Choose a first microscope

Do you have any microscopy questions, which you are afraid to ask? This is your place.
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petar1
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:10 pm

Choose a first microscope

#1 Post by petar1 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:31 pm

Hi,

I am trying to choose my first microscope - I want to be able to take images with it too.
My budget is around max $500 - want to start with something not too expensive to see how I like it and to gain experience.

I first found this model - I read that many people like it as a first microscope. But I see it doesn't have a fine focuser, also doesn't have a condenser and the camera which comes with it is kind of bad.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bresser-Micros ... B001NL9UNS
But of course for that low price maybe it is a good one as a start - the price is around $170.

I then kind of liked this one - it seems it has a fine focuser, an Abbe condenser and even an immersion oil with an 100x objective. Also the camera seems better. The price is around $500.
https://www.levenhuk.com/catalogue/micr ... ile=1#more

Do you think I should go with the second one? Will it be much better than the first one - seems the price difference is $330 between them?
I know the optics would be still Chinese stuff - but I just want to start with something which is not too bad (I know for max $500 it cannot come with a too high quality).

Thank you in advance,
Petar

jb89
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:09 am
Location: Denver, Co

Re: Choose a first microscope

#2 Post by jb89 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:57 pm

Petar1,

What do you want to do with your microscope? What kind of specimens do you want to look at, what kind of illumination, brightfield, darkfield, DIC etc?

I'm sure someone here can recommend something great for you but having more info would help

BramHuntingNematodes
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:29 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Choose a first microscope

#3 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:40 pm

I got a used one because taking apart machines, cleaning them, oiling and greasing them, and putting them back together in precisely the same way is a pretty fun and diverting part of the hobby. Doing research on old parts is also an interesting way to get some historical background on the field. The advantages of being an amateur is that you don't have to count your hours and you don't need immediate success.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

petar1
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:10 pm

Re: Choose a first microscope

#4 Post by petar1 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:53 pm

I am a complete beginner and for now microorganisms excite me most. Want to see Paramecium, Euglena, Water Bears, etc... Also red blood cells, plant cells.

PeteM
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Choose a first microscope

#5 Post by PeteM » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:58 pm

If you're somewhat mechanically inclined, you should be able to buy a terrific used microscope for your budget. When you have enough posts to send a message on this forum, I can send you a guide to both new and used microscope brands and models we use to guide parents wanting to buy a good microscope.

If buying new, another question is if you already have photographic gear (a DSLR) that might be used or a cell phone with a good camera built in.

For protists and the like, having phase contrast or simple polarizaton is a plus.

There are several things that would put me off your first link:

1) It doesn't allow direct viewing, is only monocular, and the camera is built in. This means built-in obsolescence.

2) The general mechanical quality (stage, focus, etc.) is at the low end.

3) The lowest magnification is 20x. You want 4x or 10x to scan a slide to find organisms of interest.

4) While not specified, the objectives are likely not plan. The extra cost for plan objectives will allow you to take better photos and videos.

5) It's pretty much a throw-away scope if you decide the hobby is for you. Might as well start with a used starter scope?

The AmScope T490 with plan objectives is one new scope that's of better quality, though at the high end of what you want to spend. If there's a local microscopy club, perhaps a member has a good starter scope they'd be willing to sell very affordably? One assumes you're in the UK?

petar1
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:10 pm

Re: Choose a first microscope

#6 Post by petar1 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:28 am

Thanks for the answer! I ended up buying the Bresser Biolux NV 20x-1280x, so I can start with something and stop analyzing what to buy :D
I already saw some nice things through the oculars - onion epidermal cells, some protozoa, fungi, red blood cells. The camera is not built-in, its use is optional.
The camera quality as expected is worse compared to directly looking through the ocular, but at least I made some pictures. I have a Canon EOS 1100D DSLR and some astro web-cameras, will read about adapters.
When I gain more experience I will start looking for somewhat better, but I am happy to start with something :)

P.S. I am from Bulgaria

PeteM
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Choose a first microscope

#7 Post by PeteM » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:38 pm

Sounds like you're off to a great start, Petar.

N6GQ
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:57 pm
Location: DFW, North Texas

Re: Choose a first microscope

#8 Post by N6GQ » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:14 pm

I'm in the same boat as the OP, looking for a starter scope for similar things.

@PeteM, you're in Santa Cruz, I was born and raised there for the first 50 years of my life. My whole family is the same, long time Santa Cruz residents. I imagine we have some friends/family in common! Small world :)

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