5 Stars By Interstitialist on 2013-11-04
The best techie man toy ever?
The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
In terms of bang for the buck, this may be the best techie man toy ever.
Impressive presentation. It's huge, at 14-1/2 inches tall without a camera and almost 20 inches tall with a compact digital camera on the trinocular port. It would be a little taller with an SLR/DSLR camera.
Well constructed with a really solid feel to the whole thing. Knobs that move, such as the focusing knobs, the condenser positioning knob, and the stage positioning knobs, all move smoothly.
The optics are quite good. Achromatic (and not planar), obviously, at this price point. But certainly good enough for students and hobbyists like me.
This is no toy in the cheap sense of the word. This is a serious instrument.
Overall, a great value at the $380 I paid this T490B-DK kit. (Which is the T490B microscope bundled with its optional DK-DRY100 darkfield condenser). I recommend you save yourself $90 by buying the T490B without the darkfield condenser. You can add the condenser at any time.
Ideal for homeschooling.
As an 8-10 year old child circa 1950, I was given a cheap chemistry set and a toy microscope. I was never able to do anything with the chemistry set and the microscope was a useless piece of junk. Great idea. Encourage your kids to develop an interest in science by giving them scientific toys that do nothing but frustrate them.
If you're lucky enough to have a child who's interested in science, the smartest thing you can do for them would be to buy them this microscope and a few (2-4) boxes of prepared slides. The benefit is not just the "discovery adventure" from getting really good views of really small things. You put your child down in front of a device of this size and sophistication and the message to the child is clear: "I am taking both you and your educations seriously. Very seriously."
And it will also entertain you and impress your friends.
CONS (remarkably few, and they're nits)
The user's guide is lame, to put it charitably. The good news: what little assembly is required is reasonably obvious after looking at the pictures and I had no real trouble cobbling it together. If you do have any questions, AmScope has really good phone and website chat support.
The eyepieces have limited eye relief. So, if you wear glasses, you might have an issue. I'm extremely nearsighted, but I just take my glasses off and let the microscope's focusing optics compensate for my vision. If that isn't going to work for you, meaning you will have to wear your glasses, your eyes will be too far from the eyepieces to see the entire image at one time. I.e., you'll need to move your head around to scan the entire image. (The eye relief is the maximum distance your eye can be from the eyepiece and still see the entire image the device is forming.)
There is an opening in the top of the binocular head for the camera mount tube. This opening has a plug in it you remove to install the tube. But there is no plug for the tube itself. So, if you don't have a camera to go on the tube, don't install the tube at this time or you'll just have a path for dust to enter the binocular head.
Darkfield microscopy is really cool stuff. If this topic is new to you (as it was to me), now would be a good time to check out the Wikipedia article. Although I purchased the darkfield condenser with this microscope, I haven't had much experience with it yet. Darkfield is really intended for use with unstained specimens, and as I only have prepared slides all of my specimens have been stained. The darkfield views I'm getting are pretty dim, and my guess is that the stain is absorbing much of the light that would otherwise be scattered by the unstained specimens. I don't know how this will work out in the long run, but if I learn anything interesting I'll update this review.
Great bang for the buck.
Really cool man toy.
Wonderful child educational tool.
Highly Recommended !
5 Stars By J. Mckeown on 2015-03-15
Mind Officially Blown
I purchased this purely out of a renewed interest in biology and I could afford it. I've spent an entire weekend looking at water I collected from a local lake and my mind is simply blown. I am a photographer and backyard astronomy buff. I demand high quality optics. And this delivers. I wasn't prepared for how good it would be.
I mostly use the 4/0.1 and 10/0.25 objectives with the 10x ocular and the detail and definition are sharp, detailed, and surpass my expectations.
When you get into the 40/0.65 and 100/1.25, it strains the limits of an acceptable image. But I'm new and there may be something that I don't understand, but look forward to learning.
Build quality is very good. Seems it will last years with proper care.
If you wondering if this really is the right scope, I can only say it is for me. I am very particular about quality as most people are. I want my money's worth and this microscope delivered. I am very pleased.
5 Stars By Scott on 2016-06-08
This is an extremely high quality microscope, especially for the money. All metal construction. The objectives are nice quality for basic lenses. The eye pieces are pretty good, though one of the 20x's has some small dots on the lens (not enough to matter much for the magnifications where a 20x is appropriate). Someone mentioned in a review that these eyepieces are plastic. They're metal shafts with plastic discs. Overall, this is more than adequate quality on the construction -- they don't feel cheap at all.
The stage is great. Controls are properly tensioned and easy to use. The focus, likewise, is very high quality. Inclusion of a friction control on it is a nice touch, but it doesn't seem to affect the fine adjustment, which is a bit loose. The adjustable stop is a very nice touch at this price point.
The simul-focus feature on the trinocular port was very worth the price. Although you do have to hold the mount while you adjust it or it will unscrew, which makes it impossible to do while looking through the binoculars. But once the focus is dialed in on the trinocular port, it stays put and refocuses with the binoculars, so this isn't a huge deal. The tube on the simul-focus mechanism could be a little longer, as with a standard c-mount camera it's too close to the stage to be able to focus it. So you have to use the c-mount adapter for the camera, then stick that into the c-mount adapter in the simul-focus tube. So it's a c-mount into a c-mount to get the length right, and even at that you're just about at full length adjustment to be in focus. This seems to be the only real design flaw with this scope.
The occulars are great. The interpupilary adjustment is easy, and stays put once set (not all scopes with this rotating IP adjustment stay put like the ones with the sliding cards do). The adjustable diopter on both eyepieces is fantastic as well, in this price point, and really makes life easier for those of us with wildly different vision in each eye.
This particular scope has the 20W halogen light. It's adequate, but nothing spectacular. It's a little dim at low magnifications, but above 40X you'll be closing off the iris on the objective anyway so it won't matter. Amscope wants such a premium for the 30W halogen and the LED version of this scope that it's worth living with the lower power light. Though their competitors have gone to charging the same for the LED versions of their scopes, so hopefully Amscope will do the same soon. In the meantime, I'll be figuring out a way to replace the halogen light with an LED, as the only real way I can think of to improve this scope.
The dry darkfield condenser works great, once you center it. Fortunately, thanks to Amscope's obviously well thought-out design, there are two centering screws that are easily reachable while the condenser is in the scope, that let you center the light in a matter of seconds each time you swap out the brightfield for the darkfield.
Overall, this is an amazing scope for less than $350 bucks in dry darkfield form. It's a few more bucks than the equivalent OMAX unit, and the OMAX unit will have LED and be very similarly constructed. But the simul-focus and the really excellent head unit with the diopter adjustments make this the better scope and worth a few bucks more. I'd buy this again in a heartbeat, and put it up against a scope ten times more expensive in a professional lab anyway.
Overall, this is a fantastic scope
4 Stars By Rescueum on 2013-11-29
Great buy, very well made, but no directions
Love the scope. I've just stared to play with it, but so far, the clearness of the objects is great. I like the two options to adjust the light on the slides. The scope seems to be very well made. It came with all the items pictured in the ad, PLUS the additional lenses needed to get to the 2000x magnification. Come with a plastic cover only. Lenses come in their own little containers for protection. My only complaint so far is Amscope no longer makes cases for their scopes. I will be taking this back and forth to school and need a good, sturdy case, I'm having problems finding one. Just something to think about. Also, and I read this before purchasing the scope, there are no real directions on how to use all the features on the it. I think this is a great scope for college bio students.
4 Stars By Josh Frechem on 2017-01-01
Very nice for serious beginners and intermediate users.
The quality is leagues above other models. The objectives are pretty generic and will be fine for most cameras and are great visually. I use a large scientific camera and had to get plan objectives. The trinocular port focuser is nearly useless for anything above a few ounces. Once this is no longer in warranty I plan on drilling a hole and tapping it for a small metric screw to hold the camera nosepiece in place since it doesn't even have that. But, for now, I don't see a great way to fix the focuser. The darkfield condenser is nice but be aware you need a different one and a different object for 100x darkfield. this is great up to around 50x objectives. The light gets crazy hot as you would expect and it doesn't have a fan like higher models. So having a fan added will help out a lot.
5 Stars By Thomas Floyd Osborne on 2017-06-30
Really awesome microscope. Everything I hoped for.
2 Stars By k kraft on 2015-05-30
not quite as good as described
not quite as good as described. never was able to get a good focus at higher magnafications. seemed to have some internal dust in eye pieces which were manufacturer defects. may try another in the future but might upgrade a little.
5 Stars By C. Tobin on 2015-01-22
Good for the price
Really great microscope for the price. The objectives aren't the greatest and have chromatic and spherical aberrations but that's what you get for only a couple hundred bucks. The stage action is really smooth and the c-mount adapter is convenient.
4 Stars By Ski on 2016-05-15
No instructions but it's top notch for the price.
My disappointment here is that it came without instructions. Yes, I assume at this stage you should know what you are doing but I feel it would better serve this product if they'd at least point you to a webpage with instructions.
5 Stars By Aby on 2014-12-14