About Zeiss microscopes

Zeiss is a renowned manufacturer of optical equipment, including top-quality microscopes.

Due to their performance and reliability, you’ll find Zeiss microscopes in industries everywhere, including semiconductors, life sciences, medicine and materials research.


The Zeiss success story began over 170 years ago, when scientific instrument maker Carl Zeiss opened a workshop in the German city of Jena. 

Together with physicist Ernst Abbe and glass chemist Otto Schott, he laid the foundations of today’s multinational company.

Their collaboration would go on to produce innovations that are still widely used today – from the first oil immersion lens and the invention of the apochromatic lens to the Abbe condenser itself.

Target demographics

Today’s Zeiss microscopes are high-end and high quality, generally aimed at the research market, industries and universities.

Some of their lower-end models are very popular with labs, medical practices and hobbyists.

The quality and reliability of Zeiss products means that even significantly older models are still much sought-after in a thriving second-hand market.

Advantages and disadvantages

As an industry leader in optical and mechanical quality, the only real downside to a Zeiss microscope is that quality comes at a price.


  • World-class optical and build quality
  • Accessible secondary market and high resale value
  • Global support network
  • Modular and upgradeable


  • Expensive
  • Often incompatible with components from other brands

Popular models

Zeiss Primostar 3

The Primostar 3 is a lower-end model designed for routine lab work and educational settings.

It’s compact, robust and easy to use, making it a great choice for intense day-to-day work and teaching. The Primostar 3 comes in several versions tailored to different needs, such as educational efficiency, digital integration and versatility.

In addition to the standard features, it comes with Zeiss’s quality optics. It is also compatible with phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy.

Zeiss Axiolab 5

The latest in a series of excellent laboratory microscopes, the Axiolab 5 is a high-quality workhorse designed for routine lab work.

It has a range of ergonomic and quality-of-life features aimed at increasing workflow efficiency and comfort, such as easy to reach controls, ergonomically integrated digital controls, and energy-saving modes.

The Axiolab 5 also takes advantage of smart microscopy. The (included) Axiocam microscope camera automatically adjusts the white balance, exposure time and image enhancements without the need for a computer or additional software, letting you take detailed, true-colour images on the fly.

Zeiss Standard series

Much older models, the Zeiss Standards are still held in high regard today.

Popular amongst hobbyists and enthusiasts, Standards are rugged and reliable. They lack some of the bells and whistles of modern microscopes, but they still have excellent optical and mechanical quality. 

Some of the better-known models are the Standard 20 and the Standard 14.

Notable other models

Axioscope, Axio Observer, Axio Scope A1 and LSM 980.

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