Amscope brand

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Amscope brand

#1 Post by patta » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:53 pm

Today I was browsing on Alibaba and found the Ningbo "affiliate" company to Amscope, with a very explicative Company Profile description.
Then went on to look at United Scope, the US umbrella company of Amscope.

So it turned out that Amscope is not "a" stencil brand, it is actually THE stencil brand, probably purchasing and distributing more microscopes in the world than any other company.
Amscope, Euromex, Omax, all their. And probably they supply also more local stencil brands.
It would be really interesting to have a chat / interview with their product and purchase managers! ... plgr.88.97

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Re: Amscope brand

#2 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:29 pm

I would be a fruitless chat. I had one fairly recently with a manager at Olympus. Olympus, manufactures components in whichever country is best suited to the task, is pretty much the drill.

With Amscope the situation is the same but in their case, they don't manufacture anything. Ningbo is just one supplier they buy from and those same microscopes can be found with dozens of names on them.It is unlikely that Ningbo actually manufactures microscopes. They assemble them, from a verdant supply of components, some of which they may make but many of which are made in specialized factories. The objective style changes all of a sudden because Microscope Objective Factory # 3 either stopped production of design # 7 or temporarily ran out of stock because Amada ordered them all. Some of the components on Amscope microscopes over time have come from India. I have seen Selopt objectives in Omax microscopes. They play this game of cosmetic mix and match and minor tweak, so that the customers will think that there are actual differences in their microscopes and lots of choice, when in fact , if you break it down there are only a few basic designs each with a few minor differences. I suppose they have studied the psychology behind it and have concluded that the illusion of a broad choice puts the ball in the customer's court and they therefore feel empowered. That's why they offer minimal advice. Probably some Avon ladies know more about microscopes than some Amscope staff. Their sales keep going up but then so do those of Big Macs and twinkies.
You have to watch those slashed prices. They are bogus and based on a wholesale/retail structure in China that adds well over 100 % as a retail markup. The Chinese factories and brokers will give you a chart that lays out their wholesale to you and what they regard as retail. If you look around, you will see that no one sells for retail and that allmost anyone can buy one microscope from just about anywhere in China wholesale, with a decent percentage off for a certain # of units plus a cut for consolidated shipping. They will charge about 200- 250 to ship a single average size lab microscope. So, for an unbadged Zeiss Primostar for instance, which you can buy for under 1000.00 directly out of China, you will end up paying about 1300.00 by the time you have it.
Amscope plays a game with those prices. The slashed prices have a healthy retail markup of 60 or 70% at least.

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Re: Amscope brand

#3 Post by patta » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:32 pm

Well, my hope was that an (honest) Amscope purchaser will tell us more or less what you wrote... with even some more juicy technical detail.
And yes the company in Ningbo is not actually manufacturing anything; it seems more the main collection / export / shipping warehouse.

My dream would be to buy from the manufacturer, or at least the company that put together & got final collimation of the scope. But it is so hard to understand who's making what! And, cost with shipping and the import tariffs (that we all love) end up often not very far from the stencil brands prices (After the "discount"). The Zeiss Primostar is an example of heftier difference.

Probably true manufacturers that sell "one piece wholesale", I'm looking now for a stereomicroscope:
Phenix ... a1beEVgZZb
MT Guilin ... 4e7bYpoutw

Phill Brown
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Re: Amscope brand

#4 Post by Phill Brown » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:53 pm

Amscope are straight about being a supplier not manufacturer.
I have a Euromex iscope Phase/plan/ infinity/trinocular.
Previously owned but I am aware of its original cost as supplied, not via Amscope.
Euromex can be found easily,long established brand name but not supplied direct.
They claim to have a workforce beyond processing orders.
I'm confident most if not all the components are made to an agreed standard in China.
It is excellent in most ways, mostly metal with high quality finish.
The slide clamp is nothing short of nasty.
Not confident the synthetic finish applied to the focus and XY will be durable.
LED availability will probably dictate its lifespan.
I mostly only have Watson, made in England and Nikon from the days of made in Japan to compare.
Any assembly of components relies on the weakest link being replaceable.
Competitive manufacturing often involves letting quality control slide. Had some real howlers from China, wouldn't be surprised if others have had a defective component or two.

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Re: Amscope brand

#5 Post by patta » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:29 am

Ok so I've sifted some more through Alibaba in search for Chinese stereomicroscope "manufacturers". Here the raw notes.

The area of Ningbo really looks like a beehive for the production of basic standard models, with many small factories. This may be due to Ningbo being the traditional port between China and Japan, so Japanese likely started outsourcing from there. What we can call a "manufacturer" is open to discussion.

Manufacturing quality in China, I don't know, guess that "you get what you pay for" holds anywhere. But the bulk of microscopes come today from industrial districts there, therefore they have an advantage in sourcing nearby all the many components needed, plus some know-how in the supply chain, built in the last few decades.

For low-cost stereomicroscopes, I've found that are only few standard designs around, put together by dozens of large and small factories; half of which in Ningbo. Amscope sells mostly those models. On one side, that is great since the Bill of Materials for those models has been thoroughly refined to the bone by long term mass production, cloning and re-engineering. It may also be possible to find the right replacement part.
But the issue is that, the stencil brand has the choice to order a scope model "well made with Quality Control" from a good factory; or they can also get it "absolutely cheapest" from the worst sweat shops, costing half than the properly made one; and we have no way to know beforehand: the decent and the cheap scope look identical in specs and appearance.

Then, there are couple of other companies focused on high quality with OEM/own designs, like MT of Guilin. They even engrave (not stencil!) their name on the eyepieces; to my knowledge, the only other company in China doing such feat is United Optics of Kunming.
Large companies like Phenix and Motic seems to be half-way, selling both own high-end production together with standard outsourced models.

Here drafted a list of the widespread "open source" stereomicroscope designs.
Amscope part number for reference; objective magnification and eyepiece field size. In parenthesis the Phenix's or other local name. Also the exporter website is a good resource.
Yes there are more, those are the low-end ones that I've seen over and over offered by many "manufacturers", usually identical in appearance. Some manufacturer get a bit creative and make one part with plastic of different color, sometime even make a new mold. Every 5 years or so, a small mutation happens and some screws change size or place.

- SE100 single mag, straight kid's cheap
1x etc 18mm?
Sold by every science toys brand in the world, at random retail price. Wholesale about 10-20$ apiece.

SE500 (XT-II) Single mag, straight, decent quality
0.8x etc 20mm
Relatively expensive, rare/professional

- SE400 (XT-II X) single mag, angled, decent quality
1x etc 20mm

- SE300 two-magnification revolving objective cheap
1x + 2x etc , 18mm?
Sold by every science toys brand in the world, at random retail price. Common also with single magnification. 2-3 slightly different designs. Main design look like Meiji SKT.
Probably called XT-3 by Amada.

- SW-2 two-magnification revolving objective, decent quality
1x +2x etc, 20mm, ring mount, also trinocular.
Seems to be the mainstay for local heavy duty industrial use. Uniform wholesale price 90$ for the head.
Many small variations: a similar model is Phenix XT-III, but with AO/B&L/Leica mount (very common)
Amada has models XT-4 and XT-6, ring mount, likely of increasing performance. Not sure which match the Amscope's SW-2.
Main origin may be the Meiji EMT.
There is also a very interesting model called SM3, ring mount, 22mm field, but exports seem to have disappeared.

SM-TPZ (XTL-165) Zoom the cheapest and most common zoom model
0.7-4.5x 20mm ring mount also trinocular
Seems to be the mainstay for electronic repair everywhere in the world. Always looks identical, but price is highly variable, wholesale 80-200$ for the head.
I think this single model represent more than 50% of worldwide zoom stereo sales.

- GM300 (XSZ or XTL-2000) Standard zoom, decent quality
0.7-4.5x 22mm ring mount, trinoc
Different head design, similar to Meiji EMZ. often bundled with gemology stand. Head more expensive than the SM-TPZ, ~150+$
Many small variations; Amscope SM-NTP is possibly one.

Then there are several models with enclosed prisms, clones of like Nikon SMZ-1, Leica G4 and others, but I didn't manage to classify them, are made with many variable outer shell appearances but likely only few optical assembly designs. Couldn't find them much advertised by small manufacturers, maybe they are knockoff/sideline of current brand products; or are made by pure OEM manufacturers who don't care much about advertising their products.
SF-2TRA 0.8-5x 22mm (XTL-168? very common, trinoc head at ~200$)
ZM-1T 0.67- 4.5x 22mm
ZF-2TR 0.62-5x 23mm (SMZ180, ~280$)
0.63-5x 23mm (25mm?) (XTD-217, ~200$) There are Zeiss and Wild/Leica with those specs, but look very different
NM-2BR 1-4.5x 22mm (23mm?) (XTD-222, ~150$)

For compound microscope, it is tougher as there are many more models, the product is modular, and manufacturers are very creative in casting new "modern" shapes for the stand. Probably key components, like the focusing rack, or the binocular head, can be tracked down to few designs.
Last edited by patta on Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amscope brand

#6 Post by patta » Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:36 pm

Next mission: find out who started calling the stereo microscope models XT-something.

And who is installing this plaque?
Microscope symbol.png
Microscope symbol.png (261.53 KiB) Viewed 192 times

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Re: Amscope brand

#7 Post by Hobbyst46 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:32 pm

It appears that the manufacturer of XTL microscopes is

Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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Re: Amscope brand

#8 Post by patta » Fri Jun 11, 2021 4:28 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:32 pm
It appears that the manufacturer of XTL microscopes is

Hai! I've misssed it. that's one more to survey!
I've looked now, the XTL s are there, many of them.

Some more interesting models they have:
XT 100-200-... two-magnification revolving objective, with 23mm eyepieces! I want it.
XPZ, looks like a modular scope, maybe similar to Wild M3?
XTB, looks like a clone of the ancient Olympus VT-2!

But, I don't think they are the manufacturers. Nanbei looks more as a conglomerate; in catalog they sell a huuuge range of laboratory appliance, like Fisher Scientific.
The description of the microscopes often doesn't match with the photo... and they don't write much detailed specs. Also is strange that I couldn't find those model (names) on sale elsewhere. Anyway!

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