Microscopy is the science of investing small objects.
Is there anything more iconic to science than the microscope? Maybe a 2-dimensional symbol of the atom or a labcoat? But a microscope is uniquely functional in that it allows us to see a whole different world. In this article we will the cover some of the best compound – and stereo microscopes, for professionals and beginners.
This microscope is on the far high end of professional choices. The combination of halogen gas and the tungsten filament in the light source provides high luminous efficacy and color temperature.
The machine is heavy at 27.1 pounds due to the quality steel and optics used. Which comes in handy because that will guard against any accidental mishandling.
This stereo microscope is the higher end choice for circuit boards or dental work. It comes with a 3MP camera with a reductions lens that you can use to display your work on a monitor or projector.
The trinocular viewing head has extensive adjustability to reduce eye and neck strain. Not to mention the 360 degree rotation function to allow sharing.
This trinocular compound microscope is great for biological research. The 9 megapixel campera allows high resolution footage to be streamed on your laptop simulatenously. High flexibility in adjusting interpupillary distance (55-75mm) and to allow sharing through 360 degree rotation.
But most importantly the double-layer mechanical stage with 1mm stage divisions and stage stop. Precise control of your specimen while observing.
The Dino-Lite AM7115MZT digital microscope allows up to 30 FPS video recording at a 2592 x 1944 5MP image resolution. It’s not the higest magnification in the world with the minimum of 20X and maximum of 220X. But it’s a great tool for getting imagery of geological speciments.
The OMAX digital compound microscope is pricey but it’s a solid workhorse with a wide range of adjustability for the mechanical stage, interpupillary distance and viewing head.
Of course it also accommodates a digital camera and unlike some more expensive models in this list it’s also USB 3.0 compatible. The illumination is a LED light which is great for low power consumpion and low emission of heat.
The SM-4TPZ stands out with it’s long working distance. Allowing work on and adjustment of large objects whethey they are circuit boards or dental appliances.
Due to it’s magnification power and illumination it’s not a great choice for biological specimens but the flexibility and range is otherwise superb for anything less demanding.
The AmScope SM-4B is largely the same as the SM-4TPZ above. The main difference comes in the lower price and the lack of the barlow lenses in this model. The question is how much magnification power and adjustability to you need?
A solid full metal professional looking build. Illumination is achieved with LED lighting, which does come with some color problems but at the same time lowers power consumption and generates less heat. My favorite features is the slide protection that’s built into the stage slider.
Although present in many models it’s also important to mention the achromatic lens that corrects for how different wavelengths of light refract through glass.
The ANNLOV LCD Digital Microscope is the only model with a monitor included. The monitor is the size of a bigger smartphone at 7 inches but the resolution is among one of the best at 12MP.
Runs on a rechargeable lithium battery. Illumination comes from power saving LED lights that you can adjust for perfect viewing conditions. Data transfer is via an micro SD card that you unfortunately have to buy extra.
The National Geographic Binocular microscope for students is great for taking a close look at biological speciments or various rock formations. It includes 50 prepared slides and an learning guide to create your own.
Included are brine shrimp specimen that you can track throughout their life cycle.
The AmScope 120X-1200X monocular beginner microscope for kids is affordable. It has up to 1200X magnification alongside 52-pieces of additional accessories.
It’s not the best long term investment due to the limited functionality and the material it’s made of but good enough for a child to potentially get interested in STEM.
The Bottom Line
Your first consideration should be the microscopes purpose. What to you need it for? A simple rule to remember is that compound microscope for a better visual of cells and stereo microscope for lower magnification such as soldering hardware.
Price is important. The more you invest the less likely it is that you have to find replacement parts down the line. What is it made of? Plastic or steel? If it’s plastic then other parts are probably cheap too.