Category: For Beginners

    Cool Inexpensive Microscope Choices

    Dr. Elaine Humphrey, the Manager of the Advanced Microscopy Facility at the University of Victoria shared her impressions of equipment in her personal collection of microscopes. She is very keen on getting young people inspired by science through use of microscopes. When they get excited the next step is often the purchase of an inexpensive microscope for home – but what to choose?

    These microscopes may look like toys but I witnessed startling results with many of them when they were demonstrated.

    Carson I-Phone Adapter

    Anyone with an I-phone is at an advantage in that it can now be easily rigged up to couple with the eyepiece of a low cost microscope. They capture truly excellent images. There are several brands that work with a smart phone Carson adapter


    The Echo Wooden Microscope

    One of her favorites is the Echo Wooden Microscope works well and is usable in the field under rough conditions.


    Foldscope Origami Microscope

    Foldscopes come in a nice metal box and is an origami microscope that used to be 50 cents but now costs $2


    Abedoe Microscope

    This one, used with an I-phone is by Abedoe. It comes with a black light source for special applications.

    • 60X zoom microscope magnify lens for universal phones,60X zoom microscope magnify lens for universal phones
    • Bright LED light of the magnifying Glass provides enough light at any dim conditions
    • Great design for inspecting the tiny objects
    • Portable and convenient design, easy to carry with your mobile phone
    • Included a UV currency detector for checking counterfeit currency


    USB Microscope

    I have the pluggable at a third of the price but I find the Celestron is far better with much more resolution.


    My First Lab

    This lightweight, from My First Lab, is a compound microscope is a solid instrument which would work well in the field for a field worker – or be a fine starter instrument for a young person.


    Categories: Equipment, For Beginners

    Book: Guide to Microlife

    In 1996 Kenneth G. Rainis and Bruce J. Russell published a full colour highly illustrated book that introduces the plants and animals you might encounter in samples viewed under a compound microscope. It helps a beginner micro-naturalist to identify and understand the organisms encountered but also offers advice on where to go to find the habitats so they can be collected.

    At the back of the book is good solid information on the equipment and techniques needed to collect and view the organisms referenced in the main text. The book can be read with a microscope present, but of course works best when comparing a live image with the the images in the book.

    Publisher information

    ISBN 0-531-11266-7 Paper bound and published by Franklin Watts (A Division of Grolier Printing) 1996 The authors are Kenneth G. Rainis and Bruce J. Russell.

    Book: Complete Book of the Microscope

    Another Good Book for Beginners

    A big team of authors developed this book about the microscope for a beginner. It is richly illustrated and aimed at younger audiences. In fact any adult would be comfortable reading and learning from the text. Although the book is undated but I would guess that it was published about 2005. It may have been updated since the publication of the copy that I purchased.

    The book is linked to a website on the internet (which incidentally is difficult to find on its own). See

    Publisher information

    It was published by and is billed as being “internet-linked”.

    Book: Life on the Dock

    A Useful Book

    Michael W. Konrad published a highly illustrated book of the marine plants and animals that can be found clinging to docks, floats, and pilings on the Pacific coast. The book surveys many organisms that are easily visible to the naked eye but to the joy of the micro-naturalist he also includes the microscopic world.

    I highly recommend it to west coastal micro-naturalists. It is competently written, very informative and well illustrated. Many of the organisms will be encountered on field trips and some are suitable for viewing under a microscope. It makes good general reading on the subject.

    Publisher information

    The book was published in 2013 by Science Is Art at Sausilito CA. ISBN 978-0-9832590-0-8 paper bound. The author is Michael W. Konrad. It should still be available from book sellers online.

    Categories: Animals, For Beginners

    Book: Introduction to Digital Photomicrography

    The new book (2017) written by Brian Matsumoto and Carol Rouillard is the most up-to-date book on this topic that I have been able to find. It is filled with practical information about modern microscopes, but more to the point, it covers modern digital cameras and their use. Most books on the market are stuck in the past offering advice on adapting SLR cameras which are seldom used today.

    The book covers making movies as well as images, and contains lots of tables and reference material that could be difficult to locate even on the internet. If you only own one book on digital microscope photography this should be the one.

    Publisher information

    The authors are Brian Matsumoto and Carol Rouillard. ISBN 9781785003042 The Crowood Press 2017

    Book: Safe Microscopic Techniques For Amateurs

    A Good Book for Beginners

    The late Walter Dioni was a proponent of using safe techniques and materials while enjoying microscopy. A new micro-naturalist often needs assistance in learning how to make good use of the microscope. In fact, anyone who has taken a course in biology will know that for decades the materials used to preserve specimens and slides were often dangerous to use. Some of them have been lately declared unsafe or even have been banned. It is no longer necessary to use these chemicals to enjoy all aspects of the hobby.

    This book shows how safe, easy to obtain, substitutes can be used for mounting specimens on microscope slides. The book is a collection of articles, previously published in the excellent online Micscape Magazine by its editor Mol Smith. The book gives illustrated examples of the techniques with a complete “how-to” approach to the techniques.

    Publisher information

    This book was published in 2014. ISBN: 9781499746518 Printed in Middletown DE.

    Book: Microscopy as a Hobby

    A good beginner level book

    Mol Smith’s book, published in 2014 presents “a 21st Century Quick Start Guide” that will bring anyone easily into the microscope hobby. Mol Smith, the editor of Micscape Magazine by its editor Mol Smith is an acknowledged world authority on the use of the amateur microscope.

    Most introductory books are decades old but this one gives the information for parents, teenagers or mature adults needed to get started (or restarted). This is now a high tech activity that rivals the excitement of any modern interest group and the tools needed have become very accessible. It is really useful for a micro-naturalist.

    The book recommends safe-to-use chemicals, and easily obtainable equipment that allows anyone to learn to access the hidden and unseen world under a microscope.

    Publisher Information

    This little book (142 pages) gives everything you need to know to get going. I own it, and I recommend it to you. Available online ISBN: 9781500301651 printed at Middletown DE USA.

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