Stereo microscopes, which are also commonly referred to as low power or dissecting microscopes, can be used to take a closer look at specimens that are visible with the naked eye. For example, you can use a stereo microscope to analyze insects, coins, circuit boards or any other objects that are large enough for you to see. Stereo microscopes offer either adjustable magnification – commonly in stereo zoom or turret microscopes – or fixed magnification through the two eyepieces that can provide slightly different aspects and a more three-dimensional view of a given sample.
While stereo microscopes offer a range of unique advantages over compound microscopes, it’s important for you to be careful when using a stereo microscope, as they also come with their own unique set of challenges. Here are several mistakes that many first-time stereo microscope users make.
Mistake 1: Using a higher magnification than necessary.
Most stereo microscopes are capable of magnifying specimens from 2x all the way up to 100x. But in general, there aren’t many occasions that will call for you to attempt to magnify something at the most extreme level, and we don’t generally recommend going above 60x magnification. Many people try to magnify specimens at the maximum settings much right away, though, and wonder why they are unable to see anything in their microscopes. This is why it’s always best to start at a much lower magnification and then work your way up as necessary.
Mistake 2: Trying to look at specimens that are too small.
As we mentioned, stereo microscopes are not designed to analyze cells or other specimens that are impossible to see with the naked eye. Despite this, many people still try to do it and zoom in as close as they can on microscopic items. If this is your goal, you should be using a compound microscope instead.
Mistake 3: Adjusting the wrong light.
Some stereo microscopes offer two light adjustments, with the incident light that shines from above and a bottom light that provides upward illumination. Many think that turning up the bottom light is the better option, but most stereo microscope uses are better served by improving the light from above. Unless the sample being observed is transparent or translucent, improve visual quality by turning up the incidental lighting.
Mistake 4: Mishandling the microscope.
While stereo microscopes are much sturdier than compound microscopes, this does not mean that you should not still handle them with great care. If you are a parent giving your child a stereo microscope, you should teach them about being gentle with the lens and handling their specimens. Instructing proper microscope care early establishes a respect for scientific equipment that can carry throughout the rest of a child’s life. Teach them to be gentle and careful and they can not only explore some great science, but also develop greater appreciation for the microscopic world.
Absolute Clarity offers a wide rangeof stereo microscopes for classrooms, educational settings and more. Regardless of whether you’re looking to purchase a brand new microscope or one that has been used, we can assist you. Reach out to us at 860-583-0502 today to learn more.