4 Stars By Paul Clifford on 2009-11-09
Unhelpful user's manual, microscope provides two fixed levels of magnification, appx 20x and appx 400x
I just bought this microscope and after some initial disappointment, because I didn't really know how to use it and the documentation that comes with it is almost useless, I am now quite pleased with it. There is some confusion in reviews here over what this microscope can do -- is it really a 400x power microscope? The advertising describes it as "Magnification: 20x - 400x (Plus digital zoom in 640x480 mode)" Does that mean it can continuously zoom from 20X to 400x? The manual that comes with it does not really tell you how to use it. So I did a little experimentation, and found that it really has two fixed magnifications, appx. 20x and appx. 400x.
There is a cylindrical drum you can twist for focusing the microscope. As you turn it an internal lens moves up and down the barrel, changing the distance to the specimen. On the drum, there's a scale, with markings from 20 to 400 on it, that is quite misleading -- it suggests that you can optically zoom continuously from 20x to through 400x. But that is not the case. Instead, there are two fixed magnification levels, one nominally 20x and one about 400x, corresponding to two different focus locations, and they do not correspond to the locations on the scale you would expect!
Using it at 20x power:
If you place a specimen, like a piece of paper, directly under the microscope and place the clear plastic end of the microscope directly on the paper, the 20x focus occurs when you turn the drum beyond the top of the scale, past the 400, then a little past the 20 mark as the scale starts repeating. At this focal point the internal lens is moved up the tube, far from the specimen. The field of view is 13.5 mm. You can then move the microscope farther from the paper, readjusting the focus as necessary. You can even move the microscope quite far from the specimen, and still be able to focus it with 20x magnification. When it is focused at infinity, (at the extreme end of the scale, about 60 over the top), the field of view is 11.2 degrees, or about 3" wide when the subject is 12" from the end of the microscope.
Using it at 400x power:
To get the the 400x magnification, again place the clear plastic end of the microscope directly on the specimen, say a dollar bill. The 400x focus location occurs when the drum is rotated beyond the bottom of the scale, to the 400 below the 20 mark. At this point, the internal lens is moved down the tube, to nearly as close to the specimen as it can get (about 22mm). The field of view is only about 0.8 mm, or 2 degrees. Most users would never notice that the microscope can focus at the 400x magnification: to attain it you must move the focus lens to nearly the full bottom of its travel; it is easy to go through the focal region too quickly to see it; and the documentation makes no mention of it. People may think the higher magnification is obtained by zooming in digitally on your computer screen, without realizing that the microscope focuses with high magnification itself. You'll need to turn on the LED illumination for the 400x scale to get an image. (There are eight white LEDs that provide good even illumination, not four as advertised.)
As well as these two focus regimes, there is a software zoom option. If you choose a capture size of 640x480 you can go to the preferences menu and choose zoom to zoom in digitally. The field of view zooms from 13.5mm down to 4.2 mm.
Measuring actual magnification:
The 20x and 400x are only approximage values, but you can measure the actual magnification by viewing a millimeter ruler or finer reticule if you have one. If the image capture size is set to 1280x960, I find that the width of the field of view is 13.5 mm at the "20x" focus, and about 0.8 mm at the "400x" focus. (about a 17x difference) The resolution, that is, the size of a single pixel in the field of view, is 13.5mm/1280= 10.5 microns for the "20x" focus, and 0.8mm/1280=0.6 micron for the "400x" focus. (Of course, the optics aren't perfect, and it appears to me that at the "400x" focus the optical resolution is about 3 pixels, that is, the smallest features you can see are about 2 micron in size. The magnification you see on your computer screen depends on the screen pixel size, also called the pixel pitch. Mine is 0.282 mm (or 90 pixels per inch, most LCD screens are 90-100 pixels/in.). For my screen, the two actual magnifications are then, 1280*0.282mm/13.5mm = 26.7x and 1280*.282mm/0.8mm = 451x. This is for viewing on the computer screen at "actual size", not zooming in.
Measuring object sizes:
The software allows you to measure objects with rulers you can draw over a picture, but you need to enter the actual magnification to calibrate the software ruler. They suggest you take that reading from the scale on the microscope, but there's so much up and down play in the focus drum that you can't rely on its readings for the true magnification. It's best to calibrate the field of view by taking a picture of a millimeter ruler. Then you know what true size the full width of the captured image corresponds to. That works well for the appx. 20x focus point. Unfortunately, the magnification box allows entry of only integers up to 220, so you can't enter an actual magnification, like 451, to get accurate numbers.
Even so, you can measure object sizes and do the math yourself. In particular, you can use the software ruler to measure sizes in pixels with a magnification factor of one, and get an accurate pixel measurement.
The software lets you save the images in uncompressed *.bmp or compressed *.jpg file formats. You can choose the level of compression for the *.jpg files; remarkably, the 3.7 MB files (1280x960x3bytes) can be compressed to about 100KB without much loss of resolution.
Despite the ad hype, the sensor is not a 2 megapixel (Mp) sensor -- the spec sheet in the instruction manual says it is 1.3 (Mp). The maximum resolution is attained when you choose an image size of 1280x960 = 1.23 Mp. Although there is an option for capturing images at 1600x1200, those images are interpolated, and don't result in any greater actual resolution.
With these considerations in mind, you'll find that this microscope is a great value for the money, and you can take some really good photomicrographs with it.
4 Stars By Mike on 2017-06-18
Not bad for what it is - but can be very handy
For the price, and because it plugs right into a USB port and shows up on my monitor, it's pretty good.
The stand it comes with I found to be annoying, so I tossed it and attached it to a goose neck with a heavy base. While that works better, it's still difficult to focus because it shakes and the focus knob takes a little bit of pressure to turn, which effects the focusing. For example, when you take your hand away from the knob, you may lose the focus because the scope moves, and even just a little movement effects the image.
On line I've seen stands for this thing where you put the scope into it and you move the stand, but I haven't personally tried it.
If I can figure out a way to move the subject matter closer to the scope, instead of the scope closer to the subject, it would be easier a lot easier to focus on the image. Maybe I could attach it to something really heavy so it has zero shake.
On the other hand, you can move it around which comes in handy. For instance, I can use it to look into my cats ears as long she's still. I can look into my own ears, too, though it's limited. It's not like at the doctors. So, if you add a USB extension cord to this, if it;s long enough, you can walk around the whole house looking at stuff. It doesn't need to stay on a desk.
Also - keep in mind that this scope only has two focal points: 20x and 400x. Not everything in between.
1 Stars By Nomdeguerre on 2018-01-15
When manufacturers stop supporting operating systems they would be better served by pulling the unsupported hardware off the market ...
Product worked until Windows 10. No Windows 10 drivers now and software that allows you to capture photos or video no longer can find the microscope. Have been out to Veho website and the latest drivers off their support download did not rectify the situation.
Given this, I'm surprised and dismayed to see this model still being sold when functionality is severely limited.
When manufacturers stop supporting operating systems they would be better served by pulling the unsupported hardware off the market or making the limitations known.
Personally don't think they should be allowed to be sold on BTA-MALL given they are non functional on Windows 10 without such clarification.
Product was good prior to this change.
1 Stars By TS on 2011-03-03
Defective product (not only mine)
LED lighting did not work and I found the reason why.
The LED light intensity dial (variable resistor) is on a separeted PCB (printed circuit board). The PCB is dual side board and has several through holes. Those through holes were not plated, means top and bottom side conductors are not electrically connected at all. This is ok if all terminals are soldered both side but they forgot to do that (or they changed PCB process, it should do copper plating after drilling through holes).
Anyway, I fixed those problems but I have to disassemble and soldering missing connections.
Obviously they do not have functional test in their manufacturing process.
Do not buy if you do not, or, cannot fix the soldering problem.
By the way, other functions and software are good for ~$50 product.
3 pictures posted (taken by this microscope).
4 Stars By R. SAFRENO on 1969-12-31
Not perfect but cheap and fair picture
Needed to take some 400x micro-pictures of plants. Didn't get the holder stand as in the picture for this but instead received the flexi-stand like the other 200x microscopes for sale here at BTA-MALL. Flexi-stand would work well for pics of stamps, coins, other flat articles that are flat and are not suspended like a plant. I'm going to need a gooseneck like stand to hold the microscope steady.
Colors are true, at least for greens, browns, clears/translucents and yellows. That's all I dealt with.
20x and 400x fixed focus only....There is NO zoom here. Focus is at either extreme end of the focusing travel of the focusing knob. A little free play allows fine focusing at either 20x or 400x. Both magnifications are only approximations from a crudely calibrated and marked focus knob.
There are 6 LEDs that light up the items with strong naturally looking white light that is also adjustable from full-on to full-off and anywhere between. The light strength adjustment knob barely extends out from the body and is somewhat a pain to dial in.
COMPLAINTS: Focus knob really difficult to use while trying not to move or shake it much. Same goes with the LED light level adjustment.
Software easy to load, works as advertised (but NOT zoom) and seems solid enough. May be a type of metallicized plastic alloy but seems solid enough with gentle care. Its not a toy nor can it be considered a professional quality microscope. But it does take amazing pictures for seventy bucks or so. Can't complain. It does what I've needed.
5 Stars By Richard Widman on 2012-06-03
After two days of using someone elses, I ordered my own
I have been looking at several of these and reading reviews. This week a consultant was here and we used one of these that he brought with him to analyze diesel fuel and particles in it. After a couple of dozen analysis, snapping pictures of the results while we showed them to the group on screen, I placed an order for my own.
We actually did not use the stand. It worked well sitting directly on top of the membrane with the particles in them (covered with a plastic film).
Wherever we went, we just plugged it in and slid it around the membrane to show the particles, mostly in the 1 to 40 micron range.
Here are a couple of pics of samples just with the macro on a normal digital camera, plus additional pictures taken through the microscope. [...]
Mine came and it is great. I can see why people comment on the stand, but I don't use it. People are amazed at how dirty their fuel is.
The mini disc with the software doesn't fit in my computer, but instead of downloading the software I just put it on the network and dragged the Mac folder to my applications folder. After clicking to take pictures, I can drag them into iPhoto, name them, etc.
Videos are AVI, so they are huge, but of course can be compressed.
5 Stars By Dennis L. Gardner on 1969-12-31
What most others have said
Veho VMS004DELUXE USB Powered Microscope.
The scope came in an attractive package that was easy to open. Setup was simple if your computer can read mini cd's. Windows XP didn't recognize it when I plugged it in which surprised me because XP usually 'says' something whenever I plug anything new in a usb port.
The stand leaves a lot to be desired. It is not very stable at 400x, and that leads to difficult focusing. The focus wheel is easy to move but would be better if it moved less per revolution making it more exact.
There are no instructions except how to set it up from the disk. I suggest reading Paul Clifford's review. He explains this scope, and how to use it, in an easy to understand way... good job Paul!
I am very impressed with the interface 'MicroCapture'. Viewing live what the scope is seeing is very nice. At 400x one must use a gentle hand. It's easy to take pictures and movies. The pictures are very clear if the scope was focused.
Everything considered, this is a great scope.
3 Stars By Skuttle Bucket on 2011-12-26
It's good enough, for now
1. The stand is junk. The U shaped piece to hold the microscope doesn't hold it at all, slips right through!
So I tried to adjust it, and there it went, snapped to pieces. The microscope is taped to the stand now. Adjusting it is another issue. being such cheap material, it is not weighted enough to hold the microscope with pointing downward, it just falls over.
2. 400x? doubt that it really is, but not matter how high it truly reads, good luck trying to get anything in focus at all without constantly dealing with blur on the screen and having to refocus. I find the only way to get a decent shot at that magnification is to have the scope literally on top of the object, but you must keep it very still or you won't be able to focus in.
The 400x setting is useless for those of you that want to freely move objects underneath the scope to scan them close up. It will just appear as a constant blur. And again, you can hardly achieve this since the scope has to be sitting on top of the object to focus in the first place.
It's fun to have around. Seeing things up close is always interesting even at 50x. Focus works just fine at that level and the LED lights with the dimmer are a plus. I don't feel you will gain much educational value from it. It is certainly not ideal for the classroom, but kids will still enjoy it, and I have as well. It might make for a good starter USB scope, However, the price does not match it's quality. You are better off getting a cheaper model and saving for a real nice one in the future.
3 Stars By Alex on 2012-10-31
The microscope really isn't bad itself. Craftsmanship is okay, kind of cheap. The LED is dimmable, the foot is pretty sturdy, no defects. One issue is that trying to get hundreds of times of magnification for me was impossible. At a really reasonable distance of about 1/2" from the specimen, I got 17x magnification... still looked neat but I was looking for more than 17x magnification.
The ruler tool is useless. You can use the tool but you can't save the image with the ruler lines. You have to use the ruler tool, then take a screenshot or use the windows snipping tool. Also the ruler tool is lacking- you can't adjust marks you've made. If you try to you wind up making another ruler. And shortcuts like CTR-Z for undo don't work.
The mini-CD is hidden deep in the bottom of the cyllindrical plastic tube packaging. If you don't dig you won't find it, and you can't go to their website and download it. I can see where some of the other reviewers went wrong.
Overall the product has good mechanical and electrical design, and awful software design.
4 Stars By Allan Boyd on 2014-03-17
good little scope!
I picked this up for inspection of metal edges. I hone shaving razors and this is perfect to use to inspect my edges. A friend recommended it and for the price it's a great little unit. I really like the fact you can take quick snap shots of your work. I use it for my customers for "before and after" photos of their razors. It takes the guess work out when working on tiny things. There isn't much of a range and you have to have the adjustment all the way to the furthest adjustment for full strength, I'm pretty sure it falls short of it's x200 magnification it's probably closer to x50 but it does everything I need.