6 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Microscope Camera

From capturing live images to streaming your findings to large audiences, you can use a microscope camera for a multitude of unique situations. Ranging from science to art to forensics, microscopes help us understand the world around us on a much deeper level, while digital cameras help us capture it all. Because of this, the collaboration of the microscope and the camera is a natural one, but since both are relatively complex lens-based devices, selecting the right one can be somewhat of a challenge.

Today, we’re zooming in on the microscope camera. Unlike a digital integrated microscope or a digital handheld microscope, microscope cameras are standalone cameras that can be added to standalone microscopes for a brilliantly integrated solution.

But first, let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a microscope camera? Unlike digital microscopes, microscope cameras are cameras that are designed to fit onto a standalone microscope in order to give it the ability to shoot photos. This is the most common way to turn your regular microscope into an all-in-one microscope with a camera. There are six primary considerations you need to weigh before choosing the best digital microscope camera for your needs, including:

  1. Your Microscope—Not all microscope cameras are universal, and you may need an adapter to make it work on your unique model. So, it’s probably smart to make sure that the camera you’re considering will work with your specific equipment or if it can be retrofitted for compatibility before you buy. You may want to consult with our technical support team via phone, email or live chat to see which cameras are best fitted to your microscope. Additionally, in most cases, you’ll find compatibility listed in the product descriptions on our site.

  2. Your Application—Perhaps the first thing you should ask yourself before going microscope camera shopping is: “How will I use this device?” Generally, these kinds of cameras are categorized into three ranges—entry level, general purpose, and advanced professional, and may even be categorized further by industry or environment. In some cases, there may be a camera made specifically for your unique application. You may decide that a digital microscope (a microscope with a built-in digital camera) rather than a microscope camera is best for your needs.

  3. Your Resolution Requirements—Resolution is key to ensuring that you get the best possible photos for your end use. You will want to estimate the required pixel size of the camera in order to sufficiently sample the signal from the angle. You will also need to match the camera itself to the microscope’s resolution, which you can use via this handy camera-microscope calculator. Of course, higher resolution images will show more detail and will look higher quality.

  1. The Speed of the Subject—Just like regular cameras, the speed at which the subject is moving drastically impacts the final image. That’s why sports photographers use much different equipment than commercial product photographers, for example. The speed of the shutter and general acquisition speed should vary based on your subject. Be sure that the shutter speed is appropriate for the movement of your subject.

  2. Monochrome or Color?—Monochrome cameras produce monochrome (single-color) images, while color cameras produce full-colored images. While it may seem like full-colored images are best in all situations, there are actually some great reasons to stick to monochrome. For one, color cameras are not typically used for fluorescent imaging, so monochrome cameras tend to be the preferred choice when working with fluorescent-labeled samples.

  3. Special Features—Do you want something super simple or something totally high-tech? Some of the most well-equipped digital microscope cameras have awesome features like video capability, time-lapse capture, built-in measurement tools, fluorescence color-mapping, and live video preview. Others offer convenient extras such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can capture, store, and monitor photos wirelessly.

Finding Your Ideal Microscope Camera

Still not sure which microscope camera is most appropriate for your unique needs and budget? The team at AmScope is always here to help you get the highest quality microscopy tools for the lowest cost. With a team of scope experts, we’d be delighted to help pair you with the best options for your unique needs. Be sure to reach out to us if you have questions or are curious about the camera selection process.