How NOT to Buy a Microscope: First of all, let's be realistic... You are not going to get a quality optical instrument for $29.95 at a department store. Sure the toy microscope set looks impressive, with all the bits and pieces in a neat looking plastic "carrying case", the technically true but misleading marketing (i.e. "Contains 153 pieces!"... sure, if you count every single cover slip, every slide, every tiny paper slide label AND the box they came in), and the outrageous magnification claims (i.e. "Magnifies up to 1600X!" ... no way! I don't know how they get away with it.... anything over 600X requires a special oil immersion lens). All this with a microscope that could easily be carried in the palm of an adult's hand??? Give me a break! That being said, these toy microscopes do have their place.... Seriously, they are a good way to see if your 8 year old is interested in science before spending more money for a better quality instrument.
In general, a REAL microscope (as opposed to a plastic toy one) is going to cost at least $150.00, and that would be for a small, single magnification microscope ONLY, with no "accessories". Of course, price is not always a good indicator of quality. I have seen the plastic toy microscopes with all the fancy bits and pieces in the big carrying case for as much as $89.95! They are STILL toy microscopes and the sellers should be embarrassed to ask that price for them. Anyway, enough ranting.....
Our best-selling microscope, a standard elementary/middle school "3/4 size" model with built-in understage 110 volt light source (no batteries), 10X eyepiece with three objectives (4/10/40X) giving total 40/100/400X magnification (40X objective has spring-loaded tip to reduce slide damage), coarse focus control and an aperture disk diaphragm. Rotatable head with main eyepiece tube inclined at 45 degrees for viewing comfort. Comes with spare bulb and spare fuse, dust cover and styrofoam storage box.
MICR.34 $225.00 each
Microscope, Senior Student
This is a full-size (not "3/4 size" like MICR.34), solidly built, good quality microscope. Comes with a fine focus knob (useful at high magnification) in addition to the coarse focus knob and an understage 110 volt light source. Comes with the standard 10x eyepiece and three generously-sized objectives (4/10/40X) giving total 40/100/400X magnification (40x objective has spring-loaded tip to reduce slide damage) and an aperture disk diaphragm. Main eyepiece tube inclined at 45 degrees for viewing comfort. Also included: spare bulb, dust cover and styrofoam storage box.
MICR.36 $350.00 each
Dissection Microscope, 20X magnification. No light source, but I usually suggest customers purchase an inexpensive gooseneck lamp from a discount store for an above-stage light source. This microscope is NOT for use with specimens on slides, as there is no provision for light to come up through the (usually transparent or translucent) specimen. This microscope is most useful for observing three-dimensional opaque specimens, like whole insects, flowers, rocks, crystals, fossils, etc. Comes with dust cover and styrofoam storage box.
MICR.47 $175.00 each
Slide Making Kit
Since our microscopes do not come with accessories, but parents still like to have a nice package of "extras" when giving a microscope as a gift, we offer this Slide Making Kit that contains most of the "bits and pieces" you would find in gift sets. Contains 10 blank slides, 2 prepared slides with 4 specimens each, labels, cover glasses, small magnifier, 2 collecting vials, 2 graduated vials, brine shrimp eggs with hatchery, eosin stain, sodium chloride, methylene blue stain, safety goggles, stirring rod, dropper, plastic tweezers and instruction pamphlet. For ages 10 and up.
MICR.30 $19.95 each
Prepared Microscope Slides
Set of 12 unbreakable slides with 3 specimens each, for a total of 36 specimens. Assorted specimens include samples of microfilm, natural fibers, synthetic fibers, animal scales, algae, vitamins, fungi, plastics, grasshopper parts, common medicines, starch types.
MICR.37 $15.95 set
Amazing resolution for such a small unit. Handy 2 in 1 pocket tele-microscope, about the size of a fat drawing marker. Telescope 8X power, microscope 30X power. Popular gift, great for field trips!
TELE.01 $6.95 each
Microscope Slides, glass
Plain glass microscope slides.
MICR.07 Box of 72, standard size (75 X 25 mm) $11.95/box
MICR.23 Above slides available singly $0.30 each
Microscope Slides, plastic
Ideal for younger children, as they are less likely to break (but they will get scratched). Optically clear plastic.
MICR.27 Plastic, flat, each $0.30 each
MICR.28 Plastic, flat, dozen $2.95/dozen
Microscope Slide, single well, glass
For use by older children and adults, not recommended for younger children. Professional quality. Special glass microscope slide with a single concave "well" or "dish" ground and polished into the centre of the slide (small concave depression makes a small "pool" to enable the organisms to swim around). For observation of larger, but still microscopic critters that might be crushed by a cover slip if observed on a flat slide (i.e. insect larvae, copepods, daphnia, etc.). Also known as a "depression slide" or a "well slide". (Cover slip still recommended for clear viewing.)
MICR.06 Microscope Slide, glass, single well, 75 X 25 mm $1.50 each
MICR.05 Microscope Slides, glass, single well, 75 X 25 mm $18.00 dozen
Cover Slips / Cover Glasses
Ultra-thin sheets of glass used on top of regular microscope slides to flatten liquid samples for observation and to provide a smooth, flat surface on which to focus. They are very fragile and break very easily, so this product is recommended for older children (age 12 and up). Glass cover slips come approximately 100 to a box.
MICR.09 Cover Slips, glass, 22 X 22 mm $6.95/box
Used instead of Canada Balsam or gum arabic for permanently mounting specimens to microscope slides. Permount liquid consists of a synthetic polymer dissolved in toluene (Warning: Hazardous Material!). For advanced microscopists only. Permount is thinner and the refractive index is slightly higher than Canada Balsam. 100 ml bottle.
MICR.51 Permount mounting medium, 100 ml $29.95 each
Slide Storage Box
Plastic box with lid to keep microscope slides safe. Holds 25 standard 75 X 25 mm microscope slides in individual slots to prevent scratching.
MICR.17 Slide Storage Box, plastic $4.95 each
Immersion Oil, non-drying
We do, from time to time, rarely sell microscopes that would need immersion oil. (These kinds of microscopes may have to be special ordered.) Using immersion oil is a fairly specialized technique only used at very high magnifications to eliminate the air space between the objective lens and the cover glass over the slide specimen. It requires special skills and is potentially a messy, time consuming process. However, even though we don't sell many microscopes that would use it, we sell immersion oil because some of our customers (like medical students or really serious hobbyists) already have a microscope with an oil immersion lens. .
MICR.57 Immersion Oil, Very Heavy (Type NVH), 30 ml $19.95 bottle
Lens wipe paper, 50 sheets. For gently cleaning fine optics.
For customers in the Calgary area ONLY, we also offer microscope rentals at $10.00 per day. Great for those folks who only need a microscope one or two days a year. Comes with free rental of a collection of prepared slides. Call 403-547-4422 for more information.