By Andrew Liszewski
If you work in a laboratory setting and are tired of all the constant fighting about who gets to look in the microscope next, this video screen version will allow a handful of people to see the magnified images at the same time. Instead of a standard eyepiece, the microscope uses a built-in 2MP digital camera to capture stills or videos which are displayed on a 3 1/2 inch LCD with a resolution of just 320×240. Fortunately though the images and videos can also be downloaded to a PC using the microscope’s USB port or a removable SD card allowing you to see them at their full resolution.
The microscope features 3 switchable objective lenses (4X, 10X or 40X) that provide magnification from 40X to 400X, but you also have the option of switching on a digital zoom feature which boosts magnification up to 1600X. (But we all know that digital zoom is never that great.) The objects you’re viewing can also be illuminated from the top or bottom thanks to 2 separate 6-watt LED lights that can be adjusted with an exposure knob. There’s even a filter wheel with 6 selectable colors allowing you to block out certain wavelengths to make objects clearer.
With a price tag of $299.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer I’m pretty sure this model isn’t exactly the choice of professionals, but if you’ve got a budding scientist at home it would probably make for a great first microscope.