Olympus microscopes and photomicrographic equipment

Compound microscopes

During the time that the OM system was in production (1972–2003), Olympus produced 4 different ranges of compound microscopes.

E and F microscopes

The first range included the E and F research microscopes, introduced in 1958 and 1960 respectively, which used objectives designed for a parfocal distance of 36.65 mm and a tube length of 160 mm, and for which the FK photo eyepieces are matched. The biological models included:

Olympus information on the E and F microscopes

AH (Vanox) and BH microscopes

The second range included the AH (Vanox) research microscope (introduced 1972), BH clinical microscope (introduced 1974) and CH student microscopes (introduced 1976), which used objectives designed for a parfocal distance of 36.65 mm and a tube length of 160 mm, and for which the FK photo eyepieces are matched. The biological models included:

AH-2 (Vanox) and BH-2 microscopes

The third range included the AH-2 (Vanox) research microscope (introduced 1983), BH-2 clinical microscope (introduced 1980) and CH-2 student microscope, which used objectives with a parfocal distance of 45 mm and a tube length of 160 mm, and for which the NFK photo eyepieces are matched. The biological models included:

Cutaway diagram of an Olympus BH-2 BHS microscope – copyright Olympus America Inc.

Olympus BH-2 BHS Research Microscope Cutaway Diagram – copyright Olympus America Inc.

BX microscopes

The fourth range includes the current BX models, which use infinity-corrected objectives, and for which the PE photo eyepieces are matched.

Manuals and instructions

With all microscopes, it is essential to adjust the eyepieces to match your eyesight and eye separation, and to adjust the condenser and other parts of the lighting system for optimum illumination for a particular objective. Manuals for some older Olympus microscopes can be downloaded on this site:

Manuals for BX and other current Olympus microscopes and accessories can be downloaded from Olympus:

Replacement bulbs and lamps

Searching Google or other search engines for the word “Olympus” and the bulb reference will find several suppliers, but they all seem to be in the USA.

The following companies in the United Kingdom can supply bulbs for old Olympus microscopes:

Screwdrivers

Some of the cross-head screws used in Olympus microscopes do not conform to the Phillips or Pozidriv standards that are common in Europe and North America, but to a Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS). Using a Phillips screwdriver on a tight JIS screw is likely to damage the head. JIS screwdrivers are not easy to find in the UK, but a set of 4 (sizes 00, 0, 1 and 2) is available from Fast Lad Performance or Probuild Aircraft Store:

Allen screws are likely to be metric rather than Imperial.

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Created 8th April 2005   —   Updated 21st February 2016
Copyright © 2005–2016 Alan Wood

Olympus microscopes and photomicrographic equipment

Olympus OM system close-up and macro equipment