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Old 11-23-2014, 07:29 AM   #1
B.E. Coyote OP
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Anybody able to give me some guidance on microscopes?

My son wants one for Christmas. He is only 11 but gifted and I do my best to encourage him.

I have a budget of $250. I don't want a child's scope. Looking for something of enough quality that an adult would use.

I love the idea of the camera but if that is something that can be added later I would rather put the money into a quality scope and add that later.

How is this one?
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:08 AM   #2
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That scope in the link is a dead ringer for the $20K Olympus scope I use at work. I think for what you are looking for that should do fine. It is nice to have an adjustable condenser (sits just below the stage and focuses the light through the slide) which would make it easier to look at moving microorganisms in pond water etc. as well as thin sections on slides, but this one will still work for that just not as well. You could look into the used scope market to get more bang for your buck, but I think at the price point you are looking at there won't be a big used market and the best you could do is a beater which would probably end up being a headache. You might also look at the Nasco site to see what they have.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:20 AM   #3
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I'm not a microscope expert and I'm not going to pretend to be one.


You're doing a great thing for your kid. Having a microscope around during my upbringing has had a profound impact on who I am today. My Mom was a research Chemist and like you did a lot to encourage us to seek answers. There was always a microscope in the living room.

I have written more about this in depth several times- Most recently I wrote about my microscope in an admissions essay for nursing school.

Good luck!
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:12 AM   #4
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Thanks guys! Have to be careful around the house, I have already discovered our good drinking glasses full of canal water in our refrigerator.

I'll go ahead and order that scope in the link.

It will allow me to add this correct? I think being able to share and save what he sees would make it 10x better for him.
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Old 11-23-2014, 01:27 PM   #5
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Going to weigh in on the high power objective. Clean it every time it gets used with oil, the slides too. There is a reason high school bio scopes don't come with 100-200x objectives.

That said, I don't think you could begin to touch a scope with so many features even on the used market. As for digital camera, as long as it is HD and has the proper adaptor, it will make great things into great, exciting stories.

Nomination for best dad ever!
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Old 11-23-2014, 01:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by adam_c_eckhardt View Post
There was always a microscope in the living room.
This might be the best thing I've ever heard from someone who was talking about their childhood. Truly awesome.

I think I will do my best, to make sure my daughter has that opportunity growing up.
Originally Posted by Motomedic View Post
Shortly afterward, I heard the voice of God. He said, and I quote, "Dumbass."
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:37 PM   #7
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No thoughts on brand names. One thing I would consider is light source. Pretty much all scopes are set up with a light below the table for viewing transparent slides. Great feature for sure but especially kids like to look at stuff light doesn't exactly pass through. I'm thinking bugs, leaves, whatever and an above slide/table light source illuminating downward is a good thing. You're kid isn't looking to discover the atom, he/she just want a better look at normal stuff in "their" world so don't need MEGA-X power optics. They DO need lotsa light and ease of use. To start out keep it simple,useful and practical for their needs and if they show continued interest you can always upgrade next Christmas, birthday.
Cool idea dad.
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Old 11-23-2014, 03:10 PM   #8
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Make sure you get a scope that has the magnification you really want.

More mag needs more light and the depth of field gets REALLY small. Unless you are really trying to look at small things, bacteria for example, you can get away with less for more money.

I find we use a field scope more than a true microscope it goes from 5x - 20x. It is also binocular so the depth of field is really good.

This is all for use with my daughters 6 and 8 (both gifted).

That is a sweet scope you have picked by the way (I think). I like the movable stage, that is a HUGE plus when the magnification gets high.

I forgot to add. Both of our scopes are mine, I use the low power one for work with surface mount circuits and my higher powered one I picked up as a teenager at a garage sale..... I keep thinking of get the girls their own.
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mud screwed with this post 11-23-2014 at 03:28 PM
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Old 11-24-2014, 05:42 PM   #9
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I have seen good Leitz scopes on craigslist, bet eBay is same, should be affordable. I don't know giggly shite But I got to play with a stereoscope once, very cool.

Look for dual eyepieces, easier on the eyes.
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There's casting, then there's running into the stream with a baseball bat trying to club the fish to death. - Jim Moore
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