I've been looking through many posts on the Beginner's corner trying to make sure I'm well informed before making my first post. I was hesitant to post because there are a bunch of these "help me find a telescope" posts, however none quite matched what I was looking for. My brain is now jumbled mess of various microscope brands and terms! I need help!
I'm mostly interested in studying pond life, at least at first. I'm sure other things will interest me before long. Before coming to this forum I did a good amount of research on new microscopes in my budget (~$450 US).
The one I was considering was the OMAX M837TL (appears to be the M837L with an extra set of eyepieces). I specifically was looking at the option that came with a darkfield condenser and a 3 MP camera (link). The main reason I was considering that model was because it was a full-size model which meant I could add accessories to it in the future if I felt the need (ex: phase contrast kit). Another reason I liked it was because it was trinocular and I would love to hook the camera up to the computer so me and my sons could explore the micro world together without needing to take turns looking through the binoculars.
With all that said, I've got a couple questions:
- I know OMAX is a Chinese "stencil" (I believe someone called it) brand, but what would be the biggest downsides of purchasing this as my first scope?
- Do I need the trinocular design to be able to watch specimens on a computer screen, or can I get a binocular design and somehow mount a camera to one of the eyepieces, and hook that up to the computer?
- Is there a better "cheaper" option for a camera that we can use to view on the computer? I saw some recommendations on Amazon to use an ELP usb camera (something like this I think) but I'm not sure how to mount it to the microscope.
Lastly, It seems that a consistent recommendation from the experts here is to look to buy a quality used scope. My biggest fear with that is that I have no idea what would be good to buy. I have seen some of the brand names thrown around (like Zeiss, Leitz, American Optical, etc) and I see some of those on ebay but I'm not sure which ones are worth taking the plunge on. My other concern is finding accessories to upgrade them with. My final concern is that I'm not handy enough to fix or maintain some of the older models.
I appreciate any input on you have. I'm anxious to purchase my first scope and get into this hobby, however I want to make an informed decision.