A stereo microscope can be helpful when viewing details on stamps. The most useful magnifications for stamp collectors are generally 10x -30x magnification. Our favorite microscope for viewing stamps is the National Optical 460TBL stereo zoom microscope.
Microscope cameras generally capture reflective items such as copper differently. There are two types of chips inside microscope cameras - the CCD chip and the CMOS chip. A CCD (charged coupled device) chip generally produces higher quality images in low-light conditions and is better for publication quality images. Cameras with CCD chips generally cost a bit more than those with CMOS chips. A CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) chip is often used for routine documentation.
A microscope eyepiece reticle (or reticule) is a small piece of glass with a ruler printed on it that is placed in the eyepiece. When looking through the microscope, the specimen can be easily measured, as the ruler is imposed on the image.
There are many different types of microscope eyepiece reticles. Standard reticles include cross lines, grids and rulers.
We recently used the Meiji EMZ-5TR stereo microscope to view some thin plastic film. The customer was interested in viewing the fibers within the plastic film. (These are the pieces that appear to look like amoebas in the photo below.
The macro zoom lens is unique in that it uses no eyepieces and provides a higher magnification, more working distance, and is less expensive than a metallurgical microscope.
This is Meiji short unimac macro zoom lens. It can be configured on many different types of stands or with a variety of illuminators. The camera mounts directly to the top with c-mount threads. The images are viewed directly on the monitor rather than through eyepieces.
For a fun home project this summer try finding some Vorticella to view under your microscope. You will want to collect some water from a fresh-water pond or stream. Generally the Vorticella will remain in clusters, so look for groups of swimming Vorticella. You will be able to view Vorticella best at 400x magnification. A microscope such as the child microscope 109L would work well.
Use a small eye dropper to place a droplet of pond water on a depression slide, then cover it with a cover slip. Have children draw what they see through the microscope. An entire workbook covering Protozoa with projects for kids can be found here.
Stereo microscopes generally have two different light paths, which allows you to view your image in 3-D. A stereo microscope also has high depth perception, but lower magnification. The most common uses for a stereo microscope are dissecting, viewing insects, plant-life or any other object you might hold in the palm of your hand, but wish to see more fine details on your specimen.
More advanced stereo microscopes will have a light built into the microscope as well as zoom magnification. Zoom magnification allows you to see all magnifications between, say 10x - 40x. A turret stereo microscope will have fixed magnification such as 10x and 30x only.
A very basic stereo microscope might only have a single magnification (such as 20x). This type of microscope is great for anyone who knows they only need one magnification and will not need to zoom in on specimens.