Microscope manufacturer with best support in Micro-Manager

[Originally posted on image.sc, from where I was kindly referenced to this forum. Link to original post.]

Hi all,

I’m in the process of setting up a new microscopy lab that will use two fully automated epi-fluo systems. The plan is to use proprietary software at the start to get up and running quickly but switch to Micro-Manager eventually. We are talking to distributors of all of the Big Four, and starting to get a good picture of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Whats missing is a good picture of the support in Micro-Manager for the different manufacturers. I’m aware that I can check the Device Support list on the MM website, and that all systems we’re looking at are represented, but what i’m after is some more detailed insight in how well the systems work in terms of supported features and bugs/crashes. The systems we’re looking at are:

Nikon Ti2-E with PFS
Olympus IX83 with ZDC2
Leica DMi8 with AFC
Zeiss Axio Observer 7 with Definite Focus

We are considering using hardware synchronization for fast acquisison, which all the manufacturers support in different ways.

What are your experiences with the different manufacurers? Which ones are more frequently used among the MM community? Are any of them better suited for third party SW control?

Suggestions for other third party mic control softwares is of course also welcome, as well as general input on the performance and possible drawbacks for the different manufacturers.

Best regards



So at the moment we have a number of microscope stands controlled in Micromanager. We find our Zeiss and Nikon stands are controlled well. Our AxioObserver Definite focus is not great, but I think that is more to do with the stand itself than any issues in MicroManager (the stand is about 7 years old). I haven’t tried controlling an inverted Leica stand but their Stereo’s seem to be pretty good in MM. For the Olympus system I would say it’ll be a question of exactly how much control you want need. We had the focus drive controlled in MM and it never really went well. However the control of the nosepieces and filters seemed ok. In terms of synchronisation for fast acquisition are you thinking of controlling that by TTL or triggering through an Arduino? Both of these worked pretty well for us, although setting up took a little bit of doing. The site is well documented though and other users or the developers are very responsive. Hope this is helpful, I’d also say Photometrics / Teledyne have great MM drivers and Andor Cameras seem to work well too if you are thinking about peripherals.


Hi MP,

I have run a wide range of microscopes through MM. I don’t have experience with the IX83 through MM, but the IX81/BX61 driver always cause me trouble. I’m not sure if that has changed with the new IX83 driver.

Just like AP, I have had luck with Zeiss and Nikon. With an Observer, you have to make sure light manager is disabled.

I don’t have a lot of experience with Leica as they don’t have a significant presence by me.

How do you plan on handling hardware synchronization?