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Questions on first microscope purchase

 
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adauphin



Joined: 05 Nov 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:20 pm    Post subject: Questions on first microscope purchase Reply with quote

As my first post, I want to say hi and glad to be a part of the community. I've always been interested in microscopes, never owned one, but enjoyed them at achool.

Fast forward some years, and would like to get into one for hopefully around $500 or less. This will be as a hobbyist but also for the kids who are in elem/middle school.

I have read that as far as optics are concerned, many of the used scopes from when I was a kid are still excellent scopes. However trying to add a camera or USB connection changes things.

My daughter would love to go down to the creek and try to see every organism living there, my son and I would like to see the grain structure or surface texture of a bare copper wire..around 3-400X....limitless possibilities I suppose.


I see a few B&L or AO Spencers pop up from time to time.

I guess I would want a scope with good optics, a solid X & Y axis adjustment, stereo, the ability to take digital pics of the image would be great.

Not sure if I need a darkfield, but would be nice. I don't know what's good or bad with AmScope or Omex, Celestron.... or if I can get a camera on an older Leica, Nikon, B&L, but I know the latter have great optics.

Edited to add: I was also looking at the Omano OM139 and would be fine with stretching the budget for one if that's where you think I should end my search given my criteria. Adding the camera can push it but my gut says that's prob my best option

All input and criticism appreciated.
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Grahame



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 58
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
Basically, you have answered your question.
Yes the older scopes optics are still regarded as good.(Those that had good optics of course there are some dogs among them)
Certainly for the things you want to do.
Not knowing where your from but if your American then lots of AO Spencer on eBay at really good prices, plenty of accessories and good optics.
Otherwise any of the older quality brands, Nikon Oly Wild, Zeiss etc.
You get more bang for your buck from them than modern Chinese.
The modern Chinese scopes can also have not as good a mechanicals, focus etc and some of the objectives are a tad soft.
A bit of a blanket opinion but valid enough.
Enjoy what you buy, they are a fun thing to have around and play with Smile
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adauphin



Joined: 05 Nov 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.....yes, located in the U.S.

I've been doing a lot of research, I want to say I've narrowed the list down to the:

Omana OM139

Accu-Scope 120

Accu-Scope 3000

All being a trinocular design.

This has taken the budget up a notch, but seems these are a lot of scope for the money. I would like to save some $$ and go for the OM139, but curious if the added cost associated with the Accu-Scope 3000 is worth the jump.
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Adalbert



Joined: 30 Nov 2015
Posts: 539

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
What about the Biolam from Lomo for $50?
I have one and I like it :-)
BR, ADi
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Grahame



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 58
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
The accu-scope 3000 only has a 3W led.
This is in my world is nowhere near enough illumination, particularly for photography.
The trinoc head splits the light 50 / 50 according to the specs.
For moving pond critter photography your daughter will become frustrated quickly.
Some trinoc heads have a leaver that gives 100 / 100 depending on which way you push it.
I was struggling with 10W.
If you choose to add phase or use some stops in the tray under the condenser you will eat light rapidly.
Phase is useful for pond critters but is another technique that needs to be learnt.
The ability to find extra parfocal objectives is also something to think about.
My 20X is my fav objective but that mag is rarely included in the set.
Just a couple more thoughts, YMMV Smile
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adauphin



Joined: 05 Nov 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was your 10W halogen or LED? I was hoping for a 5W LED but it appears the 3W does a good job...I dont know for sure though

Well, now I'm making this more complicated since it seems for my uses that a reflected light version would better suit my needs.

I was hoping to stay with the AccuScope for this but the price jump is getting a bit out of budget, unless I went with a used AccuScope. That being said, if I went with a reflected light that may put me back into an AM Scope for around $800.

I would love to get an "All-in-one" scope for me and the kids, but viewing metals changes things.

Forgive me as tIm learning this all over again.
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Grahame



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 58
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeh mate it's a vertical learning curve, pretty much forever Smile
Yes 10W led.
There is of course another side to the "brightness" equation.
You can't go too bright, it will stuff your eyes.
But 3W led on a 50/50 trinoc head is not bright.
You are actually almost talking about 2 different types of scope needed for what you want to do.
If the metal samples are thick then brightfield is not going to work, you need light from above ie some type of stereo scope
https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Stereo_microscope
Honestly you could get both styles of scope within your budget by digging around ebay and buying lovely old quality gear.
There's not really an all in one (Well there is but you need deep pockets or time to put it together)
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adauphin



Joined: 05 Nov 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What makes this difficult is figuring out how to spend upwards of $1K without being able to look through any of the scopes.

I'm leaning towards a Nikon Optiphot or similiar that has been tested and the focusing ring is good or has been replaced... but I would like to know how the Accu Scope or AmScope compares optically when you get at and above 400X.

The Nikon optics are great, I don't mind older if all checks out.

Was looking at this AmScope: https://www.amscope.com/40x-800x-trinocular-polarizing-metallurgical-microscope-with-top-and-bottom-lights-1.html#.W-a2rz0JDIQ.mailto

And this Accu Scope: http://accu-scope.com/products/3000-led-microscope-series/

I understand they are different designs, but as far as optical performance are they very close or not in the ballpark?
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Grahame



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 58
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Amscope sure looks to be a beast.
Would be interesting to know how well optically and mechanically it compares to the Optiphot.
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19406
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Questions on first microscope purchase Reply with quote

adauphin wrote:
I guess I would want ... stereo ...

I'm not sure how well you know the terminology, but be aware that "stereo" -- showing 3D structure by presenting slightly different images to each eye -- is very different from just having two eyepieces that show the same image in both eyes ("binocular"). The two scopes that you linked are binocular but not stereo.

Typically stereo scopes are low power, less than 50X, used for examining 3D subjects like insects and plants that have not been flattened for mounting on slides.

To cover the full span of what you've talked about will require two scopes: one stereo low power, the other high power and not stereo but possibly binocular (or trinocular, including the camera port).

--Rik
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adauphin



Joined: 05 Nov 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Questions on first microscope purchase Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
adauphin wrote:
I guess I would want ... stereo ...

I'm not sure how well you know the terminology....


Well,.not as good as I though I did.... Cool

Ok, that helps me and others as well. I do want a binocular and I'm trying to find something to suit my needs as well as carry the kids through high school. I dont mind paying a little extra for an older scope in great condition.

This is an assumption, but seems that when you get above around 400X is where the current high-dollar scopes or some of the older scopes do better.

The AmScope I linked does what I need it to in terms of accessories, but I've never used one so I have no idea how well they perform optically from 400-1000X.

I'm also considering the Optiphot or the Bushnell BH2 and loading it down with options if I can find them at a decent price.

Looks like I will need to up the budget to around $1500 to get something solid I can use for the next 8 years or so.
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Olympusman



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 3866

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: LOMO Biolam Reply with quote

I have a LOMO Biolam in my collection and found it is impractical for photography because instead of a stationary head, it has a stationary stage so the weight of the camera on the head will result in focus creep.

Mike
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Michael Reese Much FRMS EMS Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
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