Top positive review
59 people found this helpful
Probably the Best Value For Your Money!
on October 8, 2011
This microscope is probably the best value you can get for this price. Up to 500X for $120 is very very good indeed. With some further modifications, you can get this baby to something VERY good.
The construction is solid and sturdy. The scope itself is heavy which makes it stable and thus harder to accidentally knock off the table as well as absorbs light shaking (like if someone walk by while you're using it) allowing you to enjoy an undisturbed view.
The optics are AMAZING. Great clarity, smooth and easy objective switching, and the ability to tilt the entire setup up to something like 70 or 80 degrees for ease of use is impressive and convenient.
Mechanical stage is an absolute must have for any sort of contemporary microscope. You may think that you don't need it and go for a cheaper scope, but you really do. The convenience of it is enormous.
Focusing is very easy. Even though the coarse and fine adjustments are not on the same knob, causing some reviewers here to complain, I had absolutely no problem with it. In fact the coarse knob is so smooth and sensitive I could focus with just it even at high power, but that could be due to technique and experience.
Light condenser is VERY good. You may not think that it's any different from dimmable LED light source available on cheaper or even more expensive scopes, but it is if you intend to do anything more advanced than looking at butterfly wings or flowers. I'll tell you why later.
Diaphragm is not as good as I'd like, but it gets the job done. You may not think that opening and closing the diaphragm is better than smoother dimming that LED lights provide, but same as with condenser, it is. Here is why. If you decide to upgrade you scope to higher power with 100X oil objective that you can buy for just $50 + immersion oil, or even just getting good quality view with 40X objective, you really do need a condenser, and guess what, the one that comes with this one is exactly what you need! You also need the diaphragm. So you can rest easy knowing that this excellent piece of optical equipment comes with everything you need to do high magnification viewing.
Light source. I have NO IDEA what people are talking about it overheating, drying out samples, or even causing fires. Never had that problem. Samples, especially slides, dry up all on their own pretty darn fast with or without the light. Sure it generates heat, but nothing crazy.
Now things I didn't like about it.
The eyepieces that come with it (10X and 12.5X) are NARROW so you don't get the nice wide field that, at least I am, used to.
The knob placement is not quite how I'd like it, but that could be just personal preference.
And that about sums up the bad things.
A little background on me and what I did with this microscope. I'm a cell biology PhD student, so I know a bit about microscopy, and just bought this for my personal in home use to feed my amateur microbiologist hobby. This scope is not research grade or fancy as such, but you can still do impressive things with it. Modifications introduced by me are things like taking out the 4X objective (useless for looking at microbes) and replacing with 100X. Taking out the 10 and 12.5X eyepieces (and never using them again) and switching them for 15X Wide Field and 25X eyepieces, both easy to find and are cheap, which bumps up the magnification to 1500X wide field and 2500X normal. A high power dark field condenser (now that is an expensive upgrade $130) which allows BEAUTIFUL high power dark field view. You can also make your own dark field with tape and a piece of cardboard, but that'll only work with up to 10X objective, which I also use and it works great. Getting a microscope camera such as the Celestron Imager is also worth it and saves you from squinting a lot. With all that, seeing yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms is easy and quite amazing.
So using this scope as a base you can invest a couple hundred dollars on spare parts and turn it into something easily worth $500-700+. If you aren't doing something as crazy as me, this is still probably the best quality microscope for the money. Don't be afraid of buying it because you'll get a very good quality product that'll serve you faithfully.