A stereo microscope is a type of optical microscope that's designed for examining 3D objects at much lower magnification. They use light reflected from the surface of an object, rather than light shone through it (like a compound microscope does). It's often called a stereoscopic or dissecting microscope.
You can read more about what a stereo microscope is here.
Stereo microscopes are used for examining larger specimens in 3D that are unable to fit on a slide. The specimens are usually opaque (light cannot pass through them). They can be used to view insects, crystals, plant life, circuit boards, and other samples. This is compared to a compound microscope, which is designed when specimens can fit on a slide.
Zoom stereo microscopes are already equipped with a stand, viewing head/pod, eyepieces, and illumination. They’re ideal for education or hobbyist use, but can also be appropriate for light industrial use.
This type of system will allow one to configure stands, illumination systems, and with the proper microscope, supplemental lenses and eyepieces, magnifications approaching 400x can be achieved.
These are stereo microscopes combined with a digital microscope camera, to be used for inspection and quality control, offering a live video and/or computer screen, that’s fully equipped with comprehensive software.
A basic stereo microscope starts from around $79, but the price range changes if you add features, and at the high end a Stereo Fluorescence Microscope can cost upwards of $23,000.
Here we go over our top picks for each type of Stereo Microscope.
A few of our best-selling compound microscopes include:
- The Labomed Luxeo 2S Microscope is a modular, 2-step binocular microscope with a superb optical system. Sturdy focusing controls and ergonomic magnification toggle controls ensure the efficiency and safety of the microscope’s users. A feature-rich system, a modern design, and an economical price culminate in unparalleled value in the world of routine macro-inspection microscopy.
- The Meiji EM-33 Trinocular Zoom Microscope meets the demands for an advanced, entry-level, Zoom Trinocular style microscope, featuring a built-in 0.7-4.5x zoom objective that gives the user 7.0x-45x magnification with the standard 10x eyepiece. This microscope comes equipped with LED illumination in a stable, large footprint design and a comfortable carrying grip for easy portability. The stand is made out of metal cast alloy and has a rack and pinion design with coarse adjustment and tension control.
- The UNITRON Z730 Binocular Zoom Microscope on a Flex Arm Stand is an ideal choice for industrial inspection, assembly, quality control, OEM integration, research, and education applications. Featuring outstanding optics and a large field of view with a high depth of focus, the Z730 reduces sample handling times, allowing for faster inspections and a more efficient work process.
- The ACCU-SCOPE 3052-GEM Stereo Gemological Microscope is compact and easily transportable, making it ideal for the gemologist on the go. It’s a simple, cost-effective solution for the discerning gemologist looking for a great value at an affordable price. You can easily observe loose stones with the included wire stone holder or view rings with the optional ring holder (sold separately). The included wire stone holder swings out for easier gemstone changing and rotates for viewing at any angle.
- The OPTIKA MS-2 Monoscope Monocular Microscope is designed to satisfy every educational and hobbyist need. It was assembled according to the best technical standards. Thanks to its transparency, quality, and depth, the optical system is at the top of its category.
The ACCU-SCOPE EXS-210 Stereo Microscope represents excellent value and ease of use. It offers sharp images, rechargeable LED illumination, and effortless focusing. The stand is sturdy and has a built-in handle for easy portability. This is a great choice for students of all levels and light industrial inspections.
The Meiji EM-60 Binocular Stereo Zoom Microscope consists of a 10" pole stand, 360° rotatable head, and 16" dual arm LED illumination. It offers 7x-45x magnification with a zoom ratio of 6.4:1 and working distance of 100mm (4"). The flexible design and quality construction makes this microscope a great choice for a variety of applications.
For live video and image capture, the Scienscope SSZ-II Stereo Zoom Microscope is a cost-effective solution. The microscope features a dual arm boom stand, 1080p HDMI/USB camera, high intensity LED ring light, and 23" HD monitor. Every component is designed for high performance and durability.
Here are some common questions you may also have when buying a stereo microscope:
The difference between a stereo and compound microscope comes down to magnification level and sample type. A compound microscope is usually used for samples that you can’t see with the naked eye, displayed on a slide. Whereas a stereo microscope tends to use a large sample that’s often opaque, and is used to see 3D objects in more detail.
You can achieve a magnification of 400x if you configure a stereo microscope the right way.
There are two types of magnification systems in a stereo microscope, Fixed and Zoom.
Fixed magnification is achieved using a paired set of objective lenses with a set degree of magnification.
Zoom magnification is capable of a continuously variable degree of magnification across the set range of the microscope.
You can also adjust magnification by changing the microscope eyepiece.
To see bacteria on a stereo microscope you need to achieve a 400x level of magnification.
A stereo microscope consists of the ocular lens (the eyepiece that you look through), and the objective lens (the main optical lens that’s closest to the sample).
The main limitation of a stereo microscope is the low level of magnification when compared to a compound microscope.
If you have a stereo microscope that can connect to a microscope camera than it can be used to take a picture of your sample.
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