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Cast_and_Blast's picture

I have found my best tool for viewing Micros is the Macro setting on my camera and then blowing it up on my computer.  Even a magnifying glass seems awkward to view Micros with.  For example, I needed to count the rays on an anal fin to help determine a positive ID but my tools do not seem adequate. 


I know nothing about microscopes but I was wondering if anyone here can tell me what might work for my purpose.  Ebay has over 20,000 microscopes for sale and I have no clue where to begin like with brand, kind, etc.  Cost is also an issue.  Can anyone here help direct me a bit?

Heidi's picture
Scoping scopes...

My favorite toy as a kid was my microscope! It still works great! If you are not using one in a clinical laboratory setting, don't spend over $20-30 - really. For the purposes you describe, a "toy" scope would work just fine. You can buy one in most toy departments at places like Target or Fleet Farm. They usually come with three magnification settings, an adjustable stage and slides for mounting specimens. On the lowest magnification setting, you can use it like a dissecting scope, placing your specimen directly on the stage - sans fixing a slide. 


Here is a link to target.com for a few examples



"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


fiddleFish's picture
Dissecting scope

A stereo (3-D viewing) binocular dissecting scope of about 10 - 20X  with zoom, with both incident and transmitted light capability (the mirror system works pretty good) would be my initial thought, especially for fin ray counts.  Some type of image capture interface would certainly sweeten the pot, for more $$$ though. 

On the lower end of price, a decent quality monocular scope with transmitted light capability would be the minimum.   For image capture on the cheap, folks have had mixed results using a digicam and snapping a pic through one of the occulars.   The dirt cheap scopes I've tried are dreadful affairs and you don't want to inflict that on yourself.


AvidFly's picture
I think it is the similar as

I think it is the similar as to what Fiddle is describing, but I remember a post from Superfrog I believe where he talked about taking the lens salvaged from one camera and putting it in front of another camera, thus using it to magnify the pics.  Cheap (if you have on old camera laying around).  I remember trying it and thought it worked okay.  

TheHugbot's picture
heres an interesting trick

heres an interesting trick from daniel at tenkaraUSA, and it's cheap too.


pat_the_nat's picture
You could try using a

You could try using a jewelers loupe.  I know you said using a magnifying glass was akward but the loupes are better suited for seeing small details like that, especially in the field.  The loupe is held right up to your eye and since they have a focal length of only about 1inch the specimen needs to be held really close to the lens.  Might get an eyefull of micro if one decides to flip.  But they do show superb detail and are small to carry (like thirty cents worth of nickels).  Bausch and Lomb triplets or coddingtons are the best,  7x, 10x or 14x .  The lower magnifications have larger objective lenses and I cant see the need for anyting over 10x.  Botanists use the higher magnifications to look at spores and pollen.  Might even be able to take a digital picture through one.  

edit:  also look at "linen testers"  or  "linen magnifiers"