Bunton Instrument Company, Inc.


Fiber Optic Illuminators

Fiber optic illumination for use with stereo microscopes, macrozooms and general photomicrography has been in use now for about thirty years. This type of lighting usually involves a 150W halogen lamp in a lamp housing with regulating intensity control. The fiber optic light guide is then attached to this lamp to carry relatively cool, intense light to the subject being viewed/photographed.

The 150W halogen lamp (reflector type bulb) comes in various color temperature (Kelvin degrees), life-spans (50-200 hours) and intensity numbers (250W halogen to 500W xenon etc). It is important to note that reduction of the operating voltage results in change of color temperature for any incandescent lamp. This is an important factor for photography. High end fiber optic illumination (Volpi USA) will have provisions to run the lamp at constant color temperature (3200K) and reduce intensity via a diaphragm of some type (Volpi uses a “crescent” type diaphragm in the lamp housing).

High intensity LED fiber optic illuminators now eliminate the color temperature factor and provide very even, homogenous white light to the fiber optic fixture. You will see several LED lighting schemes for microscopes on our You Tube channel: TheMICROBG.

LED illuminators will have constant color temperature, very long life-span and the ability to reduce intensity as needed. Some LED illuminators for stereo/macroscopes are actually multiple-LED ringlights. Here the ringlight actually replaces a separate light source and fiber optic ring. Units from China can sell for under $150.00! A high intensity LED ringlight from Volpi USA sells for $1,850.00….but this is very unique ringlight! This unit has the ability to focus the illumination beam for various working distance from about 25mm to 150mm. This means that you can use this type of lighting for photography at various working distances. Inexpensive LED ringlights are fine for routine viewing and situations where you have about 100mm working distance.

LED lighting has now been integrated into compound microscopes and it seems the incandescent bulb has been totally replaced in many models. A USA firm we work with now has developed a retrofit kit for older microscopes. There is even a company on-line selling a LED microscope retrofit kit for $120.00!

The important thing to note is that the light source for any optical system is a critical first-choice on your checklist. Think about what you plan to do with your microscope or photomacro system and carefully select lighting based on your typical samples, optical system and price/performance expectations. As Volpi promotes: Light is Vision.

photo K


Complete 150W halogen lamp with rheostat intensity control PLUS BIFURCATED SELF-SUPPORTING GOOSENECK LIGHT PIPES.....to include SPARE BULB.

Microscopic Photo
Microscopic Photo


Bunton is pleased to offer an excellent upgrade for current or older microscopes.  This involves the UK-made 200W metal halide light source with pre-centered reflector bulb and 2000 hour expected lifetime….6-10 times that of a 100W mercury arc lamp.  Very even lighting is achieved by bringing the light to the microscope vertical illuminator via a liquid light guide (2000mm long) and connecting to collimating optics based on the make and model microscope you own.  The old lamp housing, socket and power supply may then be put aside or used as a trade-in.  The Lumen 200, liquid light guide and collector lens is under $5000.00.  The cost of this conversion is rapidly repaid in greatly extended bulb life and reduced hourly operating costs.  This is an ideal illumination solution for digital fluorescence microscopy,  live cell studies,  or routine F.A. examinations.  An advanced model with PC interface and motorized filter wheel is offered.  Put the light source on a shelf or out of the way of the microscope work surface.  Adjust lamp intensity with the knob on the right and avoid serious fluorochrome quenching!  Hour meter and bulb-change warning is included.  Bulbs are exchanged in less than one minute and NO ALIGNMENT IS REQUIRED!

We have adapters for all of the older Leitz microscopes as well as Nikon, Olympus and Carl Zeiss microscopes.  Let us know your make and model microscope and we can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

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12610 Jesse Smith Road · Mt. Airy, Maryland 21771
Phone: 301-831-3434
· Fax: 301-831-3424 · E-Mail: micro3d@comcast.net

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