Which Microscope Offers the Best Hobbyist Experience?

  • Thread starter Scott.K
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In summary, the Olympus BH microscope is a decent option, but it is not perfect. The Amscope is not a good choice because it does not have a phase contrast capability. The better option is the Digital Blue QX5 microscope.
  • #1
Scott.K
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I've read a lot of online articles about buying a microscope, but I guess I'm just looking for some advice.

I plan on buying a compound microscope sometime in the near future for hobbyist use. It would be sheerly for my own entertainment.

I've been looking at used microscopes on ebay, and at new amscopes on their website. I would like to have something that would allow me to be truly amazed. I intend on getting some sort of phase contrast or darkfield condenser.

I see that right now there's an olympus BH microscope with phase contrast on ebay for around $200. I won't be buying it because I don't have the money right this second, but would something like that be better or worse than a new amscope?

With the Amscope, I wouldn't be able to afford the phase contrast, but the darkfield condenser, I could afford.

What would you say is my better bet? With which scope would I have more interesting experiences?

Also, if I get something like the olympus, would it be difficult to find accesories (like a darkfield condenser) to fit it?

The Olympus I was looking at just sold for $275, so the ad's gone, but here's the amscope I've been looking at: http://store.amscope.com/t490a-dk.html

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Scott
 
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  • #2
Scott.K said:
I've read a lot of online articles about buying a microscope, but I guess I'm just looking for some advice.

I plan on buying a compound microscope sometime in the near future for hobbyist use. It would be sheerly for my own entertainment.

I've been looking at used microscopes on ebay, and at new amscopes on their website. I would like to have something that would allow me to be truly amazed. I intend on getting some sort of phase contrast or darkfield condenser.

I see that right now there's an olympus BH microscope with phase contrast on ebay for around $200. I won't be buying it because I don't have the money right this second, but would something like that be better or worse than a new amscope?

With the Amscope, I wouldn't be able to afford the phase contrast, but the darkfield condenser, I could afford.

What would you say is my better bet? With which scope would I have more interesting experiences?

Also, if I get something like the olympus, would it be difficult to find accesories (like a darkfield condenser) to fit it?

The Olympus I was looking at just sold for $275, so the ad's gone, but here's the amscope I've been looking at: http://store.amscope.com/t490a-dk.html

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Scott

May we ask just what sort of things will you be looking at?
 
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  • #3
Whatever the hobby leads me to. I'll probably begin with pond water, and move on from there.

Anything and everything. It'll be my first microscope, so I'll probably be like the inventors of the microscope, and look at anything I can get my hands on.
 
  • #4
Scott.K said:
]

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Scott

I would avoid Amscope unless there is some amazing quality I am unfamiliar with. Here's where amscope falls short, based on the images from your link:

1) The condenser does not appear to adjust in any way other than focus.
2) The z-stage mechanism is too coarse for high magnification
3) the objectives are crude
4) Camera costs extra
5) Magnification is very limited (they provide multiple eyepieces to give the illusion of a large range)

In all honesty, for your first microscope, you simply cannot do better than the Digital Blue QX5. After you outgrow it, get a used microscope that does what you want.

PM me for additional info if you would like.
 
  • #5
I'd suggest you get any reasonably well-made 'scope, a binocular, with substage lighting that has an adjustable iris ... Controlling the amount of light is important. Also, a mechanical 'stage' is important, for its MUCH better to use such a thing <with its knobs and 'slide grasper'> than to manually try to move a slide around using your fingers.
Its not til you've interest in microbiology <germs, etc> that you'd need 'oil immersion' lens, but most binoculars come with such a lens anyway ... but then, you're in the game of 'gram staining' etc, a different thing than your described interest. Pond life is a very exciting thing to witness... but don't fail to examine the water in that glass on your kitchen counter holding a chunk of cellery that's 'gone bad'!

you're entering a remarkable world .. have fun!

My 'med school Nikon binoc ' has serverd me well ... Also, its nice, especially for what your initial interests seem to be, to have some sort of 'wide-angle' oculars (the lenses that meet your eyes) , they make things so much easier to find objects of interest
 
  • #6
Hey ya'll...

Sorry for my absence. I don't know why but for some reason I didn't get email telling me I had new responses. I usually get them.

Anyway. I appreciate the advice.

My only question now is: If I go with an older microscope (I see several Olympus and Nikon right now on ebay for good prices, that are good quality), will it be difficult for me to find accesories?

The ones I'm looking at are for the 70s-80s. If I just buy a typical Nikon compound brightfield, will it be difficult to find a darkfield condenser, or phase contrast kit to fit it?
 
  • #7
There's enough hobbyists out there to provide a decent market for all that stuff. My question to you is, as a novice, would you rather spend your time adjusting the equipment, or would you rather spend your time *looking* at stuff?
 
  • #8
umm... hmm...

I'm pretty set on getting a compound microscope if that's what you mean.
 
  • #9
Hi, does anyone know anything about Scanning electron microscopes?

Would anyone recommend this product?

https://www.akribis.co.uk/cambridge_stereoscan_scanning_electron_microscope_sem.html"
 
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Related to Which Microscope Offers the Best Hobbyist Experience?

1. What are the different types of microscopes available?

There are several types of microscopes available, including compound microscopes, stereo microscopes, digital microscopes, and electron microscopes. Each type has its own unique features and is used for different purposes.

2. How do I choose the right magnification for my microscope?

The magnification of a microscope is determined by the combination of the eyepieces and objective lenses. To choose the right magnification, you need to consider the size of your sample and the level of detail you want to see. Generally, a higher magnification is better for smaller samples and finer details.

3. What should I consider when choosing a microscope for a specific application?

When choosing a microscope for a specific application, you should consider the magnification, resolution, and illumination of the microscope. You should also consider the type of sample you will be viewing and the required level of detail. Additionally, the budget and space available may also be important factors to consider.

4. Is it better to choose a microscope with a higher resolution?

The resolution of a microscope refers to its ability to distinguish between two closely spaced objects. A higher resolution microscope may be better if you need to see fine details, but it may also be more expensive. It is important to consider the specific needs of your application when choosing the resolution of your microscope.

5. Can I upgrade my microscope later if I need more advanced features?

It depends on the type of microscope you have. Some microscopes, like compound microscopes, may have interchangeable parts that can be upgraded, while others, like electron microscopes, may require a completely new instrument. It is important to consider your future needs when choosing a microscope and to choose one with room for potential upgrades if needed.

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