Microscope for moss/plants

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Penapen
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:50 pm
Location: Devon, England

Microscope for moss/plants

#1 Post by Penapen » Sat Jul 11, 2020 4:37 pm

Hello everyone, sorry, yet another topic about microscope buying advice. I've been tasked with finding a compound microscope for my sister for her birthday. She's a botanist and wants to use the microscope mainly for identifying mosses. I'm sure she'll venture into looking at other things as well as moss, but mainly plant based things. She's got an old Walton Barnet stereo microscope with x7 eyepieces and x1.25 & x5 objectives (there's an objective missing, should have 3 but I got it cheap from uni, if anyone's got one that needs a home...). When identifying mosses at work she says she usually just uses x100 but after a bit of researching today I've spotted images of moss that are at x400 so obviously that could be of some use to her. Other than using microscopes when she was at uni and also at work I don't think she knows much about what to get so I am looking for some help. We don't really want to spend masses (preferably under £300 but if it's something that'll last forever, maybe more). She's into photographing plants so I feel she'd quite like photographing slides, she's got a Canon (don't know exactly what) DSLR so is maybe a trioncular microscope with an adapter could be something? Or is it best to just use a phone with a Swift universal phone adapter and not even bother with the complications/expense of a DSLR adapter. Any advice would be very appreciated, I've done a bit of reading other people's pleas for advice on here and learnt a few things but I think specific advice tailored to her needs could be useful. Thank you in advance.

Zuul
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri May 01, 2020 9:01 pm
Location: California

Re: Microscope for moss/plants

#2 Post by Zuul » Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:04 pm

That budget will get you a very nice brightfield scope with trinocular head. Actually connecting the camera to the head can sometimes be a bit of a DIY project, but it doesn’t need to be expensive, necessarily, and that can be a future project. You will need to decide wether to buy new or used. A new one will use most of your budget and be good, but nothing special. You have the comfort of knowing exactly what you are getting and a warranty. Buying used you can get what used to be a research quality scope, but you risk having to do some refurbishment and possibly (probably) buying sight unseen. That shouldn’t scare you, but it depends on your personality type and willingness to DIY.

Others with more experience than me will weigh in on more specific options for your market. The used market in particular is regional, as are retailers that resell refurbished equipment with warranties (at a premium, obviously).

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75RR
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Re: Microscope for moss/plants

#3 Post by 75RR » Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:59 pm

I would suggest that if you are going to go through a dealer as opposed to clicking on a button in an online shop that you ask for the 100x objective to be substituted by a 20x.

Most budget compound microscopes have a 4 place nosepiece so that would leave you with: 4x, 10x, 20x and 40x objectives.

With a 10x eyepiece that gives you 40x - 100x - 200x and 400x

If the manufacturer makes a lower power eyepiece, say a 5x or an 8x that would be a useful addition as well.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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Penapen
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:50 pm
Location: Devon, England

Re: Microscope for moss/plants

#4 Post by Penapen » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:18 am

Thank you for the advice, got time to do a bit more searching around today so back to the research! Good to know that attaching a camera isn't actually too expensive, however since then I've found out that she's not actually that interested in photographing her samples so maybe just a binocular one will do. That's a good idea about the objectives.

dtsh
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 6:06 pm

Re: Microscope for moss/plants

#5 Post by dtsh » Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:57 pm

While I haven't done a lot of study on mosses and what little I did was some time ago, but I think a good stereo microscope would be more useful than a compound except in a few specific areas.

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