Choices for purchase????

What equipment do you use? Post pictures and descriptions of your microscope(s) here!
Post Reply
Message
Author
NJH
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:50 pm

Choices for purchase????

#1 Post by NJH » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:13 pm

Objectives, etc. being similar, could anyone advise on a decent binocular scope to purchase under $800?
Several I've seen....
Meiji Techno MT30 and MT40 series
American Optical 150, 100 Microstar, (Reichart 120)
Wesco Bio VU 2300
Nikon E100, Alphaphot YS2
Swift M1000D, 3300, 3500, 4000
Wild/Leitz Laborlux S
Motic B1 or BA210

Other brands: LW Scientific Revelation III, Bausch&Lomb KHS.

I know some parts are not easy to find, so I want a scope that I'll be able to find parts, cameras, upgrades, etc.
(I do need to be able to view 40X and 100X (oil) blood smears/wet preps/gram stains, etc.)

I am seeing that most of the sellers either don't know about the scopes or they mis-represent (leave off NA of a bad condenser, don't mention there are no objectives, etc., etc.) and I've seen the EXACT same scope (picture identical, with a knob piece missing) under an add for a $99.99 and a $399.99 price from different sellers. I also see that many just put a "stock" photo and not the actual scope they will send you...seems highly unethical, but I'm sure there's a disclaimer somewhere that makes it okay.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

PeteM
Posts: 672
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Choices for purchase????

#2 Post by PeteM » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:47 pm

You'll get the most scope for you money by buying used.

$800 can buy a very usable new Chinese scope (AccuScope, AmScope, Motic, etc.) but it will lose half its value once you place the order and won't be either as expandable or mechanically as good as a top lab instrument (US, Japanese,German) from a decade or two or three ago.

Where are you located -- our local Children's Museum had 55 scopes donated; at least several of them both less expensive and better than most you listed.

The choice depends a bit upon what you want to do. If you're already a photographer (and even if not), you'll most likely want to take pictures. That's easiest with a stand that's steady and with top quality focusing -- Olympus, Nikon, Leitz, Zeiss, maybe Reichert etc. The Chinese scopes aren't quite as good. You'll also most likely want a trinocular head and plan lenses.

If you want to be able to add better lenses (fluorite, apo . . .) and cool techniques (polarization, phase contrast, higher power darkfield, fluorescence, even DIC) then you want to buy into a system microscope for which lots of parts are available, ideally used. That also tends to rule out newer Chinese-made scopes and some otherwise good scopes sold in lower numbers.

If asked to pick just one scope, not knowing your interests, I'd say an Olympus BHS, Nikon Optiphhot, Reichert 120, etc. with at least at 50 watt lamp, an adjustable stage (to accommodate different parfocal lenses), a removable nosepiece, trinocular head, and complete with a set of good plan achromat objectives. Better yet with phase lenses and a phase condenser. With patience, all those should available be just under $800.

Around $500 you might find an Olympus BH-2, a Nikon Labophot, a Reichert MicroStar IV, a Zeiss Standard etc. Compared to the above they won't be quite as expandable to things like $$$ DIC methods, but are very competent and using the same lenses, condensers, heads etc. as their slightly bigger (brighter lamps, removable nosepieces etc.) brothers.

Buy as complete a microscope as you can -- the cost of buying lenses and pieces individually quickly adds up. Of the ones you listed, the two I'd consider first would be the Reichert 120 and the Leitz Laborlux S (if equipped with a trinocular head, plan lenses, etc.).

charlie g
Posts: 1409
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:54 pm

Re: Choices for purchase????

#3 Post by charlie g » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:22 pm

Hello poster...terrific questions you raise...thanks for posting. Peter M. gave thoughtful and experienced microscopists advice for you and all who have approx. $800 to spend for a microscope for higher magnification optics...including oil-immersion optics.

As you know your going to image capture with wetmount slides...perhaps often with the oil-immersion objectives...go with Peter M.'s excellent and experienced advise...go used..a trinocular head on your scope a must, oil-bridge 1,25 or higher NA substage condenser...and congrats on having posted just when Peter M. was 'within holler distance' to advise you..and all in your stage of: '$800 for a work horse stand of oil-immersion image capture microscopy'.

My microscopy as a teenager was enthralled with the better optics of used clinical microscopes vrs the 'toys I enjoyed on holiday'...or the sturdy student microscopes we used in high school. I sketched elaborate drawings of protozoa I could observe for over an hour ( gentle feeding water to an edge of the slides coverslip border in the wetmount slide I was observing). At my fathers urging...I kept notebooks of my observations, including the sketches with the observations. It was corny, but for me a wonderful series of encounters with our protozoa and the microworld about us.

Now, as you intend to...we image capture...who has time to sketch?!! You must have a trinocular head on your stand...and the duckets you have for your scope are more than enough for a major firm used stand...welcome to a great forum!

Where are you located? It really matters where you are located for purchase of these plentiful and excellent used optics. thanks for a great post...keep us informed of your microscopy...pretty please? Charlie Guevara finger lakes/US

User avatar
coominya
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:33 am
Location: Brisbane Aust

Re: Choices for purchase????

#4 Post by coominya » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:48 am

NJH wrote:Objectives, etc. being similar, could anyone advise on a decent binocular scope to purchase under $800?
You missed the best brand, Olympus. I bought this Olympus IMT-2 inverted microscope for $950 here in Australia, they are even cheaper in the US BTW. Sure I had to add a few objectives, but it was quite usable with just the 40x.

These inverted's are another beast altogether and have lots of extras built in. Like 2 dedicated camera ports, a 1.5x magnifier, and a very simplistic light filter system. It has a phase contrast condenser as well which while I don't use it often, does come in handy on some subjects to bring out their detail.

Image

NJH
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:50 pm

Re: Choices for purchase????

#5 Post by NJH » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:24 am

Thank you all for your honest, thoughtful and detailed recommendations!!!


Right now, I'm leaning towards the Nikon Optiphot or Alphaphot, Reichart 120, Leitz Laborlux, A-O 150, Olympus CH2 or CHT and Leica DME. I've decided not to invest quite $800 at this time, and hope to add later if all goes well.


There is actually a Leica and an Amscope at one of my jobs (I'm a weekend Microbiology Tech) that I am really comfortable with and has generally good quality. (the Leica is all automated...cool, but WAY out of my price range) In all honesty, I prefer the somewhat "simpler, manual" scopes!! I work in a Molecular Genetics Research lab, so I'd like to get into some Fluorescent methods in the future. For now, I primarily want something for blood smears (WBC differentials, Manual RBC/WBC counts (with hemacytometer) and Gram Stains.

I definitely DO want to take some photos (not videos though!); my biggest reason for not investing the $800-1000 is that I just don't know how accessible tissue/slides/bacteria, etc. will be for me to actually stain/photograph. I'm afraid I'll only be able to do a handful, then basically have to look at the same 10-15 slides for the rest of my life!!!! LOL


Any further comments, now that I've provided more info and my "leanings"???

Thank you again for your valuable insights!!!!!
I'll definitely keep you posted on this new adventure.

NJH
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:50 pm

Re: Choices for purchase????

#6 Post by NJH » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:28 am

Coominya….I looked in the US for the Olympus you posted...the prices here are in the $2K-$4K range!!!
Too pricey for me, but I do like the scope!

Thanks for sharing the picture too!!

PeteM
Posts: 672
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Choices for purchase????

#7 Post by PeteM » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:23 am

NJH wrote:T . . . Right now, I'm leaning towards the Nikon Optiphot or Alphaphot, Reichart 120, Leitz Laborlux, A-O 150, Olympus CH2 or CHT and Leica DME. I've decided not to invest quite $800 at this time, and hope to add later if all goes well. . .
I'd drop the A-O 150 from your list. It's a fine beginner's microscope, but not easily expandable. A "Series 10" -- especially with the halogen bulb or better yet an AO-Reichert-Cambridge-Leica (same scope, different names) MicroStar IV or DiaStar would be the next steps up and still affordable. The Leica DME isn't much different from these, either. Basically, American Optical got conglomerated and deconglomerated so many times (it's now part of Leica) that the scopes went under several different names.

I'd also add the Nikon Labophot (step down from Optiphot, step up from Alphaphot) and the Olympus BH-2 (BH-2, BHT, BHTU, etc.) which is a step up from the CH2 series. I've seen working ones sell for $300-400 or so (no phase contrast, but Plan Nikon or D-Plan Olympus lenses.

Hobbyst46
Posts: 2182
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Choices for purchase????

#8 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:25 am

1. One of the basic requirements to do fluorescence is that the microscope has an upper illumination port, in addition to the ordinary low-seated port. Because brightfield and fluorescence require two separate and different light sources. Such port is not an expandable feature/option of any microscope. So plan ahead.
In addition: you are probably aware of the optical components of a good fluorescence setup - for each wavelength you need a cube and 3 interference filters (including the dichroic mirror), besides the collimator, field diaphragm etc. The coatings on these filters tend to deteriorate with time, so the chance of finding "old" second-hand filters in good condition is low. The price of a new set of filters can easily reach $300-400.
2. An inverted microscope is extremely useful for studying organisms and cells in open containers, as well as in high-end confocal microscopy. For slides and other static specimens, I think that its advantage, if any, over an upright scope is in the ergonomics, a subjective choice.
3. PeteM's advice - buy as complete system as you can - is excellent. Even if the initial cost is higher. Because piecewise acquisition of components is much more costly IMO.
4. A trinocular head is a must.
5. It is very important to verify ahead with the seller that all mechanical moving parts function perfectly. Repairing a problematic focusing mechanism for example (I met one on a used Optiphot) is a severe nuisance.
Good luck.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

User avatar
coominya
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:33 am
Location: Brisbane Aust

Re: Choices for purchase????

#9 Post by coominya » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:19 pm

NJH wrote:Coominya….I looked in the US for the Olympus you posted...the prices here are in the $2K-$4K range!!!
Yikes! I had no idea. I know the genuine objectives are a bit pricey but all the good stuff is. I hope you find a good scope at a great price whichever brand you choose, those in your list are all excellent.

User avatar
coominya
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:33 am
Location: Brisbane Aust

Re: Choices for purchase????

#10 Post by coominya » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:26 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote: 2. An inverted microscope is extremely useful for studying organisms and cells in open containers, as well as in high-end confocal microscopy. For slides and other static specimens...
On this note the only issues I have encountered is when using slides with the concave dip in the center, otherwise the views using slides look the same as on my upright scope. A real advantage though is stability. These things weigh a ton and I experience no vibrations at the subject when manipulating the controls like i do on my smaller unit.

User avatar
lorez
Posts: 735
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:48 am

Re: Choices for purchase????

#11 Post by lorez » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:32 pm

I have quite a few used microscopes available. Olympus BH2, which was not on your original list is a good candidate. If you are interested you can send me a message.

lorez

NJH
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:50 pm

Re: Choices for purchase????

#12 Post by NJH » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:02 pm

Lorez,
Thanks for your reply; I purchased a Nikon Alphaphot YS - largely because I already have a couple of Nikon objectives and figured, all things being the same, I might as well be able to use them. I've always heard that Nikon made their objectives (and other parts) to be "just enough" off that other scope parts are not interchangeable. I don't know yet if this is true; I've not ventured into the inner workings of a scope!!

Post Reply