OMAX Microscope

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snikolayev
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OMAX Microscope

#1 Post by snikolayev » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:55 am

I want to buy a new microscope for recreational use. I also want to introduce my 10yo son to microscopy and explore it together.
I'm new to it, but I did some due diligence and researched the topic. I want a microscope that can evolve with me, so I want some modularity and ability to add new things (i.e. a phase contrast kit if I choose to) as well as better objectives, condenser, etc. At the same time I want a modern microscope and don't want to hunt for something on ebay.
Features I'm looking for from the start: plan achro objectives, minimize empty magnification, bright field and darkfield condenser, trinocular frame (planning to use an adapter with a tethered Nikon D7000).

Given the above I'm looking at the following OMAX microscope:
https://www.amazon.com/OMAX-40X-1600X-D ... B009FMCJX0

Also this one seems interesting (though it had infinity adjusted objectives, and I'm not sure if that limits your upgrade choices moving forward):
https://www.amazon.com/OMAX-Trinocular- ... B01BPJIOKM

I cannot find any reviews for these microscopes, so I'm looking for an advice and recommendations. Also, maybe someone used them and can comment.

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zzffnn
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Re: OMAX Microscope

#2 Post by zzffnn » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:26 am

Welcome.

Of those two I would suggest the first 160 mm tube version, which is easier to upgrade.

I think this used Nikon is a much better value though. It already has a Nikon phase condenser and two phase objectives included:

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... hp?t=32756

I don't know the seller. Just saying, the Nikon has much better resale value and may be cheaper to upgrade (used parts can be found on eBay, many of which are retiring from universities).

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#3 Post by lorez » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:50 am

Welcome to the group.

I have experience with both of the models in which you are interested.

I would recommend the OMAX model.

I don't think either of the scopes have the versatility you are looking for.

I do agree with fan that the Nikon is a better microscope, but you will have to do some shopping to get the outfit you want.

If you want to use the scope with your son I would start with something that is simple to use.

lorez

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#4 Post by snikolayev » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:22 am

Thanks for the suggestions.
Lorez, you said you have experience with the microscopes I listed. Can you please give me some specifics on the first one (CS-M834PLAN)? I.e. how is the image quality at different magnifications? Is the illumination adequate? Is the central viewing tube par-focal with the binoculars? What did you like/didn't like?
I'll check out the Nikon models, but they seem to require a lot more research and hunting for them.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#5 Post by lorez » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:38 am

As it is designed the OMAX microscope works very well. Image quality is good on all objectives and illumination is good. The 20W halogen is enough to support the features of the microscope. The photo tube is parfocal, but will probably need a bit of tweaking depending upon your camera choice. It will (potentially) provide many years of trouble free use.

lorez

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#6 Post by 75RR » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:31 am

I tend to view new Chinese generic microscopes as an interim step into microscopy.
A hassle free intro if you like in order to gain experience. A microscope that you will soon outgrow.
Once you have that experience you will find that a secondhand 160 tube modular microscope from one of the big 4 is the way to go.
As such I would not want to spend over $300.

https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-T490B-Ma ... trinocular

This will give you the experience you need, just ignore the 20x eyepieces.
You can put the $500 you have saved towards your next microscope :)
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Re: OMAX Microscope

#7 Post by PeteM » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:42 am

The other thing you might want to look for is the ability to cobble together a polarizing option. Very cool to see various crystals (sugar, caffeine, medicines) as well as thin rock sections under polarized light.

You can get a couple of camera linear polarizing filters fairly inexpensively. One sized to lay above your light source where it's easy to rotate. The other -- and here's what to consider -- might be laid into the recess between the stand and the removable trinocular head. In my limited experience setting up a kids' program most scopes have room to place a filter there, but many do not. Don't know which camp the Omax falls into, but we have an older Olympus scope (apparently many Chinese scopes modeled after it?) without enough head space.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#8 Post by zzffnn » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:49 am

75RR wrote:I tend to view new Chinese generic microscopes as an interim step into microscopy.
A hassle free intro if you like in order to gain experience. A microscope that you will soon outgrow.
Once you have that experience you will find that a secondhand 160 tube modular microscope from one of the big 4 is the way to go.
As such I would not want to spend over $300.

https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-T490B-Ma ... trinocular

This will give you the experience you need, just ignore the 20x eyepieces.
You can put the $500 you have saved towards your next microscope :)
^ This.

And children like polarizing scopes indeed.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#9 Post by kit1980 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:53 am

I recommend the 160mm model. This way you can much more easily upgrade the objectives (the most important part, I think).

One thing it looks like the microscope you linked lacks a field diaphragm. I think it's a very useful detail and you should have it (it's called Koehler illuminator by Omax). And I'd recommend to consider LED illumination - almost no heat, more convenient, and much better lamp longevity.

I bought a 160mm Omax microscope several months ago, and since changed all the objectives to used Nikon CF objectives, and done some other improvements (including a lot of cleaning - there were too much dust inside for a new microscope). I'm quite happy with what I have now.
Omax microscope with Nikon CF objectives
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II camera
http://sdymphoto.com/

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#10 Post by billbillt » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:11 pm

I agree with Kit.. LED lighting makes a worthwhile addition..

BillT

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#11 Post by billbillt » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:14 pm

I think LED conversion makes Kohler a moot point.. There is no filament to focus..

BillT

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#12 Post by PeteM » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:08 am

billbillt wrote:I think LED conversion makes Kohler a moot point.. There is no filament to focus..

BillT
I'd be curious to know the answer to that. I've hacked a couple LED conversions in the past month, trying to put a single bright LED in the same focal plane as the filament. This was particularly easy to do with an old AO system 4 microscope. It's thus possible to image the LED die much as you would a filament. That said, I'm getting good and bright illumination, but not perfectly even across the field.

I've also added a field diaphragm to an old Wesco (Japanese) 160mm microscope that was modern in other respects. The iris cannabalized from an old Kodak shutter. It's in the wrong position to get a sharp image for proper Kohler illumination, but stopping it down to just fill the objective still seems to help with contrast and detail.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#13 Post by kit1980 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:32 am

PeteM wrote:
billbillt wrote:I think LED conversion makes Kohler a moot point.. There is no filament to focus..

BillT
I'd be curious to know the answer to that. I've hacked a couple LED conversions in the past month, trying to put a single bright LED in the same focal plane as the filament. This was particularly easy to do with an old AO system 4 microscope. It's thus possible to image the LED die much as you would a filament. That said, I'm getting good and bright illumination, but not perfectly even across the field.

I've also added a field diaphragm to an old Wesco (Japanese) 160mm microscope that was modern in other respects. The iris cannabalized from an old Kodak shutter. It's in the wrong position to get a sharp image for proper Kohler illumination, but stopping it down to just fill the objective still seems to help with contrast and detail.
In all descriptions of "Kohler for LED" I've seen, the idea is just to get the field diaphragm in focus by adjusting the condenser's height.
This seems to work very well for me.

And I agree that field diaphragm is useful regardless of Kohler illumination. I even close it a little bit for dark field sometimes.
Omax microscope with Nikon CF objectives
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II camera
http://sdymphoto.com/

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#14 Post by Dale » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:33 am

Pete, how do you prepare medicines to observe as crytals? Being 74 I have a number
of potential specimens!! Where do you get caffein crystals, from a Starbucks
dumpster?
Dale
B&L Stereozoom 4. Nikon E600. AO Biostar 1820.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#15 Post by 75RR » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:56 am

billbillt wrote:I think LED conversion makes Kohler a moot point.. There is no filament to focus..
BillT
There is indeed a filament to focus - the LED itself is a filament - see image

Image

Köhler is about focusing the filament on the condenser diaphragm plane, also known as the front focal plane.
In order to do this you need to be able to focus the filament, if you can't, and many of the more basic microscopes can not, then you can not achieve Köhler illumination.
There are two ways of focusing the filament/LED, one either moves the filament or one moves the focusing lens. If the illumination system in your microscope can not do either one and if it is not pre-focused at the front focal plane (and you have not set the LED at this precise point), then you can not achieve Köhler illumination with your LED conversion.

http://zeiss-campus.magnet.fsu.edu/tuto ... flash.html

Most LED conversions, particularly those that either are not located on the same plane as the original bulb filament or those that can not actually be focused, can only achieve critical illumination at best.

Given that LEDs tend to have a more diffuse illumination than halogen or tungsten bulbs do, it is understandable that some microscopists might believe that LED critical illumination, particularly when used with a diffuser, is on par with Köhler.
Köhler however is more than just even illumination, "... it is also about the fact that the light source is not focused at the level of the specimen (but rather on the front focal plane), as such the light at specimen level is essentially grainless and uniform, and does not suffer deterioration from dust and imperfections on the glass surfaces of the condenser nor of the field diaphragm." Zeiss Campus
Last edited by 75RR on Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OMAX Microscope

#16 Post by PeteM » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:44 am

Dale wrote:Pete, how do you prepare medicines to observe as crytals? Being 74 . . .
Dale
I just put them in solution, if not already in one. Put a drop on a slide. Cover it with a slip. Then let it dry and recrystallize. Maybe start with sugar.

Who knows what you'll find -- some stuff looks pretty interesting under polarized light. My caffeine example, though, came as a prepared slide.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#17 Post by billbillt » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:27 am

"There is indeed a filament to focus - the LED itself is a filament - see image"

Thanks for the info.. I have had people complain to me that the multiple COB LED assemblies cause trouble with giving several different points of light when attempting to adjust to Kohler..

Thanks!,
BillT

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#18 Post by 75RR » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:56 am

... how do you prepare medicines to observe as crytals?
This handbook for school teachers is a good starting point.
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1398

Sorry about the off-topic posts snikolayev!
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Re: OMAX Microscope

#19 Post by Dale » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:31 pm

Thank you Pete and RR, perfect tip and link. I sent for some some caffein crystals
And Snikolayev, nice dslr, I love a camera that comes an unprogrammed button!
Dale
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Re: OMAX Microscope

#20 Post by snikolayev » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:00 pm

Thanks everyone for recommendations. I think I'm going to consider a cheaper model as 75 suggested. It also sounds like Koehler illumination is a good option to have, though it greatly narrows the choices.
Kit, may I ask what OMAX scope did you get, that had Koehler option?
This scope looks reasonable, and is a 160mm model, so I can get plan objectives later on. It can also be equipped with a darkfield condenser. What do you guys think?
https://www.amazon.com/OMAX-Biological- ... B00FG8BP50
The only thing I don't like is that it does not have a Siedentopf viewing head, though it's more of an aesthetic thing, I guess.

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#21 Post by kit1980 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:17 pm

snikolayev wrote:Thanks everyone for recommendations. I think I'm going to consider a cheaper model as 75 suggested. It also sounds like Koehler illumination is a good option to have, though it greatly narrows the choices.
Kit, may I ask what OMAX scope did you get, that had Koehler option?
This scope looks reasonable, and is a 160mm model, so I can get plan objectives later on. It can also be equipped with a darkfield condenser. What do you guys think?
https://www.amazon.com/OMAX-Biological- ... B00FG8BP50
The only thing I don't like is that it does not have a Siedentopf viewing head, though it's more of an aesthetic thing, I guess.
This is the scope I bought https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UC ... ge_o01_s00 (I don't use the USB camera anymore, so I could have bought the same model without the camera for much less).

The "Kohler illuminator" is just a diaphragm with plane glass, there is nothing too complex or precise about it, and you can buy it separately https://www.amazon.com/OMAX-Microscope- ... 00FG88YAE/ or even improvise something from what you have if you low on budget. I ended up removing the glass, because it's basically in the plane you want to be in focus, and it attracts a lot of dust.

Siedentopf viewing head is useful if you have several people who wants to look at the same thing one after another - you can change interpupillary distance without changing the focus.
Omax microscope with Nikon CF objectives
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II camera
http://sdymphoto.com/

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#22 Post by MicroInspector » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:44 pm

I say the omax m83ez I love my omax microscope
Ughm I say amazon has a nice 1200 power microscope from
Tasco, all metal body battery light source
3 objectives comes with a kit, I had one of those once it last a long time
This model from tasco is better than the cheap fake plastic ones
The microscope reveals the truth of life.
Omax M82EZ microscope

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#23 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:23 pm

75RR wrote:I tend to view new Chinese generic microscopes as an interim step into microscopy.
A hassle free intro if you like in order to gain experience. A microscope that you will soon outgrow.
Once you have that experience you will find that a secondhand 160 tube modular microscope from one of the big 4 is the way to go.
As such I would not want to spend over $300.

https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-T490B-Ma ... trinocular

This will give you the experience you need, just ignore the 20x eyepieces.
You can put the $500 you have saved towards your next microscope :)
Totally agree with you here 75 - this is my own trajectory almost to the letter....
My advice- buy a reasonably-priced 'ready to go' Chinese 'scope with a view to upgrading when you have experience and are sure you want to take the step into the upgradeable classic 'scopes. I'd spend about £300-£400 I think.

The fellows that have offered advice here are very, very experienced and knowledgeable (I don't include myself in their level of expertise with 'scopes - these chaps really know what they're talking about) and are giving you superb advice that you'll not better elsewhere old chap.

Just my two-penneth worth! :)
John B

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#24 Post by MicroInspector » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:01 pm

:shock: Who on earth can ever afford high priced microscope
I have check out before olypus holy microbe Batman!!! 799.99
And I don't know if Olympus makes compound light microscopes anymore.
Nikcon sounds pricey, but if anyone wants a high class microscope
Needs high paying job.
I say go by your budget.
The microscope reveals the truth of life.
Omax M82EZ microscope

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#25 Post by mrsonchus » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:04 pm

MicroInspector wrote::shock: Who on earth can ever afford high priced microscope
I have check out before olypus holy microbe Batman!!! 799.99
And I don't know if Olympus makes compound light microscopes anymore.
Nikcon sounds pricey, but if anyone wants a high class microscope
Needs high paying job.
I say go by your budget.
MicroInspector old chap - what on Earth are you talking about?? :?
John B

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#26 Post by MicroInspector » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:16 pm

Microscope cost
Have you the price of Olympus light compound
Microscopes?
The microscope reveals the truth of life.
Omax M82EZ microscope

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#27 Post by carlh6902 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:33 pm

MicroInspector wrote:Microscope cost
Have you the price of Olympus light compound
Microscopes?
I own six Olympus scopes, and I didn't pay anywhere near $799 for any of them. Deals can be had, if you're willing to wait, and to piece together a full scope. It also helps if you are able to repair any problems that arise. Since I love nothing more than to tear down and rebuild an old BH-2, there aren't too may listings on eBay that scare me anymore.

Carl
--- If you're in the Kansas City area and you need help with an Olympus BH-2 scope, PM me. I love to work on these things ---

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#28 Post by MicroInspector » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:13 am

True,
Microscopy is a wonderful science
The microscope reveals the truth of life.
Omax M82EZ microscope

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Re: OMAX Microscope

#29 Post by oakleywerks » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:17 pm

Resurrecting this before it gets stale. The OMAX scope kit1980 got is model CS-M8311Z-A195KL-C140U which is Kohler and has a camera. I'm focused on the OMAX CS-M8311 part of it, since I've been considering a chinese as a first scope. I have found OMAX model numbers/features particularly hard to work with as compared to e.g., amscope. For example, there is this OMAX m8311 for very little money http://www.microscopenet.com/40x2000x-t ... -9047.html

It does not have Kohler nor a camera. It does have a feature called simul-focal (same terminology that amscope uses for certain models). What I would love to know is how that Omax plain-jane m8311 stacks up to the amscope T490 (which 75RR linked to above). That amscope is here https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-T490A-LE ... scope+t490

The specs seem suspiciously similar, both are LED, yet pricing differs by $70. Am I missing something or are OMAX selling for substantially less than amscope, for essentially the same build and features? (assuming they all come from the same factory, which I suspect is the case). Never mind that I wouldn't order the OMAX anyway, since it's not Amazon prime (which I'm lucky to have) but the amscope model is prime. Thanks for any insight!
Lytkarino MBS-9 [ST-100]
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AO 20 trinoc, 100W, infinity plan achro 4-100x

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