I've looked at most of the microscopes mentioned above in the past with the eye toward actually using one and most of them are really pocket microscopes, and while small, lack various useful features. Proper field microscopes, such as the Spencer 60, the AO Compact Folding Microscope and Columbia FM600, which were all used by the U.S. military over the years , while incorporating some of those features are all too large, requiring a small suitcase in order to carry them.
It does seem that in order to incorporate fuller features, one has to build one. It would be nice to have a 3 lb. microscope that could be plunked down on a lab bench and do pretty much the same job a lab scope can do.....binocular too.
This is really the trouble: There are simple and powerfull, compact and big, light and heavy, fast and slow to setup ones. For some uses there is the right field microscope but for some it is not.
For my needs this would be useful:
- Smaller than a Lomo Biolam and a bit lighter
- Robust hood
- binocular viewing
- 4-10-40 objectives and a fitting condenser
- built in LED light
- Fast to set up
- Not too expensive
The closest I have come so far is my Biolamini microscope. Pros and Cons:
+ exchangeable nosepieces with 3 to 5 places
+ to some extent compatible with Zeiss Jena LG and Lomo biolam parts
+ full resolving power available
+ light and small with mono tube
+ good work height
+ table can be lowered a long way for big objects with incident lighting
- focussing a bit fiddly
- binocular head in separate box
- package not as small as possible
- takes a moment to set up (I would prefer to just grab and unfold it, no screws)
- slide mover a bit fiddly
- condenser height has to be set manually, not very practical
- built quality has survived motor bike transport and hours of use without a single repair, but it could be more robust in some places
After 7 years of occasional use it would deserve an upgrade to tackle some of the minus points. I used the microscope on our group meetings for years and took it to a couple of holidays.
It is very well possible to build such a stand. I had a simple lathe and mill at hand but many adjustments were just made by precise eyeballing and they were spot on for normal purposes. The focussing unit is an industrial linear adjuster bought on a flea market for 50ct.