Used Microscopes

 By: Kathy Brasch
Remember back to your school days when you first saw amoeba swimming around in pond water? You thrilled to seeing the microscopic organisms moving around, bumping into each other. Now you want to share that memory with your children or grandchildren as they grow. But you don't want to spend their college money on a new high-priced microscope, so what can you do? No problem - you can now find many microscopes that are either used or demo models at a much more reasonable price. But first you need to determine what type of a used microscope you want: compound or stereo/dissecting.

The most common microscope is the compound microscope. It is the one most people visualize when they think about microscopes. It comes with one eyepiece called a monocular; two eyepieces called a binocular or it might have an additional camera tube and is called a trinocular. It has a number of objectives (the lens closest to the object being viewed) of varying magnification mounted in a rotatable nosepiece. It uses a light source beneath the stage to illuminate slides. These microscopes are generally used to view very small objects such as cells or bacterium mounted on slides. Magnification of these scopes range from 40X up to 1000X. Actual magnification can be figured by multiplying the power of the eyepiece by the power of the objective lens.

The other type of microscope is called a stereo or dissecting microscope. It uses two eyepieces and two paired objectives. There are models that have full zooming capability and models that just have only two magnification settings. It is particularly useful for biologists performing dissections, technicians building or repairing circuit boards, paleontologists cleaning and examining fossils or any one who needs to work with their hands on small objects such as rocks and bugs. It may use a built in light source from above, below, or none at all. Magnification is usually from 10X to 40X.

By researching and purchasing used microscopes you open up a much greater range of instruments available to you. You can now purchase an instrument with many more accessories for much less money. Just make sure to do your homework ahead of time so that you know what to expect for the money you pay.
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