Best dissecting microscopes for botanical subjects?

Tim Eck
Sat, 08 Feb 2014 11:15:58 PST
Hi Ellen,
The standard solution is a "stereo-zoom" scope with a trinocular head.  But
you can save a lot of money by finding one with a "magnichanger" instead of
a zoom system.  The third eyepiece should accept a c-mount camera which you
can buy on eBay dirt cheap nowadays.  I just purchased a TUCSEN 3.0 MP
MICROSCOPE C-MOUNT VIDEO DIGITAL CAMERA for $139.  I chose this one because
it had nearly 3 meg resolution at a live frame rate (25 frames per second)
while the 10 meg camera was closer to one meg live.  (this isn't unusual as
the smaller pixels take longer to charge).  
It is worth mentioning that you shouldn't be enticed to use this sort of
scope above 100X because the tradeoff between depth of field and resolution
makes for poor results except on very thin or planar samples which standard
microscopes are designed to handle much better.
Also, this sort of scope requires oblique illumination or dark field for
most unmounted specimens, but the open structure facilitates this.  Bright
field is for flat, stained slides, etc.  Other contrast modes are generally
not available for this sort of scope. 
I bought a Russian made Lomo scope several years ago but you should be able
to get a 'pretty good' Chinese scope for a few hundred bucks.  The first
scope I bought was for my use at work 35 years ago and came to $65,000, so I
put 'pretty good' in quotes.  
Remember to be willing to sacrifice a continuous zoom for a thumbwheel that
switches among discrete magnification steps if you want to save money.
Be glad to comment off line on specific scopes you find.
Aren't water bears only found in captivity (aquaria)?  I once read an
article about a new phylum described that was only found on Norwegian
lobster lips - I wonder what became of that?

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Ellen Hornig
Sent: Saturday, February 08, 2014 12:46 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: [pbs] Best dissecting microscopes for botanical subjects?

Hello all.  I'd be very grateful if someone who knows whereof they speak
would give me a few pointers for choosing a dissecting microscope with which
to study mosses, plant parts etc..  It's time to take my plant studies to a
different level. Recommendations re particular brands as well as
specifications are most welcome.  I will admit to being particularly
attracted to the ones that have a small camera for moving the microscope
image to a screen.

Ever since I read about tardigrades (water bears), I have been consumed with
a desire to see one....


Ellen Hornig
212 Grafton St
Shrewsbury MA 01545

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