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seabass

Microscope for reefing

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seabass

So I've been seeing some posts which say that even a toy microscope (as cheap as $10) provides enough magnification for things like identifying dinos.  So now I'm getting interested in getting an inexpensive microscope.

 

It looks to me that AmScope makes some basic inexpensive toy and student microscopes.  I assume that this M28 (1200X max resolution) is the "$10" scope that people are referring to.  I'm tempted to try it, as I wouldn't be out very much.

 

Maybe more sturdy (with a metal arm and plastic storage/carry case), but doesn't seem substantially superior to the "$10" scope, is their M30 (1200X) scope, for $35.

 

For $56, you can get an entry level student microscope.  The AmScope M102C (1000X) appears to be less of a toy.  However, it doesn't offer a fine focus adjustment, and the light isn't adjustable.

 

I'd like to keep it under $100, but now I'm kind of drawn towards an OMAX (2000X to 2500X max resolution), which starts between $200 and $300 depending on the model.  Plus I sort want to have a camera to capture photos and videos. :unsure:

 

However, back to reality, I'm really just going to use this for reefing (plankton, diatoms, dinos, maybe pods), so I don't want to get ahead of myself.  I mean, I was initially going to get an $11 scope. :rolleyes:

 

Still, I don't want to spend $56 on something that's frustrating to use.  For $90, I think I like the AmScope M150C (1000X) which has coarse and fine adjustments, and the light is also adjustable.  Plus, I could add a camera later on.

 

I thought I'd share what I found.  But I'd also like to know if I'm on the right track.  Would I be that much better off getting an OMAX (2000X to 2500X), or is the $11 toy scope (1200X) actually good enough?  Currently I'm thinking that the AmScope M150C (at just 1000X) might fit the bill, as well as my budget, pretty well.

 

61T3mDOl6wL._AC_SX200_SY200_.jpg

 

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mcarroll

I think the plastic toy scope is the only one that will be annoying to use.  It's so light an the build quality is so low that it's just plain shaky.  It can be used.  I have one and used it. 😉 But if you aren't flat-broke I'd definitely go for the best all-metal scope you can afford....even if it's only the $35 model M30.

 

I would not worry about a camera if you're on a budget....your cell camera will actually take really good photos just by laying the lens right on the eyepiece of the scope.

 

AmScope (and others) also sell universal adapters to clamp your cellphone in position if you plan to do more than a little picture taking.  I have one.

image.png.2d515c0177cc1817244d8f67235732fe.png

image.thumb.png.d3ba0f2fc33303d8fbf5b10d97e253b4.png

 

I would recommend checking Goodwill, Craigslist, and your other local classified and used goods sources....schools upgrade scopes every so often, which puts quite a few used scopes out on the streets on a semi-regular basis.

 

I scored a nice, basic Lasco scope for $10 this way.  It's so basic that it even lacks stage clips, but it's still 1000x nicer than that plastic toy scope – it's a real microscope!   (Only 400x and still totally adequate to our needs.....we don't even require 1200x.)

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mcarroll

IMO, @seabass, you're in about the same position I am....where I don't know enough about scopes to know what kind I'd buy even if I wanted to spend "some money".  

 

Start with a low-end, but not bottom-of-the-line scope so that it's enjoyable to use and not annoying.  It will probably be pretty upgradable too, but check on any specific high-end upgrades you have in mind.   "Low end upgrades" like add-on 3D stages are likely to work on any real scope they sell so probably aren't a worry.  The toy scope is usable, but annoying...and not upgradable.

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mcarroll

If I decide to buy a new scope, I think it'd be a lower-end AmScope B120-series....or similar from another maker.  For now I'm happy with what I have....thinking about adding stage clips, or maybe a 3D stage just so slides don't keep falling off when I forget and move the scope too fast.  😄 

 

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mcarroll

Oh!   Don't forget to order slides and coverslips (at least) for supplies if you do order a scope that doesn't come with any.   You might wanna order some even if your kit comes with some tho.

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seabass
5 hours ago, GraniteReefer said:

This is the one I bought, I have yet to use it.  Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x...

I've seen that one.  I'd be interested to know how you like it (and what you can see with it).  Feel like taking it for a spin in the next week or so?  Although, I feel that I've purchased similar items in the past.

 

I bought the older version of this digital microscope.  It got closer than my camera, but I had problems getting much better pics than a zoomed macro from my Canon.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81sAi-SRO8L._AC_UL115_.jpg

 

I've also purchased the following jeweler loupes.  I've used the first to view rotifiers.  I'm not sure where the pen is now.

  https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31A-C9cK9cL._SY90_.jpg  https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31aNAux3P9L._SY90_.jpg

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seabass
5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

IMO, @seabass, you're in about the same position I am....where I don't know enough about scopes to know what kind I'd buy even if I wanted to spend "some money".

Yeah, I wouldn't be using it for anything else, so I'm hesitant to put $300 into it, especially when there might be cheaper options which are acceptable.  Although I've probably spent enough on magnifying glasses and other low end devices to buy a real microscope.  Thank you for taking the time and sharing your insight; I appreciate it.

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seabass
7 hours ago, mcarroll said:

AmScope (and others) also sell universal adapters to clamp your cellphone in position if you plan to do more than a little picture taking.  I have one.

61TJ-R-BVsL._SL1000_.jpg

That sounds like a reasonable alternative which I could try before investing in an imager.  Thanks again.

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Clown79

I got the toy one on amazon. Did the job to identify dino's but it is shaky and the on switch is now stuck, sometimes not working at all.

 

If you can afford a better one in the $50 range, I'd go that way.

 

A better one is on my xmas list😁

 

I have found it extremely helpful and frankly fascinating to view things from the tank under it.

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mcarroll

Forgot about another option:

41e6SF+z2xL._AC_SR160,160_.jpg

 

These clip-on lens kits work quite well if taking pictures or movies is a main part of the intent.  It looks like there are way more options now than when I bought mine....anything with at least a "macro" lens will work....spend as much or as little as makes sense...pretty sure I spent $20.  (some of the kits look way more intensive and purpose-built now.....I guess read up on the reviews)

 

Not sure what the effective magnification is, but when combined with the phone's digital zoom, it's pretty incredible for the cost.   (That goes for combining the phone's zoom with a regular scope of course too!!)

 

I use these things for viewing stuff from the tank and all manner of other things too.

 

If you don't have a light meter, I'd recommend one of those too....just a simple lux meter to get you started.  They run $7 and up....I think I spent $15 on my "LX-1010B" (pictured here).  I also have an inexpensive analog spectrometer that's really interesting to have around.

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Ratvan
On 8/10/2019 at 10:23 AM, mcarroll said:

Forgot about another option:

41e6SF+z2xL._AC_SR160,160_.jpg

 

These clip-on lens kits work quite well if taking pictures or movies is a main part of the intent.  It looks like there are way more options now than when I bought mine....anything with at least a "macro" lens will work....spend as much or as little as makes sense...pretty sure I spent $20.  (some of the kits look way more intensive and purpose-built now.....I guess read up on the reviews)

 

Not sure what the effective magnification is, but when combined with the phone's digital zoom, it's pretty incredible for the cost.   (That goes for combining the phone's zoom with a regular scope of course too!!)

 

I use these things for viewing stuff from the tank and all manner of other things too.

 

If you don't have a light meter, I'd recommend one of those too....just a simple lux meter to get you started.  They run $7 and up....I think I spent $15 on my "LX-1010B" (pictured here).  I also have an inexpensive analog spectrometer that's really interesting to have around.

What would the benefits of a Lux Meter provide?

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seabass
4 minutes ago, Ratvan said:

What would the benefits of a Lux Meter provide?

While it wouldn't really benefit the use of a microscope, it can help determine light levels (a poor man's PAR meter).

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Ratvan
2 minutes ago, seabass said:

While it wouldn't really benefit the use of a microscope, it can help determine light levels (a poor man's PAR meter).

Ah Ha. Got it. 

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