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25 Reviews
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Microscope - The One to Get
This is truly a great scope. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:
-Decent sized. Not as big as a scary lab scope, but not a small as a joke scope for a little kid.
-Bright light. Pictures very clear.
-Interesting prepared slides.
-Good selection of specimen (gum media, yeast, and shrimp egg). Yeast is surprisingly active.
-Extremely fast...
Published on December 22, 2010 by amazon shopper

versus
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Defective optical eyepiece *now* resolved
I purchased the ST-80 microscope as a Christmas gift for my 10-yr old son. The microscope is reasonably acceptable and functional for the price-range. However, the eye-piece adapter for taking digital-images did not pair with any of three PCs to which I attempted a connection (running W7, Vista and XP, respectively). Each connection-attempt generated a pop-up message...
Published on January 14, 2011 by CypressAg83


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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Microscope - The One to Get, December 22, 2010
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
This is truly a great scope. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:
-Decent sized. Not as big as a scary lab scope, but not a small as a joke scope for a little kid.
-Bright light. Pictures very clear.
-Interesting prepared slides.
-Good selection of specimen (gum media, yeast, and shrimp egg). Yeast is surprisingly active.
-Extremely fast shipping and delivery (shipped/old from Adorama Camera)
-Contains a light pen to view physical objects (needs batteries which come with the scope).
-High magnification levels.
-Easy focusing.
-Comes with blank slides AND cover glass.

Cons:
-THE PICTURE LIES! This microscope is actually white, not silver. (MINOR)
-Must be plugged in. Not that major, but batteries would be nice. (MINOR)
-Digital microscope software only compatible with Windows. (MAJOR)
-Packaging was extremely tight. Very tough to get things out of the microscope carrying case without feeling like you're going to break it. (MINOR)
-Cover glasses are very sticky and stick to each other/the slides. (MINOR)

With only one of the cons being major, I'd definitely suggest this scope to anybody looking for a good one.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great microscope for PC and Mac, July 6, 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Mexico City, Mexico) - See all my reviews
This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
I bought this for my children and somehow expected a toy but when I opened the box I found a very pleasant surprise in terms of built quality and accessories.

First of all I would like to list all the components as this is not detailed anywhere:
- Microscope ST-80 (white in color).
- Two eyepieces (10X and 16x).
- Barlow tube
- Digital eyepiece with USB cable
- Metal tweezer.
- small plastic box with: 5 clean glass slides with corresponding cover slips and 5 more with samples: onion skin, housefly legs, cotton stem, hardwood and pine mature wood.
- 4 small plastic bottles with: gum solution, yeast powder, brine shrimp eggs and sea salt.
- A plastic hatchery with 4 divisions each with a transparent cover that has a magnifying glass
- Soft plastic cover for the microscope
- Light pen
- 2 AAA batteries for the light pen
- Slicer
- CD with Windows software
- Power adapter for the internal light
- Rigid plastic case for all of the above

The good points:
- The microscope is solidly built from metal and has a good weight
- has its own light source for transmission samples and it includes a control for the light intensity - has an aperture wheel in order to play around with contrast and resolution
- Very good optics
- 360 degrees rotating monocular
- the included slides with samples are very convenient to start using the microscope right away
- included slicer to prepare thin slices of material to explore
- hard case to carry and protect the microscope
- good level of magnification
- electronic eyepiece
- a metallic screw that limits the amount of vertical distance that the stage can travel upwards to prevent smashing a slide with an objective.

The not so good:
- the manual is an absolute disaster. It just names the parts and proceeds to explain the most basic functions. It also includes the instructions to install and use the included software for Windows that I could never make it work.
- lack of software for Mac (I found it elsewhere)
- provided Windows software not functional on XP
- lack of fine focus knob. This is very important for children.
- no instruction at all on how to use the hatchery and the contents of the 4 bottles

Several magnification levels are obtained by the combination of the two eyepieces (10x and 16x) and the three objectives on the microscope itself: 4x, 10x, 40x. This allows for a maximum of 640x but this can be increased using the Barlow tube. At first I could not find it anywhere. It turns out that is inside the monocular and is intended to sit there all the time (it is different on telescopes where you can use or not the Barlow tube but in this case if you remove the Barlow the eyepieces are too small for the monocular diameter). So, to increase the magnification you just have to slide out the Barlow tube with any eyepiece attached. This is not mentioned at all on the manual.

Regarding the software drivers and applications for using the microscope with PC and Mac: it works fine on both systems but I had to do my own research:

Windows
At first I installed the included software (a driver and VirtualDub) on Windows XP but all I got was a black rectangle. Frustrated I deleted all software and connected the eyepiece to the PC and after some seconds it was detected by Windows and then it downloaded the required software named Basic Webcam. It took literally a few minutes and now is working fine.

Macintosh
My main computer is an iMac 4 years old with OS 10.6.8 and I found a great free application named "Macam" that also includes a driver (named on MacOS a component). I installed it according to the provided instructions and then it did not work. The workaround is to install the component not in Library/QuickTime (as indicated on the included instructions) but on Users/<your user name>/Library/QuickTime and restart. Then when Macam is running you must change the settings: Format VGA (640x480) and Rate 5 fps and check Reduce Bandwidth. With this the microscope is now also running on Mac. QuickTime player can also be used selecting the electronic eyepiece instead of the iSight camera.

I am extremely satisfied with this product because of its quality of construction, its features and the accessories that complement it. It surely goes well beyond being a simple toy and I know it will last for years.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't beat the quality for the price.., February 5, 2011
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
I am a college student and I am taking an online biology course with required lab. The requirements for this course are a microscope with at least a 400x, preferably a 600x. I have been looking around for over a week at microscopes, including the one sold by labpaq (a 600x)that is discounted when you buy the required lab pack for this class. I finally settled on this microscope simply because it offered a higher overall viewing option. I am glad I did..

Pro's:
The body and frame of this microscope are solid. It is heavy enough to offer a the real feel of a microscope and not the weak aluminum feel of the one you might have had when you were 6.
The eyepieces are separate so you change them out versus rotating them, this ensures the magnification you are receiving, and since I have to notate that in my class it makes my life easier.
Comes with a solid carrying case.
The camera works! I know that it should, but I read on the reviews of a few others that offered cameras that the camera didn't work and so I was a bit skeptical, but the image it produced for me was great. Now I just need to learn the software better, which brings me to the few cons there are.

Con's:
The manual is just crap, it gives you the absolute basic set up of the microscope and the software and that is it. There are pieces in the case that are not mentioned in the manual and so I have no idea what they are for (I hope google can offer me answers).
The manual (and CD) do not offer any information on using the software, sure it gets you started, but has no information past the initial set up, leaving one wanting when it comes to sharpening the picture, finding the current magnification level when using the camera and so on. I will have to just poke my head around till I find these options and become a pro.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with this product and believe it is exactly what I need for this class and the other biology courses I will be taking over the next few years (I am double majoring in biology and anthropology). The first picture I obtained from the camera was awesome enough that my biology teacher wants more, so overall its a quality device for a good price.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Standard Microscope, August 18, 2010
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
This is a very conventional microscope. It's magnification range is huge for the price. It can be used with or without a computer. The computer image produced is excellent. The software is very, very simple, but it serves the purpose. It looks to be an 'off the internet' generic app for any type of video capture device ... not specifically created for this microscope. The body of the scope is heavy metal. The lenses are glass, not plastic. It is more or less par focal. It comes in an excellent padded, plastic carring case with room for everything ... very rugged. It has a standard slide stage which should accept calibrated slide-movement add-ons. The quality of this microscope is far superior to the Digital Blue computer microscope (formerly known as the Intel scope). The Digital Blue has an all plastic body with plastic lenses. It is geared towards children whereas the metal microscope is not. Nevertheless, the Digital Blue scope has very useful characteristics lacking in the metal scope: the barrel is removable allowing the scope to be hand-held (very useful) and the software, although geared to children, is very full-featured. The Digital Blue scope, although very useable, does not have the rugged professional feel of the metal scope. Something to consider: Digital Blue has dropped support for the model I have. I cannot use it with my current computer running Windows 7 and this scope must be used with a computer. It has no eyepiece. That is why I bought the new scope. Otherwise, I would be continuing with the Digital Blue. For this reason, I will not be buying anything else from Digital Blue. Final note: the bottom lighting of both scope is very good. The top lighting of the Digital Blue is excellent and under software control. The light provided for specimen illumination from the top with the metal scope is a small flash light that mounts through a hole in the body. It is totally useless. Final, final note: although I am a very seasoned computer user (and developer), I had trouble getting the software supplied with Ioptron to work. Once I got it to work, there was no further problem. In contrast, the software with the Digital Blue sets itself up automatically and just always works: very intuitive and fun.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Defective optical eyepiece *now* resolved, January 14, 2011
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
I purchased the ST-80 microscope as a Christmas gift for my 10-yr old son. The microscope is reasonably acceptable and functional for the price-range. However, the eye-piece adapter for taking digital-images did not pair with any of three PCs to which I attempted a connection (running W7, Vista and XP, respectively). Each connection-attempt generated a pop-up message saying "the device has malfunctioned", or "the connected device is defective and should be replaced".
After several attempts to contact the mfgr, my calls were finally returned - and the digital imaging eye-piece was promptly replaced - and now works fine. Although a little slow in their response, the mfgr addressed the problem to my satisfation (so I'll change my rating).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good all-around scope, October 10, 2011
By 
B. Austin (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
While I had read all the reviews and knew to expect a sturdy, well made microscope, I couldn't for the life of me find anything referencing the image quality of the USB camera. I had read it was 2mb, but beyond that - nothing.

Well it sucks. Seriously, the megapixels aren't even the issue. Colors are terrible, there's banding which I imagine is probably color related or maybe associated with the motion of the video camera. Think of the worst webcam you've ever seen and that will give you a pretty good idea what to expect. It's worthless.

The microscope though, is pretty good. No complaints. Well made, lots of useful accessories. And even without the digital camera it's still a great value. Just don't buy this hoping to take decent pictures of what you're looking at.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Value, July 12, 2011
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
I tried a few other models in this price range before trying out the iOptron ST-80 and after the major disappointments from Celestron is was not expecting much from this unit. To my surprise this little 'scope delivers exactly what it advertises. The depth of field is poor and the USB camera is very low-quality but for a home teaching scope for younger children this is one of the best deals out there. The optics are crisp and the scope itself is well-built and durable. If you're looking for a solid 1st teaching scope that will last until you're ready for something a bit more advanced I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Low quality in every aspect, January 20, 2012
This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
At a first glance this microscope looks like a good bargain but once you really try it you find out that the optics is cheap and bad and the the camera is useless.
It has 3 objective lens: 4X, 10X & 40X. The 40X lens is totally useless. I tried to look in a drop of water. In order to get the image in focus you need to get the objective lens so close to the object that it touched the water drop. You couldn't even look at something as thin as a water drop using very thin glass slide.
It also comes with two oculars. It is written on them 10X and 16X but these both have the same magnification. The difference between them is not the power but the aperture size.
So in total you have a 10X useful magnification at the objective and 10X at the ocular which gives you a max magnification of 100X, considering the the actual magnification figures written on the microscope are true, which I doubt. I tried looking on the same subject using an old microscope that I have bought 2nd hand few years ago from a hospital lab sell and a 100X magnification using this old microscope looks higher.
The lighting sucks. It comes with a light pen a the light source when subjects need top light. The light pen is useless. The LED bulb is the cheapest one you can get and it has a very non uniform beam. Also the build quality of the light pen is so poor that it stopped working after few uses.
Finally, the reason I have bought this one was the USB camera. Trying this camera out was another disappointment. The camera sensor is probably in par with the cheapest USB cams that you can buy for less then $5 and the quality is accordingly. Image is blurred, low resolution and low contrast with horizontal noise lines. Image quality is so bad that is totally useless.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than expected, February 6, 2011
By 
E. Bryant "Astro" (Annapolis, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
I read a lot of the reviews and was looking for an inexpensive microscope. Since everything involves computers now days I figured one that would hook to my computer would be a good thing. Looking into a microscope for the first time is a lot like looking through a telescope. You are amazed at what you can see, but I did not want to get a real cheap microscope that would spoil my adventure. After much research I decided on this one, partly because of one reviewer's comments on this microscope having glass lens. On opening the box, I was surprised to see the sturdy plastic carrying case. Inside the case everything was organized nicely. For the person that wants a good field microscope this is the one. I have hoped also to be able to take it on vacations and do some research and now I can, because the case is not overly large and can be packed easily. Inside the case the you have all the accessories: power supply, digital camera, prepared and extra slides, extra eyepiece, and in the top you have the rest of the items, including a razor device for slicing samples. I will have to say that the hatchery had a crack in the top of one of the cubes, but it does not seem to be a real problem. It probably occurred when they were pushing it into its area of the case, as it snaps in. Everything appears to be in excellent quality. Viewing with the microscope manually was easy. I like the clips that hold the slides and you can raise them by pushing down on the backs. The fact that I can move the eyepiece around makes it convenient to place the microscope on my desk and turn the eyepiece at an angle to were I am sitting. The images are clear and sharp.

Ok, now here is what I found the hard part. I installed the camera, took me a minute to figure out after I had removed the eyepiece, I also had to slide the tube out as well. I was trying to unscrew it and it really just slides out. The camera will then slide into the area where the tube was. I hooked it to my computer and Windows Vista recognized it as a PC Camera. Good enough. I did as they suggested and copied the 32 bit file folder on to my hard drive and ran the VirtualDub program. But whenever I went into the Capture AVI, the program would stop responding. I tried several things including restarting the computer. I then went to the website for the author of the program, found in the help area. There is an updated version of the program 1.9.11, so I downloaded that, but still no luck. I then wanted to see if maybe there was a problem with the camera and figured if I had some other program that might allow me to at least see if it was working. I happen to have Sony Vegas Studio and it has a video capture program. In launching that program it recognized the camera and started showing video right away. While the video was not as clear and sharp as looking directly into the eyepiece I was pleased with the quality. If you have problems with the program included with the microscope and your computer does recognize the camera, you might want to try and find another video capture program. In my case Sony Vegas Studio seems to work fine.

Last but not least, I don't know when I will get around to using the light pen, but I thought after all the other cool stuff they included they did not include a 2 mm hex wrench to secure it into the microscope housing. Other than that I am very pleased with the microscope. Also being a beginner at using a microscope I am not sure about how to use some of the items included. I think if you are buying this for a child perhaps a good beginners guide to microscopes should be included as well. A great educational gift for children and their parents can join in on the excitement as well. The book will be my next purchase.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars USB cam is disappointing., January 6, 2012
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This review is from: iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope (Electronics)
The microscope functionality itself is great.

The problems are

1) the USB cam is of very poor quality. The default resolution is at 320x160. The image looks much darker, and much narrower field of view than looking through the scope itself. I downloaded a different program[...], which works much better and can go up to 640x480. Still, the image quality doesn't improve much at all.

2) The light for reflective-light viewing is not built in. They provide a pen flash light that can be attached to it but it's awkward, yellowish light, and doesn't provide enough brightness.

USB cam is a very important feature to me, thus the low score from me.
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iOptron ST-80 Digital Microscope
$153.00 $79.87
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