New Microscope in Town

by John Weidner, MSDC Treasurer

There’s a new kind of microscope in town, new at least to me. It consists of a camera, a stand, and a screen on which the image is displayed. And if you have a 14-year-old granddaughter, she can connect it to a computer to display the image on a monitor or big-screen TV. At one time, we were looking at a small fossil. Projected on the wall, it was about a foot and a half wide. And since the image is on a computer screen, it’s easy to make a screen print, or even a video as we move the rock or fossil.

I’ve purchased two of these microscopes, each about $60, and am pleased with them. I gave the first to my son and his family in California when we were out there at Christmas. My wife found a dead bee. We looked at the fur, the eyes, the antennae, the stinger, the feet, and so on. Neat! I was pleased with the quality of the image.

When I got home, I bought another for myself. I am still pleased. It’s easy to set up and easy to use. So often in a geology lab, I’ve set up a binocular microscope, then said to a student, “Now look in here. Just to the right of center, you’ll see – yadda – yadda – yadda. With this microscope, we’re both looking at the same screen. I just point. “Look at that!” “OK, let’s move it to the left and see what’s there.”

We used this microscope in the junior geologist's lab we ran last week (see the article in this Mineral Minutes). The kids had no trouble using it. The kids loved it. I found these microscopes when I googled “microscope.” Of course, what comes up first is ads trying to sell you a microscope, and there these were. And the ads work. I bought two! The ones I saw ranged from $14 to $120. Well, I believe “everything in moderation,” so both microscopes I bought were about $60. (Several of these are advertised as “coin microscopes.” What? Does a microscope really care what you look at?)

I am hoping that some experienced micromounters will try these microscopes. Please let me know what you think: ease of use, quality of image, available amount of magnification, trueness of color, whatever. Please send your impressions to We’ll compile your impressions and report on them in a future edition of Mineral Minutes