Help to buy a microscope

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Katerina
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Help to buy a microscope

#1 Post by Katerina » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:10 pm

Hi everybody! Please, help me to buy a microscope for my 11 y.o. son. The budget is very limited, unfortunately :cry: I've found these microscopes on ebay:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fisher-Scienti ... 3641.l6368
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LW-Scientific- ... 0005.m1851

Please, if somebody has the time, advise me kindly if they are good and which one is better? And also is generally purchasing of used microscopes on ebay safe? I mean, can a seller's statement that the microscope is in "good" or "excellent" condition be trusted? Cause I'm afraid that nobody around me will be able to repair a damaged microscope.

P.S. This site is great and your forum is very useful!
English is not my mother tongue, so sorry for possible mistakes in my message, and thank you for your replies :D

Hobbyst46
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#2 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:47 pm

Welcome Katerina.

A 11 yrs old boy most probably knows and understands what a microscope can do, so the decisions around the purchase are a lot easier than when it is for a 7-8 yrs old child.

The microscopes mentioned in the two links are "biological" compound microscopes, for inspection of thin specimens on glass slides. However, there are also "stereo" microscopes, that enable the inspection of small objects with a better depth of field. Such obejcts as tiny grains, insects, plant parts, mechanical watch parts and even water creatures. One can manipulate the tiny items while watching them through the eyepieces. With biological microscopes such handling is much more difficult. On the whole, stereo microscopes are easier to operate.

I personally believe that a stereo microscope will be attractive for a long time. Children often become bored after the initial ecstasy. The potential of using the scope for a huge variety of specimens may help the motivation last longer.

Due to these reasons and others, some experts recommend these microscopes for children, rather than the biological microscopes. I am not aware of the prices. But besides
budget, it might help if you discuss with your boy his potential objects of interest: what he may find especially attractive to watch. Then focus on the type of microscope that you prefer.

Good luck.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#3 Post by Katerina » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:18 pm

Hello, Hobbyst46, thank you for replying.
Yes, he wants a "real" microscope to see cells and other things that are inside. He's very smart and maybe will be able to cope with a microscope with a little help.

Hobbyst46
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#4 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:29 pm

I searched ebay for used microscopes under about $75: most of them are from American Optical.

Perhaps you would like to take a look at this link, which caught my non-expert eyes:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Spencer-Americ ... SwoRBaT~qz

I am not sure that it includes eyepieces, but those can be inexpensively found.
I am not sure if the seller accepts Returns.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#5 Post by Katerina » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:49 pm

Thank you, Hobbyst46, but that one doesn't have also eyepieces...

einman
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#6 Post by einman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:59 pm

Where does it have to ship to?

Charles
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#7 Post by Charles » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:28 am

Hi Katerina,

Of the two you list, I would go with the second LW. Only reservations would be that the stage only has stage clips, which means you need to move the slide by hand to observe different parts of your specimen. A mechanical stage allows you to move the slide in the x-y direction with control of knobs. Also, I don't see a condenser (which doesn't mean there isn't one) but it may not be necessary as long as it has a rotatable wheel with different hole sizes.

I have a like new monocular, four objective with mechanical slide and condenser for about the same price if you are in the US and you are interested.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#8 Post by Katerina » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:41 am

Hi Einman,
I live in Georgia (a small country southern of Russia) but there is a company that sends items from USA to Georgia.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#9 Post by Katerina » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:52 am

Hi Charles, thank you,
there are photos below in the description, it is the condenser on the third one, isn't it?
Image
I like that one too cause it has 2 objectives, so there is the possibility to attach a camera and connect it to the computer - more fun for the child :) I think I can buy mechanical stage later, some of them are not too expensive.

MicroBob
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#10 Post by MicroBob » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:54 am

In Russia a lot of quite good LOMO microscopes have been made. I don't know whether they are still in business and what they make today. This is very likely the most popular brand in your area. If you look for LOMO you might find a used microscope from a trustworthy seller locally. A simple way to get micro photographs is to use a smartphone. The quality can be more than good enough for most uses.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#11 Post by Katerina » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:30 am

Yes, I know that Lomo microscopes are superb, but I'm not in Russia and sending from there to Georgia is a big problem and costs much more than from USA...

Charles
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#12 Post by Charles » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:54 am

Yes, that is a condenser. I don't know how I missed that picture. And yes, you can get a clip on mechanical stage.

I think your son will get a lot of enjoyment it that microscope.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#13 Post by Katerina » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:20 pm

Thank you, Charles, I too hope he will enjoy it and will learn a lot things about biology.

One more question: should I ask the seller something about the microscope and what exactly? Maybe about optics or something else, idk... :roll:

Charles
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#14 Post by Charles » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:28 pm

You should ask about all the functions such as the coarse and fine focus controls, the condenser controls and condenser iris control. Make sure the objective turret turns smoothly and clicks into each objective. have him make sure all optics (eye pieces, objectives, condenser) are clear and not defective.

Be aware that the USA microscopes are set for 110V, so you will need a converter if your voltage is different. It maybe better if you bought from someone in Europe rather than the USA

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lorez
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#15 Post by lorez » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:57 pm

Hi Katerina,

I am coming a bit late to this discussion, but do have a dissenting opinion.

I would choose the Fisher model over the LW because it is of much more durable construction. Whether the scope is ideal for your 11 year old is another discussion, but as far as the quality instrument there is no competition. The Fisher is of an older, yet current design and has all metal focusing mechanisms while the LW is loaded with plastic in these critical areas.

All the best,

lorez

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#16 Post by Katerina » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:38 pm

Thank you, Charles, I'll ask him all of those questions :twisted:
I have a converter at home, no problem there.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#17 Post by Katerina » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:54 pm

Hi, Lorez, thank you! Sometimes I think that one shouldn't read anything about microscopy BEFORE buying a microscope, buy some "bestseller" from Amazon and be happy with it, cause it turned out that buying a microscope is just like buying a house or a car when you choose, choose and choose endlessly :( Well, Fisher is cheaper - that's one more + for it. I'll think about it.

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lorez
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#18 Post by lorez » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:07 am

Hi Katerina,

It may be that your son will use the scope for a while and then move on to other interests as many do, but if he is like me and many of us in this group he will have his first scope when he is 70. Whatever the case, I think the Fisher scope will give him a good start and probably last for many more years. While I believe that any microscope is better than no microscope I am really suggesting that any 'decent' microscope is better than no microscope. I started with a dinky little department store microscope that wasn't very good at all, but I had supportive parents who encouraged exploration and inquiry. The Fisher microscope is a good representative of the type of scope I offer in my 'microscope in the library' program.

lorez

Hobbyst46
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#19 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:45 am

Katerina wrote: Sometimes I think that one shouldn't read anything about microscopy BEFORE buying a microscope, buy some "bestseller" from Amazon and be happy with it, cause it turned out that buying a microscope is just like buying a house or a car when you choose, choose and choose .
Out of curiosity, just scanned Amazon best sellers. Toy microscopes, no matter how cheap, are IMO not an option. Brand new student microscopes, which are acceptable, start at about $70-80. Hence your "unneccessary" choosing and inquiry and consultation and thinking one way and another is in fact the appropriate way to deal with it, such that the boy will really enjoy it. Especially when you must rely on photos and opinions rather then see the scope and touch it yourself!

Best of luck.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#20 Post by Katerina » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:44 am

Hi, Hobbyst46,
I'm thinking about that option too and even chose one microscope:
http://www.amscope.com/40x-1000x-dual-t ... scope.html

Maybe I'll end up buying it after all...

apochronaut
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#21 Post by apochronaut » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:32 pm

Hi, Katerina. I wonder how much Amazon is asking to ship that microscope to you? The reason I ask, is that I checked through some ebay listings closer to your home and there is a very good price for a very good microscope being sold from Bulgaria. The shipping is quoted at 43.00 € The microscope is about twice the price of the little one you have chosen but is of professional quality and will last for decades and have a resale value, if your son does not turn out to be interested in the longer term, in microscopy.

I once supplied about 15 microscopes very similar to that Amazon scope to an elementary school. They chose them and I oversaw their purchase and inspected them all prior to use. Out of the 15, I had to do some small repair on the focusing , while still new. The focusing is made up of all nylon parts and the fit is not really precise.

There might not be that much difference in the price, in the long run.

here is the listing. https://www.ebay.de/itm/Precise-Stereo- ... SwBOlaYinf.

It looks like the entire package with shipping will be just under 200.00 €, which is a very good price for that microscope.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#22 Post by Katerina » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:38 pm

Hi, Apochronaut, thank you for your concern! I don't know how long the interest of my son will last, but I myself just almost fell in love with microscopes after reading so much about them :lol: so, I'll try to keep his interest as long as possible.
Purchasing from USA to Georgia is just well established and much easier than from EU and other countries, no taxes for items under 120$, shipping rate is 8$ for 1 kg, shipping is quick and safe. But now I will learn more about buying things from other countries too. I think, it's better to wait a little longer and save up a little more money and everything will be OK :)

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#23 Post by Katerina » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:39 pm

Tell me, please, one more thing and I won't pester anyone again :roll: :D
Are Carolina Wolfe microscopes of good quality?

apochronaut
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#24 Post by apochronaut » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:27 pm

Wolfe is a brand of Carolina Biological. They do not make microscopes, they just have an existing range of microscopes branded with their name. The same microscopes exist with many different names on them. This is called stencil branding. The microscopes they sell are currently made in China and are the same or similar quality as other Chinese microscopes of the same class. Anyone could have a manufacturer or broker of microscopes in India or China produce a line of microscopes for them, if they made a contract to buy enough units( probably 1000 or more). Theycould have any name they wanted on them....even Katerina MIcroscopes could be a brand.

The instruments that I see branded Wolfe, seem mostly to match instruments that I see in a catalogue from the China Ningbo Teaching Instrument Factory, and have been made the same since about 1990, so almost 30 years , now. The branding on such instruments when sold in China is NOIF as models such as XSP-53FL( Wolfe Introductory Student) and XSP-110( Wolfe CL). These would be serviceable microscopes, with likely all metal construction but more modern models with led illumination for instance , would probably have more plastic and nylon parts internally. If there was a problem , with the focusing for instance, it might be difficult , being in Georgia to get parts or service. A used instrument from one of the major manufacturers, would have numerous devotees on-line, in places such as this forum , and free information and the likliehood of inexpensive parts is more a possibility.

China makes and sells enormous quantities of microscopes but they are pretty disposable and the availability of after market service has never been a strength of Chinese scopes.



There are only a few companies, world wide that currently manufacture the microscopes they sell under their own name outside their native country.

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#25 Post by Katerina » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:52 pm

Thank you very much! "Katerina microscopes" would be great! :lol:

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#26 Post by Katerina » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:09 am

OK, it's everything clear with cheap school/educational microscopes, but chinese microscopes are used also in hospital laboratories, so, i can't understand, how it's even possible to use such unreliable things when sometimes lives of people depend on precise and accurate analyses? Or they use there some special models with higher standards?

Hobbyst46
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#27 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:52 am

Katerina, there is a vast variety of Chinese-made excellent microscopes as well as poor microscopes. The specifications defined by hospital users can vary between extremes. Besides, they often buy new microscopes, not used microscopes, so they can expect a life span of at least several years before it breaks or deteriorates.

In other posts of this Forum you can find excellent results created with new "inexpensive" microscopes. On the other hand, a careless user will rapidly convert a Top-Level instrument to a trash. The microscopy results, and more importantly, the enjoyment (of the child!) originates from the person, not so much from the instrument. Even an experienced researcher can rejoice at learning new items in microscopy - at any age.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

apochronaut
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#28 Post by apochronaut » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:44 pm

Unfortunately, as with many things, there is a price tag attached to a microscope that has enough built into it, that it will meet a minimum standard of performance and be trouble free. I would not go below 200.00 $US. for a new Chinese or Indian microscope, especially if you are buying it from afar. Below that , there is an increasing risk that some of the critical mechanical components would be minimally designed. Some schools have shelves of broken microscopes, when they cannot afford repairs or replacements. Some schools are lucky enough to have a science teacher on staff, who can effect some of the repairs, others not so fortunate. In the old days when the microscopes were from one of the well known, usually local companies, parts were a phone call away. Today, with foreign microscopes, sold by the tens of thousands world wide, it is cheaper to buy a new one than service it, so broken microscopes either sit, or are disposed of. They are not built to last and there are no service manuals or parts diagrams for them either.

With a used instrument there are many being sold below 100.00 that were built in a time when the designs were well engineered , structurally solid and will last many years with minimal maintenance. Yes, some are imperfect but some are almost perfect too. One with experience can tell the difference, or ask the right questions , in order to determine the condition.

In order to help you, it is necessary to know how much you can afford : then I could point out some good options. I gather , the Will Wetzlar microscope from Bulgaria, was too expensive?

Katerina
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#29 Post by Katerina » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:31 pm

Yes, that one from Bulgaria+shipping was expensive - EUR is more expensive here than USA dollar.
I think, I most likely buy this Fisher Micromaster, cause it's almost new (at least, the seller claims so) and it's price+shipping to Georgia will be OK.
Btw, can you tell me, please, is there a tungsten light bulb on the 4th photо? I mean, it's silver and can it be replaced, if it goes out, with other type of bulb or it must be the same type and necessarily silver color?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fisher-Scienti ... 0033.m2042

Thank you very much for help! )))

apochronaut
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Re: Help to buy a microscope

#30 Post by apochronaut » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:48 pm

The Fisher Micromaster is probably a pretty good deal for you. Each microscope has a specific type of bulb that they use. Very seldom, can you replace it with another. I know of certain instances but they are few. In the case of this Fisher microscope , the bulb is half silvered on the bulb envelope, which acts as a reflector. Usually, microscopes are sold with a spare bulb, in the kit, so it looks like the microscope is still fitted with the original bulb and you would have a spare, included. Microscope bulbs have a life of around 200 hours.

The bulb for that microscope is an s74015, 115v. 15 watt. It may be unique to Fisher. They are $8.40 from Fisher but then shipping would be on top of that. Similar bulbs are used in Olympus , NIkon and other microscopes but they are 120v. 20 watt. They would work but the extra heat might be too much. You could probably use an unsilvered bulb that was similar and make a reflector under it of aluminum foil but one would want to have the heat generation checked by someone qualified. The reflector in the bulb would reflect both light and heat, so whatever is under the bulb would need to be protected from any extra heat a modification would entail.


However, there are numerous led options available now with that type of base, which is a ba15d type base. You could get one of those as a 220v. version( I would recommend getting 2, because even leds fail) , change the plug to fit your mains and switch directly over to led. A 3 watt would likely be adequate.
Here is the ebay page with many options in length and various diode types and arrays.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=b ... acat=20706

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