Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

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dtsh
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Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#1 Post by dtsh » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:08 pm

Hello everyone,

My interests have taken me into a new area and I find that my compound microscopes aren't really up to the task for this, so I find myself in need of a stereo microscope, but it unfortunately needs to have relatively high magnification.
I will be working on fairly small insects with a body length of about 5mm, some of which will involve disection. Since this is a personal project, I'm somewhat limited to a budget of sub-$1000 USD, but for a good deal I would consider going a bit over that.

I've read numerous threads and looked at what feels like a million different models and I think I've come up with the following options in order of preference:
Nikon SMZ-U - Looks perfect, but I think it's going to be outside my budget
Leica M80 - Looks like it too would be a good fit, but also probably outside my budget

Olympus SZ60 series
Olympus SZ11 series
Nikon SMZ-2 series

I note that the B+L StereoZoom 7 might be suitable, but the ones I can find tend to look beatup.
The AO 580 also was pointed out, but it appears to be rare.
I had considered Amscope's SM line, but the marketing trash and lack of positive remarks in the area I need has these off my radar.

What say you wise internet, have I missed something here? Am I likely to be better off getting a Nikon SMZ-2 and saving a significant amount of money or am I likely to be better served by the Olympus, the SMZ-U, or some model I've overlooked entirely?

wstenberg
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#2 Post by wstenberg » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:32 pm

I've had a Meiji stereo microscope for about 20 years. It's held up pretty well. Good for general purpose work around the lab.
Here's a link to it on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Meiji-Techno-EMZ ... B072FNBFKC

Might be worth looking at.
William
Dallas, Texas

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apochronaut
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#3 Post by apochronaut » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:03 pm

Does it have to be zoom? I'm sure you are aware that up until the last 20 years or so there were some compromises that had to be made in order to have a decent zoom range.While that may no longer be the case, the solution has not come without considerable cost. Any microscope under $3,000.00 or thereabouts with a reasonable zoom range, would certainly be made with an optical design that would harken back to the first zoom era. The B & L Stereozoom 7 and the AO Stereostar 580 had slightly superior optics, with better resolution.
Theoretically at least ,the individual objective pairs that a Greenough microscope could be fitted with had a better chance of providing higher resolution.

I do have an older C. Reichert that was equipped to provide 200X magnification. It had 6 sets of objective pairs that could be fitted into a 3 objective changer, so at any given time there were actually 9 magnifications available if you had all 3 sets of eyepieces. I only have 3 sets of objectives, and 2 eyepiece pairs, so in fact 6 magnifications up to 100X. I am interested in selling it. It has an original dovetailed case.

One other microscope you are overlooking is the Cycloptic, which has an apochromatic primary objective. Since you are dissecting it's available series of both achromatic aux. lenses and fractional apochromatic primary lenses, allows for an ample working distance. It too is based on an objective changer but for the small amount of money they sell for , plus the accessories available, potential f.o.v. and very fine image quality, they are hard to beat if you are on a budget. It wouldn't be hard to equip one with several fractional primary objectives, U.H.F. eyepieces, and a photo adapter for way less than 1/2 the price of that simple Meiji. Magnification range is staggering: from 2X to 60X, if you have the right accessories.

dtsh
Posts: 54
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#4 Post by dtsh » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:19 pm

wstenberg wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:32 pm
I've had a Meiji stereo microscope for about 20 years. It's held up pretty well. Good for general purpose work around the lab.
Here's a link to it on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Meiji-Techno-EMZ ... B072FNBFKC

Might be worth looking at.
Thanks, I'll look into that as well.
apochronaut wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:03 pm
Does it have to be zoom? I'm sure you are aware that up until the last 20 years or so there were some compromises that had to be made in order to have a decent zoom range.While that may no longer be the case, the solution has not come without considerable cost. Any microscope under $3,000.00 or thereabouts with a reasonable zoom range, would certainly be made with an optical design that would harken back to the first zoom era. The B & L Stereozoom 7 and the AO Stereostar 580 had slightly superior optics, with better resolution.
Theoretically at least ,the individual objective pairs that a Greenough microscope could be fitted with had a better chance of providing higher resolution.

I do have an older C. Reichert that was equipped to provide 200X magnification. It had 6 sets of objective pairs that could be fitted into a 3 objective changer, so at any given time there were actually 9 magnifications available if you had all 3 sets of eyepieces. I only have 3 sets of objectives, and 2 eyepiece pairs, so in fact 6 magnifications up to 100X. I am interested in selling it. It has an original dovetailed case.

One other microscope you are overlooking is the Cycloptic, which has an apochromatic primary objective. Since you are dissecting it's available series of both achromatic aux. lenses and fractional apochromatic primary lenses, allows for an ample working distance. It too is based on an objective changer but for the small amount of money they sell for , plus the accessories available, potential f.o.v. and very fine image quality, they are hard to beat if you are on a budget. It wouldn't be hard to equip one with several fractional primary objectives, U.H.F. eyepieces, and a photo adapter for way less than 1/2 the price of that simple Meiji. Magnification range is staggering: from 2X to 60X, if you have the right accessories.
Thanks, no it doesn't have to be a zoom. I guess I kinda just got sucked up into the world of zooms and hadn't really considered the others at all and to be honest, I feel kinda foolish. Can't say how many times I've read about the difficulty of manufacturing a zoom capable of holding a reasonable alignment at higher magnification vs fixed and yet find that I've arbitrarilly chosen the more difficult and expensive path.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#5 Post by Scarodactyl » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm

There are a lot of great options. Do you have a good idea of how much working distance you need, and what field of view you want to cover? Getting a 5mm field of view doesn't require anything too extreme (about 4x~ mag on a stereo with 10x oculars, depending on the field number) but I'd assume you'd want to be able to look a bit closer than that.

The Leica M80 is one of four scopes they've put out with similar specs, starting with the Wild M8, then the Leica Mz8, then the Leica Mz75 adn then the M80, all with about an 8:1 zoom ratio and all part of the same modular system. An M3z/Mz6/M60 would probably be fine for you too if equipped with higher power eyepieces or objective (depending on what working distance you need), or even an M3c/Ms5/M50 if you are willing to compromise with a step magnification changer as opposed to continuous zoom. Deals sometimes pop up on these.

The SMZ-U is indeed awesome, though typically does cost over 1k for a known good example. It would probably go above and beyond what you'd need for this but that gives you more flexibility. Nikon has a few other good options. An SMZ-10 might suit your needs with the addition of a 2x auxiliary objective (again, depending how much working distance you need) or higher powered eyepieces.

There is also the Olympus SZH or SZH-10 which has simlar specs to the SMZ-U. These are also excellent microscopes and sometimes come up for sale at lower prices, especially if you don't need a trinocular port or fancier stand.

The SZ7 is also a very nice scope, not quite in the same tier as the szh or smzu but quite nice when in good condition. I have one but it's on a gemological system I have for sale so I'd rather not part with it separately, but they often come up for sale on eBay, and if they are sold as working but arrive in non-working condition you can return them on their dime (though now is not the best time to be going back and forth to the PO which puts a bit of a damper on that).

edit: just as a side-note, I would not worry about zooming vs nonzooming from an optical perspective. The compromises involved shouldn't be anything that matters much for what you're doing, especially if you're buying something used from a major brand. If you can live with non-zooming you could save a lot of dough though.

Rorschach
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#6 Post by Rorschach » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:36 pm

Another vote for Wild/Leica from me. Wild scopes have better mechanical quality than their successors, the Leica stereos.

With diligent eevilbay sleuthing, one should be able to put together a nice Wild rig with that kind of money. Maybe even get the BD/DF stand and ringlight too.

dtsh
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#7 Post by dtsh » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:00 am

Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
There are a lot of great options. Do you have a good idea of how much working distance you need, and what field of view you want to cover? Getting a 5mm field of view doesn't require anything too extreme (about 4x~ mag on a stereo with 10x oculars, depending on the field number) but I'd assume you'd want to be able to look a bit closer than that.
Working distance is likely to be sufficient in just about anything available, but much less than 1" inch and I have to get creative. My "disecting" isn't precision, I mostly just need to separate head and thorax from the abdomen and if needed, transfer the parts to slides for further examination. That's my primary motivation rght now, but I know eventually this will lead me somewhere else which is why I'm not focusing on this task exclusively.

Thanks for the Leica/Wild references, I'll look into those.
Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
The SMZ-U is indeed awesome, though typically does cost over 1k for a known good example. It would probably go above and beyond what you'd need for this but that gives you more flexibility. Nikon has a few other good options. An SMZ-10 might suit your needs with the addition of a 2x auxiliary objective (again, depending how much working distance you need) or higher powered eyepieces.
I had seen that one, but dismissed it thinking the magnification wasn't sufficient, but I see that's not the case on closer inspection.
Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
There is also the Olympus SZH or SZH-10 which has simlar specs to the SMZ-U. These are also excellent microscopes and sometimes come up for sale at lower prices, especially if you don't need a trinocular port or fancier stand.
Thanks, this is another which I had missed. There's such a dizzying array of models and often no easy way for someone not familiar with the line to discern what is what.
Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
The SZ7 is also a very nice scope, not quite in the same tier as the szh or smzu but quite nice when in good condition. I have one but it's on a gemological system I have for sale so I'd rather not part with it separately, but they often come up for sale on eBay, and if they are sold as working but arrive in non-working condition you can return them on their dime
Thanks, I keep looking but most of those I have found thus far have appeared rather abused.
Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
(though now is not the best time to be going back and forth to the PO which puts a bit of a damper on that).
I tend to cheat and send most of my packages through shipping at work, they have an account for me and just deduct it from my check which removes most of the hassle.
Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
edit: just as a side-note, I would not worry about zooming vs nonzooming from an optical perspective. The compromises involved shouldn't be anything that matters much for what you're doing, especially if you're buying something used from a major brand. If you can live with non-zooming you could save a lot of dough though.
I don't think zooming is a necessity for me. I don't have it on anything else and since I also have telescopes, the idea of swapping eyepieces back and forth seems normal. Convenience is nice, but I know that with the telescope I typically find what works well and use that, occasionally swapping an eyepiece for a different view.

Lots more to read....

PeteM
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#8 Post by PeteM » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:05 am

Be sure to check the working distance, to be sure you still have plenty of room for dissecting. General rule is that the higher the magnification (and the cheaper the stereo scope) the less the working distance.

Do you know from previous experience what high magnification you'll want? New users are often surprised how much detail comparatively low magnification (e.g. 20x, 30x) yields. The lower the magnification, the more of a 3D effect you'll have and the more room to do your dissection tasks. It might be that an even cheaper stereo scope that goes to something like 60x or even 40x would be more than adequate??

jfiresto
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#9 Post by jfiresto » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:00 am

dtsh wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:00 am
Scarodactyl wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:20 pm
The SMZ-U is indeed awesome, though typically does cost over 1k for a known good example. It would probably go above and beyond what you'd need for this but that gives you more flexibility. Nikon has a few other good options. An SMZ-10 might suit your needs with the addition of a 2x auxiliary objective (again, depending how much working distance you need) or higher powered eyepieces.
I had seen that one, but dismissed it thinking the magnification wasn't sufficient, but I see that's not the case on closer inspection.
Will you be documenting your work by taking movies or stills? If you are, I would not rule out an SMZ-2T in good condition, as it was expressedly designed for that. My father bought one new in 1985 and used it a lot for the next 25 years. It bested all but the Zeiss stemi the "big four" microscope salesmen brought for his evaluation. (Zeiss was just too expensive.) The 2T already zooms from 10 to 63X with 10X oculars, so it is quite possible you really do not need a 2X auxiliary objective, as my father discovered.
-John

dtsh
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#10 Post by dtsh » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:56 pm

PeteM wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:05 am
Do you know from previous experience what high magnification you'll want? New users are often surprised how much detail comparatively low magnification (e.g. 20x, 30x) yields. The lower the magnification, the more of a 3D effect you'll have and the more room to do your dissection tasks. It might be that an even cheaper stereo scope that goes to something like 60x or even 40x would be more than adequate??
I don't have any practical experience with stereo microscopes so no reliable feel for what is needed; I base the requirements on the papers I've read. It's certainly possible that 60x or 40x could work, I don't know. My compound microscope will do 40x and I think that would be at the very edge of usable. Much of what I've read recommends 60x-80x and many papers don't mention it at all (older pre-90's papers mostly).

jfiresto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:00 am
Will you be documenting your work by taking movies or stills? If you are, I would not rule out an SMZ-2T in good condition, as it was expressedly designed for that. My father bought one new in 1985 and used it a lot for the next 25 years. It bested all but the Zeiss stemi the "big four" microscope salesmen brought for his evaluation. (Zeiss was just too expensive.) The 2T already zooms from 10 to 63X with 10X oculars, so it is quite possible you really do not need a 2X auxiliary objective, as my father discovered.
I don't require imaging as this is all for my own personal interest, sketching tends to suffice. I have been mostly looking at trinoculars as having an imaging port and not needing it is preferable to not having one and wanting it. I do occasionally do a little imaging with the compound microscope and with the telescope, mostly using afocal adapters, but it's not common. For that, the addition of a 3D printer a few years ago and the CAD skills to create new objects custom-made for the application has been quite handy.
Last edited by dtsh on Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rorschach
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#11 Post by Rorschach » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:10 pm

dtsh wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:56 pm
PeteM wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:05 am
Do you know from previous experience what high magnification you'll want? New users are often surprised how much detail comparatively low magnification (e.g. 20x, 30x) yields. The lower the magnification, the more of a 3D effect you'll have and the more room to do your dissection tasks. It might be that an even cheaper stereo scope that goes to something like 60x or even 40x would be more than adequate??
I don't have any practical experience with stereo microscopes so no reliable feel for what is needed; I base the requirements on the papers I've read.


jfiresto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:00 am
Will you be documenting your work by taking movies or stills? If you are, I would not rule out an SMZ-2T in good condition, as it was expressedly designed for that. My father bought one new in 1985 and used it a lot for the next 25 years. It bested all but the Zeiss stemi the "big four" microscope salesmen brought for his evaluation. (Zeiss was just too expensive.) The 2T already zooms from 10 to 63X with 10X oculars, so it is quite possible you really do not need a 2X auxiliary objective, as my father discovered.
I don't require imaging as this is all for my own personal interest, sketching tends to suffice. I have been mostly looking at trinoculars as having an imaging port and not needing it is preferable to not having one and wanting it. I do occasionally do a little imaging with the compound microscope and with the telescope using afocal adapters, but it's not common. For that, the addition of a 3D printer a few years ago and the CAD skills to create new objects custom-made for the application has been quite handy.
Regarding 3D-printing and imaging using a stereo microscope, there's a very nice gadget called the oblique viewing attachment: https://www.spachoptics.com/LEICA-OBLIQ ... 445156.htm

It attaches to the (1x achromat) objective via a rotating adapter ring. It allows one to see/take photos both directly from above, as normally, or at 45 degree angles from all sides. This without moving the object of study. It can also be equipped with a flexible light fiber bundle. I would assume that it could be a very interesting gadget in terms of doing highly detailed photogrammetry on insects/whatever. Suitable processed, one could then proceed to take the model to the 3D printer and print out the invertebrate at will :) Of coourse, it could be scaled up as well...thinking a wasp the size of a sparrow etc.

The gadget dates back to 70ies, I think I saw it in one of the Wild brochures from back then. Wild has been part of Leica Microsystems since about 1990. Of course, the gadget has now been copied by other brands...the unfortunate way of lesser makers.

dtsh
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#12 Post by dtsh » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:40 pm

Rorschach wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:10 pm
The gadget dates back to 70ies, I think I saw it in one of the Wild brochures from back then. Wild has been part of Leica Microsystems since about 1990. Of course, the gadget has now been copied by other brands...the unfortunate way of lesser makers.
Interesting device!

As for copying, such is the way of patents, they buy you 20 years of relatively competition-free market in exchange for sharing the technology thereafter. I don't think that makes them lesser manufacturers, just not first. Can you imagine where we would be if nobody copied either the Greenough or CMO design or the Galilean, Huygens, Abbe, or Erfle designs?

PeteM
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#13 Post by PeteM » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:07 pm

dtsh wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:56 pm
. . . I don't have any practical experience with stereo microscopes so no reliable feel for what is needed; I base the requirements on the papers I've read. It's certainly possible that 60x or 40x could work, I don't know. My compound microscope will do 40x and I think that would be at the very edge of usable. Much of what I've read recommends 60x-80x and many papers don't mention it at all (older pre-90's papers mostly). . .
The problem with a compound microscope at 40x is that it won't have sufficient working distance for dissection. And even if you did get an extra long working distance 40x objective, it wouldn't have the stereo effect you want to get depth perception.

One possible approach would be to spend more like $150-300 now and get a good used A.O., Meiji, Nikon, or Olympus (etc.) stereo zoom with a range from about 7x to 40x. Old medical/surgical stereo scopes another possibility along with others mentioned above. A Cycloptic (be sure the prisms aren't detached) might run under $150.

With either a 1.5x supplemental objective below or 15x eyepieces above you'd be at 60x. Be sure to get from a source where you can return a scope that's not properly collimated or otherwise defective. Particularly at 40x these will have enough working distance for easy manipulation; likely at 60x as well for some manipulations.

Once you have some experience, you might be better able to judge what features you want in a $1000 unit; possibly selling the first one for around what you paid or using one scope set up for scanning, photos, the kids, grandkids, etc.

dtsh
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#14 Post by dtsh » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:53 pm

PeteM wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:07 pm
The problem with a compound microscope at 40x is that it won't have sufficient working distance for dissection. And even if you did get an extra long working distance 40x objective, it wouldn't have the stereo effect you want to get depth perception.
Absolutely, using the compound isn't an option for this.
PeteM wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:07 pm
One possible approach would be to spend more like $150-300 now and get a good used A.O., Meiji, Nikon, or Olympus (etc.) stereo zoom with a range from about 7x to 40x. Old medical/surgical stereo scopes another possibility along with others mentioned above. A Cycloptic (be sure the prisms aren't detached) might run under $150.

With either a 1.5x supplemental objective below or 15x eyepieces above you'd be at 60x. Be sure to get from a source where you can return a scope that's not properly collimated or otherwise defective. Particularly at 40x these will have enough working distance for easy manipulation; likely at 60x as well for some manipulations.

Once you have some experience, you might be better able to judge what features you want in a $1000 unit; possibly selling the first one for around what you paid or using one scope set up for scanning, photos, the kids, grandkids, etc.
Thanks, that's some good advice I will consider.
I was looking toward the higher end because when I was buying a compound, I was trying to save money and bought something not quite sufficient for my needs and ended up having to replace it with something better anyhow. I don't particularly mind losing a little money learning (the cost of education), but I was hoping to avoid the delays and frustrations that went along with that.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#15 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:28 pm

Rorschach wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:10 pm
Of course, the gadget has now been copied by other brands...the unfortunate way of lesser makers.
Everyone developing technology is standing on the shoulders of giants, and Wild was no exception.
jfiresto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:00 am
Will you be documenting your work by taking movies or stills? If you are, I would not rule out an SMZ-2T in good condition, as it was expressedly designed for that. My father bought one new in 1985 and used it a lot for the next 25 years. It bested all but the Zeiss stemi the "big four" microscope salesmen brought for his evaluation. (Zeiss was just too expensive.) The 2T already zooms from 10 to 63X with 10X oculars, so it is quite possible you really do not need a 2X auxiliary objective, as my father discovered.
Oddly, the SMZ-2T seems to typically sell for more than the SMZ-10 on eBay, but I think the 10 is actually a more advanced system. The 2T does have a higher max mag but the zoom range is the same so you can achieve about the same zoom range with 15x eyepieces on the 10.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#16 Post by Scarodactyl » Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:30 am

Just as a couple examples, here's some potential deals currently going on eBay. There are plenty more, these are just a few I've seen (I've got a serious case of 'look, don't touch' on eBay right now).
https://www.ebay.com/itm/ZEISS-SV8-Stem ... 4552004940
A Zeiss Stemi SV8. Not one I've used before but it has a very good reputation.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Unitron-Z-Seri ... 3940644657
Controversial pick but fairly cheap, especially if you make a best offer--a "unitron z6", this is a Chinese-made clone of a Nikon SMZ800. These are sold by retailers ranging from Amscope to Meiji. When these are good they are about as good as an smz800 from what I can tell (I will do a more rigorous test at some point). I've had two that were a bit misaligned (though these were bought as parts, incomplete units, so you kind of expect it). Maybe worth a try, very cheap and if it's in good shape you've got a very good scope for low dollars, which has partial parts compatibility with Nikon smz 800/1000/1500s and can be upgraded with Nikon parts (like a nikon planapo objective). This one might be a bit low on mag, the FoV is a bit less than 5mm at max zoom.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bausch-Lomb-St ... 4129167085
A potentially good SZ7 with a trinocular port. Looks like a decent option.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-Smz-10-S ... 3827207593
The SMZ-10 is a really nice rig, and if you can get a lower offer in you'd have a nice setup here. With the flip of a lever you can switch which eyepiece view the camera gets, which is a feature I don't think any other scope has ever implemented. It's really cool.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-SZH-St ... 3394203204
you could probably put this together for under your budget (it needs an Olympus DF Plan 1x or 2x, or df plapo if you're very lucky), but while these were built well I'd worry that someone doesn't take the eyepieces and objective off a scope because it's working really well, if you know what I mean. Original Olympus stereo eyepieces for their higher end system are also surprisingly expensive.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-SMZ-U-St ... 3143668462
Here's an SMZ-U barely within your budget (and has a best offer option as well)

I think any of these, if they're in good condition as advertised, will be good to you (except maybe the szh that one's a crapshoot). You might eventually crave something more, but then again maybe not.
Last edited by Scarodactyl on Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jfiresto
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#17 Post by jfiresto » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:01 am

Scarodactyl wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:28 pm
Oddly, the SMZ-2T seems to typically sell for more than the SMZ-10 on eBay, but I think the 10 is actually a more advanced system. The 2T does have a higher max mag but the zoom range is the same so you can achieve about the same zoom range with 15x eyepieces on the 10.
You do lose some field of view with 15X eyepieces. Can you ever have too much of that?

The SMZ-10's service manual shows it has a more advanced, plan achromat, Common Main Objective; but having a CMO is not always helpful for photomacrography. The SMZ-2T's simpler, Greenough design allows a camera to shoot through the better corrected center of an objective; you can also eliminate the 2T's keystone distortion by simply tilting the specimen or microscope. Capturing good images from a CMO design takes more effort. Perhaps people are springing from the SMZ-2T over the SMZ-10 to the SMZ-U, to benefit from Nikon's efforts.

I would probably have an SMZ-U, had I not become a bit of a Wild zombie.
-John

apochronaut
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Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#18 Post by apochronaut » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:30 pm

jfiresto wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:01 am
Scarodactyl wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:28 pm
Oddly, the SMZ-2T seems to typically sell for more than the SMZ-10 on eBay, but I think the 10 is actually a more advanced system. The 2T does have a higher max mag but the zoom range is the same so you can achieve about the same zoom range with 15x eyepieces on the 10.
You do lose some field of view with 15X eyepieces. Can you ever have too much of that?
That depends on which 15X eyepieces. The Bausch & Lomb 15X U.H.F. have the same real f.o.v. as a 10X /20 and an enormous apparent f.o.v.( 50% more in fact). They are often found quite cheaply, sometimes not.

jfiresto
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:19 am
Location: Northern Germany

Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#19 Post by jfiresto » Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:59 pm

I am trying to imagine the apparent field of view.

I can increase the real field number by roughly 8%, as in, the view becomes rough around the edges, if I remove the diaphragms from a pair of Zeiss W-PL10X/23 oculars.
-John

Scarodactyl
Posts: 762
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:09 pm

Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#20 Post by Scarodactyl » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:46 pm

apochronaut wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:30 pm
jfiresto wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:01 am
Scarodactyl wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:28 pm
Oddly, the SMZ-2T seems to typically sell for more than the SMZ-10 on eBay, but I think the 10 is actually a more advanced system. The 2T does have a higher max mag but the zoom range is the same so you can achieve about the same zoom range with 15x eyepieces on the 10.
You do lose some field of view with 15X eyepieces. Can you ever have too much of that?
That depends on which 15X eyepieces. The Bausch & Lomb 15X U.H.F. have the same real f.o.v. as a 10X /20 and an enormous apparent f.o.v.( 50% more in fact). They are often found quite cheaply, sometimes not.
I don't think anyone has ever repeated this feat. Perhaps the only scope with a bigger apparent FoV would be mitutoyo's 10x/30 uwfs. Or a vision engineering scope/isis eyepieces I guess.

dtsh
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 6:06 pm

Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#21 Post by dtsh » Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:30 pm

After considering everyone's input, I think I am going to try and acquire an AO Cycloptic and see how things go. By reports it seems to fit most of my requirements, but more importantly it will give me a chance to find out what I actually need without inordinate expense. Then, once I've managed to gain some hands-on experience I can resume this a bit more educated and with a beter understanding of my needs.

Rorschach
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:44 am

Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#22 Post by Rorschach » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:08 pm

That's a wise plan. Please do let us know how it goes.

PeteM
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Location: N. California

Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#23 Post by PeteM » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:28 pm

dtsh wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:30 pm
After considering everyone's input, I think I am going to try and acquire an AO Cycloptic and see how things go. By reports it seems to fit most of my requirements, but more importantly it will give me a chance to find out what I actually need without inordinate expense. Then, once I've managed to gain some hands-on experience I can resume this a bit more educated and with a beter understanding of my needs.
Good plan.

Just be sure, when it comes in, that it's properly aligned. The prisms on these are attached with a rubbery cement to a side plate and commonly fall off with age and rough handling - even more commonly if jarred (as in by careless shipping). They can be glued back in place, but alignment is a little bit tricky. We've bought maybe a dozen of these and a large number had detached prisms. Took a while to figure out how to repair them -- and given the typical Ebay price really isn't worth it. One of our lot had a crudely re-cemented prism that was out of alignment.

You can test alignment by focusing on something like an "X." Place it along the sides so you can see precisely where it is in the field. Image should have that "X" in the same place, at all magnifications, through both eye tubes. While they eye can accommodate slight misalignment, it gets tiring.

Given a good one, it's a fine stereo microscope. Could well be all you'll ever need.

dtsh
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 6:06 pm

Re: Seeking selection advice for stereo microscope

#24 Post by dtsh » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:27 pm

As a followup, I did indeed acquire an AO Cycloptic, 10x and 15x eyepieces and the 2x barlow for the main objective, giving it a range of 7x-80x.
When it arrived the prisms in the head were misaligned, but the seller surprised me by going above and beyond to make things right and sent me a NOS head which delivers perfect views.

The image presented to the eye is great, I'm not experienced enough to have a reliable opinion on the matter, but the image is much nicer than my previous stereo with a significant increase in range of magnification. I can say it's more than sufficient for my needs and I am grateful for all the recommendations and advice.

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