Author Topic: Microscope Purchase  (Read 1552 times)

S. cerevisiae

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Microscope Purchase
« on: February 02, 2015, 07:47:55 PM »
I am the process of purchasing a microscope to replace the one that I used before I left the hobby for a few years.  That microscope was an American Optical (AO) Microstar with really nice optics.  I recently went looking for a microscope, and was absolutely floored by how much quality, well-maintained used microscope goes for these days.  While there are well-made Chinese microscopes (e.g., Accu-Scope), they are even more expensive than used top-tier brand microscopes.

With that said, I have written eBay off completely.  A microscope that is dirty/dusty on the outside is often dirty/dusty on the inside (often there is internal mold from damp storage).  Getting a microscope professionally cleaned can nullify any cost savings obtained by purchasing on eBay, which leaves me looking at the professionally cleaned/reconditioned market.  Suddenly, my $200.00 to $300.00 budget has expanded to a $300.00 to $500.00 budget.  I am going to tell SWMBO that the purchase is an early birthday present.  Hopefully, that explanation does not go over like a lead balloon.   :)


Offline mchrispen

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 08:08:51 PM »
Hey Mark,


I am building my lab this year. While the scope I bought is far from top quality - it seems adequate for yeast counting, plus the bonus of a built-in camera. It fit well into my budget (I tend to ignore the MSRP)...


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006MX03Q0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Here are some grabs from a hemocytometer... using the built in camera. Not sure of the multiplier on the camera. No documentation came with the scope.

http://accidentalis.com/archives/874  >I can send you some originals if you would like.


Matt Chrispen
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Blogging from the garage @ accidentalis.com
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Offline jwhancher

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 08:29:33 PM »
Hey Mark,


I am building my lab this year. While the scope I bought is far from top quality - it seems adequate for yeast counting, plus the bonus of a built-in camera. It fit well into my budget (I tend to ignore the MSRP)...


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006MX03Q0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Here are some grabs from a hemocytometer... using the built in camera. Not sure of the multiplier on the camera. No documentation came with the scope.

http://accidentalis.com/archives/874  >I can send you some originals if you would like.

Thanks for posting this. I've been wanting to buy a microscope for some time now and didn't know where to start. 

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 08:52:42 PM »
FYI - I am using ProScope HR on the Mac to capture the images over USB. I am exploring the possibility of a DLSR microscope adapter - 2X multiplier - but understand that tight focus can be an issue with the adapters. Maybe an optics problem.
Matt Chrispen
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S. cerevisiae

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 09:07:14 PM »
Matt:

The microscope that you mentioned is an off-brand budget microscope, which, in and of itself, is not a show stopper.  However, off-brands have limited support and accessories.

I am a bit spoiled when it comes to microscopes.  My last microscope was a research quality microscope that I lucked into via a family connection.  I kick myself for parting with it when I left the hobby for a few years.  Luckily, I kept my Bright-Line hemacytometer.  Those things go for the better part of the price of the scope that you purchased.  The difference between a $200.00 Bright-Line hemacytometer and a $20.00 Chinese hemacytometer is like the difference between night and day.

I support the argument that well-maintained used top-tier microscopes (American Optical, Bausch & Lomb, Leitz, Leica, Meiji, Nikon, Olympus, and Zeiss) and second-tier microscopes such as Bristoline (Accu-Scope) and Swift are better long-term investments than new Chinese off-brands like Omax and AmScope. Used microscopes that go for $300.00 today originally sold for the equivalent of four figures when adjusted for inflation.   The problem is finding one that has been well-maintained optically and mechanically.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 09:11:57 PM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 09:13:46 PM »
Yeah, this one definitely falls into the category of what I could afford and does the trick.


Wife will also be using the video side of this in her 4th grade classroom...
Matt Chrispen
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S. cerevisiae

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 09:29:35 PM »
My wife is a scientist by training; therefore, she is fully aware of how much a quality microscope costs. While the amount of money that I spend on gear makes her shake her head at times, she is supportive of purchasing quality gear one time instead purchasing what I can easily afford only to turn around make the purchase that I should have made in the first place (i.e., buy once, cry once).

Here's a good overview for anyone who is interested in purchasing a microscope: http://www.ebay.com/gds/Buying-Microscopes-/10000000000766695/g.html

Offline narcout

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 09:31:15 PM »
What exactly are you guys using those for (other than counting yeast)?
It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone

Offline bengelbrau

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 12:55:23 AM »
Universities often sell this sort of stuff as surplus. If you have any close, you might check that out.

S. cerevisiae

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 01:10:08 AM »
Universities often sell this sort of stuff as surplus. If you have any close, you might check that out.

One can get a great deal shopping this way, but I would never purchase a university scope sight unseen.   Universities tend to ignore routine maintenance unless a scope is used in fully-funded research.  However, then again, one can often find lab equipment that was purchased for funded research that never made it off of the shelf.   It does not happen as often as I would like, but it does happen from time to time.  Another source for lab gear is biotech liquidations.  Biotech startups  come and go like like infotech startups.

S. cerevisiae

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 01:34:45 AM »
What exactly are you guys using those for (other than counting yeast)?

Viability staining is another use. One can also count bacteria with oil immersion and 1000x (10x ocular * 100x objective) magnification, but there are easier ways to test for bacteria.   

In practice, a microscope allows the biologically curious brewer to examine his/her yeast strains in a way that is impossible to do using the naked eye.  Yes, a microscope is an added expense, but many of the niche areas of the hobby get expensive very quickly (e.g., electric brewing).  I have spent a considerable sum on my yeast bank over the years, but it is an integral part of my brewing hobby.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2015, 08:08:15 PM »
Have you looked at American Science & Surplus ( http://sciplus.com )? I'm not sure what the quality of their scopes is, but their prices are killer on most items.
Eric B.

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Re: Microscope Purchase
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2015, 08:27:08 PM »
I found an older Olympus binocular scope last night on a different site for a very good price, but a place that I was seriously considering purchasing from is microscopecentral.com.  Microscope Central appears to be a sister site for imillermicroscopes.com.  I. Miller Precision Optical has been in business for close to eighty years.  There is zero doubt in my mind that there will no surprises when purchasing a used microscope on microscopecentral.com.  However, one is paying to have a microscope tech go over each of the used microscopes on that site.  It appears that the used microscopes on microscopecentral.com have been cleaned and refurbished; therefore, one is getting a used microscope that is ready to go straight out of the box.