Introductory microscopes especially for the youngster

Features: low magnification (eg 10 - 20X), large simple controls, no sample preparation, single eyepiece, upright image.

In addition to the two standard designs of microscope ie the stereo and compound, there are microscopes that fit into neither category but are especially designed for the youngster.

Note that these introductory microscopes use only one eye which can be a benefit for the very young who may not be able to adjust two eyepieces close enough together for satisfactory use.

The design on the right is no more expensive than one of the toy microscopes we suggest you avoid. But this design differs from most toys as it has a low magnification (20X), provides an upright image and is large and simple enough for the youngster to use. They can relate what they see to the subject.

Objects can be placed on the stage either just as they are or mounted on a piece of card. Turning the bottom lens and/or adjusting the height on the pillar gives fine and coarse focusing. The larger toy / educational shops or science museum shops may sell this or similar. Guide price less than 30 UK pounds.

A similar design which could last a long time is shown left but of metal construction with rack and pinion focusing and better optics. The angled eyepiece also allows more comfortable viewing. A microscope dealer or schools supplier may offer a model of this type.

This model is also suitable for any beginner wishing to buy a good basic microscope, although investing a little more for one with stereo eyepieces is worthwhile to give three dimensional views.

Guide price 60 UK pounds.

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The author Dave Walker would welcome comments on how this advice page can be improved, the opinions are those of the author.

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