Features: Two eyepieces give a stereo three dimensional view. Upright image. Low magnification eg (5 - 40X) with a good depth of field.
Many of the most fascinating subjects to study need only magnifications of 10 - 40X to enjoy and you can relate what you see to the subject. Probably a better purchase for the beginner than a compound microscope
The simplest stereo microscope
1) eyepieces, each eye sees a different view for the stereo effect
2) objectives, often fixed in the cheapest microscope, typical total magnification with the eyepieces 8 - 10X. (Total Magnification = eyepiece x objective magnifications).
3) focusing knob
4) simple stage for the sample, requires an external light or needs to be used near a window
Guide price 75 - 100 UK pounds.
A more versatile stereo microscope
1) eyepieces, note that they are angled for more comfortable viewing
2) objectives, these are interchangeable and are typically available as 1X, 2X, 4X etc to give 10X, 20X, 40X magnification with 10X eyepieces.
3) Focusing knob plus height adjustment on stand for larger or smaller objects
4) Built-in lighting: both top lighting (for opaque specimens) and a lamp in the base for transparent objects (eg pond water in a glass dish).
5) Toggle switch to change from top (incident) lighting or base (transmitted ) lighting
On cheaper models the objectives slide in and out on a dovetail mount. On more expensive models two objectives rotate on a turret.
Guide price 200 - 250+ UK pounds depending on maker and specification.
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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.