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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Digital Microscopes

Linda asked about the cost of a microscope. Some of the prices you see online can frighten you and my own experience is very limited. However I know what I bought and can give the following info.

I purchased a microscope from Brunel Microscopres and it cost me about £500.00.

 It was an SP45D. the "D" meaning it is digital and can be attached to a PC to view and take pictures. Although the screen shot is far less  detailed than looking down the eyepiece, I feel it is good enough to measure spores and ornamentation etc and the pictures can be improved a lot by software, which I can show at our microscope talk in the new year.

The camera on my microscope is 1.3M and I see that Brunel do a monocular microscope (SP20D) with the same camera for just under £300, which presumably takes the same images as mine. It also does a similar microscope with a better 3M camera,  (SP27D) for just over £400.

However I see that the same Brunel Microscopes are for sale at for about 10% less and free postage.

All the best.


  1. Plenty to think about! My first two microscopes were from 2nd-hand shops and were OK for a while. After a time one gets an interest in some aspect (kingdom fungi too large) as Nigel has with 'rusts'. Can get so far with size/shape of spores but other features can be important. With 'cup-fungi' ornamentation of spore surface can be vital so clear image needed. Microscope/camera stuff so much better now -- and cheaper. Plenty to discuss!

  2. Thank you very much. I shall start dropping hints now, and they might bear fruit by next Christmas. I would be very interested in seeing a demo of microscope techniques. My lab days are many decades ago.

  3. Ha ha I bought one for a £1 at a boot sale didn't work
    Bought a national geographic one in lidls £12

  4. Linda- it depends on the level one has to go to when studying specific groups of fungi. Philip is correct when he says that if you need to study spore ornamentation to identify the fungus then you need high power quality lenses. If you only require spore measurements then you can drop down in quality which means less expense. I suggest you look at the microscopes people you know are using and if one of them does the job then get that one - it saves a lot of time faffing about trying to sort the technical stuff in catalogues.