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Discussion Starter #1
For several reasons, my boys have decided that the farm could use a GOOD microscope. (I'm pretty sure that they have invented reasons to justify a new toy, but I'll play along)

I've done a bit of homework, but I'm not science minded at all and I'll admit that I don't know much at all about microscope technology. But in spite of that... the choices have been narrowed down to 3 possibilities.

http://www.amazon.com/OMAX-40X-2000X-Trinocular-Microscope-Siedentopf/dp/B005EGDTSK

http://www.amazon.com/OMAX-40X-2000X-Trinocular-Replaceable-Microscope/dp/B00FG8BHUI

http://www.amazon.com/OMAX-40X-2000X-Biological-Microscope-Mechanical/dp/B00AEJ9FJ4

Can someone help me figure out what are the pros and cons to the above choices? Or even make a different recommendation?
 

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I'm a microbiologist/lab tech and I've never heard of those brands, so I can't comment on the quality of them. The microscopes we have at the lab are Swift M10 with a built in digital screen (http://www.fishersci.com/ecomm/servlet/fsproductdetail_10652_16239983__-1_0). I like them a lot, but they are much more expensive than the one's you've shown. We also have some older non-digital Nikons which I like a lot as well.

Have you thought about looking on eBay for used microscopes? Labs are always updating their equipment and the outdated but perfectly good microscopes usually go to university salvage or are sold to science salvage centers.

If you give more information about what you hope to see using the microscope I may be able to help. The models you have will let you see protists (4x-10x objectives) to bacteria (100x+ objective). It helps if you have a gram staining kit, though you can see living bacteria without staining them but you can't easily discern shape and arrangement to make a diagnosis. You will also need immersion oil and lens papers if you want to use the oil objectives (100+ objective). You don't have to buy fancy lens cleaner, Windex works fine.
 

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I'll be interested in seeing more info in this thread. We are going to buy a microscope to try and learn how to do our own fecals once we figure out what all we need. :)
 

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I've got two old Bausch and Lomb 0.7 - 3x Stereo zoom scopes I really like. One is the normal scope with the typical slide bed and lighting as you would imagine. It is in the original case with all the additional lenses.

The second one is a boom mounted unit....

If you shop around, you can find them for fair prices, but often times you will see them selling at surplus places for $500 or so...

Great optics, and if you shop around, you can get a great deal on them.. I saw on that just sold on ebay for $40..

Here's one mounted on a boom so you know what you're looking for if you are interested... ... They really do have fantastic optics..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bausch-Lomb...354?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item418909d992

When these units were new, they sold for a few thousand each...
 

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The best new scope on the market, (IMNSHO) considering build quality and price, suitable for general clinical laboratory work is Olympus. Unlike Nikon, they still retain the naval bronze gears and are built like a tank. Optical quality is excellent.

But you're probably not shelling out 7 or 8 grand for one, to use on the farm.

My recommendation would be to prowl ebay and look for a binocular A/O in good shape. Not necessarily this scope, but something like it would do:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/American-Op...980?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cebdd791c

Look for at least 10x, 40x and 100x (oil immersion) objectives.
 

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"We are going to buy a microscope to try and learn how to do our own fecals once we figure out what all we need. :)"

Oh my. I knew it would come to this in the U.S. eventually. First, you sit on this thing in a little room that has a hole in the seat. We call it a toilet...



:D
 

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I would also check with public school overstock sales and universities in you area. UW has a web site that sells excess items to the public. I think a microscope has many uses in home and farm, and the chief one is encouraging curiosity. I want to get one at some point that I can connect to the internet and see and share images. One day...
 

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"We are going to buy a microscope to try and learn how to do our own fecals once we figure out what all we need. :)"

Oh my. I knew it would come to this in the U.S. eventually. First, you sit on this thing in a little room that has a hole in the seat. We call it a toilet...



:D

That had me laughing like I haven't done in a looooong while Harry.:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The main reason that they asked was to be able do their own fecal testing. But I'm sure that curiousity is really the driving force!
My oldest is a college science major but he studies rocks... not the same type of microscope that we'll be needing. The youngest is a 10 year old science nerd who we affectionately call "Sheldon" at home.
I have no doubt that the scope will be put to good use. I like the fact that the ones we looked at can record stills and video. Our computer is new with an oversized high-res monitor which would work great with a digital microscope.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I finally got a chance to check out the links that some of you posted. I couldn't do that at work before.

The ones on ebay look great but I'll be honest and say that I am very leery about purchasing a used scope because I don't know enough about them to know if it works properly when I get it! Does that make sense?
 

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I finally got a chance to check out the links that some of you posted. I couldn't do that at work before.

The ones on ebay look great but I'll be honest and say that I am very leery about purchasing a used scope because I don't know enough about them to know if it works properly when I get it! Does that make sense?
Sure it does.

Another place you might run across a decent used scope is from one of the biomed guys who run a scope maintenance business. These guys go in and maintain scopes for hospitals and universities, usually on a set schedule, charging per scope. They sometimes have some decent stuff, or they'll buy several older scopes, putting the best together for resale and parting out the rest.

Alternatively, most medical school students used to have to buy their own microscope. Many do not keep them when they graduate, so you might want to check with a local med school to see if any of their students are selling their scopes.

When checking a scope out, make sure you try out all objectives. Look for brightness. Look for resolution of image from one side to the other. Make sure the scope is co-planar - that when you change from 10x to 40x to 100x that the image is mostly (it won't be perfect) in focus from one power to the next. Make sure the stage is not loose, binding or stiff and make sure it moves as it should. Make sure the eyepiece lens are not scratched and that one of the binoculars has independent focus. Make sure that bulbs are available and don't cost a fortune.

Lastly, maintain your scope properly. Use a good lens cleaner and scratch-free lens paper. Use an occasional drop of fine machine oil when needed. Cover it when not in use.

Good scopes last a long, long time.
 

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I thought about this a lot a few years ago. To be honest I should have gotten it. I think in the long run it would have paid for itself, if a person took the time to learn to use it. Fecal samples for parasite control it one use. bacteria samples for properly treating wounds is another. Don't forget, you will also need good books to help identify what you are looking at. internal parasites will not be little squiggly worms, but rather eggs and little single cell objects. I believe the one book I bought that our vet recommended was about $120.00 or so.
Honestly, it will also be a great help if you have a vet willing to show you a bit about using it and taking accurate samples etc. I believe the one I decided on was at a place called microscopeworld.com I do not remember the model and I think the price was somewhere just shy of $1000.00, but it could be hooked to a video monitor as you were talking about. I also remember our vet saying it was much better than the one they used in the office and would like to have one. They do have cheaper ones, but this one pretty much did everything you would ever want to do. I emailed some questions and they answered with helpful info. You may try checking them out. I wish I could remember the ones I looked at, but just do not? You may also try a search for veterinary microscopes. I found a lot of info. like that, as far as what was needed etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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I'm late, but thought I'd mention that we had high powered, and binocular microscopes, and used the latter the most. More trouble to use the high powered, with slides and such.

Most fun to put bugs and things under the binocular. Also good for digging out slivers, as they look like fenceposts under it.

Don't know which is best, but this is the type.

http://www.amazon.com/AmScope-SE305...F8&qid=1417661131&sr=1-39&keywords=microscope
 
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