Choosing a compound microscope

How To Choose A Compound Microscope

Microscopes have revolutionised our understanding of the world by allowing us to peer into the realm of the minuscule. Whether you’re a student, a hobbyist, a medical consultant, or a professional researcher, choosing the right compound microscope is crucial to your success. With a myriad of options available, the process can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key considerations for selecting the perfect compound microscope to suit your needs.

1. Magnification:

The magnification of a compound microscope determines how much you can zoom in on a specimen. Consider what you’ll be observing – cells, microorganisms, wafers, microchips, or other small structures – and choose a microscope with appropriate magnification levels. A typical compound microscope for biological and medical applications offers a range of magnification settings, often from 40x to 1000x or more, whereas a materials or metallurgical compound microscope typically ranges from 50x to 600x or 800x.

2. Optical Quality:

The quality of the microscope’s optics directly impacts the clarity of your observations. Look for microscopes with high-quality glass lenses that minimize distortion and aberrations. A compound microscope with achromatic objectives is a good starting point but the image will blur towards the edge of the field of view. Plan achromatic objectives are an excellent choice for the majority of applications, providing a focused image across the full field of view. At research level, Plan Fluorite and better still, Plan Apochromat objectives offer the highest level of quality for critical applications that demand high resolution images.

Because Plan Fluorite and Plan Apochromat objectives are costly, at GT Vision Ltd. we offer a ‘mix and match’ solution, whereby we discuss your needs and recommend a tailor-built system that may consist of, for example, a GX Microscopes compound microscope with Plan Achromat objectives combined with an Olympus (Evident) Plan Fluorite 40x objective. This provides a cost-effective solution without compromising on image quality where it most matters to you. As an independent supplier, we have the extra flexibility and knowledge to tailor make an ideal package for you that fits within your budget (contact us to discuss options).

3. Binocular or Monocular Viewing:

Microscopes come in both binocular (dual eyepieces) and monocular (single eyepiece) configurations. Binocular microscopes offer a more comfortable viewing experience during prolonged use and can reduce eye strain. However, monocular microscopes are often more affordable and suitable for occasional use.

The GX Microscopes UltraBIO-2 Monocular Compound Microscope

4. Light Source Options:

Most modern microscopes utilise LED technology. LED lighting is energy-efficient and generates minimal heat, making it a popular choice. For biological samples (thin semi-transparent sections on glass slides), transmitted (base) illumination is required that transmits through the sample. If viewing stained samples, a microscope with standard brightfield illumination is all that’s required. If viewing unstained samples, phase contrast illumination provides added contrast at a reasonable price and DIC (Differential Interference Contrast) or Relief Contrast provide further contrast for research applications.

For materials and metallurgical applications viewing solid samples, reflected (top) illumination is required that reflects off the sample.

If viewing fluorescently labelled samples, a fluorescence microscope is needed with the appropriate filters for detecting the specific markers applied to the samples. Traditionally the fluorescence microscopes used a mercury bulb or metal halide as a light source but modern microscopes again utilise LED technology. At GT Vision Ltd., we can also retrofit new LED light sources onto existing microscopes to improve the energy efficiency, illumination intensity and safety of older systems – contact us for details.

5. Mechanical Stage and Focus Control:

A mechanical stage allows you to precisely move your slide in both the X and Y directions, making it easier to navigate across your specimen. Starter level microscopes have a fixed stage that require manual moving of the sample but most microscopes above this level have XY mechanical control. At a professional and research level, the XY controls can be encoded for improved accuracy, or motorised as part of an automated system.

Additionally, fine and coarse focus knobs enable precise focusing for clear images. This can also be motorised where high levels of accuracy and/or speed are required.

6. Digital Imaging Capability:

In the digital age, many microscopes come with built-in or attachable cameras for capturing images and videos of your observations. If documentation or sharing of your findings is important, consider a microscope with a trinocular head so a camera can be added to the camera port, or a microscope with built-in digital imaging capabilities.

GX Microscopes UltraBIO-5-DIGI Digital Compound Microscope

The GX Microscopes UB5-DIGI Digital Compound Microscope

If viewing samples with fluorescence illumination, a camera with high sensitivity to light is required to cope with the low light levels.

Technology is rapidly changing and improving when it comes to microscope cameras; for most routine applications a simple USB camera that connects to a laptop or PC will perform well. For publication quality images, research or for use alongside an automated system please contact us to discuss the most suitable camera for your needs.

7. Budget Considerations:

Compound microscopes vary widely in price, from under £300 to £50,000+. Set a budget that aligns with your needs and level of usage. While high-end microscopes offer advanced features, there are also budget-friendly options that provide excellent value for beginners, hobbyists and students.

8. Ergonomics:

Choose a microscope with a sturdy build and ergonomic design. A comfortable viewing posture and robust construction contribute to a pleasant and productive microscopy experience.

If you’re viewing down the microscope for hours at a time (medical professionals and researchers for example), look for microscopes that have ergonomically positioned focus knobs and XY stage controls, such as the Leica DM1000, so your wrists can rest on the workbench whilst focusing. You may also wish to consider a microscope with an adjustable, tilting microscope head so the eyepieces can be adjusted to the most comfortable viewing height.

9. Additional Features:

Some microscopes offer extra features such as phase contrast, darkfield, or polarising capabilities, which enhance the versatility of the instrument. Consider whether these features align with your intended applications.

10. Read Reviews and Seek Recommendations:

Before making a purchase, read reviews from other users and seek recommendations from experts or peers in the field. Their insights can provide valuable information about the microscope’s performance, durability, and user-friendliness.

Choosing the right compound microscope requires careful consideration of your specific needs and preferences. By assessing factors like magnification, optical quality, lighting, and additional features, you can confidently select a microscope that will unlock a captivating world of microscopic exploration. A well-chosen compound microscope can serve you for a good number of years.

We would love to chat with you about your microscope requirements and can offer unbiased, expert advice on the best system for your budget and needs. Please email us here or phone us on +44 (0)1284 789697 to discuss options.

Find Us At Upcoming Events

Visit GT Vision At The IBMS Congress 2023

The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Congress 2023

25-28 September, 2023

The International Convention Centre (ICC), Birmingham

The IBMS Congress is where leading experts in biomedical sciences come together at the ICC in Birmingham to interact, share their professional knowledge and support career development in this field.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be on GT Vision’s in Hall 3, stand 503 showcasing a selection of our top microscopes for biomedical sciences, providing microscope demonstrations and answering your questions. Pop along to see microscopes such as the Leica DM4, the Leica DM2500 and the revolutionary Microvisioneer Slide Scanning System in action.

Laboratory microscopes

We look forward to meeting you!

Caring for Your Laboratory Microscope

Caring for Your Laboratory Microscope

The laboratory microscope is a valuable and essential tool in scientific research and education. It allows us to explore the intricate world of microscopic organisms and structures. To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your laboratory microscope, it is crucial to follow proper care and maintenance practices. In this article, we will provide you with essential tips on how to care for your laboratory microscope, ensuring accurate results for years to come.

1. Cleanliness:

Keeping your laboratory microscope clean is of utmost importance. Prevent dust and debris from accumulating by covering the microscope with a dust cover when not in use. Never clean the objective lenses unless they absolutely need it. If often using immersion oil on the 100x lens (daily for example), there’s no reason to clean it. Instead use good quality immersion oil and replace the oil often (don’t let it go yellowy in colour, it should always be clear).  Take care when using the microscope to not get oil on the 40x objective lens.

When cleaning an objective lens or eyepiece is a necessity, we recommend using a combination of 70% alcohol wipes, non-toxic glass cleaner (the latter is normally used as much as possible to avoid any damage to the lens), lens tissue on cotton wool buds and micro fibre cloths (the same cloths as used for cleaning glasses).

The microscope’s exterior surfaces can be wiped with a soft cloth and mild cleaning solution.

Should your microscope or lens require further cleaning, or you would prefer for an expert to clean it, please complete the form on this page and we can arrange for one of our dedicated microscope service engineers to contact you to organise this.

2. Proper Handling:

Handle your laboratory microscope with care to avoid accidental damage. When lifting the microscope, always hold it with both hands – one on the arm and the other on the base; never lift the microscope by its stage or nosepiece and avoid placing any excessive pressure on the lenses, as this can lead to misalignment or damage. When adjusting the focus or other controls, make smooth and gentle movements to avoid damaging the mechanics of the focus rack. It is also important to avoid touching the lenses directly with your fingers, as the oils and dirt on your skin can damage the optics. To switch between lenses, instead twist the nosepiece which usually has grooves cut for grip.

3. Storage:

Proper storage is crucial to protect your laboratory microscope when it is not in use. Store the microscope in a clean and dry environment, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Use a microscope dust cover to protect it from dust and debris. If the microscope is portable, consider investing in a sturdy carrying case to protect it during transportation. Proper storage prevents the accumulation of dust, prevents damage from environmental factors, and extends the lifespan of your microscope.

4. Maintenance:

Regular maintenance is essential for the smooth functioning of your laboratory microscope. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding routine maintenance tasks, such as lubrication and alignment. Periodically check and clean the microscope’s mechanical components, such as the stage, focusing mechanisms, and condenser. Inspect the power cords and connectors for any signs of damage and ensure proper electrical grounding. If any issues arise, contact a professional microscope technician for assistance rather than attempting to fix it yourself – we have a team of experienced microscope service engineers that are happy to assist and can be contacted here.

One of our GT Vision Service Engineers servicing a SEM system

5. Calibration and Service:

Calibration is necessary to ensure accurate measurements and observations both with your laboratory microscope and microscope camera. Periodically check and calibrate the microscope’s magnification settings using an eyepiece reticle, stage micrometer or calibration slide. This will ensure that your microscope provides accurate and reliable results. Additionally, consider scheduling regular servicing and maintenance with a qualified microscope technician. They can perform more in-depth inspections, clean the internal components, and address any potential issues before they become major problems. A service can be booked by contacting us here or phoning us on 01284 789697.


Proper care and maintenance are vital for the longevity and optimal performance of your laboratory microscope. By following these essential tips on cleanliness, proper handling, storage, maintenance, and calibration, you can ensure that your microscope remains in excellent condition and continues to provide accurate and reliable results. Remember, a well-cared-for microscope will not only serve you well in your scientific endeavours but also contribute to the advancement of research and education in the microscopic world.

Find Us At Upcoming Events

Find Us At Upcoming Events

Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Congress 2023

25-28 September, 2023

The International Convention Centre (ICC), Birmingham

The IBMS Congress is where leading experts in biomedical sciences come together at the ICC in Birmingham to interact, share their professional knowledge and support career development in this field.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be on GT Vision’s stand 503 showcasing a selection of our top microscopes for biomedical sciences, providing microscope demonstrations and answering your questions. Pop along to see microscopes such as the Leica DM4, the Leica DM2500 and the revolutionary Microvisioneer Slide Scanning System in action.

We look forward to meeting you!

The Soil Food Web and Soil Health

The Soil Food Web and Soil Health

written by guest author Eddie Bailey

Eddie Bailey, awarded ‘The Assessor’s Award For Retail Innovation’ and the ‘4 Star Tradestand Award’ for his Rhizophyllia stall at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, July 2023.

What is soil health?

This is a much-debated topic but the general consensus is that it is ‘the capacity of soil to function as a living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation.’

If you dig a little deeper soil health is largely measured by the nutrients it contains, its texture, its capacity to drain, and a whole host of other physical or chemical properties. In modern agricultural and horticultural settings, and especially at gardening and allotmenting scale, the biological side of soil health is just a footnote, if not ignored completely. And yet it is the biological story that links most intimately and intrinsically to the gut microbiome and human health.

What is the biological story?

Pictured left: An Arcella Amoeba at 400x magnification

Where to start! It would seem logical to discuss biology in the context of plants given that ultimately our health depends on what we consume directly, or indirectly via consumption of animal products. But that misses the overwhelmingly vital and fundamental contribution of the Earth’s microorganisms. Indeed, plants owe their evolution and crucially their healthy functioning, to the microorganisms. Afterall, the archaea, bacteria, fungi and protists were around for some 3.5 billion years before plants even existed. These incredible, tiny bioengineers and biogeochemists evolved, diversified, competed and cooperated to create practically every metabolic substance, interaction, and pathway underpinning all later forms of life. This is the soil food web, and it is vital that we understand soil as a habitat, not simply a material.

Who’s down with the soil and what do they do?

Underpinning the food web are the archaea and bacteria; it seems everyone else chows down on them! There are protozoans such as amoeba, ciliates and flagellates, and nematodes that graze either on bacteria, fungi, protozoans, or other nematodes, and even roots. In turn the microarthropods will eat anybody. All this munching and decomposition provides the perfect, balanced, organic fertiliser that crucially plants recognise as natural and have evolved to uptake.

Image above: Nematodes under the microscope at 400x magnification

Seeing is believing!

Pictured right: Eddie Bailey’s GX Microscopes UltraBIO microscope & camera setup

Nothing, but nothing brings home the reality and importance of soil as a habitat better than a quality brightfield biological microscope. It’s like peering through clouds of turf or mulch at a buzzing and bustling microbial metropolis beneath. Well, if your soil is healthy that is! And you don’t need a research-level microscope to get involved. I use the UltraBio range of microscopes from GT Vision for their supreme quality, robustness, and value, supported by optical experts and a customer care that are second to none. A bit of tuition such as the hands-on workshops delivered by RHS award-winning educator, and you are ready to experiment for yourself, working with your new-found microbial partners to nurture your soil or rehabilitate in cases of inadvertent damage by digging or use of synthetic products. You will find the journey a total joy and whatever you grow, as a gardener, allotmenteer, horticulturalist, market gardener, or farmer, you will see a mind-blowing difference.

Soil health and regnerative agriculture microscope workshops

About the author

Eddie Bailey is a geologist, organic gardener and soil food web specialist who runs soil health workshops through his company Rhizophyllia. Learn more at

All of the photographs listed above are by Eddie.

Eddie’s microscope setups:

GX Microscopes UltraBIO-6 Compound Microscope with GXCAM HiChrome-Lite Display Camera (discontinued- latest model available here)

Leica S9D Stereo Microscope for viewing soil particles and larger soil organisms

Happy growing!

The Latest Digital Classroom Solutions in Microscopy

The Latest Digital Classroom Solutions in Microscopy

Euromex NexiusZoom Stereo Microscopes with GXCAM HiChrome-HR4 Cameras and GXCAM HiChrome-HD Display Cameras at the University of Cambridge

As technology continues to advance, it has transformed the way we teach and learn in various fields, including microscopy. In the realm of science education, digital classroom solutions have revolutionised the way students interact with microscopes and explore the microscopic world. These innovative tools enable educators to enhance their teaching methods, engage students in hands-on learning, and provide a more immersive and interactive educational experience. In this article, we will explore the latest digital classroom solutions in microscopy that are shaping the future of science education.

1. Digital Microscope Cameras:

Digital microscope cameras are one of the key advancements in microscopy technology. These cameras are designed to be attached to traditional microscopes, transforming them into powerful digital imaging systems. By connecting the camera to a computer or display, multiple students can observe and analyse specimens in real-time, capturing high-resolution images and videos. Digital microscope cameras offer several advantages, including the ability to easily share images, collaborate remotely, and store data for future reference. They also enable educators to incorporate multimedia elements, such as annotations and measurements, enhancing the learning experience.

Here’s some of our top recommended microscope cameras for teaching:

5G Interactive WiFi Teaching System

2. Virtual Microscopy:

Virtual microscopy brings the microscopic world directly to the classroom through interactive digital platforms. With virtual microscopy, students can access a vast library of digital slides representing a wide range of specimens. They can navigate through the slides, zoom in and out, and observe specimens in high detail, replicating the experience of using a physical microscope. Virtual microscopy platforms often include additional features, such as annotations, quizzes, and 3D reconstructions, allowing students to engage in self-paced learning and explore concepts beyond the limitations of traditional microscopy.

3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR):

AR and VR technologies are transforming the way students interact with microscopes and engage in scientific exploration. Augmented reality overlays digital information onto the real-world environment, while virtual reality creates a fully immersive digital experience. These technologies enable students to visualize and interact with microscopic objects in a three-dimensional virtual environment, enhancing their understanding and spatial awareness. With AR and VR, students can manipulate virtual specimens, explore complex cellular structures, and even participate in interactive simulations, bringing abstract concepts to life and fostering a deeper connection with the subject matter.

Ask us about AR and virtual reality options for your teaching laboratory

4. Online Collaborative Platforms:

Online collaborative platforms provide students and educators with a shared digital space for microscopy-related activities. These platforms facilitate collaboration, enabling students to work together on microscope projects, share findings, and engage in discussions. Students can upload and analyse their own images, compare results, and seek feedback from their peers and teachers. Online collaborative platforms not only promote teamwork and critical thinking but also provide a global network for students to connect with others who share a passion for microscopy.

Ask us about online collaborative platforms for your teaching laboratory

5. Mobile Microscopy:

Mobile microscopy solutions leverage the power of smartphones and tablets to bring microscopy to the palm of students’ hands. With mobile microscopy, students can attach special lenses or adapters to their mobile devices, turning them into portable microscopes. These solutions often come with dedicated apps that allow students to capture images and videos, conduct measurements, and explore a variety of microscopy techniques. Mobile microscopy empowers students to take their learning beyond the classroom, encouraging outdoor exploration and real-world applications of scientific concepts.

We recommend the Dino-Lite WF4515ZT Digital Wireless Microscope

Dino-Lite AM4515ZT Digital Wireless Portable Microscope


The latest digital classroom solutions in microscopy are revolutionising science education, providing students with immersive, interactive, and collaborative learning experiences. With digital microscope cameras, virtual microscopy, augmented and virtual reality, online collaborative platforms, and mobile microscopy, students can explore the microscopic world with ease, engage in hands-on learning, and develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for integrating digital solutions in microscopy education are boundless, promising an exciting future of discovery and innovation in the classroom.

The New UltraDIGI-1080MZ-M Digital Inspection System

The New UltraDIGI-1080MZ-M Digital Inspection System

The UltraDIGI-1080MZ-M Digital Inspection system complete with a built-in screen is an ideal all-in-one solution to boost productivity and efficiency of inspection tasks.  Boasting design features such as the magnetic and wireless 7500k LED ring light and 1080P imaging with no external screen or computer required, this high resolution system provides a tidy all-in-one benchtop solution with minimal cables and a comparatively small footprint.

The display camera has a Sony back-illuminated high-sensitivity sensor,  providing real-time 1080P HDMI output, still image capture and 1080P recording of HD videos at 60 frames per second.  Each camera includes embedded imaging software controlled by a USB mouse (included) with camera controls and measurement functions.

  • an inexpensive all-in-one system that combines a zoom lens with a camera, ring light and display screen.


  • offers the perfect balance of optical quality, a high resolution image, user-friendliness and convenience, whilst remaining within an accessible price bracket


  • 1080P video and image acquisition – no need for a computer


  • 0.7-5.6x continuous zoom lens


  • cable-free LED ring light


  • affordable price tag at £1125 + VAT

Key Features

The New UltraDIGI-1080MZ-M Digital Inspection System

All-In-One Solution

This system comprises of a zoom lens with built-in camera, ring light and display screen. No computer is required and the screen is raised up above the workbench, providing a space-saving solution.

0.7x – 5.6x Continuous Zoom

With optional additional objectives for both biological and metallurgical applications.

Microscope zoom inspection system
The New UltraDIGI-1080MZ-M Digital Inspection System

LED Ring Light

The system includes a magnetic and wireless 7500k LED ring light for even illumination of your samples.

1080P Video and Image Acquisition

The display camera has a Sony back-illuminated high-sensitivity sensor,  providing real-time 1080P HDMI output, still image capture and 1080P recording of HD videos at 60 frames per second.  Each camera includes embedded imaging software controlled by a USB mouse (included) with camera controls and measurement functions.

The New UltraDIGI-1080MZ-M Digital Inspection System


Buy now by clicking here

Discuss further on the phone: +44(0)1284 789697.  We’ll discuss any queries with you and provide options that are tailored to your individual requirements.

Request a demonstration: please email or phone +44 (0)1284 789697


GX Microscopes XPLPOLTEC Polarising Microscopes in a university teaching laboratory

Making an Impact with Your Teaching Microscope Laboratory at Open Days

GX Microscopes XPLPOLTEC Polarising Microscopes in a university teaching laboratory

GX Microscopes XPLPOLTEC-3 Polarising Microscopes at Keele University

Open days at educational institutions are a wonderful opportunity for teachers and students to showcase their achievements and engage with the wider community. One crucial aspect of these open days is the teaching microscope laboratory, where educators can demonstrate the wonders of science and microscopy to visitors. A well-equipped and thoughtfully organised laboratory can make a lasting impact on visitors, igniting curiosity and fostering a love for scientific exploration. In this article, we will explore the significance of a laboratory microscope, specifically the binocular laboratory microscope and digital microscope, and discuss how to create a memorable teaching experience at open days.

Importance of a Laboratory Microscope:

The laboratory microscope is an indispensable tool in any science education setting. It allows students to observe and analyse the intricate details of specimens, facilitating a deeper understanding of biological, chemical, and physical phenomena. By incorporating laboratory microscopes in the teaching curriculum, educators can enhance students’ observational and analytical skills, encourage critical thinking, and nurture a passion for scientific inquiry.

Choosing the Best Laboratory Microscope:

Selecting the right laboratory microscope is vital for creating a compelling teaching experience. Opting for a binocular laboratory microscope is highly recommended due to its numerous advantages over monocular microscopes. A binocular microscope provides a more comfortable viewing experience as it allows for both eyes to be used simultaneously. This reduces eye strain and fatigue, making it easier for students to focus and engage with the subject matter. Additionally, a binocular microscope offers better depth perception, allowing for a more accurate interpretation of the observed specimen.

When choosing a laboratory microscope, several factors should be considered:

Microscope magnification

The magnification range is crucial, as it determines the level of detail that can be observed. For viewing solid, lumpy samples at low magnifications (typically up to 50x), a stereo microscope is used. For viewing sections of samples on slides at high magnification for cellular detail up to 1000x magnification, a compound microscope is used (typically an upright compound microscope is most commonly used in teaching laboratories for viewing slides but inverted microscopes are also used for viewing samples in culture flasks, petri dishes or cell cultures in multi-well plates).


GX Microscopes UltraZOOM-1 Stereo Microscopes at Keele University

Quality of optics

The quality of optics should also be taken into account. High-quality optics ensure sharp and clear images, enabling students to explore specimens with precision and accuracy. However, there is a fine balance between lens quality, budget constraints and practicality. Top quality Plan Apochromatic lenses can cost in the thousands, so these are likely to be over-budget and not practical for everyday student use. On the other end of the scale, Achromat lenses will result in some blurring / distortion around the edges of the field of view. The most practical and affordable lenses that offer a reasonable image quality are Plan Achromatic lenses.

The ‘wow factor’

Laboratory microscopes with attachable or built-in screens will add an instant ‘wow factor’ to potential students and they also make a very practical solution for teaching. Attaching a screen to an existing teaching microscope, or purchasing an all-in-one digital microscope, enables multiple students to view the specimen at a time and creates a modern, eye-catching aesthetic to your laboratory.


Euromex NexiusZoom Stereo Microscopes with GXCAM HiChrome-HR4 Cameras and GXCAM HiChrome-HD Display Cameras at the University of Cambridge

Creating a Memorable Teaching Experience:

To make a lasting impact at open days, it is essential to design the teaching microscope laboratory in a way that captivates visitors and encourages their active participation. Here are a few key considerations:

  1. Organise specimens effectively: Arrange a diverse range of specimens that showcase the breadth of scientific study. Categorise them logically and provide informative labels to facilitate understanding.
  2. Provide clear instructions: Display concise instructions on how to use the microscope effectively. Consider creating interactive posters or handouts that explain microscopy techniques and proper sample preparation.
  3. Foster hands-on learning: Allow visitors to engage with the microscopes themselves. Provide prepared slides or encourage visitors to bring their own specimens for examination. This hands-on experience will enhance their understanding and appreciation of the microscopic world.
  4. Engage visitors with demonstrations: Conduct live demonstrations to illustrate the capabilities of the laboratory microscope. Show intriguing specimens, highlight interesting features, and explain scientific concepts in an accessible manner.
  5. Encourage questions and discussion: Foster an environment where visitors feel comfortable asking questions and engaging in conversations. Encourage educators and students to be approachable and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge.



A well-equipped teaching microscope laboratory can make a significant impact on visitors during open days. By choosing the best laboratory microscope, such as a binocular laboratory microscope or all-in-one digital microscope, educators can provide an immersive and engaging learning experience. With thoughtful organisation, clear instructions, hands-on opportunities, and interactive demonstrations, teachers can captivate visitors’ curiosity and inspire a lifelong interest in scientific exploration. So, gear up your teaching microscope laboratory and get ready to make a memorable impression at open days!

GX Microscopes fluorescence microscope in university teaching laboratory


GX Microscopes L3201 LED Fluorescence Microscope at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Our top 13 microscopy influencers to follow

Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow

Starfish larva
Starfish larva, captured by Igor Adameyko

With rapid advances in microscopy imaging and mobile phone camera technology over recent years, the micro world has been making its way out to the bigger world of social media and YouTube. The response has been incredible, with several microscopy-related accounts reaching over 250,000 followers and some even nearing the million mark!

Instagram, Twitter and TikTok feeds plus YouTube channels are being filled with visually stunning and educational videos, covering a large range of topics from soil microbiology to veterinary cytology and everything in between.

We’ve compiled a list of our top 13 microscopy influencers to share with you, so grab a cup of tea and prepare to be glued to your screens in awe as you explore the fascinating and beautiful microscopic world through social media…

microbehunter spruce wood under microscope
Spruce wood section
Paramecium under the microscope by Microbehunter
microbehunter microscopy
The Microbehunter Microscopy website


Subject matter: the environment and nature

Microscope setup: I have several microscopes from different brands. I generally take pictures using a DSLR camera connected to the phototube but also use a USB microscope camera. I also use the DSLR for live-viewing on a computer monitor and for live-streaming. This camera can also be connected directly to a monitor without a computer. 

“I am Oliver and am known in social media under the name “Microbehunter”. My mission is to encourage people to observe their environment and nature with a microscope. Of course, this includes microorganisms but it is not limited to that. Especially plants can be quite pretty under the microscope. In short, I want to make the hobby of Amateur Microscopy more popular.

I think that a solid (also theoretical) formal science education has a lot of merit in understanding how our world works, but often there are simply not enough resources (time!) available during education to explore things hands-on. With my YouTube videos I want to motivate people to pick up a microscope for themselves and to start exploring their environment. I have heard that teachers also show my videos in class to spice up their lessons.

Now a few words about my background. I have a Master’s degree in Microbiology and a teacher’s education license for Biology and Information Technology. For this reason, the microscopic world has been part of my life for a long time. As a teacher, I am teaching my students the theoretical foundations of Biology and microscopic observation. With my YouTube Channels, I am reaching out to also an older audience, hoping to get them excited about the microscopic world as well.

While I have worked with microscopes on and off since university, I only became really active in 1998, when I bought my first (good) microscope. At that time affordable microscope cameras were not available. I experimented with several DIY solutions, including connecting a surveillance camera and webcams.

In 2011 I started to publish a free monthly microscopy magazine (still available for download on my website). After a few years, I found out that by posting YouTube videos I am able to reach a far larger audience and I have been publishing YouTube videos since 2018.

I have a website with information, and several YouTube channels about microscopy, two of which are quite active. The larger channel of the two is dedicated to observing nature under the microscope. It’s focussed mainly on the specimens. The other channel is a bit more technical, featuring microscope reviews, advice, questions & answers, and a weekly livestream.

For those of you, who consider to start microscopy as a hobby, I have the following advice: Do not spend too much at the beginning, but buy new microscopes as you grow your experience. This way it will be much easier for you to make a choice that is best for you. And do not forget that one central point of hobby microscopy is to observe nature. The microscope is only a tool to achieve this goal.

Happy microbe hunting! Oliver”

Find Oliver on:


YouTube channel on observing with a microscope: @microbehunter 

YouTube channel with reviews, technical info & livestream: @microbehuntermicroscopy


Subject matter: the natural world

Microscope setup: Swift 380B microscope with iPhone 14 Pro attached via an iLabCam adapter

“My name is Quinten Geldhof and I’m a 23 year old Mechanical engineer from Massachusetts USA with a love for the natural world and microscopy. I’m relatively new to the microscopy scene and only got my first microscope in June of 2022. I was inspired to get one through the fantastic microscope streams by Faezaria on Twitch and the videos by AVNJ and Journey to the Microcosmos on YouTube, all of which blew me away with the complexity and beauty of the microscopic world.

I use a Swift 380B microscope combined with an adapter from iLabcam which which was a budget friendly choice to get into the hobby and has been great way to learn the ropes and still capture beautiful imagery.

I like to look at whatever I think might be interesting under the microscope which is a seemingly infinite number of things. This includes samples from fresh and salt water environments, various produce items, plants, crystals, and even my own blood. I love researching and sharing about the samples I post and there is always so much to learn about and I’m grateful to all those who share in the excitement with me.”

Find Quinten on:

Instagram: @microhobbyist 

Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Copepod captured using polarised light
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Quinten's Swift 380B Microscope with iLabCam Adapter
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Air bubble trapped in algae
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Phacus of the phylum Euglenozoa
Darkfield microscopy
Post-metamorphic starfish using darkfield microscopy
Brittle Star larva using darkfield microscopy
Brittle Star lava using darkfield microscopy


Subject matter: marine biology

Microscope setup: Zeiss Standard 14 Compound Microscope and Olympus SZ30 Stereo Microscope with iPhone attached via a Celestron adapter

Igor Adameyko, a professor of biology, runs YouTube (@igor_adameyko), Instagram (@the_story_a_biologist) and TikTok (@igoradameyko) accounts focusing on marine biology, with particular emphasis on the diversity of planktonic life forms. Igor uses a variety of microscopy techniques, including darkfield microscopy and confocal microscopy, to showcase the exquisite features of small marine animals that belong to different groups on the tree of life. These groups include mollusk larvae, tiny jellyfish, copepods, polychaetes, chaetognaths, amphipods, and many more; sometimes even parasites found on planktonic animals. 

As a keen diver and explorer with a sharp eye for detail, Igor developed a fascination for marine biology and the life cycles of marine animals around a decade ago. He began collecting old microscopes to create mobile setups for darkfield videography, which he can take with him in a backpack to various locations. These setups, which are based on Zeiss Standard 14 and Olympus SZ30, are still in use today. Igor attaches his iPhone to the microscope via a Celestron adapter and records the animals on rocks, in hotel rooms, or at biological stations. 

The sea is truly boundless, and exploring the marine world on a microscale is crucial for conservation efforts and comprehending the circle of life in the ocean.

Professional biologists and the general public alike will find Igor’s videography of minuscule creatures, barely visible to the naked eye, fascinating and accompanied by in-depth descriptions.

Find Igor on:

Instagram: @the_story_of_a_biologist

YouTube: @igor_adameyko

TikTok: @igoradameyko


Subject matter: mostly microscopic animals and single celled organisms but also enjoys looking at other things under the microscope

Microscope setup: Motic BA310E microscope with a Nikon z50 camera

“My name is Martin Kaae Kristiansen and I am from Denmark. I have a master’s degree in biomedicine. During my education I did some projects using microscopes and fell in love with the microscopic world. So I bought my own microscope and started looking at everything I could get my hands on. I was amazed at the incredible beautiful and alien like world only visible through a microscope. So I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. When I take a sample I use a lot of time researching the organisms I encounter so I can give a short, informative, and hopefully interesting, with my posts here on Instagram. Most of my posts are microscopic animals and single celled organisms I find I nature. But from time to time I include some human cells, crystals, and other stuff as well. Everything under a microscope of course. I want to make the invisible world visible for as many people as possible.”

Find Martin on:


Simocephalus at 4x magnification
Simocephalus taken using the 4x objective lens
Jumping spider taken using the 10x objective lens
Jumping spider taken using the 10x objective lens
CT image of a mosquito
CT image of a mosquito
Pseudoredtenbacheria fly
New material caught in Dominia - Pseudoredtenbacheria
The Micro CT Scanner at the Natural History Museum
The Micro CT Scanner at the Natural History Museum
Fungus gnats
Fungus gnats - Greenomyia mongolica


Subject matter: entomology; specifically flies

Microscope setup: Leica MZ6 stereomicroscope with a Schott KL1500 compact illuminator 

“My twitter account is mostly flies. Flies from the collection at the Natural History Museum, flies seen or sampled in the field, and stories about flies that have piqued my interest.

I spend a lot of time studying and imaging flies so many of the images are macro or from imaging microscopes. I am obsessed about these ignored or maligned creatures and love to show off their form and variety.”

Find Erica on:

Twitter: @flygirlNHM


Subject matter: flowers, soil health and regenerative farming

Microscope setup: GX Microscopes L1500 compound microscope with GXCAM HiChrome-HD Camera 

“My fascination with soil biology came gradually, I started hearing things about soil health and regenerative farming in podcasts I was listening to and it really started to line up with how I wanted to manage my flower farm. I was always a little confused by synthetic fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides and stayed away from them out of caution. When I heard from other farmers who were working with nature to enhance their farms I was straight on board with them! It made so much more sense. Since then I have read lots of books, podcasts, YouTube videos and attended courses to learn as much as I can. I eventually took the plunge and decided to get a microscope to see what was going on inside my soil. It was so exciting to actually see much heard about members of the soil food web right in front of my eyes!

My Instagram and YouTube channel features various content relating to flower growing in the UK. I cover ‘how-to’s’, day to day life on the farm, lots of soil health and regenerative farming related stuff and some floristry content. I love sharing the ups and the downs and my learning experiences. I don’t want anyone to be under the illusion that flower farming is easy!”

Find Sarah on:

YouTube: @Bloomgrayflowerfarm

Instagram: @bloomandgray


Regenerative farming with Bloom & Gray
Sarah Gray of Bloom & Gray
bloom and gray flowers
Flowers from Bloom & Gray
Fungal hyphae testate amoeba
Fungal Hyphae Testate Amoeba
Arcella Amoeba
Arcella Amoeba


Subject matter: soil food web microorganisms

Microscope setups: 

“I have been an organic allotmenteer for 30 years but 12 years ago I noticed my soil structure breaking down and plants suffering, not least in poor germination rates. I searched on-line and found Dr Elaine Ingham and the Soil Food Web. It dawned on me that my annual rotavating had been disrupting nature’s attempts to help and educate me! I stopped digging and ever since have been researching the microorganisms; today they do most of the work for me and I have healthier, more nutrient-dense crops.

In my Instagram and Twitter feeds we focus on the soil food web microorganisms (who they are and what substances and services they have evolved in symbioses with plants) in order to improve the outcomes of gardeners and growers of any scale in a sustainable and truly natural way. This includes posts on ground conditions, signs of a fully or poorly functioning soil food web, and ways to improve or rebuild your soil food web with composts and teas.”

Find Eddie on:

Instagram: @rhizophyllia

Twitter: @rhizophyllia


YouTube: @rhizophyllia5950


Subject matter: biological samples under the microscope

Microscope setup: Olympus CX31 microscope and Leica Zoom 2000 stereo microscope

“I am a Spanish biologist established in the United States. I started my career as an Ecologist but then I became a graduate student in Biomedical Science. For about a decade after obtaining my Ph. D., and before I started my college teaching career, I worked as a full-time scientist. As part of my scientist career, I worked for 6 years at Stanford University investigating the molecular genetics of aging in the nematode worm C. elegans. Since this model organism is microscopic, I had to constantly use different types of microscopes to perform my research. This got me very excited into the microscopy world.

I am now a Biology professor at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut.

When I started my teaching career and noticed that a number of topics that we would cover in class involved performing microscopy experiments, I decided to start posting Instagram and TikTok videos that would summarize these and other biology experiments in less than 1 minute. My intention was to show my Biology students that Biology can indeed be interesting and easy to understand. In other words, my main goal was to use the power of social media to excite my students to learn the material that we cover in class.

My Instagram account features microscopy and biology stories as well as all-about nature videos. In my videos, I try to make microscopy and biology relatable and showcase the beauty of understanding biology. For example, a number of my videos involve sampling remote ponds or streams of water in the forest and showing the amazing microscopic creatures that can be found there.

I recently opened a YouTube account with the intention of doing more in-depth microscopy and biology videos. I also, in collaboration with one of my professor colleagues at my college, published a biology lab manual that integrates QR codes to my Biology Instagram account to further illustrate students how to do the experiments that students need to do in the labs.”

Find Adolfo on:

TikTok: @dr.bioforever

Instagram: @dr.bio4ever

YouTube: @dr.bioforever2913

Ocean salt crystals under the microscope
Ocean salt crystals
Broccoli under the microscope
Absinthe under the microscope
Absinthe crystals
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Surface of a bubble
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Baby jumping spider
Butterfly face under the microscope
Butterfly face


Subject matter: anything and everything viewed under the microscope!

Microscope setups: 

  • Nikon Eclipse E200 for biological samples
  • I have an unbranded stereoscope for some of the larger samples


“For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved microscopes and I’ve always been fascinated with life on a smaller scale. I’ve always marvelled at the thought of bugs and mini beasts, especially how they live, think and function! I am always wondering how small life gets before it becomes viewed as just a chemical reaction. It was only really in 2021 when I decided to publish my microscope findings onto social media as I enjoy sharing my findings with the world. Since then, I’ve found my voice as a microscope content creator/influencer and have amassed over a 2 million follower count across popular social media platforms TikTok (1.6M), Instagram (423k) and YouTube (546k).

If one visits my accounts, they should to expect to find anything and everything viewed under the microscope – I love to push the boundaries of conventional microscopy and have shown in the past some weird, wacky and wonderful things including, but not limited to: chemical explosions up close, jumping spiders, butterflies, lizards, frogs, various alcoholic beverages, meteorites, fossils as well as more traditional samples such as blood, microbes, and creek, puddle, ocean water samples. It’s anyone’s guess what I might post next!”

Find Oneminmicro on:

Instagram: @oneminmicro

TikTok: @oneminmicro

YouTube: @oneminmicro


Subject matter: microscope photos from a vet diagnostic laboratory

Microscope setup: Olympus CH-2 compound microscope with standard 4x,10x, 40x, 100x oil objective lenses 

“My Instagram account features microscope photos from a veterinary diagnostic laboratory at a major vet services provider (Antech Diagnostics). I also sometimes post interesting things I find in the field of vet parasitology like research studies, products, etc.

I got a job doing vet parasitology a few years after graduating college (St. Cloud State University) and having some other general lab experience under my belt. I have lab experience in animal nutrition, chemistry and microbiology in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, and food safety lab experience.

I love parasitology because of the amount of time I get to spend on a microscope and the microscopic world is fascinating to observe. I also like the fact of being able to help animals who are sick and feeling discomfort.”

Find Ben on:

Instagram: @veterinary_parasitology_

Twitter: @vet_parasites

Toxocara canis (roundworm) on the left and Toxascaris leonina on the right.
Toxocara canis (roundworm) on the left and Toxascaris leonina on the right
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Diatom under the microscope with DIC illumination
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Diatom under the microscope with DIC illumination
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Diatom under the microscope with DIC illumination
Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Diatom under the microscope with DIC illumination


Subject matter: siliceous microfossils, mostly with diatoms, ranging in age from the Cretaceous to the Miocene (thus far). 

Microscope setup: I use a Zeiss setup with a 100x/1.4 oil DIC plan-apochromatic objective, and most of my photos are spliced using Helicon Focus.

“My name is Jakub Witkowski, I am an academic geologist based in Szczecin, north-western Poland. I work with siliceous microfossils, mostly with diatoms, ranging in age from the Cretaceous to the Miocene (thus far). I grew up with diatoms because they were the scientific occupation of my father – it became a family history of some kind.

I see my Instagram account as a way of science outreach. It includes diatom taxonomy, micropaleontology, evolution, all sorts of things related with biogenic silica. It is always a pleasure when people ask questions, and it came as the biggest surprise to me that diatoms draw so much attention from all kinds of artists.

Just recently, and in parallel to the Instagram Account, I established an online Fossil Diatom Atlas.”

Find Jakub on:

Instagram: @fossil.diatoms

Jakub’s Diatom Atlas:


Subject matter: moulds and microbes

Microscope setup: Olympus CH2 compound microscope and Leica Stereozoom 4 microscope using a combination of an iPhone 11 and Nikon D3400 camera.

“My Instagram account features images that are meant to inspire curiosity and create positive associations with microbes. For example, many people think of pathogens and contaminants when they hear the word mold, but there are so many more beneficial molds then there are detrimental ones. Molds, and microbes in general, play vital roles in our ecosystems. They are amazing organisms and I try to bring attention to them by capturing and creating images that are beautiful, fun, and engaging.

I fell in love with microscopy and molds while working with Aspergillus flavus, a plant pathogen, at Cornell University. The first time I saw it under a microscope I was absolutely blown away. Its microscopic structures reminded me of flowers, pom-poms, and even peacock feathers. I had never considered that mold could look so beautiful, delicate, and familiar. I related to this organism in a whole new way. As I continued to explore the microscopic world of molds, I felt compelled to share images and information about these incredible organisms with friends and family, which is what lead me to start an Instagram account.

Today I’ve worked with both pathogens and beneficial microbes in a variety of areas such as agriculture, waste management and food.  I love that microbes are being studied more and more for their beneficial properties. A few examples being their potential to recycle materials, degrade toxic compounds, prevent disease in crops, produce new medicines, and serve as a sustainable and natural way to produce dyes for food and textiles.  There’s so much untapped potential, especially when it comes to fungi, and I hope that my images help to generate interest in, and appreciation of, these awesome organisms.”

Find Tracy on:

Instagram: @under.the.scope


Our Top 13 Microscopy Influencers To Follow
Aspergillus 3
Penicillium vulpinum
Penicillium vulpinum
Veterinary cytology Francesco Cian
Francesco Cian
Veterinary cytology books
First and second edition of the Veterinary Cytology books by Dr. Kathleen Freeman, featuring Francesco Cian as co-author in the second edition


Subject matter: veterinary cytology case studies

Microscope setup: Nikon Eclipse Ci with 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x, 50x oil and 100x oil objectives

“My interest for cytology started long time ago – in 2005 – when I was still a veterinary student. I spent a few months as an intern in the department of pathology. I developed fascination for looking at cells under the microscope and how this could be so important to identify the type of lesions (often tumours) that dogs/cats have and establish the most appropriate treatment.

When I graduated in 2007, cytology was a small side job as I was working in a busy small animal general practice. I then developed the desire to start a residency program in Veterinary Clinical Pathology, a broader discipline that includes cytology, haematology and clinical biochemistry. That’s the moment I felt I had the chance of my life. I was given by a friend a case-based cytology book from Dr. Kathleen Freeman that I found very inspiring (see pictures), and I started wondering if I could go and visit her for a few weeks. I found out she was working from home in a small village in Scotland in the middle of nowhere. I wrote her an email and very unexpectedly I got a reply very quickly saying that I could go at any time. With the money I got from a scholarship I won in Italy for the best thesis (on feline lymphoma), I booked my flights to Edinburgh and spent a month in Scotland. It was a fantastic experience that also opened the door for a residency in Veterinary Clinical Pathology at the University of Cambridge which I started in 2010. After I took the European Board (ECVCP) in 2014, I worked first at the Animal Health Trust and then at BattLab, a private diagnostic laboratory of the LABOKLIN group located in Coventry where I still am.  When I started my work at BattLab, Dr Kathleen Freeman asked me to work with her on the second edition of her cytology book, the one that inspired me originally as a young vet. I have to say that has been my biggest achievement so far and I felt I kind of closed a circle.

Over the years, I have also developed a major interest in teaching cytology to other vets. Cytology brought joy in my life, it opened a lot of opportunities and I felt the desire to share it with other enthusiastic people. I have travelled all over the world teaching cytology from China, Japan, Russia, Europe and USA. I have met – and hopefully inspired – thousands of veterinarians.

Nowadays online education is very popular, especially since the Covid pandemic. Even before that, I opened a veterinary cytology group, on Facebook first then on Instagram, that grew in popularity over the years and still is a place where vets from all over the world connect, share cases, cytology pictures and information about courses. We now have over 30000 members between the two platforms. I think it is a good example how technology can be beneficial and allow people to connect and share knowledge in a professional and healthy way.”

Find Francesco on:

Instagram: @veterinary_cytology

Facebook group: VeterinaryCytology


Adjusting The Eyepiece Dioptre On Your Microscope

What is the dioptre adjustment and why do we need it?

Many people do not have the same vision in both eyes.  So when viewing down a microscope with two eyepieces, it’s important to be able to adjust the eyepieces to suit the vision of each individual eye, to help the user see a clear, focused image.  The dioptre adjustment enables you to do just that.  Either one or both eyepieces on the microscope will have a dioptre adjustment that can be tweaked accordingly, to suit the microscope user’s eyes.  This applies to both compound microscopes and stereo microscopes.

How to focus the microscope eyepieces by setting up the dioptre adjustment:

Step 1:

Find the dioptre adjustment on your microscope! Some microscopes have adjustment on one eyepiece, others have it for both. Also, on some microscopes the adjustment is on the eyepiece itself and on others, it’s on the eyepiece tube (that the eyepiece slots into).

Step 2:

Zero the dioptre:  You will see on the part that twists that there is a + and – sign, with a ‘0’ in between the two.  You should also see on the fixed part beneath this, a mark on the eyepiece tube – either a line or a dot.  Twist the eyepiece dioptre adjustment so that the zero lines up with the mark (on both eyepieces if you have the adjustment on both eyeieces).  This brings it to the standard default setting.

Step 3:

Bring the sample into focus (as best as possible) at a high magnification.  We recommend the 40x objective if using a compound microscope, or the 4x zoom if using a stereo microscope.

Step 4:

If your microscope only has dioptre adjustment for one eyepiece:

Close your eye for the eyepiece that has the adjustment, so you are viewing through only the eyepiece that has no dioptre adjustment.

Adjust the microscope focus accordingly, to bring the sample perfectly into focus.

Then swap eyes! Close the eye that you just focused the sample with and open the eye for the eyepiece that has the dioptre adjustment.

Adjust the eyepiece DIOPTRE (not the microscope focus) until this image is in focus.

Open both eyes and you should have a perfectly focused image, adjusted for your eyesight.

If your microscope has dioptre adjustment for both eyepieces:

After zeroing both eyepieces, close one of your eyes whilst viewing down one eyepiece with your other eye.

Adjust the microscope focus accordingly (not the dioptre adjustment), to bring the sample perfectly into focus for the eye that you have open.

Then swap eyes! Close the eye that you just focused the sample with and open the eye for the other eyepiece.

Adjust the eyepiece DIOPTRE (not the microscope focus) until this image is in focus.

Open both eyes and you should have a perfectly focused image, adjusted for your eyesight.

That’s it! All done.

Please feel free to contact us by email: if you have any further questions.