Getting Started in Microscopes and Microscopy – A Beginners Guide
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Getting Started in Microscopes and Microscopy – A Beginners Guide

| by Les Ellison
Getting Started in Microscopes and Microscopy – A Beginners Guide

The microscope is a vital instrument in laboratory investigation, medical diagnosis and scientific discovery. But it's also a fascinating and educational device that anyone can master and use to obtain greater pleasure and understanding from the world around.

Suitable for the budding or amateur scientist

Modern microscopes, such as the simple and affordable Vetlab Premiere 125, offer the budding or amateur scientist an easy and economical way to enhance their enjoyment of the natural world. Many are put off acquiring their own microscope because they've been told it's merely a self-indulgence or because they think it's wildly expensive. Neither is true.

The microscope was first invented simply for interest and curiosity, and used for little more than entertainment. Once its power to explore and enlighten was realised its use was quickly popularised by serious scientists. For a long time, microscopes were handmade, but as industrialisation progressed production and availability rapidly increased. Today, the cost of a highly capable instrument has fallen to a level where a professional quality microscope costs no more than an average laptop computer.

A few things you should look for when purchasing your microscope

When you're looking to buy your first microscope, there are a few things you should look for. The first is value for money. You need a professional quality, fully featured instrument – not the kind of toy sold in your local hobby shop. But neither do you want many of the commercial lab extras that, in all probability, you're never going to use. The same is true if you're looking for a classroom microscope for your school or college.

Look for an instrument with an angled, binocular head and carrying eye-strength adjustable eyepieces. You'll need a range of magnification from about 40x to 600x. The lower magnification will help you find what you are looking for before you zoom in with the higher power. You also want built-in illumination with an Abbe condenser and a moving, mechanical stage for your samples.

The Premiere 125 is already a firm favourite in schools, veterinary and medical laboratories. With all the features of a much more expensive microscope, Vetlab's instrument is an education in how a microscope works, as well as what it does. Smoothly geared coarse and fine focus controls, a generous sample stage and bright clear illumination let you quickly find your subject – whether it's as large as a bug or as small as a single cell and, with pin-sharp magnification, you'll soon be enjoying the wonder of making your own new discoveries.