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How to Choose a Microscope

You may not have Superman's x-ray vision, but the power to see what escapes the naked eye is yours with a microscope selected to match your curiosity.


  • Step 1: Determine use Determine whether you will choose a microscope for looking at small things and require a high-power model, or larger items like coins and stamps and need a low-power model.
  • TIP: Low-power microscopes magnify objects up to 120 times, while high-powered models magnify objects up to 1,000 times.
  • Step 2: Identify user Identify whether the user will be a child, teenager, or adult to choose between a toy microscope, a student, or research model.
  • TIP: Choose microscopes based on resolution detail rather than magnification for the best quality.
  • Step 3: Examine features Examine features and mechanics, deciding on a compound model with magnifying lenses mounted in a rotating arm to view two-dimensional objects, or a stereo microscope with two eyepieces to view three-dimensional objects.
  • Step 4: Consider digital Consider a digital microscope if you wish to display images on a computer, manipulate images, and share images.
  • Step 5: Consider illumination Consider the light source when you choose microscopes, keeping in mind that LED illumination is cool to better preserve specimens.
  • Step 6: Consider your budget Consider your budget in your decision, noting that a toy model costs about $100, while costs for adult and research models run hundreds of dollars.
  • Step 7: Assess the package Assess the package to learn what accessories are included in the price and what else you may need to buy. Now, armed with your new microscope, you'll make great discoveries!
  • FACT: Dutch inventor of the microscope, Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, was a jack-of-all-trades and at one time served as estate trustee for his contemporary, the painter Johannes Vermeer.

You Will Need

  • Purpose
  • User
  • Features and mechanics
  • Budget
  • Accessories

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