also very useful in many cases.

photomicroscopy image overlay grid display live view

guide lines microphotography camera software adapter

The grid option can be used to place gridlines over the image.

Imaging edge remote software grid option measure software

Operation panel overview

The operation panel is arranged into a number of groups: 

operation panel ovierview Imaging Source Sony Alpha microscope camera

1.) Shooting panel
The functions contained in this panel include the button for releasing the shutter and the movie button. 

shooting panel Imaging Edge Sony Remote

2.) Mode panel: to select different shooting modes 

Interval timer shooting: We recommend pausing for one to two seconds after each capture, in order to avoid any unwanted motion blur. The camera’s focal-plane mechanical shutter that controls the exposure time causes only minimal camera movement. A focal-plane mechanical shutter is not required for taking photos of static specimens. The capture interval and the delay after each capture can be set in the Interval Timer Shooting menu.

capture interval and delay Imaging Edge software microscopecamera

3.) Main setting panel

The main setting panel contains the following settings:

4.) Sub-setting panel
This panel contains the settings that are particularly important for photomicrography:

The file format and aspect ratio of the image to be captured can be changed at the touch of a button. Images can be saved in RAW, RAW-J and JPEG format.

microscope photo file format RAW, RAW-J, JPEG define Sony software

change aspect ratio microscope camera
The image quality can also be defined:

define image quality Sony Edge software adapter solution microscopy microscopecamera
Single shooting / Continuous shooting / timer settings:

camera setting single shooting, continuous shooting timer Sony Alpha
Picture effects:

how to define picture effects with microscope camera measure software
White balancing: 

white balancing microscope camera system camera Sony Alpha 6600

In the Imaging Edge Viewer, saved images can be opened, viewed and edited.

save microscope photo Imaging Edge Viewer

An overview of the supported devices is available on the following Sony website: https://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/app/imagingedge/en/devices/ 

Conclusion: For professional laboratory and studio work on the microscope, we recommend using the Sony software. It enables the camera to be comfortably and effortlessly controlled from the computer, which in turns produces a notable increase in image quality. 

27.07.2021
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