Q. Should I give Micro-Manager a try?
August 3, 2006
If you like and use ImageJ, or have limited resources, Micro-Manager would be your natural choice: it is free, integrated with ImageJ and supports a decent number of cameras and other devices. Also, if you are new to microscopy you will appreciate its simple and uncluttered user interface that makes it really easy to get started. But if you do have a nice budget, or if you already use another software package, you’ll have to make a tough decision whether to invest time and energy in Micro-Manager, or go with some of the established commercial solutions.
We think you should definitely try Micro-Manager if:
- you like ImageJ
- you have a tight budget. Micro-Manager is free, including the device drivers. Commercial microscopy software packages can be pricey - you can easily buy another camera for the money you saved.
- you like simple user interfaces without too many features.
- you want to be able to extend and customize your application without restrictions.
- you are building a new kind of microscope, the one commercial packages do not provide for.
- you want to use devices that other software does not support and you are willing to write custom device adapters for Micro-Manager.
- you are building critical imaging systems and like to be in full control of the software you rely on, i.e have access to the source code.
- you are thinking of driving your microscope setup from Matlab (or other programming environment) in order to use image analysis to guide the acquisition process.
To determine if Micro-Manager can be useful to you right away, you should first check if it has all the features you need by quickly going through the User’s Guide. If it looks like it doesn’t do exactly what you need out-of-the-box, you can let us know what features you would like to see in future or check whether they are already in the works. You can also consider extending the Micro-Manager on your own.
Second, you should check whether your hardware is already supported. If not, contact us and express your desire and we’ll let you know if we plan to support it. If your hardware is supported, you will still need to spend some time and effort to configure Micro-Manager for your system. To get an idea of what it takes to configure the Micro-Manager for your hardware setup, have a look at the Configuration Guide.