If you just read our ranking of the best microscopes of the moment, you will understand that there are many different models. Type, functionality, purpose, lighting, type of power supply, materials … everything is used by manufacturers to make a difference compared to their competitors. However, it is important to focus on what matters to you in a microscope.
How to choose a microscope
A microscope is really the dream object of explorers and curious people as well as professional scientists. But a biologist’s microscope will not be suitable for a 10-year-old who could break it, have trouble handling it, and will not use all the options. Just as a biologist would have little use of a toy microscope with limited functionality and precision. It is important to know what you want to do with your microscope to choose the model that best fits your expectations so that it does not end in oblivion after the first use. Here are some criteria that can help you define your needs.
Another great criterion of differentiation when choosing a microscope is the head of the microscope, which can be straight or inclined.
– Fixed or straight head: simple optics. It is not the platinum that moves to focus, but the head of the microscope. The use is great for kids because it is simpler even though it is less accurate.
– Head inclined (30 or 35 degrees), with these models, it is the platter that moves so the focus is more precise.
The objective can be achromatic and help correct the color defects of the image, or plan-achromatic, which will do the same thing and rectify in addition the flatness around.
The choice of a microscope can be done almost solely on the lens since it is he who will define the magnification ratio and give the first image that you will be able to observe. It is often a 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x, or 100x magnification compared to the actual size. The magnification ratio is not the magnification force or the ratio of the image size to the actual size of the object, but the magnification force is calculated by multiplying the objective force and strength of the eyepiece.
Think about the types of things you want to watch. If you want to zoom in on sheet objects or other objects for children, you will not need a large magnification ratio. On the other hand, if you want to observe cells very closely, it is a different choice that is offered to you.
The eyepiece is in addition to the objective. This is where you stick your eye to observe, and it works like a magnifying glass thanks to the lenses of which it is made. It is he who allows to magnify even more the image given by the lens and to make the image clear. There are several types of eyepieces:
– Ocular to Huyen: with their simple optics and reduced field of view, this is the type of eyepiece often found on amateur microscopes. Great for kids.
– Micrometric eyepiece, which measures the dimensions of what you observe to compare measurements. Convenient if you need this!
– Wide-field eyepiece. As its name suggests, this type of eyepiece is often found on higher-range microscopes, since their optics are better and the field of view is developed. Real comfort for the user warns, but a luxury for the amateurs!
– Secure eye, which prevents falls or theft. Yes, the eyepiece is a piece that reports on the market!
When we talk about functionality in a microscope, we mostly want to talk about debugging commands. Are they easy to access? Simple to use?
Focus controls are used to change the distance between the deck and the lens to form a sharp picture.
Also in terms of functionality, we will look at how microscopic preparations are fixed. The simple microscopes with valets, they are often found in schools in biology: they are the most simple models of use for fixation. On the other hand, it is difficult to make precise manipulations. There are otherwise microscopes with overhang, allowing precise movement, but manipulations are more difficult to perform.
Another essential criterion of the microscope is lighting. On the cheapest models for beginners, the lighting is simply in daylight (mirror, wireless). It is very good during the day, and especially to take in the garden but at night … They are not usable! Otherwise, other models use LED light that is white and rather cold but that lasts a long time or halogen that is yellow and therefore similar to natural light.
A microscope is still an investment. So choose a resistant model that will not let go in the minute, which will not break at first. The materials are important, plastic or steel makes a real difference.
I’m afraid this list is non-exhaustive. But you understand the idea: there is a lot that your microscope can do for you if you wish, and if you choose it well. It’s your turn!