A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

What equipment do you use? Post pictures and descriptions of your microscope(s) here!
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RaineeDayze
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:16 pm

A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#1 Post by RaineeDayze » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:26 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm really really new to all of this. I want a quality microscope to look at:

Water, pond, river, stream, drinking
Dust
Hair
flowers
cheek swabs
pollen
onion skins

Those types of things.

My budget is about $400 CANADIAN. I'd like a stereo scope and the easy ability to take pictures to share with friends.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#2 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:10 pm

Some initial info:

A STEREO scope (in common microscopy terminology) is a twin eyepiece, relatively low magnification (~10X - ~70X), deep working distance microscope, that creates a 3D image. The specimen can be any reasonably flat object. Illumination is from above and/or below the specimen, depending on model. Very easy to use and very useful. *-*-

A compound or biological microscope can have a single eyepiece or twin eyepieces. Common magnifications are ~40X to ~ 1300X. The working distance is very shallow - less than 5mm, mostly. It does NOT create a 3D image. An upright compound microscope is used to observe thin flat specimens on a 1mm thick glass slide with or without coverslip. An inverted compound microscope is mostly used to observe thin flat specimens in petri dishes. With compound microscope, slide preparation requires some training (but is still very easy to do).

To meet your wish list a compound microscope is required, a stereo scope as well would be nice to have, if budget allows.
Yet another version is an upright compound microscope with epi(=top) illumination, but this is not adapted to transparent specimens, e. g. a drop of water with creatures inside.

Each type has its advantages and limitations.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Hobbyst46
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Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#3 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:30 pm

RaineeDayze wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:26 pm
I'm really really new to all of this. I want a quality microscope to look at:
Water, pond, river, stream, drinking
An endless variety of creatures and plants
Dust
Not very informative; on the other hand, beach and river sand can be fun and colorful and diverse
Hair
Useful when looking for lice :twisted: in children's hair, otherwise poorly informative
flowers
All plant parts afford a surprising variety of features
cheek swabs, onion skins
All animal cells are interesting, but contrast enhancement (e.g. phase contrast) is important to enjoy their features - unless they are stained. The same holds for onion skins, which are more visible than animal cells however.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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75RR
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Location: Estepona, Spain

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#4 Post by 75RR » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:41 pm

RaineeDayze wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:26 pm
I want a quality microscope to look at:

Water, pond, river, stream, drinking
Dust
Hair
flowers
cheek swabs
pollen
onion skins

That is quite a wide range, some will require a compound microscope, others a stereoscope and some can be done (at least partially) by both.

Water, pond, river, stream, drinking = compound microscope
Dust = compound microscope
Hair = compound microscope
flowers = stereoscope
cheek swabs = compound microscope
pollen = compound microscope/stereoscope
onion skins = compound microscope
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

RaineeDayze
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:16 pm

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#5 Post by RaineeDayze » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:27 pm

So, I learned a lot there, thanks for the responses. And clearly I know very little.

https://www.amazon.ca/OMAX-Trinocular-B ... B00FG8AZLA

It seems like this one is perhaps a better fit after looking at my wrong terminology.

Your thoughts?

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75RR
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Location: Estepona, Spain

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#6 Post by 75RR » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:49 pm

For one's first microscope, as you learn the ropes and decide if microscopy is for you, many times cheap and cheerful is best.

Here is a slightly used Amscope T490 which is pretty similar to the Omax for less: https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Microscope-Amsc ... SwUS5fUthP
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

DonSchaeffer
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#7 Post by DonSchaeffer » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:20 pm

I disagree that dust isn't interesting. There is a great variety of fiber in dust, from spider silk to human hair, each with a unique visual footprint.

PeteM
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Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#8 Post by PeteM » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:10 pm

75RR wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:49 pm
For one's first microscope, as you learn the ropes and decide if microscopy is for you . . .
I'd agree. A new AmScope, Omax, etc. is worth about half once you "drive it off the lot." A top quality used microsocpe is often the best bargain for a serious hobbyist; but a mint condition microscope like that AmScope is a low cost and entirely usable way to get started. Many are bought for something like home schooling, lightly used, then sold.

If you want to upgrade later, you might be able to either sell it for near what you paid or pass it along to a budding microscopist.

RaineeDayze
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:16 pm

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#9 Post by RaineeDayze » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:19 pm

thanks for all of your replies, very helpful

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Rossf
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Location: Victoria Australia

Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#10 Post by Rossf » Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:13 pm

Hey DonSchaeffer I completely concur on your views on dust! My top 10 favourite English eccentric was Quinten Crisp (1909-1999) who was very well known for a severe allergy to housework. He had a great quote “After the first 4 years the dust doesn’t get any worse!” -he lived in the same squalid flat for 30 years-dust wise his house must have been like an archeological dig-1930’s dust,1940’s dust etc..dust getting in scope parts is where it wears out its welcome.
Oh RaineeDayze I also encourage exploring spider webs-if scared of them just use a bamboo skewer to collect from abandoned webs and drape over slide-also diluting a pea sized soil sample in water (about 1 part soil to 10 parts water)-mix gently let settle a bit-One drop on slide/coverslip and you’ll discover the beautiful world of diatoms and fungal spores-all different and fascinating.
Good luck with scope choice

Greg Howald
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Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#11 Post by Greg Howald » Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:35 am

If you purchase a standard compound microscope it will provide the following:
1. With a compound binocular or monocular scope a camera will photograph what you see. If you try this with a stereo scope you will get one image of two and the 3d will be gone. You will not be able to share what you see.
2. A compound scope will usually not work with thick or opaque specimens. However, if you are able to turn off the base illuminator and light the specimen from above you will see the object in a lot more depth than you may think possible.
3. A stereo scope is great for larger objects. With a compound scope you can see the wings but with a stereo scope you can see the whole honey bee.

To conclude I suggest you start with a binocular compound scope. In the future when you see the need you will also purchase a stereo scope.

Best wishes in your pursuit of happiness.
Greg

DonSchaeffer
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Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#12 Post by DonSchaeffer » Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:29 am

If you are going to look at larger subjects and don't care about stereo, you can get a digital microscope and buy a nice stand for it at a small fraction of the cost. You won't need to buy separate camera.

viktor j nilsson
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Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#13 Post by viktor j nilsson » Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:38 am

DonSchaeffer wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:29 am
If you are going to look at larger subjects and don't care about stereo, you can get a digital microscope and buy a nice stand for it at a small fraction of the cost. You won't need to buy separate camera.
I beg to differ. Digital microscopes are a pretty lousy substitute for a stereo microscope IMHO.

Even those cheap school-grade stereo microscopes that switch between 20x/40x magnification usually give a pretty good view. Way more convenient to manipulate objects under a real stereo microscope.

EYE C U
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Re: A new microscope - your help will be appreciated

#14 Post by EYE C U » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:59 pm

Crystal growing is cool.

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