Your application is the most important factor in choosing a microscope.
What you need to see and what you want to do with that image will determine what kind of
microscope you need. There are two basic types of optical microscopes: high power and low power.
High power microscopes can go up to more than 1000X magnification power which are used to view
the tiny objects that are hard to see by your bare eyes, like the cells in a drop of blood. The compound
microscopes used in clinic offices and veterinary labs are examples of high power microscopes. Low
power microscopes come with magnification powers usually less than 100X that are used to look at
the small objects you can see by your bare eyes but can not get details. Stereo microscopes used in
industry and dissecting microscopes in hospitals are typical low power microscopes. If you need very
high magnification to view the internal structures of cells, you would most likely use a compound
microscope. If you need to examine solder joints on circuit boards or other relatively large objects, you
would probably use a stereo microscope. Within each of these applications, however, there can be
far more demanding requirements; a researcher studying the functions of neurons will require a far
more sophisticated instrument than a high school biology teacher introducing students to cellular
structures for the first time. If you have a very specific application, you may need a highly specialized
microscope or special accessories. With our wide range of microscopes and accessories we can
help you configure an instrument for almost any application.
Compound microscopes are what most people visualize when they think about microscopes.
They are available in monocular, binocular and trinocular formats. They have a number of objectives
(the lens closest to the object being viewed) of varying magnifications mounted in a rotating
nosepiece. Typically the range of magnification on a compound microscope is between 40X and
1600X, although some are capable of higher or lower magnifications. Because only one objective is
used at a time, the viewer sees a two-dimensional image of the specimen. The image is usually
reversed and upside-down. For basic student microscopes used to learn science, refer to the
Elementary, High School or Monocular section; for advanced medical student microscopes refer to
the University section; for professional applications in a biological laboratory and clinic/vet office refer
to the Binocular or Trinocular section; for the specialty compound microscopes with special structure
and feature refer to Multi-View, Inverted, Darkfield, Phase Contrast, Fluorescence, Metallurgical, and
Polarizing sections in High Power Microscope group.
Stereo microscopes give the viewer an erect (upright and unreversed) stereoscopic (3-D) image.
This is in contrast to compound microscopes, which offer 2-dimensional images. Stereo
microscopes are particularly useful for biologists performing dissections, technicians repairing circuit
boards, paleontologists cleaning and examining fossils, Jewelry workers inspecting gemstones or
diamonds, or anyone who needs to work with their hands on small objects. Most stereo microscopes
come with magnifications from 7X to 45X. With the proper microscope and accessories,
magnifications can be extended to from 3.5X to 90X, even further up to approaching 180X. For
educational and hobby use refer to the economy Fixed Power Stereo Microscopes. To customize and
build a stereo microscopy system for industrial, forensic or other high end stereo uses refer to the
Zoom Power Stereo Microscopes, Boom Microscope and/or Inspection Microscopes. These types of
system will allow you to customize stands and illumination systems for any type of application. We
feature the Dissecting Microscopes and LED Microscopes. These systems are designed for critical
viewing for research, medical or other advanced uses. For the stereo microscopes with special
structure and feature refer to Articulating, Jewelry/Gem and Coin Microscopes.
For many applications the ability to capture, display, and preserve specimen images is of equal or
greater importance than actually viewing the specimen through the eyepieces. Photomicrography
(35mm and other chemical formats) has been a common option on microscopes for decades, but
the recent development of relatively inexpensive USB digital cameras and CCD (charged couple
device) video has greatly increased both the popularity and flexibility of microscope imaging. Instead
of clicking through slides during a lecture, university professors can now display real-time video
images on projection televisions; petroleum geologists can e-mail images of core samples to their
laboratories from remote locations around the world; oncologists can refer to CD or on-line
catalogues of cell images to help them make faster and more accurate diagnoses. For USB digital
image and CCD video systems refer to "CCD, USB, Camera" section. The USB digital microscope
cameras in the section fit all kinds of microscopes in this store. For the compound and stereo
microscopes with an image/video system that capture microscope images and displays live video on
computer screens refer to Digital Microscope and Digital Scope sections, respectively.
There are many different methods for capturing, displaying, and recording microscope images,
and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. It would be impossible to cover all of these
options here but one basic piece of information will be important in selecting your microscope: While
it is possible to mount a camera on a monocular or binocular microscope (note: a binocular
microscope has two eyepieces, but is not necessarily a stereo microscope), it is far better to use a
trinocular microscope designed for camera work. Trinocular models have two eyepieces for normal
viewing, plus a third "photo tube" on which you can mount a camera without interfering with the
normal operation of the microscope. Trinocular microscopes are ideal for photo, digital or video
applications. Remember, depending upon your application additional components are required on
your microscope depending upon your use. Our friendly sales force can assist you in choosing the
correct items required.
Hopefully this brief outline will help you to determine which kind of microscope your application
requires. If you would like further information on any of these topics, or if you would like help in
choosing the right microscope for your application, simply contact us toll free at 1-888-950-2888 or
email us and our technical support and sales staff will be happy to help.
All of our microscopes come with five year warranty.
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"There are so many choices! How do I select a microscope?"