What makes the difference between a home microscope and a professional one



Buying a hobbyist microscope these days isn’t particularly tricky, and the neat thing about the market is that it holds many offers for models that come with all sorts of features. The fact of the matter is that, in most cases, if you don’t work in a professional field that is somehow related to microscopy, there’s a low chance that you will need the services of a cutting-edge unit. What I mean by this is not that you won’t be able to learn as much as possible about the domain and later on apply your newfound skills on your professional microscope. In fact, what I am trying to say is that few home users actually end up making the most of such an advanced device.

My students always tell me that they would have liked it if they had had a microscope in their homes while they were growing up. This would have made things a whole lot easier for them now that they actually have to utilize one. The problem is that most parents who are keen on teaching their kids all about using a microscope have little to no idea about microscopy, themselves. Unless they’re involved in some kind of scientific activities, most prospective buyers know little to nothing when it comes to choosing the right model for their specific requirements.


Source: leica-microsystems.com


If you go online and search for microscopes, you’ll see that there are significant price differences between one model and the next. The cheapest units that you will stumble upon are handheld USB ones. Usually, the parts utilized in the construction of such devices aren’t necessarily high-quality, and by this I mean that the optics are typically made of plastic instead of glass. Therefore, you won’t be able to look at a clear and crisp picture every time, and besides, you will not have the freedom to use the microscope for several hours at a time as it will heat up. Those plastic parts aren’t made to last forever.

Getting a full-size microscope is a better idea, in my opinion. While many compound alternatives can cost as many as two thousand dollars and sometimes even more, there are optical and stereo microscopes that get the job done and feature glass optics as well as an all-metal build. The problem is that such a device might be a bit too complicated for children to work with, especially if they’ve had no prior experience with a similar product. Nonetheless, it seems to me that it is a far better investment in the long run. What’s more, nobody’s telling you that you should keep it forever. You can always sell it and upgrade to a more advanced option.