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Is this microscope suitable for a casual viewer who may or may not become more serious. .

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#1 Tropobob


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Posted 17 March 2020 - 07:06 PM

I currently have a 20x stero microscope for the last 20 years, which I enjoy using to not-very-seriously look at all sorts of things.


However, I am thinking of buying something with more magnification.  My main criteria is that it needs to be portable, so that I can easily set it up elsewhere and "Wow" the kids in the extended family with things that I have found to be cool. So with this, I favour a microscope that works on batteries and is not stero.  I am thinking seriously of this one: https://www.opticsce...=U#.XnFhN3IzaUk


I know I am somewhat of a novice, so any opinions re pros and cons will be appreciated. 


Thanks in advance,




PS- I do not want a used microscope, but do want a fine focuser.  That said, should I be looking for one that shines a light from above and not just below?  I like that feature on my current microscope. 



#2 ShaulaB



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Posted 17 March 2020 - 08:01 PM

A 20X stereo microscope should be plenty to give kids a "wow" experience. With a lower magnification scope like this, you can easily show critters moving around in pond water, which can be highly entertaining. There is a Golden Book which helps folks identify pond water species. Sand can be really fascinating when magnified in a low power scope.


At higher than 20X magnification, you would have a tough time keeping up with live, moving creatures in the water drop on your slide. Making your own slides for a microscope is something you would have to learn. Cells from animals and plants require a really sharp razor blade. Often, a stain of some kind is needed to bring out cell features. Kids might not be so interested in static objects.


Sometimes universities sell used microscopes. These tend to have been well cared for by lab technicians. Otherwise, I agree, buy new.


Full disclosure: I have taught biology for over thirty years and have worked in a hospital lab.

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#3 ButterFly



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Posted 17 March 2020 - 09:05 PM

The higher power objectives are usually much closer to the specimen.  Light from above is not always feasible for such a setup.  You can add a dual head flexible LED flashlight to give light from above.


Working with light from below is much different than light from above.


The contrast is the hardest to deal with.  Look for something that accepts filters under the specimen.  In the field, staining and fixing is difficult, and kills.  Rheinberg Illumination is a decent substitute.  It literally puts things in a different light.  It also has the added benefit of not killing that which you want to look at.  Darkfield needs darkened room becuase on top of the already dim images, there is less total light.  Think of taking a hood with you into the field to help out both.  It is not clear from the ad where the filter goes, so make sure it is under the specimen.


The flatness requirement is the other very big difference (becuase the objective can be much closer for very high power).  Things need to be clear enough for light to pass through them.  This is most often dealt with by using small clear things to look at (like amoebae and such), or cutting things very thin.  There are always lots of small clear things wherever there is a puddle.  Cutting things in the field is not very workable.  Certainly stick with the lower power objectives.


That 100x objective is oil immersion, so you need a slide cover for that, and, obviously, oil.  Slide prep is an art to learn.

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#4 JoeVanGeaux


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Posted 17 March 2020 - 09:40 PM

I second any idea of considering a good used scope - especially if the seller gives you a tour.  One that is well cared for can be a real bargain.  (The price of the one you show seems a bit high for its features, to me. and I admit to not having heard of that brand, either.  Another flag is that this one advertises 1600x!!  That power is very seldom useful even on much more expensive scopes - even with an "oil immersion" lens that makes even 1000X magnification challenging on an inexpensive scope without experience.

I have a, more or less, lab grade Amscope binocular scope that I've used professionally.  They make some good affordable scopes, IMHO, but not necessarily the kind that a professional research lab may get, though. But my most frequent grabbed microscope is an older model Bausch and Lomb zoom stereoscope that I use for views of dragonflies, miscellaneous critters, deeply buried splinters in fingers, close examination of 3D prints and it probably has more use for repairing my wife's jewelry!  These won't, however, let you see most of the smaller things found in water samples.

Its sounding to me that you really should consider a stereoscope if you are wanting above and below lighting.  The kind of scope in your pic doesn't let you see anything (maybe just shadows) with light coming from above - that kind of scope is made to shine light through your subject and not onto it.

I will say this, though, picking the wrong scope could be what determines anyone's future interest in the micro world!  My younger brother had one from one of those science kits when we were kids.  It was just barely able to show interesting features and keep my interest, but it wasn't till college that after logging many, may hours at "real" microscopes that I was nudged away from being just a casually interested in the micro universe.

All the best!


Edited by JoeVanGeaux, 17 March 2020 - 09:44 PM.

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#5 Tropobob


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Posted 18 March 2020 - 01:02 AM

Thanks for all your thoughtful remarks.  I have been watching Utube videos on microscopes and now feel better educated.  I am now leaning towards this one: https://www.opticsce...=U#.XnG37HIzaUk


Any thoughts?  Don't worry too much about price, the Oz dollar is only worth about 60c in US currency, so all our things probably look expensive. 

#6 Tropobob


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Posted 20 March 2020 - 12:35 AM

Today, I ordered a microscope Optico N2000M Biological Microscope  $525 Aus. It will probably take a week to get here and I am really looking forward to it. Thanks again for the replies. 



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#7 db2005



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Posted 21 March 2020 - 12:57 AM

I believe you will be very happy with the microscope.


To obtain a truly amazing wow-effect you can try making a darkfield patch stop for the consenser. It's inexpensive and when used correctly will make live water critters appear incredibly beautiful - almost like jewels and gemstones - against a dark background. Not only does the dark background cause less eye strain, it also brings up fine details that are really hard to see with brightfield microscopy. Slides of pond life really come to life under darkfield illumination; same applies to pollen samples, diatoms, etc.


If the microscope has a filter holder, you just need to pop in a patch stop of appropriate size & design. If there is no filter holder, despair not, but you may need to tinker a little bit. But amateur astronomers are used to that...

Edited by db2005, 21 March 2020 - 12:58 AM.

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#8 Jon_Doh



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Posted 25 March 2020 - 11:33 AM

There are good quality biological microscopes in that price range that give you binocular eyepieces that you should consider.

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