The Best Microscopes for Microphotography

Swift SW350B microscope overview
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There is a fascinating world that is invisible to the human eye. We are getting to know a new thing about this world with every passing day, all thanks to microphotography.

Microphotography is the type of photography that requires a microscope to photograph objects with a magnification more significant than a standard lens used with cameras.

Microphotography played a considerable role in development and progress in the scientific aspect, medical, technological, and several other fields. Today the science and technology know the phenomena behind the working of physical and mechanical processes. Science couldn’t have made this far if the microphotography did not exist in the first place.

What is microphotography?

Microphotography is also the process through which the size of a photograph is lessened and diminish. This reduction of the format is to the extent that it can only be viewed using a microscope.

The introduction must have cleared that microphotography requires a must use of a microscope; regular lenses and cameras cannot accomplish the desired results on their own because this type of photography involves capturing the objects that can only be viewed when magnified.

Camera knowledge is essential for photography, but in this domain, adequate knowledge about microscopes is also necessary.

Types of microfilms

It all might seem very technical and challenging, but all you need is little practice to be a master in the subtle art of microphotography. The process is straightforward. To preserve the images of the specimen, the photographer uses a particular negative known as microfilm to save the pictures.

Microfilm is a photographic record used in microphotography. Different types of microfilms are Silver Halide Film, Polarity reversing film, Direct duplicating film, Vesicular Film, Diazo Film, and Microform. After that, he has to decide how he wants to photograph the subject i.e., using the way of Linear Array or a Two Dimensional Array.

When shooting microscopic images, other crucial pieces of gear beside microscopes are a fiber optic light to supply light and brighten up the micro object, a DSLR camera, a macro lens, extension tubes, and a tripod.

The progress in science and other related aspects could not be possible without this form of photography. It turned out the source, which allowed scientists to produce a hard copy for research records and publication.

Not only that, but it also has a part in reprints and development of the libraries. Rapid expansion in research also the reason the microphotography industry is growing. If you are a beginner in this field or looking forward to being a part of it, this article is for you. We are going to cover five not very costly but efficient microscopes for microphotography.

The Best Microscopes for Microphotography

Spending a fraction of the cost is necessary to buy a microscope. If you also believe in this statement, you might start thinking differently as you will proceed with this article. Without a good microscope, it is impossible to record an image for both artistic and scientific purposes permanently.

In the market, there is a variety of microscopes available in different price ranges ranging from 200$ to as much as 200,000$. Today, we selected five of the best microscopes for microphotography, which are low priced but can help you produce incredible results.

If you are a beginner, you should go for buying one of these instead of spending a bundle of bucks on expensive options.

The five microscopes we are going to cover are:

  1. The Apex Researcher Microscope
  2. Bresser Microscope Biolux
  3. Swift SW350B
  4. Andonstar 5 inch Screen 1080P
  5. Solomark Biological Microscope

The next sections are going to cover these microscopes separately with their specifications, details, pros, and cons. Let’s began with it:

The Apex Researcher Microscope

The first microscope made into our list of the best microscopes for microphotography is The Apex Researcher Microscope. If you go through its reviews available on the internet or market, the probability of finding a negative one is very low.

It is an equipment for people looking for a high quality, reasonably priced tool. About built, it is made using high-quality metal, and physical dimensions are round about 46.2 cm x 29.8 cm x 20.8 cm (L x W x H).

Talking about the main thing of a microscope i.e., objective, The Apex Researcher Microscope comes with the x4, x10, x40, and x100 RMS DIN standard objectives. The manufacturer didn’t compromise on the quality of these objectives at all, and the optics stay pretty sharp no matter at which resolution you are operating.

The two available eyepieces of x10 and x20 are capable of giving a magnification range of x40 to x2000. Built of these eyepieces are also great, and lenses are very clear. The maximum magnification provided by this microscope is the most you can get from any microscope in this price range.

As magnification increases, the working distance decreases, yet results stay outstanding and bright. Overall, as we noticed, you can get the most exceptional results between the magnification levels of 100x to 1000x.

The binocular head (head that has two eyepiece lenses) is effortless to use even for kids in their school laboratories. The eyepieces in the head have a diopter. The diopter adjustment allows you to make little corrections to the image and eliminate difference which can occur in observation because of the difference of vision between the eyes of the observer.

It is a great help for people who wear glasses because of their vision impairment.

On the Mechanical stage to move slides back and forth on two horizontal planes, there are drop down stage coaxial controls. It also has vernier scales (for slide position reference) to help in identifying and observing the relative physical position of a specimen under observation.

 

The Apex Researcher Microscope

 

To enlighten the object, there is an LED illumination. It ensures the flicker-free supply of light during your recording. These lights also do not emit any heat means there is no shift in temperature.

When you are working at the micro-level, the slightest shift in temperature can cause a big difference. If you are shooting a micro-organism and all of the temperature is shifted to higher or lower, the chances are that tiny organisms will also show the difference in its properties. It can invalidate your overall observation.

To ensure a sharp impression while utilizing the 100x aim, the immersion oil is provided. A microscope is all about its resolution; Oil immersion is a technique used to increase the resolving power of a microscope.

In this process, both the objective lens and the specimen are immersed in a transparent oil of a high refractive index. Engaging in this oil increases the numerical aperture of the objective lens. To work correctly as per physics laws, all microscopes require this amount of magnification, so Apex gave importance to this feature.

There are some other features in this microscope. It has an internal rechargeable battery. Also, there is a focusing Abbe condenser with iris diaphragm and filter carrier. You can attach several accessories to these microscopes to make it perform several functions such as Photography adapter, Digital camera adapter, and measuring equipment.

These accessories do not come with the package, but the manufacturer does send a free starters pack of slides, including blank slides and cover-free slides. An aluminum case for the device is also delivered with a package to keep it dust-free.

In short, it is a microscope with a 50% price but 100% features.

Specifications:

  • Brand Name: Apex Microscopes
  • Part Number: Apex
  • Item Package Dimensions L x W x H: 46.2 cm x 29.8 cm x 20.8 cm
  • Package Weight: 4.26 Kilograms
  • Eyepieces: x10 and x20.
  • Magnification range: x40 to x2000
  • Stage: mechanical stage with vernier scales
  • Lighting: LED
  • Head: Binocular
  • Diaphragm: Abbe condenser with iris diaphragm
  • Available extras: Photography adapter – Digital camera adapter – Measuring equipment and an excellent specially designed aluminum case to keep your microscope clean and safe

Pros:

  • The x4, x10, x40, x100 RMS DIN standard objectives are of excellent quality
  • Inbuilt LED lighting for illuminating
  • Easy to use
  • Easily rotatable head
  • Focus control is excellent.
  • Abbe condenser
  • Iris diaphragm
  • Comes with a set of starter prepared slides including blank slides and coverslip slides
  • Optics are very sharp

Cons:

  • Lack of ability to align the iris diaphragm and condenser

Bresser Microscope Biolux

BRESSER BIOLUX NV 20X-1280X microscope with HD USB camera, zoom system, magnification of 20x-1280x, two eyepieces, three objectives, 2x Barlow lens, five prepared slides, five blank slides, microscope cutlery, PC-Ocular, dust cover, and a hard case is our second microscope in the list of best microscopes for microphotography.

Using this microscope, you can dive into the micro world hidden from the human eye. The optical magnification offered by Biolux ranges from 20x to impressive 1280x. Most of the body of this monocular microscope is made up of Aluminum, and some parts are made up of high-quality plastic.

It weighs only 1.1 kg making it one of the lightest ones in our list. Not only light-weight, but it is also convenient to shift it from one place to another because of its physical dimensions; 10.63” x 5.91” x 4.13″.

About the eyepiece’s, on the top of the body, there are two eyepieces with the 5x and 16x magnification. These are interchangeable. The one with 5x works well with the slightly larger specimen and the objects which are tiny but visible, whereas the 16x magnification objective is ideal for the small specimen.

The Barlow lens enhances the magnification of the eyepiece. This Barlow lens is the most common 2x one; a concave lens directly placed between an objective lens and the eyepiece of the device, which doubles up the magnification.Bresser Microscope Biolux

 

At the topmost, there sits a three-position nosepiece. These hold the 4x, 10x, and 40x objectives. As it is monocular, its only head sits at the ergonomic position of 45 degrees.

The thing which makes Bresser Microscope Biolux different from others is its HD USB eyepiece camera. You can view your results and observations directly on the PC screen using a USB cable (comes with the package) that connects to a Windows computer running the included software suite.

The software is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10. You can also record your observation and easily share them via wired connectivity between microscope and PC. The maximum resolution offered is 1280 x 720p, and the supported file format is JPEG.

Though wireless connectivity is not supported by this model but Bresser can consider it in its upcoming models.

For efficient and effective results, an illumination source of a variable LED light is included. It gives incident and cool light without raising the temperature. A filter wheel is also attached to it to control the intensity of the light to provide the ideal light for samples.

Light from above is especially important to observe non-transparent samples. To work correctly, it needs power from the batteries. 3AA batteries come with the package for this purpose. A little particle of dust is capable of ruining the overall magnification of a microscope if it somehow manages to reach the objective lens.

To avoid this issue, a dust case is also sent by manufacturers. The device perfectly fits in this case.

Specifications:

This section has information about every aspect of this microscope.

  • Dimensions: 10.63 x 5.91 x 4.13″ or 27 x 15 x 10.5 cm
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs. or 1.1 kg
  • Material: Aluminum and Plastic
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Battery: 3 x AA
  • Display: No
  • Interpupillary Adjustment: None
  • Microscope Type: Compound
  • Head: 45° Inclined Monocular
  • Nosepiece: 3-Position Nosepiece
  • Optical Magnification: 20x to 1280x
  • Objective: 4x to 40x
  • Eyepiece: 5x and 16x Wide Field
  • Max Resolution: 1280 x 720
  • Image File Format: JPEG
  • Focusing: Coarse
  • File Format: AVI
  • Illumination Type: -Top: 1 x LED, -Bottom: 1 x LED
  • Dimmer: Yes
  • Wired Connectivity: USB
  • Wireless Connectivity: None
  • Memory Card Type: not supported
  • Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 7, 8, 10

Pros:

  • Good optical quality
  • The eyepiece can be rotated to 360 degree
  • Complete value for money
  • Illumination can be adjusted from dim to high
  • Pictures can be screenshot and file using the disk which comes with it
  • Comes with several useful accessories

Cons:

  • Lack of magnification and illumination at the highest magnification target of 40x
  • The absence of a complete manual is felt
  • Impossibility of using the two eyepieces available (wide-field 5x and 10x) without the Barlow lens
  • Higher magnifications are very dark. The camera produces a chromatic aberration on higher magnifications

SWIFT SW350B

Swift is one of the well-known producers in the microscope manufacturing sector. Their most popular series of microscopes SW350 is available in both Trinocular (350T) and binocular (350). In this part of the article, we are reviewing 350B.

350B is built with all-metal, and its physical dimensions are around 33 cm x 23 cm x 46 cm. The 360 degree rotatable binocular Siedentopf head consists of two eyepieces in its nose piece, with 10x magnification and the other with 25x magnification. 10x eyepiece is commonly found in all microscopes, but 25x one is great for viewing the micro-objects.

The space between these two eyepieces can easily be adjusted without the use of any accessory or tool. Adjusting this space allows for eye spacing from 48 mm to 75 mm. The observer can also adjust eyepieces according to his vision.

These two eyepieces come up with four objective lenses to provide different magnifications. The power of these lenses is 4X, 10X, 40X (Spring), 100X (Spring, Oil). These are parfocal; you can switch the lens, but you won’t lose the focus on the object.

The magnification range offered is also better than competitors. It has 6 levels: 40X, 100X, 250X, 400X, 1000X, 2500X. The first five levels give out precise and perfect results. Beyond the limit of 1000x, everything keeps getting blur as you increase the magnification.

 

Swift SW350B microscope

 

The image quality offered is also very high. Different tests showed that the image results by 350B and some other expensive microscopes have very little notable difference. For microphotography, the camera can easily be attached to the Swift SW350B by removing one of the eyepieces and attaching a camera with it.

To illuminate the object or specimen, a 1 watt LED bulb is attached below the headpiece. On the side of the microscope base, there is a brightness control knob so the user can adjust the amount of light as per requirement. Using an LED bulb in microscopes instead of a Halogen bulb is very useful.

Those bulbs emit heat which raises the temperature and can destroy your object. In the micro-world, little variation in temperature can cause significant differences.

The mechanical stage is 130x130mm wide with rack stop. The stage has knobs that safely yet firmly hold the slides. Slides can be moved in horizontal x and y range. Stage x-y travel range is 70x30mm. There is an elegant and coarse focusing knob placed on each side of the microscope.

The knobs also operate smoothly and allow you to adjust the focus precisely without putting any extra effort.

This easy to use microscope comes with few accessories to make your experience more fun and easy. These accessories include one pair WF10X eyepieces, one pair WF25X eyepieces, 1 sample immersion oil (working mechanism of immersion oil is explained prior), one blue filter (useful in imaging), dust cover, the spare fuse of an LED bulb, and a User manual in English.

Specifications:

  • Microscope Type: Compound
  • Item Dimensions L x W x H: 33 cm x 23 cm x 46 cm
  • Brand name: SWIFT
  • Manufacturer Part Number: SW350B
  • Eyepiece: two. 10X and 25X
  • Objective lenses: 4: 4X, 10X, 40X (Spring), 100X (Spring, Oil)
  • Magnification levels: 40X, 100X, 250X, 400X, 1000X, 2500X
  • Head: 360-degree rotatable binocular Siedentopf
  • Interpupillary distance: 48-75mm
  • Adjustable ocular diopter: +/- 5dp
  • Mechanical stage: 130x130mm, with rack stop
  • Stage x-y travel range: 70x30mm
  • Abbe condenser: NA 1.25 with iris diaphragm
  • Base: coaxial coarse and fine focus knobs
  • Transmitted illumination: with 1W LED bulb, adjustable brightness
  • Power supply: 110-240V power input

Pros:

  • Ergonomic design with durable metal built. Parts assemble at angles which help to avoid neck and body strains.
  • Six magnification levels up to 2500x
  • LED light is good and manually adjustable
  • Lightweight. It can be transported easily. Handle at the side to hold it
  • Comfortable to use, robust, and well-made

Cons:

  • Illumination gets dim when you increase magnification
  • Slide holder swings in some positions

ANDONSTAR 5 INCHES SCREEN 1080P

If you are looking for a digital microscope that has its screen display, that too without breaking your bank, then this one is for you. From the magnification up to 560 times to 12MP photo resolution, 5 inches display to real-time video play via HDMI, 1080P full HD video output to 3 megapixels HD sensor, there are a lot of brilliant features in it to make it a perfect partner for microphotography.

One of the imposing features of this microscope is that it is ready to use when delivering to the user, and the user doesn’t have to spend any effort in setting it up. It is light-weight and its physical dimensions are 20 cm x 12 cm x 26.5 cm.

It has smartly designed and has solidly built as per its specifications. Upon the first look, it is very different as compared to the regular microscope. An LCD screen at the top of the head downwards followed by an objective lens which ends a little above the base of the microscope with two bright LCD lights at left and right tilted towards the bottom to provide illumination to the specimen.

The prime feature of this digital microscope is it’s 5 inches LCD screen. The screen shows pretty vibrant colors and is very clear. You can directly observe the subject and your image or video results on it. Working with ADSM302, there’s no need for a big TV screen or PC and their software to view the micro but relatively more significant objects.

The screen turns bright blue with the words “PC Camera” at the center when it connects to a PC. Maximum magnification offered is 560x (actual magnification is 200x. 200x goes to 560x upon digital zoom). Some competitors are offering better magnification range, but it’s your personal choice that you like their other features better or not.

 

Andonstar 5 inch Screen 1080P

 

As the name shows, it works with the full HD mode of 1080P. A unique infrared remote controller comes with it to control several settings, such as sharpness adjustment. You can enjoy this 1080p resolution only when you connect it to a big-screen LCD.

In the case of connecting the Andonstar microscope with your PC, you can get a maximum resolution of 720p. Talking about resolutions and quality, it’s video and image quality is something to talk about. 3MP HD image sensor ensures quality.

The Video format is a real-time play via HDMI w/o recording and MJPEG recording via computer Software. Windows software is supported, whereas Mac and Linux aren’t. The image format is JPEG, with a maximum photo resolution of 12MP.

The focus range of the objective lens is 5cm to 22cm. Focus works very smoothly and gives superb image quality and max distance too. Besides that, the maximum working distance is slightly above 4.5”. In microphotography, this working distance is considered very good and is enough to do all SMD related work.

For the storage of your images and file, you have to insert an SD card in it (not included in the package). SD card up to 32GB storage capability is supported.

To brighten up the objective, there are two goose-neck LED lights. These two adjustable LED illumination sources shine from both the left side and right sides of your viewing object or specimen. For operation, the microscope needs 5V of DC.

Specifications:

  • Brand: Andonstar
  • Model: ADSM302
  • Microscope Type: Digital Microscope
  • Screen size: 5 inch
  • Image sensor: 3 Mega Pixels HD Sensor
  • Video output: 1080P Full HD (via HDMI) ;720P (via PC)
  • Video format; real-time play via HDMI w/o recording; MJPEG recording via PC Software
  • Magnification: Up to 560 times (HDMI monitor 22 inches)
  • Photo resolution: 12M
  • Photo format: JPEG
  • Focus range: 5cm to 22cm
  • Frame rate Max: 30f/s under 600 Lux Brightness
  • Video-output interface: HDMI/AV
  • Storage: Micro-SD card, up to 32G
  • Power source: 5 volts direct current
  • Light source: 2 LED attached with the stand
  • USB cable: Included
  • HDMI cable: Included
  • PC support: Windows XP/7/8/10; PC software with measurement, MacOS successfully tested under OSX with OBS.
  • Stand size: 20 cm x 12 cm x 26.5 cm
  • Certification: CE/FCC/ROHS/HDMI

Pros:

  • Very crisp images on HDMI display
  • High-resolution video and images quality in the price range
  • Smooth adjustment wheels for focus and height
  • Up to 560 times magnification
  • The heavy base plate keeps the specimen stable.
  • Worth the money
  • Two Flexible LED Illumination Arms with Brightness Control

Cons:

  • Software Does not Support Mac and Linux
  • Video Resolution is very limited. Only works at 640 x 480

SOLOMARK BIOLOGICAL MICROSCOPE

The last microscope on our list is by Solomark. Solomark’s website is not on very technical complexity side, but their microdevices have one or other brand-new feature which make them stand out.

Solomark biological microscope is a Trinocular Compound Microscope having a 40 x to 1600 X magnification level for Professional Biological Lab and field use with 3D Mechanical scene offering double thickness than usual microscopes.

To view the content, there are two eyepieces. First is WF 10x (23mm), and the other is 16x smartphone eyepiece. The second objective is what makes it different from the previously explained four microscopes. Using 16x smartphone eyepiece, you can directly observe the specimen on your mobile or tablet screen. It supports both iOS and Android devices.

With two eyepieces, there are four objectives: DIN 4x,10x, 40x, 100x(Oil), which provide the magnification in-between the range of 40x-1600x. Same as Syma’s one, the magnification isn’t very impressive above 1000x.

Solomark Biological Microscope

 

The eyepieces are attached to the Trinocular head. Achieving precise focus is very easy with it. The focusing system of this microscope is separated coarse. There are fine focusing knobs attached to the sides of the base to control the focus. They are at a very ergonomic position, and you don’t have to move your head from the device to operate them.

On the base, there is a large 3-D double layer mechanical stage. It supports specimens, slides, and objects. On the stage, the slide is controlled by turning two knobs instead of having to move it manually or touching the slide. One knob moves the slide left and right or vertical, the other moves it forward and backward or horizontal.

Just like regular microscopes, Solomark biological microscope has a regular NA 1.25 ABBE condenser and an iris diaphragm. It enables the photographer/observer to select the different diameter of the diaphragm continuously. All he needs to do is to turn the disc of diaphragm around the axis to see maximum lighting for each objective.

Though this microscope is not as good as others, it is the right choice if you are a beginner and want a microscope with the least manual settings.

Specifications:

  • Brand name: SOLOMARK
  • Manufacturer Part Number: Parent-MC003
  • Size: 40x-1600x
  • Type: Trinocular Microscope
  • Pair of eyepieces: WF 10x (23mm) and a 16x smartphone eyepiece
  • Objectives: DIN 4x,10x, 40x, 100x(Oil)
  • Magnification: 40x-1600x.
  • Condenser: 1.25 ABBE Condenser and an iris diaphragm
  • Mechanical Tube Length: 160mm;
  • Conjugated Distance Between Object and Image: 195mm
  • Coarse Focusing Adjustment Range: 20mm
  • Fine Focusing Adjustment Range: 2mm
  • Stage: Double Layers Mechanical Stage
  • Lighting: LED bulb

Pros:

  • Optimum performance
  • Novel design
  • Beneficial lens for smartphone
  • The eyepiece can show images directly on your smartphone or tablet

Cons:

  • Instructions are complicated to follow
  • Some other options are available in the same price range
  • No LED light

Conclusion:

We are hoping that this list is going to be a great help for you if you’re thinking of beginning with microphotography. All of the microscopes have their qualities different from others. After going through the details and specifications of each product, we are sure you can easily decide which option suits you the best!

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Author: condruzmf

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