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on January 23, 2013
For the low price of this item, I thought it was worth trying. After having had the item for a few days, here is what I have discovered:

First, let's be clear about 20x-200x: It is really 20x (and a bit more) AND 200x - there is NO continuous zoom from 20x to 200x. Focusing is by a combination of adjusting the distance from the object being viewed, and the focus wheel on the microscope. By adjusting distance and focus, it is possible to get a range of magnification around 20X; turning the focus wheel more or less completely in one direction gives 200x, but nothing in between. Pictures at both 20X and 200X are reasonably sharp and detailed. Be aware that at 200X the depth of field is very shallow, and so works best with flat objects; this is not a defect in the microscope, as reduced depth of field with increased magnification is common to all microscopes. The focusing ring on the microscope works smoothly, and once focused holds focus. However, focusing with the somewaht flimsy stand provided is a little tricky as the adjusting the focus also tends to move the microscope. With care, however, good focus can be accomplished.

The stand provided is barely adequate - it will work, but it is finicky, difficult to tighten, and does not stay tightened. Also, although the microscope will focus out to a distance of about 9 inches, the stand is frequently useless for this; the microscope can be tilted horizontal to view "sideways, but this does not work for all objects. I built my own stand and this has made the microscope much more useful. The ability to focus from a distance of 9 inches gives a field of view of about 1-3/4 by 1-1/4 inches which can be quite useful for viewing objects (or parts of objects) around this size.

The end of the microscope (see picture) has a clear plastic "cone" (see product picture); in some cases this cone interferes with getting close to an object to focus. Although the cone is glued on, the glue on my unit was fairly weak, and with careful prying I was able to remove the cone. This exposes the lens to potential damage, so if you do this be aware of this possibility.

The LED lights on the unit are quite useful, as is the ability to have a high and low setting. With some items however, the LED lights create glare and wash out details on the object, even at the low light setting. In these cases it is useful to be able to turn the LEDs off and use an alternate light source.

There is a button on the microscope for snapping pictures, but I do not see much point in this - pushing the button shakes the microscope and disturbs focus. It is much better to use software to take a picture, and this works well.

When I received the microscope, I plugged it into my Ubuntu 12.04 Linux system and it worked immediately. I tried it with both Cheese and Camorama - Camorama works best because it allows you to adjust color, hue, contrast, etc. for best picture. I was only able to get 640x480 pixel pictures, although these were not bad.

I also tried using the microscope with Windows 7, as follows:

- connect microscope, wait for drive to install
- insert CDROM that came with the unit
- run DrvSetup.exe (note - be patient, takes a long time and nothing seems to be happening)
- run Setup.exe

With Win7 I was able to get 1600x1200 resolution.

Considering the cost of this item, I consider it a worthwhile purchase. If you expect to get a super high quality microscope for $25 you will be disappointed. If you expect to get a basic low power hobby microscope then you can have a lot of fun with this microscope. I would not hesitate to give this as gift to an inquisitive child
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on July 7, 2013
First off, it does work and works nicely.

The AGPtek came nicely packaged with the microscope, stand, and software (only works with XP & Vista...at least for me).

Both of my computers (Vista & Win 7) picked the the camera right off, however the software only works with my Vista computer. The good news is that my Win 7 computer did recognize the camera as a USB camera and then I just used my existing webcam software to operate the camera. This turned out to be better as I could now use the webcam software to snap a picture instead of using the clumsy red button on the camera itself (required for the included XP/Vista Software).

As for the camera itself...it's a very inexpensive USB camera that has a manual focus collar that is difficult to turn and keep on the object you're looking at.

With all of its quirks, it does give me a nice picture (I use mine for looking and taking pictures of coins) and I would buy it again at the already low price of less than $30. I do recommend that you not even bother with the enclosed software and use your webcam software.
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on May 5, 2011
The image is sharp but colors are muted.
For ex. if you have mosquito bite on your arm you will barely notice the redness, just skin color itself.
Consider this if you need accurate colors!
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on May 3, 2013
While this little gadget did fall a bit shy of a full 5 stars in my review, it does have it's merits. My first specimen was an 1841 half dime recently purchased. This little dynamo brought the coin into such clarity the date on the coin was discovered to be 1844 instead of 1841. The second 4 was rubbed away just right to make it appear to be a 1 at a casual glance and even more than a casual glance. After working out the fine tuning on this microscope, I was able to see the details.

Two light levels are an excellent touch. However the stand and the focus adjustment need to be addressed. The stand itself is kind of quirky, bendable, but not strong enough to hold it's position when the fine tuning (focus adjustment) knob is used. The knob is a little too stiff, causing it to be simpler to just use it to get in range then manually adjust the distance from the object to fine tune.

The 2mp camera is just that - 2mp. In this day and age where 10mp cameras are commonplace, the graininess of the lessor quality photos are definitely noticeable.

All things taken into consideration, it does what it claims to do and after using it to discover the discrepancy on the date of the coin, it has already proved itself a worthy addition to my coin collecting arsenal.

I give it my recommendation.
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on December 12, 2013
For the price, this is a fantastic digital microscope.

1. The zoom is limited by the distance to the object, so if you want a closer zoom, move the camera in.
2. The depth of field is narrow, but that is to be expected on a microscope and this one is perfectly usable.
3. The build quality is fair, but for the price it is better than I expected.
4. Setup in Windows 8 was completely automatic. I am using the Windows 8 Camera app instead of their software and it works fine.
5. The On-Off light switch is a huge plus. Similar units from Celestron and Carson do not offer a switch to turn off the LED lights. My Carson unit sayed plugged in all the time and has now gone very dim (plus the resolution was useless and it cost more).

This thing works great to capture close-up images of print defects. See the customer images for an example of Dot Bridging that I took with the camera.
review image
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on May 28, 2012
I looked around to find the least expensive microscope available that still seemed to be halfway decent. I was impressed when I recieved this microscope and started using it. The picture quality is surprisingly good, plus it has 2 backlight settings and automatically adjusts for low light. Fun for the kids to play around with too.

The stand it comes with is kinda cheap, seems to fall over a lot. I decided not to use the stand and just set the microscope directly on the object I am viewing. This seems to keep the microscope fairly steady, which helps since the focus wheel on the side is a little difficult to use.

The software seems to work ok (windows 7 64bit) but it took a bit of trying to get it to install properly.
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on December 22, 2011
This is well worth the price. Does just what you think it would. The LED lights have a hi and low setting which I didn't notice right away. The stands a bit wonk yet still functional. I really wouldn't call it a microscope so much as a super magnifier, but whatever ya wanna call it, it works.
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on January 10, 2014
I had a dispute with an online jewelry vendor. Owing to this camera, I was able to capture and collect all the evidence needed. While I was at it, I examined all my precious jewelry. It's amazing. I could spend hours on this.
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on January 12, 2014
I bought this just for some tinkering and inspecting things up close.

Pros:
1. Very portable
2. Software easy to use
3. Looking at the box, many options. I would recommend getting the software for a laptop or phone due to portability. I'd also recommend getting wireless and at least 500x zoom.
4. Not too hard to get into focus.

Cons:
1. Depth of view is very short. To see at "200x" you have to put the scope touching the object. This is fine for inspection of inanimate objects, but don't expect to work underneath it.
2. Focus wheel is a pain. It is relatively tight so any time you have to adjust focus, the image shifts all over the place.
3. Not sure what the zoom and snap buttons are for as they don't seem to function.
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on April 14, 2014
First off, the unit I received is different from the one pictured. Even in the pictures, the box says 1.3mp, not the stated 2.0mp. The one I received was in a generic box with just a burned mini-cd with the software on it. The software is glitchy and the digital user guide is very poorly translated english, making it pretty much useless. The zoom and focus on this really isnt bad, but the display is far too pixelated to make out any really fine details. No way that this is anywhere close to 200x magnification. The stand is horrible and the thing tips over pretty much all the time. I had to tape it down to make it usable. It is impossible to adjust the focus without moving it around due to the cheap stand. I guess if you want to look at pixelated pictures of things at 10x zoom max, this is the camera for you! If you want a usable microscope, you might want to pass.
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