Parcentric/parfocal calibration

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Parcentric and parfocal calibration compensate for the deviations from parfocality (focal plane) and parcentricity (collimation) that are normally encountered between different microscope objective lenses. They are both critical for maintaining proper position when changing magnification.

When switching between objectives:


Once you've calibrated the lenses, you're ready to perform the parcentric/parfocal calibration. Don't move the stage at any time; don't use oil with oil objectives.


  1. Optional: Enlarge the size of the cursor for a more accurate alignment for the parcentric calibration.

    Use the Options>General Preferences> Cursor tab to increase the Crosshair Size (recommended: 75 px) OR hold down the CTRL key while pressing the Up or Down arrow keys.

  2. Select the highest power objective and the corresponding software lens.
  3. Move the stage to display a corner of the small (25 ┬Ám) grid into the center of the screen.
  4. Click Tools>Parcentric/Parfocal calibration.
    1. In the Parcentric/Parfocal Calibration window, select Camera/Image under Lens Type.
    2. In the Select Lenses for Calibration window, verify that the lenses are listed in descending order, from highest to lowest power.
  5. An alert is displayed. This is a reminder that, for each lens, you need to click the EXACT SAME POINTon the grid, regardless of where it appears on the screen.
  6. Follow the prompt: Verify that the highest objective (called video lens here) is in position.
  7. Bring the top left corner of the grid into focus.
  8. Click the outer edge of the left corner of the grid.
  9. Align the crosshairs of the cursor with the edges of the grid as precisely as possible. You'll use the same point with the other objectives.

  10. Neurolucida prompts you to switch to the next highest power objective.
  11. Optional: Before switching objectives, adjust the light level on the microscope to see the grid clearly enough.

    When you switch objectives on the microscope, the program automatically selects the corresponding software lens.

  1. Bring the top left corner of the grid into focus.
  2. Click the outer edge of the left corner of the grid.
  3. Repeat step 9-11 for the remaining objectives.
  4. Once all lenses have been calibrated, the Enable Parcentric Parfocal Corrections window appears. Check BOTH the Enable Parcentric box and the Enable Parfocal box.

  5. Follow the procedure for Checking calibration accuracy.

For microscopes with an internal motorized Z axis, check Enable Parcentric Correction only; un-check Enable Parfocal Correction. This is because parfocal correction is controlled via the microscope itself. Refer to your microscope manual for more information on adjusting parfocality. On a Zeiss microscope, use the touch screen to access Home>Configuration>Focus>Parfocality Adjustment.


See Calibrating your System

Neurolucida 11 | MBF Bioscience Support Center | Downloads