Stereo Light Microscopes: What You Need to Know When Buying One

Stereo light microscopes, or stereo microscopes, are a type of light microscope designed for low power magnification around 10x-40x. In this article, you will learn what stereo microscopes are and how to buy one. 

What Is a Light Microscope?

Light microscopes are also known as biological and brightfield microscopes. These are the most popular types of microscopes commonly used by schools and classrooms. They are called light microscopes because they use light to illuminate the specimen as you view them through the eyepiece.

They are not as powerful as biological microscopes, as the latter can magnify a specimen up to 1000x using 10x eyepieces. However, light microscopes are more user-friendly, which is why they are commonly used in schools.

Light microscopes have two major types: stereo and compound, and this article will pay more attention to stereo microscopes. 

Stereo Light Microscopes?

Stereo light microscopes, also known as dissecting microscopes, are different from compound microscopes in the following ways:


Commonly, the specimens studied under a stereo microscope are everyday specimens being larger than the type for compound microscopes. Light cannot pass through these specimens. 

That's why stereo microscopes are commonly used to study gems, coins, rocks, and insects. You should not use it to view smaller specimens where light can pass through, such as bacteria, viruses, and spores. 


To view a specimen under a stereo microscope, you need low magnification, unlike compound microscopes that require higher power. The range of stereo microscope's magnification is available as single, dual, and zoom power.

For single power, there is only one magnification available, for example 3x. Single-power stereo microscopes commonly have a built-in objective lens and an eyepiece.

The dual magnification has two sets of built-in magnifications available, such as 20x and 40x.

Meanwhile, stereo zoom microscopes provide a broader range of magnification, 10x to 50x, for example. Meaning you can choose to view your object in 10x, 11x, 12x, up to 50x.  

Optico ASZ400T Stereo Zoom Microscope

Both compound and stereo microscopes are available either as monocular, binocular, or trinocular. 

Monocular consists of a tube with one eyepiece on one end, and one or more objectives on the other. 

Binocular consists of two eyepieces. These are a more preferred option if you have to use your microscope frequently to prevent eye strain. 

Trinocular, on the other hand, has a third eyepiece where you can mount a camera.

How to Buy a Stereo Microscope?

When buying a stereo microscope, you should consider the following:


As mentioned, stereo microscopes are available either with a single, dual, or zoom magnification. Choose how much magnification you need.

To determine the total magnification of your stereo microscope, multiply the eyepiece magnification with the objective lens or zoom magnification, and to the auxiliary lens magnification if it has one.  


Always choose a microscope with a metal build because metal is more durable than plastic. Microscopes with a plastic build, although cheaper, will not last a long-time. 


If you prefer quality and accuracy, choose a microscope lens made from glass. Never select a plastic-made one unless you want a toy. Plastic lenses don't refract as well as glass-made ones. 


The more expensive the microscope is, the more likely it is of higher quality because of the premium materials used in making it.


Although brands should not be a quantifier in determining the quality of a microscope, there are famous brands out there you can trust because of their reputation. These brands are Nikon, Leica, Zeiss, and Olympus. 

Although these brands can provide you with stereo microscopes that can be more expensive than the others, you can guarantee quality and excellent services.

However, you can also check out other less famous brands that are just as good. One example is our own brand OPTICO, we cover OPTICO Microscope with a 5 years full warranty. 


When buying a new microscope, the application is the most crucial consideration. You have to get the right type for your research and study, or risk your money going down the drain. 

If you are looking for a high-quality stereo light microscope, visit our shop. Our expert can help you choose the best equipment perfect for you. 

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