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Microscope Help :-)

Posted by Matt Wall  
Matt Wall June 10, 2012 01:48PM
Hi there guys,
I need help with choosing a microscope for looking at some of the smaller, rarer Uranium minerals. I have spoken to Stephan Wolfsried (the microscope saint) and he says a stereo microscope is best. He says he got a "sponsorship contract" (or something similar) when he was about 16 years old (my age), but I don't want to pursue the matter that far into becoming a job-type-thing.
Does anyone know of a good decent stereo microscope for under roughly £120 ($150), as I only want to admire the minerals, not properly analyze them etc.
Also, can you take images through a microscope with a normal camera (Nikon S6100) or do you need an attachment-thing?
Thanks a lot guys, I hope someone can help me out!
Kind regards,
Matt. :-)
Donald Peck June 10, 2012 02:35PM
You really do want a stereomicroscope, as it provides a view of the 3rd dimension. I would recommend a zoom focus with a max of about 50x 0r 60x. Once one gets above about 40x the depth of field begins to disappear so higher magnification is rarely useful. You might try the used market for a scope (especially a first one). You would get more scope for your money, but be sure to try it before you purchase it (or that the seller has a good return policy). And, yes you need a means of attaching the camera if you wish to photograph micro minerals.
Reiner Mielke June 10, 2012 02:51PM
You won't get a decent new scope for that money. If you are in Canada or US I have found this place has decent prices and good quality and service but stay away from anything under $300 the resolution is not very good above 20X. Plus right now they have everything at half price!
Matt Wall June 10, 2012 02:58PM
Thanks for the help guys.
What attachment would be needed for a camera to take micro-photos?
Matt. =)
Matt Wall June 10, 2012 03:06PM
Hi Reiner Mielke,
Would this "scope" be any good from AM Scopes:

Thanks for the website,
Matt. =)
Reiner Mielke June 10, 2012 03:30PM
Hello Matt,

Looks like the one I bought except mine was not a zoom. I am very pleased with mine. However I don't use mine for any serious photography although you can buy adapters from that company that will allow you to shoot through one of the eye pieces.

Bob Hembree June 10, 2012 05:02PM
Hi Matt,

You might want to consider a digital micro scope. I have both types and for just looking at specimens and taking pictures the digital is good. My digital is from a company named Dino-Lite, they have a wide range of models that will fit you budget. Their website is , nice thing about these microscopes is you can take pictures digitally without a camera. Just hook up to a computer.


Bob Hembree
open | download - DSCF1731.JPG (117.9 KB)
Michael Shaw June 10, 2012 08:21PM
Hello Matt,

I have been using a binocular zoom microscope from Amscope for the past year and I'm very pleased with it. It is a decent scope without breaking the bank. If you are considering purchasing one of their scopes, I would encourage you to look at the Model SM-1T. The price is similar to the model you mentioned, and from what you have described as your needs from a microscope, I don't think you would need the darkfield option. The stand on the SM-1T makes it easier to look at various size minerals and the third tube allows for attaching a camera.

Mike Shaw

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/11/2012 01:11AM by Michael Shaw.
Matt Wall June 10, 2012 08:45PM
Thanks a lot Mike, information like this is really valuable, I will have a look at that "scope". =)
Kind regards,
Matt. =)
Owen Lewis (2) June 10, 2012 11:21PM
Matt Wall Wrote:

> Does anyone know of a good decent stereo
> microscope for under roughly £120 ($150), as I
> only want to admire the minerals, not properly
> analyze them etc.
> Also, can you take images through a microscope
> with a normal camera (Nikon S6100) or do you need
> an attachment-thing?


Donald's advice is excellent but your constraints are: (1) the cash available, and (2) the difficulty in picking a good s/h unit when this is your first experience in microscopy.

At least give the following some thought as a mind-clearing exercise before you spend you money.

1. Having a photomicroscopy rig won't help you see any more or learn any faster, All it will do is to let you build an archive of what you have seen and to share some of those images with others.

2.Zoom is really nice - but its *not* an absolute essential. On a really tight budget, you will get the most bang for your buck with a turret 'scope that lets you switch between objective lenses to give different levels of magnification in just one or two steps - 'cos they are simpler and cheaper to build.

3. When you have paid for your scope, that is not the end of the matter. You will see more and better with additional lighting (and knowing how to use it) rather than sticking with just the lighting provided with an 'entry-level' 'scope. This is particularly true for the examination of transparent crystals and peering inside them. And that additional lighting is not dirt-cheap.

If pictures are important to you and given your budget constraint, go with the Dinolite! You can learn a lot for very little outlay and have great fun too. If the bug bites you badly, start saving your cash. A war-chest of $xxxx should be your aim and $xxxxx is not hard spend either, if youmust have the best. But the Dinolite will let you find out if your interest takes hold sufficiently to warrant that sort of expense. Depending on where your interests lead, you may end up with more than one microscope for different tasks!

My interest in microscopy started when I was younger than you, with a little hand-held field microscope. Cheap and a real eye-opener - but no good for examining most minerals though :-(

Best of luck - and keep asking questions.....
Matt Wall June 11, 2012 07:32AM
Thanks Owen and guys for your help.
I am just emailing AM Scope now to ask them what they think. =)
Thanks again,
Matt. =)
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