Digital Sight Camera System - Introduction

The DS-5M-L1 Digital Sight Camera System is Nikon's innovative digital imaging system for microscopy that emphasizes the ease and efficiency of an all-in-one concept, incorporating a built-in LCD monitor in a stand-alone control unit. The system optimizes the capture of high-resolution images up to 5 megapixels through straightforward menus and pre-programmed imaging modes for different observation methods.

The 6.3-inch LCD monitor of the DS-5M-L1 camera control unit allows accurate focusing and observation even when no external monitor is used. The stand-alone design offers the advantage of independent operation including image storage to a CompactFlash Card housed in the control/monitor unit, but has the versatility of full network capabilities if desired. Connection is possible to PCs through a USB interface, and to local area networks or the Internet via Ethernet port. Web browser support is available for live image viewing and remote camera control, and the camera control unit supports HTTP, Telnet, FTP server/client, and is DHCP compatible. External monitor connection is possible for large-screen or projector observation. In order to simplify optimization of various imaging modes, even for inexperienced microscopists, a menu provides preprogrammed settings for both biological and industrial applications, which allow the acquisition of excellent images with a single menu selection. Additionally, a number of display modes are provided, including split-screen, image superposition, and thumbnail display, and embedded application tools facilitate operations such as count marking, cross line and scale display, and distance measurements.

Digital Sight DS-5M-L1 Hardware and Software Reviews

Digital Sight Hardware Review - The Digital Sight self-contained camera system provides the capability to view and capture high-resolution digital images from a microscope without reliance on a PC. The DS-5M-L1 system combines a camera head (DS-5M), based on a 5-megapixel Bayer-masked color matrix CCD detector, with a camera control unit (CCU, DS-L1) that incorporates a 6.3-inch LCD monitor to display high-resolution images in progressive or interlaced mode. Several live display modes are provided that vary the scanning mode and frame rate (up to 15 frames/second) of the LCD monitor, or an external monitor, to match the focusing and viewing requirements of specific applications.

DS-L1 Camera Control Unit - The DS-L1 camera control unit (CCU) serves as the central processor of the Digital Sight camera system, controlling the acquisition of signal from the CCD, applying various processing functions to optimize the data, and delivering an output video signal for display on the built-in LCD monitor or a high-resolution external monitor and an image file of up to 2560 x 1920 pixels.

Digital Sight Networking Features - The Digital Sight camera system is equipped with platform-independent networking capabilities that include hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and file transfer protocol (FTP) in the unit's network communications inventory. These features allow multiple remote users to simultaneously connect to the Digital Sight camera control unit for access to still images, video streams, and images saved to the Digital Sight's memory card and FTP server.

Digital Sight Technical Specifications - The Digital Sight takes advantage of proven imaging, networking, and image processing technologies and standards to deliver a stable and versatile platform-independent digital imaging system. This section details the technical specifications of the Digital Sight camera system.

Digital Sight ACT-1 for L-1 Software - The automatic camera tamer software (referred to as the ACT-1 for L-1 Version) is an application program designed to allow operation of the Nikon Digital Sight DS-L1 camera control unit from a networked high-performance PC. Multiple Digital Sight camera systems, connected to the network, can be controlled from the PC, with the selection of the desired camera being accomplished by simple menu selection. The ACT-1 program allows basic digital imaging operations such as image capture, saving, printing, and deleting to be performed, and in addition provides access to more advanced image processing, display manipulation, and image analysis functions.

Troubleshooting the Digital Sight Camera System - The most common problems encountered with the Nikon Digital Sight camera system are reviewed in this section. Suggestions for solutions are also included, but many imaging problems may arise in the microscope itself. Be sure to check both the camera system and the microscope when difficulties occur.

Digital Sight Interactive Java Tutorials

Digital Sight Camera Control Unit Simulation - When the Digital Sight Camera Control Unit (CCU) is powered on, the display is activated on the internal LCD monitor. The LCD monitor window displays a digital color specimen image captured in the microscope at either 1.3- or 5-megapixel resolution, which is refreshed by the live camera system at a rate ranging from 3.75 to 15 frames per second, depending on the imaging mode in use. An array of on-screen control menus that facilitate the capture and processing of digital images is accessible from the display window. In addition, the front panel of the CCU incorporates a number of indicators and buttons that can be used to monitor and control the CCU, and to gain access to many of its image adjustment and networking capabilities.

Digital Sight Web Browser Simulation - When the Nikon Digital Sight web browser interface initializes, two virtual rooms are available to assist the operator from the entry page. In one of these rooms, a single microscope image with a remote control panel appears in the web browser window. This interactive tutorial simulates many of the features present in the Digital Sight browser interface.


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Contributing Authors

Matthew J. Parry-Hill, Thomas J. Fellers, and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.