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Help choosing first vintage good quality microscope.

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23 replies to this topic

#1 Russell Smith

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 08:38 PM

I really don;t know were to start or what to look for.

Can't spend too much but a couple hundred is doable.

I really need some advice as to what to look for and what to stay away from.

I will be using it for everyday things for the most part.

Please chime in. 

Thanks in advance.

Russell



#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 09:01 PM

If it's really for general use everyday things, a B&L Stereo (zoom if you can find it) is wonderful and friendly to use. AO also has some nice similar functions, but with click-stop incremented mags. Even ones 50-100 years old are superb, attractive and often less than $200. 7-80x is the typical mag range on these. For higher, one would go to a more traditional lab microscope. I would avoid newer microscopes made in China. They look glitzy... but are cheap mechanix and optics. Vintage, especially the older ones, are works of art.  Tom

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#3 Russell Smith

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 09:32 PM

Thanks for the input Tom.

I see a zeiss stereo for sale online but have no clue what my max should be.

Its $30.00 shipping to me. Its at the goodwill site.

https://www.shopgood...m/Item/49690401

 

Thoughts?

 

P.S. beautiful instruments. bow.gif


Edited by Russell Smith, 05 March 2018 - 09:38 PM.


#4 dusty99

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 10:10 PM

Russell:  What do you want to use the scope for?  How important is its performance?



#5 Russell Smith

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 11:03 PM

Dusty, performance and looks are very important.

I will not be collecting vintage microscopes however I do want a vintage instrument that I can use for minerals and cell type study.

It will also be on display at times. available add on's and upgrades are a bonus. 

Quality and pleasing to the eye are important to me.



#6 TOMDEY

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 11:04 PM

Thanks for the input Tom.

I see a zeiss stereo for sale online but have no clue what my max should be.

Its $30.00 shipping to me. Its at the goodwill site.

https://www.shopgood...m/Item/49690401

 

Thoughts?

 

P.S. beautiful instruments. bow.gif

That looks nice. Zeiss is indeed a great "professional" brand. The one you are looking at is not stereo, just both eyes. Which is fine. I think that is a lab scope, which may indeed be what you might want. Used stuff is always a risk; microscopes generally don't get broken, though. I've bought quite a few and have rarely been disappointed. Tom



#7 Russell Smith

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 11:11 PM

Thanks Tom, still don't know what it's worth, I guess whatever the winner is willing to pay. 

Thank you for letting me know it's not stereo.

Yes, I think a lab scope is what I would like.

I may need to up my budget. 



#8 dusty99

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:09 AM

I don't know that particular Zeiss, but it looks like a student scope.  As university labs upgrade a lot of used student scopes turn up.  If you can find something like an older Axiostar it will provide much better views.  Also look for a Leica DMLB (German - the new Chinese Leicas aren't as good), or an Olympus BH2.



#9 Blind as an Eagle

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 04:57 PM

Here is some good information: 

 

http://micro.magnet....my/anatomy.html

 

BTW, what would you be using your microscope for? Viewing small objects?

 

If so, I concur re the Bausch & Lomb Stereo zoom models. Use only Bausch & Lomb or American Optical eyepieces (often sold separately, since they can be chosen according to user preference). 10 X Widefield is  typically the choice for general usage.

The StereoZoom models use 23 mm (diameter) eyepieces.

 

Magnification is determined by the power of the eyepieces, the objective lens, and zoom selection.

You should be  able to get a good Stereozoom or fixed power Stereopod, stand, and eyepieces fo less than $250.00

 

Check at this vendor's website, they are excellent to do business with, and always do a first class packing job, which can't be  said of many outfits. 

 

http://stores.ebay.c...7101&rmvSB=true

 

Type microscope into the "search store" box at upper left of their home page.

 

Good Luck, -BAAE-



#10 Blind as an Eagle

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:47 AM

This scope is a very good deal:

 

https://www.ebay.com...=item1a447f01b3

 

The boom arm alone is worth far more than the price of admission.



#11 Russell Smith

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 08:55 PM

Thanks to everyone for your input so far.

I am still searching, no hurry.

Lots of reading and hopefully learning, after all that's my why I do it.

I had a microscope, telescope, and crazy chemistry set as a child (family friend was a chemist at a steel mill) and the microscope got much more of my time.

P.S. I only set the house on fire once.



#12 Foundationer

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 02:25 PM

I went through this as well. Did a lot of research and took my time looking for

what I wanted at a price I was willing to pay.

My choice ended up being a Bausch and Lomb Dynazoom monocular laboratory.

They are plentiful as are parts and accessories, the prices are all over the

map. I found mine on Ebay, albeit several years ago for 50 bucks. It was a little

bit rough cosmetically but all the parts were there and they all worked. Things I

watched for were an Abbe condenser with iris, a light or at least the hardware for it,

all stage parts present and a 4 objective turret. (objectives are plentiful, and I wanted

to upgrade to an oil objective sooner or later so I looked for a 4 ob turret with only 3

objectives currently mounted).

Funny thing about microscopes, they are a lot like telescopes! You can hang stuff

on "em till the cows come home! Different eyepieces, darkfield filters, oil objectives,

camera mounts and the list goes on.

Here's mine in its present state and working fine. I have a couple of hundred tops in it

with extra eyepieces, filters and such.

My advice would be do your homework and if your handy don't be scared of an

ugly duckling if it is all there and cheap, could be a swan underneath!

 

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#13 bumm

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:51 AM

I very recently picked up this old Spencer.  This might be older than you'd want to go, but the quality is excellent, and I'm getting wonderful views.  smile.gif It has a 1906 patent, probably circa about 1910.  It's replacing the old circa 1926 Baush and Lomb Student Microscope behind it, which is a good scope, but only has spaces for 2 objectives and no condenser if I'd decide to use higher powers sometime.  I got tired of screwing different objectives in and out when one of the two wasn't quite right.  As far as why I went THIS old...  long story.

     My only real interest is microscopic pond life, and I've got three objectives on this thing that work very well for that.  The extremely low power objective, the little stubby thing, (I'll have to try and figure out the magnification, has an FOV of maybe 6mm and a working distance of about 2 inches, and works great as a "finder scope," and also perfect for larger creatures such as Planaria or Hydras.  The other two objectives give me magnifications of 100x and 200x with my 10x eyepiece.  These have proven to be perfect for me.  An objective giving around 400x is very common on these,, as is an oil immersion one giving 900 plus, but I seldom need the higher powers for my interests, and I'd already bought the LOW power and 20x objectives for the old B&L.  Objective threads have been standardized for a long time, so you can buy and use what you want.

     I paid 160 for my old Spencer, which hurt just a bit, and I have to confess, looks were important.  (again, long story.)  Some years ago, I paid a little under 40 for the Baush and Lomb behind it on impulse.

                                                                                                                                                               Marty

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#14 Microscopy

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 03:35 PM

My advice is to stay away from pretty much everything that is made later than the 1980's...

That's the period when even the "big four" started having their entry level microscopes made by Meiji, Motic etc. as cheap as possible.

I'm old fashioned no doubt, but IMHO a microscope is made from cast iron, steel, bronze and glass. No plastics allowed, unless ab-so-lutely necessary and even then as little as possible.

Cast aluminum if really, really, really necessary, but I wont go any further than that.

I don't have much problems around here to find a decent second-hand microscope in basic configuration (monocular, 4, 10, 40, 100 achromats, abbe 1.2 condenser) in reasonable condition for some 50 Euro's.

 

These are some of the entry level or a bit more microscopes I bought the last couple of years. The Leitz SM was 40 Euro's, The Lomo MBR-1 40 Euro's, the Olympus CHC was 75 Euro's. The Reichert was more expensive as it was a binocular and equipped for phase. The Zeiss Standard 14 was a great deal (some 200 Euro's if memory serves me right including two KPL eyepieces and 5 planachromats). The Zeiss GFL was 40 Euro's, The PZO Studar 80, the OIP stand ... I don't remember. A few Euro's.

 

 

 

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Edited by Microscopy, 16 September 2018 - 03:58 PM.

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#15 mnpd

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 01:42 PM

I have a collection of lab-grade microscopes; Swift, American Optical, etc.  Most of these I've cleaned, adjusted and lubricated.  Some go back to c.1940 or so.  

 

Just as digitization doomed the value of virtually all analog, working-class film cameras, technology has done the same for microscopes.  The old mechanical, glass optic microscopes became surplus in no time, and can be found on eBay for a fraction of their former value.  $100-$150 will buy a fine 1960's AO microscope which will do anything I need a microscope to do.  Unless you demand state-of-the-art technology, pro-grade microscopes can be readily found for little money.  Microscopes can be one of the cheaper hobbies these days.


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#16 Microscopy

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 08:14 PM

You're absolutely right, mnpd.

Microscopes that cost at the time several monthly wages are now availlable on the second-hand market for pocket change.

The introduction of flow cytometry made a large part of the clinical lab microscope market redundant in a few years and those instruments are now availlable for next to nothing.

My daughter (12) who shows an interest in science/biology/microscopy has a great Zeiss Standard microscope. The same Zeiss I couldn't possibly affort, when I was in my thirties...


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#17 mnpd

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 11:27 AM

Little late replying (ok, more than a little late), but for the price of a toy microscope set today, one can have a lab/research-grade analog microscope which was retired during the ongoing digital age.  During these instrument's service life, they were regularly inspected, aligned and lubricated and most still work as well as they ever did.  My biggest catch on the used market is an blackened, all-brass American Optical/Spencer with micro-adjusted stage and illumination, a "volcano" 10x eyepiece and complete set of objectives.  Not a scratch on it because it was still new in the packing, having once been up for sale at a business called Erb & Gray in Los Angeles.  Seems the optical supply store went out of business in 1949 (if I remember correctly), and somebody finally got around to selling the microscope(s).  Price?   $29 plus shipping, and not even a trace of fungus on the glass.  I'm afraid to use it because I might put the first scratch on it!  

 

The only analog microscopes which seem to hold their value in today's electronic age are the phase microscopes.  If you want a darkfield phase for stainless microbiology work, it seems you still have to lay out a bit of cash.


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#18 Tom Stock

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 11:59 PM

You should easily be able to find a vintage microscope for $100 or less.

 

Keep in mind everything will be stiff as the grease will have dried up so it may take some work to get it operating smoothly. Parts may be missing or broken. For some people such as myself fixing this is part of the fun.

 

I am a beginner, but I have one of each.

 

I have a vintage American Optical Spencer microscope probably early 60s which I got for free, and a brand new Chinese AmScope B120C which cost me $180.

 

The American Optical microscope is built like a tank, well machined, and looks and feels great. Feels like history... and I love old machinery.

 

It also gets hot, the movement needs more work, the stage was stuck when I got it but I fixed it, the eyepiece has very little eye relief and field of view is narrow, and the aluminized parts show some pitting.

 

The Chinese scope is an LED lit scope. It feels lighter, cheaper made, and has plastic knobs, etc. It's also a bino viewer and easier, smoother, and more comfortable to actually use.  It has good eye relief, better eyepieces, the images appear just as good as the spencer, brightness is adjustable (in addition to the iris diaphragm), and it doesn't get hot. 

 

Because it's a bino, it does have an unfair advantage because I don't see all the floaters you would see using only one eye.

 

I have no regrets at all after buying the AmScope, but for less money you could probably get a very nice vintage binocular scope of better quality if you know what to look for and are willing to do some service.

 

You can see my Pug Urine post to compare images from each scope.


Edited by Tom Stock, 13 September 2019 - 12:02 AM.


#19 vertex2100

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Posted 28 September 2019 - 02:27 PM

Here is a very reputable seller on eBay. He will show you a picture taken through the different objectives of the microscopes he sells. He is a Ph.D. Plant pathologist. https://www.ebay.com...872.m2749.l2754
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#20 j.gardavsky

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 02:48 PM

Here is a very reputable seller on eBay. He will show you a picture taken through the different objectives of the microscopes he sells. He is a Ph.D. Plant pathologist. https://www.ebay.com...872.m2749.l2754

Just on a side line,

 

this vendor offers the legendary Leitz Periplan GF 10x (f=25mm), which is an eypiece with very high conrast, one of the best choices on the slow atronomy refractors,

https://www.ebay.com...ng/254370388891

 

I have a little set of the Leitz Periplans GF

https://www.cloudyni...ries-eyepieces/

both for my microscope and telescope.

 

JG


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#21 j.gardavsky

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 02:50 PM

Hello Russel,

 

very good recommendations by the other posters above!

 

Here is my vintage classic microscopes equipment

https://www.cloudyni...919-microscopy/

 

JG


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#22 vertex2100

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 12:25 PM

Cool microscopes, JG. I just bought a Nikon S Kt model with a five objective turret with five plan objectives for less than a hundred bucks. I am upgrading it to LED illumination for another 150, though. It really is astounding at how inexpensive vintage research scopes are especially when inflation adjusted. I guess not enough scientifically curious people compared to their supply. Plus, maybe many people are afraid of used mechanical things and rather buy new Chinese ones. I like restoring old cars so microscopes are trivial in comparison.

Edited by vertex2100, 06 October 2019 - 12:26 PM.

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#23 j.gardavsky

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 12:57 PM

Hello Vertex,

 

there are several reasons why even the optically top microscopes manufactured 30 or more years ago can be found so cheap on the 2nd hand markets.

 

1. Their objectives are using the old mount standard RMS (Royal Microscopes Society).

2. The eyepieces are 0.965", like the vintage orthos.

3. The objectives are calculated for the 160mm or 170mm distance to the EP. The objectives must be strictly combined with the EPs according to the manual.

4. There is no interface to PC to shift and change the samples.

5. There is no interface to PC to swap the microscope optics between differnt observing methods.

 

Good for our hobby astronomy is the circumstance, that we can get some super EPs from Leica and Zeiss for a highly competitive price,

https://www.cloudyni...my-microscopes/

and they are very good on the faintest fuzzies, when you can live with their small AFOV.

 

Best,

JG


Edited by j.gardavsky, 06 October 2019 - 12:58 PM.


#24 vertex2100

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 01:42 PM

Yes, I can understand why commercial and research labs buy the new microscopes for tens of thousands plus hundreds for electron microscopes and got rid of their old ones. Better for us hobbyists. I was at the Medical College of Virginia 40 years ago so am perfectly happy using the older scopes since I learned histology, pathology and microbiology with them anyway. Student scopes at that, not the very nice research ones that you can buy so cheaply today. I like watching ibiology on YouTube which has lots of scientists giving lectures about what they learned in their last , sometimes, twenty years of research. They often put fluorescent markers on what they studying and show timelaspse microscopic videos of those things. I did see microscope dealers selling the reconditioned microscope that I bought on eBay for 80 bucks for one thousand instead. Just have to recondition them yourself.

Edited by vertex2100, 08 October 2019 - 12:48 AM.



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