A little advice to Vincent and anyone else considering a stereology system: do not believe ANYTHING you read about computerized stereology systems in forum like this. The simple reason -- you might generate responses from companies with commercial interests, such as "Indra" MicroBrightfield (MBF), the company that sells the StereoInvestigator; and "hokie" who sells the CAST system from VisioPharm.
In my own experience, the company reps from MBF are aggressive to the point of being obnoxious. They talk a good talk and we spent a large amount of money on their StereoInvestigator, which we had nothing but problems with -- mechanically unreliable, user “klunky,” non-intuitive interface, and a confusing mixture of biased and unbiased probes. In contrast to what their company reps told us, the MBF system crashed often, and had many, many problems. Their service department would not talk to us until we paid more money. Eventually they convinced us to take an expensive stereology course that they sponsored, which was not very useful. In the end we were more confused than before and still could not figure out how to use their system.
Eventually we got fed up. We took the advice of experienced stereology users in other labs and tested the Stereologer system. This system comes in both PC and Mac versions and could be used with our existing cameras, stage motor and microscope. Although our lab uses a mix of Mac and PC computers, we chose their PC version, which worked perfectly well with fluorescence stains, as well as all other stains in our lab. On the two occasions we sent in questions, and the people from Stereologer who called were scientists; they not only listened and understood our problem, they worked with us to design studies that were accurate and efficient. The two most important features about the Stereologer are very user friendly for people with limited training, which is most of our lab; and, the Stereologer system only uses unbiased stereology approaches. This is in contrast to the MBF system, which is a mix of biased and unbiased systems, since they will add anything to their system that customers will pay for. We checked and found out that the Stereologer system was developed twith NIH grants, which we know requires highly critical peer review.
In short, the Stereologer system is eating the lunch of the MBF system. Maybe that is why the MBF people have taken to such desperate measures – masquerading as users on this type of forum in an attempt to lure customers away from the competition and toward the MBF systems? One last point -- reliable sources tell us that MBF is trying to sell out to Nikon and won’t be around much longer; in short, don’t waste your time or money with MBF.