The purpose of microscopes in general is to enhance resolution, this can apply to an object or image under the scope. A stereo microscope (also known as a dissecting microscope) uses two separate optical paths to give different viewing angles to the left and right eye, resulting in a 3D image of the sample. This type of image is essential for a wide range of industries including watch-making, electronic circuit boards, dissection and microsurgery, the medical industry. Stereo microscopes are also widely used in engineering, biology and forensics.
Other types of microscope available are digital, which use a monitor to display the image rather than looking through a lens and the compound microscope, which use a “compound” optical system consisting of an eyepiece and objective lens.
There are a wide range and variety of features and specifications across our choices, so you are sure to find something that suits you. The following are our top 5 currently available on Amazon.
Let’s start with #5…
#5 AmScope SM-3BZ-80S 3.5X-90X Boom Stand Binocular Zoom Stereo Microscope on Boom + 80 LED Light
Our first choice is the AmScope SM-3BZ-80S Binocular Zoom Stereo Microscope with 3.5X-90X Boom Stand and is priced towards the middle end of the price spectrum. It represents excellent value for money, being heavily discounted at less than a third of its retail value of $1600. This microscope has some great features and its 3.5X-90X continuous zoom power is more than most instruments in the same price range. It has a super widefield of view (2-1/2″ 65mm) and high resolution, with sharp, clear images and a large 26:1 zoom range. Illumination is provided by 60 LEDs and is bright and even as well as being surprisingly cool. The microscope is perfect for use in the electronics and semiconductor industries as well as engravers, scientists and researchers.
#4 AmScope SE306R-AZ-E2 20X-40X-80X Digital Binocular Stereo Microscope with Top & Bottom Dual Light Illumination System 2.0MP USB Imager Digital Camera
Our next pick is the AmScope SE306R-AZ-E2 20X-40X-80X Digital Binocular Stereo Microscope. It offers a broad field of view with high resolution and good depth and has a special feature in that it comes complete with a 2 Megapixel digital camera (USB). As well as taking still images, the camera can stream video onto a computer (Mac/Windows). Magnification power setting is adjustable between three settings, 20X, 40X and 80X and there is a choice of illuminating the object from the top (incident) for three-dimensional objects or bottom (transmitted) for viewing slides. This is a highly versatile stereo microscope which is great for examining any 3D object, from electronic components, plants, rocks and insects to jewelry and coins and stamps. Whilst being perfect for use in the geology, archaeology, forestry and biology industries it is also highly suilable for use in schools and hospitals.
#3 Celestron 44202 Advanced Stereo Microscope
Next up is the Celestron Advanced Stereo Microscope which has the power to create incredibly realistic three dimensional images. This awesome piece of equipment uses two distinct light paths and two eyepieces to achieve amazing images in life-like 3D. This machine is for the advanced low power user but at a price that will suit most budgets and comes complete with two 10x wide field eyepieces giving 20mm field of view, as well as both 2X and 4X object lenses. Magnification options are 20X and 40X power and there is both top and bottom illumination from the halogen lights. The viewing head lets you view in any position thanks to its 360 degree rotation and the binocular head is inclined for maximum comfort. Again this scope has a wide variety of uses, including being excellent for die making, watchmaking, engraving, jewelry making/repairing, stamps and coin collectors/dealers, students and scientists.
#2 AmScope SE400-Z 10X-20X Widefield Binocular Inspection Stereo Microscope on Boom Arm Stand
The AmScope SE400-Z has proved to be one of the most popular stereo microscopes on the market and ranks very highly in terms of customer satisfaction. Although a more basic instrument than some others in the review, this scope is ideal for use in industries like soldering, dental services and circuit board repair. Magnification levels of 10X and 20X are achieved through two sets of widefield eyepieces and one objective lens and the instrument can be adjusted to suit veariations in the eye. The user will have a comfortable experience in using the SE400-Z as it is set at the optimum 45 degree angle and has rubber eye guards to help prevent any eye strain. X- and Z-axis adjustment is provided by the head, mounted on a 12″ boom-arm stand and there is a 9″ working distance.
#1 AmScope SE306R-PZ 20x 40x 80x Home School Student Dissecting Binocular Stereo Microscope with Incident and Transmitted Dual Light Illumination System
Our number one selection is another AmScope model, the binocular pillar-stand SE306R-PZ. This dissecting binocular stereo microscope has three levels of magnification power – 20X, 40X and 80X and has both top and bottom illumination. The top (incident) lighting is used when you need the light to be shining down on a three dimensional object being viewed and the bottom ( transmitted) light is used for viewing slides on the stage plate. It is equally perfect for home school student use as it is in the many industrial and eductional environments it is used in. Its ability to examine the surface details of a wide range of materials such as metal, solder, semiconductor, wood and stone makes it an unbeatable choice for jewelers, watchmakers, engravers as well as schools, colleges and hospitals. This is a high quality microscope at a very affordable price and comes brand new and factory sealed in the box.
Some of the terms used in the above reviews are:
Binocular – two eyepieces
Magnification – Size of an image
Resolution – Image clarity (determined by field of view / numerical aperture / working distance)
Fixed focus – Fixed distance between lens and image
LED / Fluorescent / Mirror / Halogen – Light sources for control of image viewing