Microscopes Tooltorial

Eyes on Microscopes

Choosing a microscope can make you cross-eyed–so many factors to consider! The good news–you can get exactly what you want if you understand your options and the keys to choosing.

  • How will you use your microscope? (assembly, rework, inspection)
  • How much flexibility do you need in your microscope configuration? (lenses, stand, light)
  • Will you need a microscope that can be modified to meet future requirements? (camera, video)

Scope It Out

When selecting your microscope, look first for a central series identifier. For example - SX45, TKPZ, SZ, 237, Mantis. Within the series (also referred to as systems), you'll notice standard equipment like zoom capability, stand (bench, boom) or arm choices (articulated, dual) and accessories. If you need more options, you can supplement with different objective lenses, lights (LED, fiber optic, fluorescent) or even larger eyepieces.

Stereo Binocular Microscopes

Stereo binocular microscopes provide a simulated 3D image of your object. The right eyepiece channel provides an image with the highest possible resolution, while the left one provides an image with the maximum depth of field. When you look through the eyepieces, your brain merges the two and creates a 3D image.

Trinocular Microscopes

Trinocular microscopes come equipped with three ports--two for the eyepieces and a third that will also allow for a digital or video camera for training, documentation and inspecting. The ones listed below come with either a camera or monitor or both.

  Photo of the Luxo System 273 Microscope Photo of the O.C. White ProZoom® 6.5 Microscope Photo of the Vision Engineering Mantis Elite Microscope Photo of the Scienscope SSZ-II Microscope
Binocular Microscope Series O.C. White ProZoom® 6.5 Luxo System 273 Vision Engineering Mantis Elite Scienscope SSZ-II Series
Magnification 10X - 65X 7X - 45X 2X - 20X 6.7X - 45X
Working Distance 7.5" 8" (with.05X reducing lens) 2" - 6" 3.9"
ESD-safe? yes yes no no
Cost $1,255 - $2,556 $1,615 - $3,510 $2,050 - $6,415 $1,481 - $2,232
Construction metal metal metal, plastic metal, plastic
Sources fluorescent, LED, fiber optic fluorescent, LED, fiber optic LED LED
Optics 28mm wide 10X eyepieces 23mm wide 10X eyepieces 136mm x 84mm single viewer 10X/20X eyepieces
Trinocular/Inspection Microscope Series O.C. White ProZoom® 6.5 Luxo System 373 Vision Engineering Mantis Elite-Cam Scienscope SSZ-II Series
TRUE Trinocular? yes yes no yes
2.0 USB camera available yes yes yes yes
Cost $3,460 - $4,450 $2,020 - $4,080 $3,050 - $6,415 $3,299 - $3,813
Need an expert's help with your selection?

Know It All

  1. What happens when you look at an object less than 10" away from your eyes? The object goes out of focus. A microscope helps your eyes focus closer.
  2. What's the difference between trinocular and true trinocular systems? True trinocular microscopes don't have to shut down a port when using a digital or video camera. All three ports can work at the same time, but you'll lose the 3D effect when the image hits the screen.
  3. What's the price difference between a binocular compared to a trinocular unit? It can be very little, and a good reason to consider a trinocular if you think you may need image capture options in the future.
  4. What is working distance? The distance between the magnifier and the object. You'll need the room if using soldering irons, tweezers, or cutters.

What to Expect When You're Inspecting

  • Generally, systems called inspection systems will be particular to inspecting, training and sharing and have digital/video camera capabilities.
  • Many of these same systems can also handle other applications like assembly and rework.
  • Some systems have only one eyepiece or may be eyepiece-less like Vision Engineering's Mantis line.