What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

Do you have any microscopy questions, which you are afraid to ask? This is your place.
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billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#2 Post by billbillt » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:26 pm

If I had to choose, it would be the second one.. You are probably going to get some posts that say neither one is good because it is not a $3000 "big four" and it is made in China.... Either one should be adequate for hobby use..

The Best,
BillT

Prime
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#3 Post by Prime » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:38 pm

billbillt wrote:If I had to choose, it would be the second one.. You are probably going to get some posts that say neither one is good because it is not a $3000 "big four" and it is made in China.... Either one should be adequate for hobby use..

The Best,
BillT
Yes, I agree with you about about the second sentence :).
Why do you think the second microscope is better ? There is a big price difference (in my country and for me).

PeteM
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#4 Post by PeteM » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:37 pm

Where are you located? What do you want to view?

There are several things neither microscope has, that would be of interest to most serious beginners, hoping to work at up to, say, 400x:
- a condenser (helpful for higher powers)
- a binocular or trinocular head (less eye strain with the binocular, easier to take photos with the trinocular)
- mechanical stage (easier to manipulate at higher magnifications)
- plan objectives (somewhat better image)

If viewing things more insect-sized, a cheap stereo microscope might prove more satisfying.

In many countries a used microscope from any of a couple dozen makers might have all or most of those things at about the same price. If it's between those two scopes (and I don't suggest it) I would not get the more expensive zoom eyepiece (#2) because it's likely to offer even worse optical quality than a fixed eyepiece.

The claim of 1600x viewing is wildly optimistic, by the way. It will just be a larger blurry blob.
Last edited by PeteM on Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hobbyst46
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#5 Post by Hobbyst46 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:45 pm

Sorry PeteM - it appears that responded at the same time...

What deters me from both of these microscopes, at their price, is not the optics, whatever they are, and not the brand.
Sorry if I am wrong on the following points, but from the pictures and texts:

First, it appears to me that there is no fine focus.
Second, there is no condenser.
Third, they are monocular. An eyepiece camera is no replacement for binocular observations.
Fourth, I doubt if these deficiencies can be remedied by upgrades.

So they are certainly usable, but far from ergonomic and convenient for use. A hobby instrument must be pleasing. These are not. I would save the 80-100$ and try to get a real enjoyable microscope, new or used, even with only two objectives and a single pair of 10X eyepieces.
Just my opinion.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

PeteM
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#6 Post by PeteM » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:58 pm

Oops, edited to add the bit about the zoom eyepiece in #2. And with #1, the empty magnification from a cheap 40x eyepiece, a 2x doubler AND a 20x eyepiece. Better to have just a better 40x objective and a pair of decent 10x eyepieces than that setup.

Most countries will have a used market and, after a bit of education to make an informed choice, it might offer far better microscopes for around $100 US equivalent.
Last edited by PeteM on Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

apochronaut
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#7 Post by apochronaut » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:01 pm

Where are you located , Prime?

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#8 Post by billbillt » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:59 pm

When you have enough posts to be able to PM, I will contact you then, if you haven't been discouraged and left...


Regards,
BillT

PeteM
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#9 Post by PeteM » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:21 pm

Prime and Bill - my personal experience, now with hundreds of kids and their parents, is that investing a bit of time up front to understand a microscope and then get a fairly decent entry level one pays off in longer term interest. I see lots of people getting a poorly performing microscope and a box of slides, look through the slides once or twice, and then put the microscope away in a closet where it sits. I've also seen kids, parents, and hobbyists (and eventual scientists) take a bit of time figuring out what they want to see and how to see it -- and go on to a long term interest.

I'd certainly agree that there a scores of suppliers of entirely satisfactory microscopes beyond the "big four" and at prices under $150, even new. I just think Prime can do better, at the same price, than the two microscopes listed.

As just one example, from the realm of geophysics, a simple polarization setup is cheap and wonderful for crystals. For that you want an easily removable head; but the posted example requires removing and replacing three set screws every time you want to insert a bit of polarizing film.

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#10 Post by billbillt » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:36 pm

Hi Pete,

Maybe Prime could put the film in and leave it?... I certainly agree there might be much better stands out there.. I was going to suggest that he look at AmScope ... They have a line up of various models and pricing.. I just don't feel that a new person MUST have an expensive stand to start with.. Maybe he will come back and read our posts, or he may have been frightened away already..

Regards,
BillT

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#11 Post by PeteM » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:06 pm

Bill, I'd agree AmScope can be a good value. I recommend one of their $130 stereo microscopes as a starter scope for younger kids and many older hobbyists.

For compound microscopes, we fix up school grade microscopes (binocular head, real condenser, mechanical stage, and often plan objectives) and make them available to parents for under $100 - free to a seriously interested kid whose parents can't afford that. We try not to supply monocular scopes, except to very young kids. A hobbyist can usually find the same quality microscope for themselves, used and under $100, once they know what to look for.

The AmScope T490 is a pretty decent starter compound microscope, but more than the OP wants to spend.

FWIW, my experience is that the affordable linear film degrades performance enough to want to take it out for bright and dark field views. Spectacular, though, for chemical crystals.

Regards, Pete

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#12 Post by billbillt » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:13 pm

Pete,

It is a shame this person does not have someone close to him to get help from... We don't even know where he lives...

Bill T

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#13 Post by PeteM » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:34 am

Agreed, Bill. That's one of the positives, hopefully, for this forum.

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#14 Post by apochronaut » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:37 am

The lineage of both of these microscopes goes back to the early days of Japanese hobby microscopes. Eyepieces with tube diameters of 21mm,19mm and 17mm were used then and the objectives had 19mm, 17mm 1nd 15mm threads. There were even adapters to up the diameter of the objective thread so they could be used in a nosepiece with a larger thread. For the tube length , there was a sub par standard of 185mm total length, although some of the really small scopes had a shorter tube. The cheaper , more toy models had chip lenses; each objective being assembled from a group of identical bi-convex , single lenses, with brass ring spacers. The better ones had one or even two doublets for ca correction. They were widely used in schools and I am pretty sure you can still buy replacement objectives and eyepieces in at least the 19mm and 21mm sizes for them from Edmund, with a 185mm total tube length. The total tube length for J.I.S. is 206mm and D.I.N. is 205.
The original models with better optics were pretty good and by the early 90's the original horseshoe designs had been replaced with ones with in base electrics and an inclined tube, primarily out of China. India still produces models with a horseshoe base as does China but hundreds of thousands of these types of microscopes of all shapes have been made and are in use in schools world wide. The all metal horseshoe models with the rack and pinion focusing were pretty durable but the more modern looking ones have increasingly weaker designs.
Firstly, as Pete pointed out, they are limited to 400X. Any claim of anything over that is ludicrous. At 400X the image is pretty good and on the ones with 21mm eyepieces, the field is pretty good too. However, there is a potential problem with the focusing.
The way they focus is through a turning disc that has a concentric spiral groove cut into it, running from near to the shaft, to the perimeter. A pin attached to an arm from the stage slides in the groove causing the arm to rise and fall as the knob is turned. Pretty simple eh? However, the pin can come loose and even fall out and I have seen cases where the disc is warped, so the mechanism just barely works when leaving the factory and after a little while of use, the pin slips out. Originally the disc was nylon but I wouldn't be surprised if they are plastic on some of the cheaper ones now.

I'm pretty sure that for 100.00, Prime can get a better microscope with standard optics and maybe a more sturdily built focusing mechanism. There are a lot out there. Some suppliers might even ship for free, depending on the location.

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#15 Post by billbillt » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:44 pm

PeteM wrote:Agreed, Bill. That's one of the positives, hopefully, for this forum.
It is a shame he will be covered up with hyperbole before he can even start... A common defect in this forum...

BillT

apochronaut
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#16 Post by apochronaut » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:17 pm

. I believe you are looking for another word, Bill. Hyperbole , means that the words are not meant to be taken seriously. Here's an example viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7346 Perhaps you are looking for windbag, loquacious, rambling, palaverous or even gabby. You are right though, about there being common defects on the forum. Very common.

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#17 Post by billbillt » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:57 pm

No, hyperbole fits this thread.. Hyperbole: "exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally"..

This person asked for a simple choice of #1 or #2.. Not a lengthy and boring paper on the Chinese microscope industry.. It appears that the defect has chased another one away before they could even start.. A shame... Ho Hum....

BillT

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#18 Post by apochronaut » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:06 pm

but clearly everyone posting , meant their post to be taken seriously or literally. The poster will show up for advice if they feel they need or want it. that is their choice. your opinion of whether they were scared away from information that they requested is pretty irrelevant.

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#19 Post by billbillt » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:54 pm

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MicroBob
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#20 Post by MicroBob » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:34 pm

If I were in the position to find my first microscope the least I would like as an answer is a hot discussion about whose suggestions are more apropriate. I would very much prefer different opinions, idealy backed by up by relevant points, some examples and backgroung information. I would then try to make my own decision based upon what I read.
People are different and some people just ask questions to get support for their already fixed decision. Here advice is wasted time.

In this thread right the first answer, yours, Bill, was completely subjective and controversal and didn't help at all. If it becomes the rule that microscope buying questions will be answered this way I can predict that nobody will take the time to respond to them. For solving the newbies question this won't be good - am I right?

@Bill: This forum has a powerful function by the way: You can select a member as a "foe" if you can't stand somebodys posts and this leads you to post agressive comments.


Bob

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#21 Post by billbillt » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:20 pm

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billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#22 Post by billbillt » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:30 pm

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#23 Post by Roldorf » Tue May 28, 2019 9:40 am

Hi Billbilt,

Just catching up on posts I haven't read yet and I fully agree with your sentiments regarding beginners being frightened away by technobabble, mostly from members that seem to be more interested in microscopes rather than the things they are designed to view.

However I have read Primes other post and I must admit to having a good laugh (sorry that's not very kind) still it was the responses from the other members that I had a good laugh at.

I guess if you can be entertained on the forum you won't be in a hurry to leave and not come back.

I had wondered if it was a send up from someone, maybe not, as he didn't come back to say he had successfully built his microscope with a 3D printer. Shame it would have been interesting.

Maybe one of our erudite members would like to take up the challenge and complete his project just to show how it should be done. :D

Regards Alan (Some members prefer a name to go with the forum name :twisted: )
Alan
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#24 Post by Dave S » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:17 pm

Roldorf wrote: Regards Alan (Some members prefer a name to go with the forum name :twisted: )
Careful Alan, it might become a really friendly forum, where people actually use their names, and say in what part of the world they reside, that would never do ;)
Brunel SP100 (with 4x, 10x, 40x,60x, and 100x (oil) plan objectives), and Canon EOS 4000d Camera (microscopy use only)

billbillt
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#25 Post by billbillt » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:38 pm

Roldorf wrote:Hi Billbilt,

Just catching up on posts I haven't read yet and I fully agree with your sentiments regarding beginners being frightened away by technobabble, mostly from members that seem to be more interested in microscopes rather than the things they are designed to view.

However I have read Primes other post and I must admit to having a good laugh (sorry that's not very kind) still it was the responses from the other members that I had a good laugh at.

I guess if you can be entertained on the forum you won't be in a hurry to leave and not come back.

I had wondered if it was a send up from someone, maybe not, as he didn't come back to say he had successfully built his microscope with a 3D printer. Shame it would have been interesting.

Maybe one of our erudite members would like to take up the challenge and complete his project just to show how it should be done. :D

Regards Alan (Some members prefer a name to go with the forum name :twisted: )
Last edited by billbillt on Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rodney
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#26 Post by Rodney » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:27 am

To call out a bully doesn`t help this forum or anyone interested in a normal conversation. Removed from the forum forever would be the best way to take care of this long problem.

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#27 Post by PeteM » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:01 am

I've personally found Phil's posts (Apochronaut) useful. He's likely one of the world's remaining experts in some areas (e.g. American Optical gear).

Sure, he's often likely to volunteer more information than a newcomer can or wants to digest. Personally, I appreciated that in first participating here. But, sometimes it's hard to gauge the experience of someone posting for the first time. Some of us had microscopes as a kid and know a little. Others worked in a related field and are now taking it on as a hobby. Others may come with a knowledge of telescopes. Some are mechanically inclined and happy to do some repairs and maintenance -- or perhaps already be digital photo whizzes. Many are experts in some species or technique. Others may be overwhelmed.

Heck, most of us are overwhelmed at some point. Myself surely included. Microscopists are people who manage to work their way through it.

We certainly want to encourage those who may be entirely new to the field, not wanting to deal with anything but a new microscope, and hoping to get stared with an affordable new Chinese microscope. It's great that Billbilt, that you are a champion for these folks. But surely there is room for the experts in deeper domains (species, methods, equipment, etc. etc.). How else will we get our critters identified or learn what obscure part is needed to complete an otherwise marvelous microscope?

Bill, I can't claim to know the origins of your animosity for another member; but it seems misplaced to me. Someone who is overwhelmed in getting started, can simply skip the details and perhaps start with something like Oliver Kim's videos -- maybe come back to the details later.

There's enough rancor in the world at large that we probably don't need to bring it into the world at micro scale?

I might add that in the couple years I've been participating, it seems the number of people asking some variant of the question "which microscope should I get?" has significantly increased. One would assume that at least Google thinks this forum is doing a pretty good job of answering the question.

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#28 Post by geo_man » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:33 am

Thanks PeteM for your comments. I have been the recipient of significant input/advice from Apochronaut over the past few months. I have sometimes had to re-read his words carefully because there was a lot of information there. For me, it has always been helpful, supportive, informative and interesting.

I consider all the feedback offered on this forum useful; one should consider multiple viewpoints and then do what feels right. Regards to all.

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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#29 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:47 am

IMHO,
Although a beginner, who is hesitant about microscopes, yet likes to try microscopy and has a specific model in mind, might be frightened by a definitive opinion against it, and decide that he/she is not "qualified" to adopt the hobby; it would be much worse, if he/she is not warned by knowledgable persons about the potential pitfalls, and is consequently led into buying a lemon. This holds for all microscopes - new and old, used alike.
After all, collective user experience is what makes a mechano-optical device a good or bad value, over time. I respect definitive and fact-based comments, even when they contradict my belief or intuition.

The possible faults of used brand-name microscopes are routinely mentioned on the forum, per case and model. Regarding new hobby microscopes, may I cite this recent suggestion by wporter:
wporter wrote:...to satisfy both antagonistic parties (older used big-four vs new Chinese), here's my suggestion: satisfied users of a good-to-excellent Chinese microscope should write a review, or at least a short note, about how great it is.
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apochronaut
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Re: What is the difference between these microscopes ? Which one is better ?

#30 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:48 pm

Yes. I was very satisfied with the results the two higher end Chinese objectives in the test here, provided. They performed exactly as expected.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4963&p=45168#p45168

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