I am currently setting up a small micro lab at home as I am taking care of someone on medical leave. I wanted to find a reasonably good quality microscope that allowed me to read samples but cost less than $1000. I settled on an AmScope T720 40X-1000X Plan Infinity Kohler Laboratory Trinocular Compound Microscope from Amazon and purchased it with regular shipping for less than $600.
The trinocular scope has a 10x eyepiece with 4x 10x 20x 40x and 100x Plan nose pieces. I stayed away from the 20x eyepiece on other models as any magnification without oil over 400x tends to be a bit blurry. The 200x magnification really speeds up a scan of the field with a bit more clarity than the 10x and more area than the 400x, The LED light works well as does the stage operation. I may later purchase a digital camera for the top mounted lens.
One minor issue with the scope. It does not maintain perfect focus when transitioning between different magnifications. On the plus side it has eye correction adjustments for both eyepieces. The field of vision is good and the ergonomics of the scope is sound even though I chose not to pay for a model with a tilting eye piece.
|Alternaria spp. and Penicillium spp. spores 200x - N.Carlson|
The above photo was taken with a Samsung Galaxy S-5 smart phone through the eyepiece of the microscope with magnification at 200x. This is definitely good enough to pick out spores during an initial scan of both and Air-o-cell cassette trace or a tease tape sample. This was a tease tape sample taken from a swab.