Digital Eclipse DXM 1200 - Introduction

The Digital Eclipse DXM 1200 is Nikon's new high-resolution color digital camera designed exclusively for photography through the microscope. This system provides high quality photo-realistic digital imaging at a resolution of up to 12 million pixels with low noise, superb color rendition, and high sensitivity.

One of the most significant features of the DXM 1200 is the advanced control software (Automatic Camera Tamer or ACT-1) bundled with the camera system, which allows the microscopist a great deal of latitude in collecting, organizing, and correcting digital images. Live color monitoring on the supporting computer screen at 12 frames per second enables easy focusing of images, which can be saved with a choice of three formats: JPG, TIF, and BMP for greater versatility.

Inter-pixel stepping (IPS) technology is used to translocate the imaging chip (a 1.4 megapixel CCD) to an upper resolution of 3,840 x 3,072 pixels that is distilled by the software into 14 resolution modes ranging from ultra-high resolution captures to low resolution images with very short exposure times. The higher resolution images are equivalent to over 1800 TV lines in 24-bit RGB color. Images captured with the DXM 1200 are of such high resolution that they rival conventional film-based, silver-halide images or even surpass them for enlargement purposes.

The ACT-1 software package contains basic, yet intuitive functions such as standard frame capture, an auto save and categorize sequence for digital images, enhancement of images, noise reduction, white balance, and automatic printing. The camera system exhibits high sensitivity with a high signal-to-noise ratio that allows relatively low noise imaging of faint fluorescence specimens for exposure times up to 170 seconds. Bundled with a proprietary PCI image/control card, the camera system is capable of transferring images to the computer at lightning speeds through a single cable.

DXM 1200 Digital Eclipse Screen Saver - Digital imaging through the microscope has reached a new level of performance with the Nikon DXM 1200 electronic camera system. Enjoy full-color images captured through advanced electronic photomicrography with MicroscopyU screen savers. The DXM 1200 screen saver has been developed for computers utilizing the Windows (95, 98, NT, 2000, and XP) operating system and is available as a free download to our visitors.

DXM 1200 Digital Eclipse Reviews and Galleries

Automatic Camera Tamer (ACT-1) Software Version 2 - The latest version of the ACT-1 software complements the original with a number of new and powerful features that include the ability to annotate captured images with text and graphics, as well as the ability to display the image scale. Other new features include shading correction for poorly illuminated images, full-screen display and color balancing of images, and disabling the live window update to reduce processing loads on the host computer.

Automatic Camera Tamer (ACT-1) Software Version 1 - The DXM 1200 is controlled by a high-performance software package that provides a complete toolkit of essentials for digital imaging with the microscope. The live image is previewed in a large format that can be monitored on screen at 12 frames per second for easy focusing of the image. Data transfer to the accompanying computer occurs with a PCI busmaster connection that exhibits some of the fastest rates available.

DXM 1200 Camera System Hardware - The DXM 1200 camera system is one of the most advanced ever produced for digital photomicrography, taking advantage of the popular Sony ICX085AK color CCD and Nikon's proprietary Inter Pixel Stepping (IPS) high-density imaging technology. Equipped with high signal-to-noise digital circuit technology, the DXM 1200 enables image capture with exceptionally high sensitivity, resulting in images displaying excellent clarity and producing superb color at resolutions up to 12 million (3,840 x 3,072) output pixels.

Digital Eclipse Image Gallery - We take the DXM 1200 camera system on a test drive to demonstrate the tremendous photomicrography potential available with this digital camera. Images were recorded using a wide spectrum of illumination techniques including brightfield, phase contrast, fluorescence, differential interference contrast (DIC), Hoffman modulation contrast, and polarized light.

Digital Eclipse Time-Lapse Sequences - Time-lapse sequences of recrystallizing DDT were captured with a Nikon DXM 1200 Digital Eclipse camera system attached to an E-600 microscope operating in polarized light mode. Observe spherulitic growth patterns emerge from individual nucleation centers and blend together as crystalline growth fronts collide.

Troubleshooting the DXM 1200 Camera System - The most common problems encountered with the Nikon DXM 1200 Digital Eclipse 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 (including the computer) and the microscope when difficulties occur.

DXM 1200 Version 2 Interactive Java Tutorial

ACT-1 Software Simulation - Upon initalization, the ACT-1 software main window appears on the computer monitor. This window presents a variety of on-screen elements including menu bars and a Windows-style tool bar that facilitates capture and correction of digital images. There are two image display areas, a larger window appearing on the left portion and a smaller window positioned on the right. The tutorial operates in a manner that is similar to the native Nikon software. A pop-up window will alert the user when a feature of the ACT-1 software is not available. Many features in version 2 of the ACT-1 software are also present in the first version. Visitors are encouraged to examine the version 1 interactive Java tutorials for a complete understanding of this advanced software package.

DXM 1200 Version 1 Interactive Java Tutorials

ACT-1 Main Window - Upon initalization, the ACT-1 software main window appears on the computer monitor. This window presents a variety of on-screen elements including menu bars and a Windows-style tool bar that facilitates capture and correction of digital images. There are two image display areas, a larger window appearing on the left portion and a smaller window positioned on the right. The tutorial operates in a manner that is similar to the native Nikon software. Currently, working modules include the thumbnail area, and all portions of the Live window.

Live Settings Panel Operation - Utilize this interactive Java tutorial to explore the various features available in the Nikon DXM 1200 ACT-1 software Live settings panel. Among the options included in the tutorial are exposure time, focus, the focus mark, sensitivity, and the color levels function. Tutorial controls are identical to those found in the native software.

White Balance Calibration - Explore calibration of the DXM 1200 imaging control software for white balance to alleviate color shifts and unwanted hues in digital photomicrography with this interactive tutorial. Either a single point or a rectangular marquee-selected area on the image can be specified for measuring the white balance.

Image Rotation - Live and captured images displayed in the Nikon DXM 1200 ACT-1 control software image windows can be rotated and flipped by a menu found in the Live settings panel. This interactive tutorial explores the appearance and orientation of flipped images. Control of the applet features is identical to that found in the native Nikon software.

Retouching Digital Images - Images captured by the Nikon DXM 1200 digital camera system can be conveniently processed by a retouching menu available with the ACT-1 control software. Correction factors include image brightness, contrast, gamma, sharpness, hue, saturation, intensity, rotation, color balance, white/black balance, and cropping. This interactive tutorial explores how images can be corrected using the ACT-1 Retouch Image window.

Option Settings Panel - The Option settings panel in the DXM 1200 ACT-1 control software can be utilized to configure various functions related to image capture. Among the variables controlled by this panel are image resolution, auto printing, automatic image enhancement, noise reduction, and color mode.


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