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Awarded Best Compound Microscope 2016 - OMAX 40X-2000X Lab LED Binocular Microscope with Double Layer Mechanical Stage w Blank Slides Covers and Lens Cleaning Paper
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This is an OMAX compound biological microscope with eight level magnifications from 40X to 2000X. It comes with a sliding binocular viewing head, two pairs of widefield eyepieces (WF10X, WF20X), four achromatic objectives DIN 4X, 10X, 40X(S), 100X(S, Oil), large double layer mechanical stage with scale, Abbe NA1.25 condenser with iris diaphragm, coaxial coarse & fine focus knobs and variable intensity LED transmitted illumination system, plus 100-piece blank glass slides & 100-piece cover slips and 50-sheet lens cleaning paper. It easy to connect USB digital camera (sold separately) to record what you see in the microscope and saving it into your computer as a picture or a video clip. The compound microscopy is suitable for teaching demonstration, medical labs, educational lab environments, veterinary clinics.
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CONTRUCTION - First off, the construction of the OMAX mostly metal. There are few plastic part, but these part are the buttons, switches, and knobs. The main body, head unit, arm and stage are metal and very sturdy. The plastics parts are fine and do not compromise the structure and stability of the OMAX. The microscope is a slightly smaller than name brand microscopes, yet it does not fail to produce the same results as name brand microscopes. The light source is LED. This provides the user with a low power light source great for viewing live organisms and enough power to brightly view all other types of specimens.
OPTICS - Next the optics are excellent and provide the user with high resolution of anything bigger than a 0.5 micrometers. You can use this microscope to view bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc. The microscope comes with a 5x, 10x, 40x, and 100x objectives. Also it comes with 10x and 20x ocular objectives. The 20x is nice and makes it slightly easier to view organisms. The main viewing objectives are removable for replacement or upgrades.
FUNCTIONS - The OMAX has lots of useful functions. The ocular objective has interpupillary adjustment. In other words the ocular objectives can moved closer or further apart depending on the users preference. Also the ocular objectives can be independently adjusted to be further or close away from each eye. Again the OMAX come with 4 main objectives (5x,10x, 40x, and 100x) and 2 sets of ocular objectives (10x and 20x). These objective are on a turret for ease of switching objectives. The stage can be moved on a X,Y,Z axis. There is an iris adjustment to control the amount of light focused on an object or organism. Also tthe light intensity can be controlled with a separate dial to control the amount of light actually being produced; this is the dimmer dial, There is a knob that controls the height of the iris, but I'm not really sure what purpose this serves. The OMAX has a coarse and fine adjustment knobs.The head of the unit can swivel 360 degrees.
UPGRADES - The ocular objectives are removable, so these can be swapped out for better ocular objectives, Also the main objectives (5x, 10x, 40x, and 100x) are removable, so these can be swapped out for better objectives. The power source seems looks like a cheap phone charger, but it gets the job done, and it can easily be replace with a better one if so desired. The use can attach an ocular camera. This is handy for pictures and use with the computer. Filters are available for the OMAX to do Dak Phase and stuff like that.
THE PACKAGE - The OMAX came with the microscope along with the 4 main objectives and 2 ocular objectives. The OMAX included a power source. It came with a soft plastic cover to keep the dust of the microscope. I bought the OMAX promotion set, so mine came with a 2 boxes of 50 blank slides, a box of 100 cover slips, and 100 lens cleaning papers. The OMAX came with a small bottle of oil for the 100x oil immersion objective. The OMAX also came with a two ocular covers, so if one would like to store the microscope the ocular objectives can be removed and covers can be placed in the eye piece slots.
OTHER COMMENTS - The OMAX is user friendly. It was fully assembled when I opened the box. All I had to do was plug it in and pop in the ocular objects to begin viewing things under the microscope. This microscope is perfect for any hobbiest, student, or even professional. If your thinking about buying this microscope, do not hesitate. This is a great high quality microscope that produces the same results as name brand microscopes. Some people might be tempted to purchase a microscope for more money because of the rationale that more money equates to better quality but the OMAX delivers the same results as the Olympus and Nikon microscopes for a fraction of the price. Unless you work in a laboratory for City of Hope, Kaiser, or Cedar Sinai this microscope should suffice. The microscope was well shipped. It came in a box with plenty of padding.
Conclusion - You really cant ask for more from a microscope costing only 200 dollars. The OMAX has high quality objectives, excellent construction and design, lots of useful functions, accessories, customizable, and a lot of fun to use. If your looking to buy to buy a microscope to do college or professional work or use just looking to buy a hobby microscope look no further. The OMAX is for you.
CONS - I have only owned the OMAX for a month, so I can not comment on how long this microscope will last, but based one what I have seen so far I would say that the OMAX would last a long time if well care for. The coarse and fine adjustment knobs feel rough compared to the Olympus and Nikon microscopes. The knobs do not move with the ease of high end microscope, but this is not a issue for me or working in general. The stage does not have the same range as high end microscopes. With Nikon and Olympus microscopes on campus I can view a slide in its entirety from one end of the slide to the other end. With the OMAX i can view probably about 95 percent of the slide because the X axis does not have the same range as high end microscope, but this is not an issue for me.
LAST THOUGHTS - I highly recommend this microscope to everyone. You cannot be this quality for such a great price. I am sure anyone who buys this microscope will be happy with their purchase. I was hesitant to buy this microscope because of the low price, but was pleasantly surprised when it came operated like and better than the microscopes on campus.
*The images included are Staph aureus, Bacillus subtillus and cerus, Clostridium rubrum, Aspergillus and Geotrichum. This review will be updated in a June at the end of my semester to comment on the durability of the microscope.
First, let's start by talking magnification. The instinctive reaction of a first time user is to prefer microscope kits that offer higher magnification. But this is misleading because beyond 1000X-1500X magnifications, you don't really gain any resolution (check: www.microscope.com/education-center/articles/false-magnification/ as well as comments to this review and below). And, as we will see below, most microscope kits don't offer any intermediate magnifications between 1000X and the maximum magnification they offer (2000X or 2500X), so that maximum magnification doesn't really give you any extra resolution over a 1000X microscope.
Compound microscopes obtain their magnifications by combining the eyepiece magnification with the objective magnification. The objective magnifications usually are: 4X, 10X, 40X, and 100X. The most used eyepiece magnifications are: 10X, 20X, 25X. The 100X objective cannot be used as is, it requires a special immersion oil (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_immersion for explanation); so in inexpensive microscopes, this objective is usually missing, Regarding eyepieces, you usually get 10X or pairs of 10x+20X or 10X+25X. Now let's look at what these combinations provide as magnification:
10X: 40X (with 4X objective), 100X (with 10X), 400X (with 40X), 1000X (with 100X).
20X: 80X (with 4X), 200X (with 10X), 800X (with 40X), 2000X (with 100X)
25X: 100X (with 4X), 250X (with 10X), 1000X (with 40X), 2500X (with 100X)
[EDIT: I rewrote this analysis based on comment feedback - see comments section] When I first wrote this review, I didn't know exactly how to figure out the theoretical resolution limit for each objective. I still don't have an exact formula, as it depends on several factors including the wavelength of the illumination light, but a comment to this review pointed me to a rule of thumb that I also found mentioned in a Zeiss article on microscopy - that rule says that the maximum magnification that can be expected to be achieved with an objective would be 1000 times the numerical aperture value of the objective - see zeiss-campus.magnet.fsu.edu/articles/basics/resolution.html). The numerical apertures and maximum magnifications for the OMAX objectives are the following: 4X (0.10/100X), 10X (0.25/250X), 40X (0.65/650X), 100X (1.25/1250X).
So, if we exclude the false magnifications, these are the magnifications that we can expect from each combination of objective and eyepiece (note that even this is optimistic, because we evaluated the maximum magnification, which we will probably not reach in practice):
10X: 40X (with 4X objective), 100X (with 10X), 400X (with 40X), 1000X (with 100X).
20X: 80X (with 4X), 200X (with 10X)
25X: 100X (with 4X), 250X (with 10X) - these are probably not going to be achieved because they're the maximal values for each objective.
False magnification may still help your naked eye make out details even if it doesn't bring up more details. But if you would record images, then you could also probably blow out the 1000X image to 2000X and see similar detail as when using the 20X or 25X eyepiece instead of the 10X one. With this in mind, there is not much reason to prefer a model that comes with 25X eyepieces over one that comes with 20X and in fact, personally, I would have been happy to just get the 10X eyepieces.
So this is why I picked a 40X-2000X microscope over a 40X-2500X one. But there are a few more reasons why I settled for this OMAX model:
1. Stage operation. The slide holding system and the adjustment of the stage are one of the main differences from less expensive models. The stage has X/Y scales so you can mark coordinates of an observation point, so you can easily find it later.
2. Condenser operation. The position of the condenser can be adjusted vertically and it has an iris diaphragm (vs disc on less expensive models); the condenser can also be easily removed and replaced with a darkfield condenser, for example, if you want to do so. There is also a filter holder that can slide out from under the condenser - just look for a tiny knob that you can pull out.
3. Coarse/fine coaxial focusing knobs. Less expensive models lack fine knobs or don't have them positioned coaxially. The coaxial positioning is nice because you don't have to move your hand much when focusing the microscope.
I would have also settled for a monocular microscope, but these are generally less featured than binocular microscopes and are lacking one or more of the above mentioned features.
The main competitor of the OMAX M82ES is the AmScope B120 model, which has a Siedentopf head - that head is an advantage for the AmScope as it offers an easier configuration process and is easier to reconfigure if more than one person uses the microscope. To counter that, the OMAX uses less plastic in its build, which I prefer. The OMAX also seems to have simpler adjustments.
A few more things you should know about this OMAX microscope:
The objectives come pre-installed, but not everything is configured for optimal operation. There is a focusing rack stop screw that is supposed to help prevent the slides from being pushed into the larger magnification objectives (40X and 100X) - that screw will need to be adjusted as it does not come pre-set and on my sample it allowed the slides to be pushed into the high magnification objectives (40X and 100X - those objectives are spring loaded to prevent damage, but it is better to avoid it by also limiting the movement of the stage using this screw).
Make sure to download and read the manual, to acquaint yourself with the parts of this microscope. And before you fully unpack the microscope, I also suggest watching the OMAX introductory video on youtube, which will walk you through the main functionality of the microscope.
This is a full featured microscope that can be further enhanced through additional OMAX or AmScope accessories.
A few accessories suggested:
OMAX A Pair of Rubber Eyecups for Microscopes with 23.2mm Eyepieces
OMAX 60X Achromatic Objective Lens (spring) for Compound Microscopes
Some quick comments on these items:
- The rubber cups are very nice and I wish they were included even if they had to bump the price of the package - they really make it more comfortable to use the eyepieces.
- The 60X objective has a numerical aperture of 0.85, so it can theoretically achieve up to 850X magnification. I replaced my 1000X (oil) objective with this one and I primarily use the 10X eyepieces. The reason I don't use the 1000X is simply because I don't need that magnification and I don't want to bother with the application and cleaning of the immersion oil. Even this 60X objective gives me more magnification that I often need for most of the slides I explore.
If you have an interchangeable lens camera (mirrorless or DSLR), you may also want to check for adapters on ebay: you can get adapters from 23mm microscope tubes to T2 mount (a simple universal mount that is also used by some telescopes) and then you can get an adapter from the T2 mount to the specific mount of your camera. An update on this aspect: I found this solution not very satisfying - the illumination of the microscope will produce a halo of light as it goes through the slide and that will get recorded in the photograph. I don't know if a specialized camera will have the same issue - if anyone knows, I'd appreciate feedback in the comments. It might be that the lack of a final optical element in this combination is what causes these issues (since I remove and eyepiece and replace it with an open path to the camera's sensor).
If you're looking for something less expensive and do not need all the features of this OMAX model, then here is one interesting option that I came across in my search:
Levenhuk 50L NG Microscope monocular 40-1280x case with experiment kit
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