Why magnification is important when buying and using a microscope

 

 

Of all the features you have to pay attention to when prospecting the market for a new microscope, its magnification capabilities are by far the most important detail you ought to give some thought to. Sure, the construction quality, the material that the optics have been made of, as well as several other factors are also worth considering, but the magnification abilities seem to be on top of the others.

In fact, this is the exact detail that makes the difference between one microscope and the other. These days, you might have noticed the rise of handheld USB microscopes that simply have to be plugged into your computer and you’re all set to go. What this means is that you won’t have to spend a lot of time trying to understand how the product works and since most of these compact models come with an integrated camera, you’ll even be able to take a shot of your specimen right off the bat. Needless to say, these handheld models have lower resolution compared to compound microscopes.

If you’re looking for a good unit to use in the comfort of your home, when you’re trying to explain to your kids the basics of using such a device, I would recommend getting a stereo microscope or a dissecting one. The first usually have magnification ranges from 40x to 400x tops whereas the second can magnify the image up to 230x tops.

Compound models, on the other hand, are the real winners if you’re looking for a versatile choice that does the trick for most samples. For example, an AmScope model that has a magnification range of 40x to 2000x ( more details you can find here) will let you look at a plethora of items, inanimate objects, living insects, tissues, cells, and even let you have a peek at the germ that might exist in that particular cell. This is why I think that looking at your requirements at the beginning of your buying journey is a part of your decision-making process that must not be overlooked. As you can imagine, these compound alternatives can take a toll on your budget as I have seen many products that cost up to two and even three thousand dollars. Needless to say, they come with a myriad of amazing features, but unless you work in a lab where you can use these capabilities, I wouldn’t recommend such a pricey option.

Stereo microscopes are also suitable for educational purposes, and even more so for parents who homeschool their kids. With their help, you’ll be able to show your son or daughter the structure of plants, insects, and other specimens. That’s what I personally recommend for home users, particularly as this type seems to be somewhat budget-friendly when compared to its compound counterpart.

What makes the difference between a home microscope and a professional one

 

 

Buying a hobbyist microscope these days isn’t particularly tricky, and the neat thing about the market is that it holds many offers for models that come with all sorts of features. The fact of the matter is that, in most cases, if you don’t work in a professional field that is somehow related to microscopy, there’s a low chance that you will need the services of a cutting-edge unit. What I mean by this is not that you won’t be able to learn as much as possible about the domain and later on apply your newfound skills on your professional microscope. In fact, what I am trying to say is that few home users actually end up making the most of such an advanced device.

My students always tell me that they would have liked it if they had had a microscope in their homes while they were growing up. This would have made things a whole lot easier for them now that they actually have to utilize one. The problem is that most parents who are keen on teaching their kids all about using a microscope have little to no idea about microscopy, themselves. Unless they’re involved in some kind of scientific activities, most prospective buyers know little to nothing when it comes to choosing the right model for their specific requirements.

 

Source: leica-microsystems.com

 

If you go online and search for microscopes, you’ll see that there are significant price differences between one model and the next. The cheapest units that you will stumble upon are handheld USB ones. Usually, the parts utilized in the construction of such devices aren’t necessarily high-quality, and by this I mean that the optics are typically made of plastic instead of glass. Therefore, you won’t be able to look at a clear and crisp picture every time, and besides, you will not have the freedom to use the microscope for several hours at a time as it will heat up. Those plastic parts aren’t made to last forever.

Getting a full-size microscope is a better idea, in my opinion. While many compound alternatives can cost as many as two thousand dollars and sometimes even more, there are optical and stereo microscopes that get the job done and feature glass optics as well as an all-metal build. The problem is that such a device might be a bit too complicated for children to work with, especially if they’ve had no prior experience with a similar product. Nonetheless, it seems to me that it is a far better investment in the long run. What’s more, nobody’s telling you that you should keep it forever. You can always sell it and upgrade to a more advanced option.