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on August 7, 2011
The image quality is good and I can use this camera / microscope on my Mac under OS Lion with the Photo Booth application. The illumination is good and the sharpness is good. At higher magnifications, it is a challenge to focus since there is not a rack and pinion type of focuser. You have to just make small adjustments to the stand or what you are observing. Since depth of field is shallow this can be tricky. The device is not parafocal. That means that different zoom levels require different focus positions. Yes, these are problems but overall this is a great way to see small things on your computer with reasonable quality.
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on April 27, 2012
This digital microscope can be useful in a number of contexts, such as looking at coins, reading very fine print on labels or instructions, and exploring the barely visible world around you. However there are two issues I would warn other potential purchasers about. On things like coins or other reflective surfaces, it is difficult to get the light adjusted so that details can be viewed. The light from the LED source cannot be adjusted and is so close to the object being viewed that the view is either washed out completely or greatly degraded. For non-reflective surfaces like paper, it is not a problem.

The second issue is Mac compatibility. Although the promotional material indicates it can be used on a Mac, that is only partially correct. What I learned over a period of several months exchanging emails with Celestron technical support and speaking to them on the phone is: the product was designed to be Mac compatible. In the manufacturing process, some units were completed according to specifications and are functional. A second run of the scopes were not compatible out of the box, but with a great deal of manipulation in Quicktime, Image Capture, iChat, or PhotoBooth some people have had limited success and you can read their stories in various forums. However, a significant number of units simply are not Mac compatible at all. They were mis-manufactured. Unfortunately, while Celestron continued to indicate that they were "trying hard" to create a software patch to "avoid replacing the units bought by Mac owners", they were in fact running out the clock. After more than six months (as of April 2011) they admit some of the scopes don't work with macs and "We are still working on the fix and we are not sending replacements or different products at this time -specially if they won't work on a Mac." So no fix and no replacement.

If you have a Windows product and aren't affected by the inability to control the light source it might work for you. Buyer beware.
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on August 20, 2011
I bought this recently so that I could take close up images of sections on coins that are in my collection. I have read in several places online that it is difficult to focus this digital microscope. I can't agree with that. Mine focuses easy and takes great pictures close up on coins. If you are looking for an easy way to capture images of very small areas (such as the steps on Monticello of the Jefferson nickels), look no further, this product does a wonderful job at a very reasonable price.
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on January 18, 2012
Needed a digital microscope and I needed it fast for an upcoming technical assignment. Was hesitant to order the Celestron 44302-A after reading some of the other reviews, but I took a chance. Placed my order with next day shipping and crossed my fingers. Unit arrived on time and intact. After opening the package my initial reaction was positive. For the price (including next day shipping) it appeared to be reasonably thought out and well made. The microscope stand had sufficient weight, was well designed and easy to use. Followed the instructions (for a change), loaded the software and plugged the USB cable into my laptop. Presto! Within a few minutes I was capturing images at various magnifications. Provided software was pretty straight forward and intuitive although a little light on features. With a little practice, I found focusing the microscope very easy and was able to capture still shots using the trigger on top of the unit. Be advised that there is a slight delay after the trigger button is pushed until the image is captured, just be patient. The only drawback I have been able to identify is that the level of illumination from the LED's is fixed which tends to wash out some lighter / reflective surfaces. But per the instructions (just a few pages and worth reading) the unit can be angled to effectively eliminate the glare. Program includes a measuring tool that is also easy to use and will come in very handy. Electron microscope it is not, but all in all it appears that this device is exactly what I needed and will give me years of reliable service. Yes, I would recommend it to my friends!
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on June 28, 2011
The microscope works fine, and the interface with the computer is fine, but actually using the device to look at things is not easy. The zoom control is cumbersome to grasp and its movement is very stiff. Consequently, you must grasp the microscope with both hands - manipulating this stiff zoom control while simultaneously moving the thing around to get the subject in focus.
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on September 22, 2011
This item has generally good build quality - excellent for the price. The optics give good pictures. The included software is basic, but works well on Windows. The biggest barrier to making good use of this item is thinking of it as a traditional microscope. The measurement tool in the software and a slight hesitation on the zoom ring give the biggest clues. As far as I can tell, the microscope both focusses and zooms at the same time. If you set it down on a flat surface, and focus on the surface you find that it focuses only at two different zooms/magnifications. These are where you can make measurements. Clearly the zoom/focus are working together from a midpoint on the zoom dial. As you zoom in or out from these measurement magnifications, you can indeed get sharp focus at a wide range of different magnifications, including low magnification on an area like a thumbnail at a reasonable distance. The included stand makes all this relatively painless. High magnification is a little tricky and loses contrast, and it may require removing the clear plastic piece. There are two oddities though. I have no problem with these for the price, but they are odd. First, I've got two of these and neither focuses on anything zoomed all the way out to low magnification. Second, there is quite a delay when taking photos. As a result, you really need to have it mounted on a stable stand when taking photos. The name handheld should therefore be removed from the name in my opinion.

There is one very messy problem - Mac support. I had no problem with the included software windows XP. It even worked with windows running on Fusion 3 on my mac. But this didn't work at all with my macbook pro on Mac OS 10.6.8. I tried Photobooth, iChat, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro 10.0.1. There were some silly outdated solutions on the Celestron website that also did not work. I did manage to get the microscope to 'work' on an old iMac G5 running OS 10.4.11, but only in iChat (not PhotoBooth). Celestron's website reads as if they really haven't even thought of buying a Mac and getting this to work properly. It can't be difficult. They really need to get onto it. As Mac users we expect devices to be plug and play, and its difficult to see how they messed that up. This an otherwise good device, but having to use it through Windows only does take the fun out of it. If anyone has had more luck or tricks that work with up-to-date versions of Mac OS, I'd love to hear the details.
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on September 25, 2014
Pet peeve. You can't shut the led's off. Works good for a low power microscope. The real value of this is as a close-up device for anything from an ant to a butterfly or bird. can focus and far a two feet away. With windows 8 you just pug it in and run camera. Simple install.
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on July 7, 2012
"DELUXE"? That's a joke, isn't it?

I bought this to use with my laptop running WinVista, admittedly not Microsoft's finest product. Installed the software, attached the microscape to the USB port. It worked for about five minutes and then refused to work again. So I installed it on my desktop PC running WinXP. Loadeed the software, plugged in the USB, works for about 5 minutes then refuses to work again. Installed it on another desktop PC under WinXP, same thing. Installed on a laptop running Win7, same thing.

I am beginning to see a pattern here...

I go to CELESTRON's website and download the software again. Repeat each of the above steps and get each of the above consequences. Again.

The hardware seems to be OK because it always works for a brief period of time before the damned thing dies. It has not run long enough on any platform for me to discover the other inadequacies of the software.

If anyone is aware of any freeware video camera software that will work with this thing, please let me know. CELESTRON may once have known how to create excellent optics but they have a black plastic bag pulled over their heads and are stumbling around in a dark room asphixiating when it comes to providing software or customer support.

My OPINION is that their goal is to FLOOD the refurbished junk-ware marketplace with repackaged failed units so they can, you know, "get their name out there."

WAY TO GO, CELESTRON!
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on June 8, 2012
I purchased the Celestron digital USB microscope to work with my iMac. This is a really sharp piece of equipment. Super easy plug and play. The unit is supposed to work through the Photo Booth and iChat software. Both recognize the Celestron as an optional camera but when you choose the Celestron the screen just shows black. NO IMAGE AT ALL. I searched everywhere for help (the Celestron site has none) and found a number of people who have experienced the same problem. I read when one person was able to reach Celestron tech help only to be told that the Celestron microscope will be recognized by mac but will not work. Another person wrote that the Celestron will work on mac OS 10.4 but nothing higher - NOT on 10.5, 10.6, or 10.7. Celestron is the best telescope company out there. I am really surprised that they do not update their drivers software for the mac. ***** ADDED INFORMATION ***** - I purchased the following microscope from amazon to replace the Celestron that didn't work - 2MP USB Powered Digital Microscope Endoscope Magnifier (400X Magnification) It absolutely AWESOME! And this one is truly 'plug n play'. Out of the box and connected to my mac within a minute. Works perfectly without installing anything. It's as easy as plugging in a mouse or keyboard. I have an iMac running 10.6.8
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on May 27, 2012
This is the second one of these Celestron 44302-A microscopes I've purchased. While it worked, it was great. Sadly, it'd didn't work for long--like less than a week.

The first one I purchased stopped working a short while after I bought it. Well, the image part of it stopped working. The lights continued to work just fine. As it was located in an area where my kids had access to it, I thought they might have had a hand in its demise.

I waited a while before purchasing another. This one only lasted a few days, and this time the image part still worked, not the lights. And it's been kept away from the kids the whole time, so there's no chance they were involved.

Apparently you still get what you pay for, and these don't cost a lot for a reason, I guess.
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