I was planning to get an AR102 refractor for Christmas, but after a brief observing session in the cold last night, I am thinking that adding a fifth telescope may not be the best investment of $400-500. (This scope is normally $550, but we'll probably see discounting for the holidays soon.)
(I already own a Z10 dob, C5 on a CG-4 mount, ETX-80, and ETX-125.)
So I'm thinking of having Santa bring microscopes instead and going into that world to have a second hobby, something I can do during the day and on those cloudy nights.
I already have an old Sears kids' microscope from, well, when I was a kid, plus a good set of prepared mouse organ slides and a poor set of prepared "water bloom and aquatic life' slides that I don't think were prepared properly.
I was planning to take a course in macroinvertebrates at a local nature center this summer, but COVID intervened and the class was cancelled.
Now I am thinking about getting a couple of microscopes for Christmas and doing my own exploration. "A couple" because the combination of a stereo microscope for low power and a good-quality compound microscope for middle powers seems like the way to go.
I'm currently thinking of these two:
-- AmScope T490B compound trinocular 40X-2000X, halogen, Abbe condenser, 2-Layer mechanical stage (about $335)
-- AmScope SE306R-PZ-LED binocular stereo, 10x and 20x eyepieces, 2X and 4X objectives, upper and lower LED lighting, reversible black/white stage plate, frosted stage plate (about $190)
So for about $525, I could get what looks like a pretty solid starter set of microscopes. I'd also need to get a basic blank slide + cover set soon, and probably a video camera for the trinocular eventually (but no rush on that).
Does this seem like a reasonable starting point? I don't want to invest too much until I see how much I use them, but would like to do some deep exploration of pond water/mud puddle/garden plants this winter and on into spring, when insects start to be more available. (Here in Vermont, we're rapidly sliding from fall into winter.)
I know that posters here like to recommend used professional equipment, but I'm not eager to go poking around eBay or do a lot of research into what local colleges use, resellers of used professional equipment, etc. I may do that as step #2 *if* I find this becoming a major interest and want better equipment. However, I think the two scopes listed above would carry me a long way.
Edited by RocketScientist, 05 November 2020 - 11:21 AM.