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on May 10, 2011
As a home-schooling mom of 6 I can't say enough about this scope. We have struggled with several under $100 microscopes and I wish we would have started with this one. It is simple enough for our 4 year old to use and advanced enough for our son in college. The mechanical stage is a definite plus making it easy to find all sorts of creatures and to give coordinates for science assignments. This is better than the scope I used in college and we have had a great time with it. I would recommend purchasing slides, a good how to guide etc because you will quickly become addicted. Nothing beats the right tool to get the job done and all of a sudden, science is the favorite class. We have studied parameciums to stem cuttings. The only thing I can think of that makes this less than perfect is that I need a case. The desciption neglects to tell you what is included - 2 light filters, a lighting iris diaphragm to control light levels, dust cover - in short it was more than I expected. Crystal clear images and with some maneuvering we can get a 3d image.
The price can't be beat (especially with free shipping)- I HIGHLY recommend this scope and can't imagine a kid not mesmerized examining his own blood,cheek cells, dust mites, algae, pond creatures, pollen, bees' legs, flies' wings etc, etc
256 helpful votes
257 helpful votes
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88 comments|Report abuse
on June 17, 2013
I'm a research scientist and know high quality microscopes in my lab and even for the classroom are pricey. This is a very economical microscope that is of excellent quality. My kids and I have had a blast looking at pond water (algae, paramecium, round worms), small ticks (Here we used it to see if the entire tick was removed...it was), molds (hyphae and spores), budding yeast, etc. My ten year-old is picking up a lot of info and my 4 year-old is also enjoying it...who knows how much he is picking up and who cares, he's engaged. I am making the slides, finding the items, and focusing, all that will come with time for the kids.

I did not find it difficult to assemble, but I have some experience there. It seemed pretty intuitive to me. It came in about 4 parts that were preassembled (body, stage, eye piece unit, slide holder). The light is very bright/effective, even at 100x and it comes with one replacement bulb. There is a lever to control the light passing up through the lenses. Not sure why one would want to use the color filters...these remain in the styrofoam packaging. All four objectives are excellent and you can use either the 10x or 20x eyepieces, which are also clear.

I got tired of waiting for the university sales where they sell their old microscopes. Getting a new 'scope is even better!

You will need microscope slides and cover slips, but those are also easy to find on Amazon. It comes with immersion oil for the 100x objective. It does not come with lens paper or cleaning solution to remove the oil off the lens or for general maintenance of the lenses.
69 helpful votes
70 helpful votes
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on January 29, 2013
I got this scope because I've always wanted one. My school never had this kind of equipment.(They didn't have computers til long after I'd left either!) Anyway, this is an awesome toy and tool of discovery. It's amazing how things look even at the lower magnifications. House dust, sugar, salt, a drop of water from the pond, this scope handles all of that like a champ. In fact, images up to 400x are generally striking, and vivid.

With this scope, I have resolved things down to less than a micron, seen all kinds of pond life, including diatoms and other algae, tardigrades, worms, tiny crustaceans, book lice, ants and even cyanobacteria.The 100x objective, the oil objective, delivers light and magnification nicely even through the 20x eyepieces. beware though, spiders are tiny horror movies up close. Don't look at bugs unless you REALLY like to be grossed out!

There was a youtube video for this line of scopes, so I watched it. Very succinct. See the video. It teaches you the basics of setting up and using the scope. The components generally look and feel like decent quality items. It feels sturdy and it looks good. I also recommend picking up a pair of 5x WideField eyepieces. Often, using a lower magnification can get you what you're looking for so much faster than a higher one. 5x eyepieces get you down to a 20x minimum magnification, which has turned out to be very useful.

Now, for a couple of negatives:

- The mechanical stage quickly (within a week) started to get sloppy and show a lot of play in it. Also, it does not sit flat on the stage. Because it does not stay perfectly flat against the stage, it does not hold slides well and once the slide actually got stuck under the mechanical stage, which probably just makes it worse. I discovered that the washer used under the hold-down screw for the mechanical stage could not possibly be to spec, because it simply did not fit flush in the hole, which allowed the mechanical stage to wobble sightly. I put in an appropriately sized washer which seems to have improved things to a tolerable level. I just keep aware of how delicate the rig really is.

- The 40x objective does not seem to gather quite enough light, and it seems a little blurry when used with the 20x eyepieces, but, I understand that at higher resolutions, optics start to show their flaws. It's probably unreasonable to expect much more than what Amscope delivers at this price point. The 100x, when used with oil, delivers light and magnification pretty nicely even through the 20x eyepieces. Totally impressive, but, see this next thing first...

- The immersion oil they send with, is tree oil. Cedar or pine or one of those. If you are new to microscopy, throw that stuff away. It's not worth the potential damage an untrained hobbyist is likely to do if s/he forgets to clean it off the lens! Get some synthetic oil. The good stuff smells like good engineering :) Cedar oil smells nicely, sure, but trust me, spend the extra $5 or $10 and get some good synthetic immersion oil even (or especially), if you will only occasionally use the 1000x and 2000x settings. If the cedar oil crusts up on your lens, you'll need a powerful solvent to clean it off.

There you go. Nice scope. Happy with it. It's not a high end scope so treat it gently.
11 helpful votes
12 helpful votes
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on December 6, 2012
Solidly built and reasonably precise mechanically. However, the mechanical stage clip assembly was shipped out of alignment. I doubt this piece went through a final QA as it would not lay flat on the stage when it was mounted and would not hold a slide since it was raised about 2mm above the stage, allowing the slide to slip out underneath it.

After adjusting the set screws that hold the clip bar to the moving mount, I managed to adjust it to nearly level with the stage. Enough to hold the slide in place. Still, it is not 100% flush with the stage and with extended use it has a tendency to raise up and let the slide slip out again. German engineering it's not. Note - if this type of adjustment is needed, you'll need an extra small philips screwdriver, like those used for fixing eyeglasses.

Other than that, the optics are fine and the coarse and fine focus knobs work well with some patience and practice. The light on this does get quite hot, so if you think you'll be working with live specimens you may want to consider an LED version. Also, there is no way to vary the intensity of the light other than adjusting the iris, which is not ideal in some situations. At first, I didn't think this would be a big deal, but now I wish I had spent a few more bucks to have the extra ability to fine tune the amount of light projecting though the condenser.
10 helpful votes
11 helpful votes
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33 comments|Report abuse
on December 2, 2015
Me:I have taken undergrad microbiology and the prerequisite courses for my nursing degree. I purchased this microscope as a long term family item, as we are homeschooling. It arrived on time and I have spent about six hours with the scope.

Appropriate use looks to include good coursework in high school. It fell short of a few things I saw at my university, but not by much.

Physically solid, there's no concern you might accidentally knock it over and break it unless you are surprisingly clumsy. Short of an overly forceful young child, there seems to be only one part that is clearly breakable, and that is improper use of the limit stop screw and then raising the stage too high(into the objective).

It arrived in good default settings with approximately ten minutes of careful assembly required, this with some familiarity, and as others have mentioned take careful note of the code in your box for the manual. The specific manual for your model may not be easy to find without that code. One problem with packing/shipping was that the oil for 100x objective was half gone and into the dust cover for the microscope. Easy enough to clean. Another possible material problem was a very slight bend in the slide holder that made it not flush with the stage, and slides would shoot out. I bent it into the correct shape with minor pressure and it has worked well.

I've been able to see algae I made with my own slide from the bird feeder outside, and easily focused on the pre-made slides I purchased separately. It's been fun and educational, we're planning on getting an Amscope camera, or an adapter for one of our other cameras (haven't decided).
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on September 23, 2017
We are returning this after a couple hours of use. First off packaging looked great but once opened there's no directions on how to put it together or how to use it. I'm homeschooling my kids and wanted the entire process to be a learning experience on proper use but without any guidance, I had to search online for this so as not to damage it. The emersion oil was half gone and all over the dust cover and the lense over the light is broken. The light gets EXTREMELY hot, killing every specimen we are observing. I'm not sure if the lack of proper lighting (as others have suggested) is the problem or if we were sent faulty products but we are only able to see using 2 objectives; the 10x and 4x. I took this as meaning I have no idea what I'm doing and I will be learning with my kids as well. Not one to be easily discouraged, I planned on replacing the bulb with a brighter led, overlooking the cracked lens by ordering a replacement and heavily relying on the internet to teach us how to get the higher magnification, that is until all our hands were hurting from turning the course focusing knob. The tool to loosen it did nothing. After a couple of hours, the stage is no longer raising, the knobs turn (kind of) but nothing happens.

We are all very disappointed. This got my kids interested and excited about school and now we will be waiting on a new one from a different company.
1 helpful vote
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on August 20, 2015
Biggest problem I have here is the light source. It's just a cheap 20W light bulb inside a black housing that does not reflect or direct light 'till it hits a lens up top. It gets hot. It's not nearly bright enough for the top 2 magnifications. I had to use a laser pointer or other light above to see my metal samples. They could supply long life led's here which are cooler and better at directing light.

Second problem ; eyepieces have no way to keep eyes/lashes from pressing against the lens which is annoying and view obstructing. Other scopes have rubber guards to fit shape of the face.

Third problem; oil. Oil came in a tiny bottle but nearly 1/2 of it was gone and leaked all over the vinyl cover for the scope. Had to wash with dishsoap in the sink and dry in the sun.

Fourth problem; They supplied me with 2 tiny round pieces of COLORED glass. What for? They are nearly useless as slides, as they make it even darker and are impossible to handle. Why not just send some full size rectangular glass slides? I mean, I spent over a day's wages here to buy this and I don't even have slides.
----What is good about it?
Well the x/y axis that will move slides around is okay. It has a spring arm for holding standard slides for motion without play in all directions.
The focus knobs are great. Optics great. I do wonder if anyone makes a deeper depth of field scope, since this will focus on things with such irritating precision that nothing but a very defined depth can be seen. It makes it nearly impossible to get good photos of most of my samples which are more spherical sometimes. A single grain of salt is clear on top but 1/4 down the single grain cube is out of focus badly. That's a very narrow margin and it gets worse using the higher magnifications!! I may have even damaged the 2000x lens due to this for all I know, since viewing some items can't be done with a slide.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on October 3, 2017
I don't understand why this received so many star reviews (Avg 4.5) as this is a very nicely made instrument but the optics are barely usable. The low power objective is fine for things like pond critters, tiny insects, dragonfly wings, etc. Beyond that, as is much the same with cheap telescopes, higher powered optics are virtually useless. This is a nice little microscope for perhaps children up through grade school age. Beyond that, perhaps the AmScopes in the $500 and up range would be more practical and might be worth taking a chance. It cost too much to send back so I'll keep it around just for fun. I believe if you are truly looking for something that can deliver college-level quality you are looking at a microscope in excess of $1000.
1 helpful vote
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on October 24, 2011
We home school and had tried another microscope that was around 50-60 bucks cheaper. We got it and returned it, as there were several issues with the quality. We decided to try this one instead.

The construction is much better and feels solid. This scope is like the ones I worked with in undergrad - much more satisfied.

The only problem I've encountered is that the mechanical stage attachment isn't stable. I've triple checked and I have it attached correctly, but whenever turning the knobs to move the slide, there is a "wobble" in it that causes the view to be distorted and you have to refocus. This also causes the "latch" that catches the slide and fixes it into place to ride a little high and have trouble securing the slide into place consistently. I have "jury rigged" it by sliding a piece of folded paper under it to keep it more stable.

Overall pleased. Just curious as to why the mechanical stage attachment is a little off.
66 helpful votes
67 helpful votes
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22 comments|Report abuse
on December 25, 2011
I have worked with microscopes in numerous college level classes and this Microscope rivals any I have used.

Santa brought this for my 7 year old son this year. OK, I know a little odd for a 7 year old by my wife teaches Science and we are both lovers of it so Santa figured we would help him. A microbiologist may know the difference between this and a $2,000 microscope but I sure don't. I found nothing wobbly about it, solid construction, wonderful optics including a oil immersion lens. The instructions actually recommend you DON'T put it together yourself but having worked with microscopes over the years I was able to get it together in about 5 minutes (Be cautious not to introduce dust into the optics). If this is your first introduction to them I may recommend having someone assist you in putting it together and showing you the basics. From there it is not complicated at all, though you should buy yourself a good book on the field and a slide making kit.

I love the mechanical stage which allows you to scan the field with ease. I can't wait to get some pond water and start yanking hairs out of my head.
7 helpful votes
8 helpful votes
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