Celestron Digital Microscope Rocks Digital Screen and 2-Megapixel Camera

A sub-$300 microscope with 3.5-inch digital screen and built-in camera is being launched at CES 2008 next week. Celestron's LCD Digital Microscope has three magnification levels of 4x, 10x and 40x, as well as a 4x digital zoom and a six position color filter wheel. There's 128MB storage memory, plus an SD card slot. Full specs are below.

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Six Position Color Filter Wheel
Compound (Biological) Microscope
USB Cable for Transferring Images to a PC
40 to 400 Power - up to 1600 Power with Digital Zoom
AC Adaptor to Power the Microscope
3.5" (88mm) LCD Screen with 4x Digital Zoom
Carrying Case Included
Built-in Digital Camera - 2 Megapixels
Weight - 51oz (1446g)
Top and Bottom LED Illumination
Two Year Limited Warranty
Mechanical Stage - 3.5" x 3.5" (88mm x 88mm)
128MB Internal Storage Memory
SD Card Slot
Five Prepared Slides
Objective Lens - 4x, 10x, and 40x

It should retail for $299, and is, says Celestron, suitable for coins, molds, yeasts, bacteria and animal parts. [Celestron via I4U]

DISCUSSION

QuailRider
QuailRider

I'm a pathologist, and spend my working life looking down a microscope. I just wanted to clarify something. Novices always look to maximum magnification as a measure of a microscope's worth. "400x mag, that's it!?" Well, my $15000+ microscope has a maximum mag of 400x, and I rarely need to go beyond 250x to reach a diagnosis. Low power gives you the architecture. High power is only used to examine cellular details, which is fine for tumor grading and cytology work, but not for understanding what's going on. In fact, we teach our residents to stay on low power as much as possible, or they don't see the forest for the trees.

In addition, a typical light microscope rarely has decent resolving power beyond 630x without resorting to oil immersion. You only need oil immersion when studying bacteria.

You should evaluate a microscope based on the quality of the optics (objectives, oculars, the sub-stage condenser assembly etc.), ergonomics, and light source rather than the highest mag objective that's shipped with the body. For a layman, you're much better off getting a dissecting microscope, which has a very low magnification, but can view macroscopic objects (such as your hand) rather than prepared slides (which you won't have access to unless you're affiliated with a histology laboratory).