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Digital microscopes are a handy device for people in forensics, medicine, research, education, and nanotechnology among other sectors. It has come a long way with numerous technological advancements and comes with various advantages. Unlike its traditional counterpart, a digital microscope allows you to capture and record data.
This is a great advantage as you can use the images and videos for lessons and research when you are not using them. Maintaining and cleaning a digital microscope is required, however, it is effortless when you have the necessary products. Below are more details regarding the digital microscope’s benefits, use, buying guide, maintenance, and function. Let’s read through to the very end for more enlightenment.
Three Main Factors to Consider When Buying a Digital Microscope
Before buying a digital microscope, it is important to think about its magnification to ensure that it will match your purpose. The magnification is a product of its eyepiece and objective lenses.
These two factors will determine the magnification of a digital microscope. Besides, the number of objective lenses that a product comes with depends on its type. For instance, most compound microscopes have 4 objective lenses; 100x, 4x, 40x, and 10x.
Additionally, a digital microscope has three eyepiece types namely; trinocular, binocular, and monocular. The trinocular one is suitable for high-end experiments for demonstration, digital imaging, and teaching purposes.
- Screen size
A digital microscope comes with an eyepiece that enables you to view the specimen. However, it also comes with a camera attachment if you do not want to deal with eye strain or you have a large number of students who need to view the specimen at the same time, you can invest in a product that allows live streaming to a larger screen. This helps display the image on a larger monitor like a computer or projector for enhanced comfort.
Digital microscopes allow you to fix a camera on the eyepiece. In most cases, you buy the camera separately as most digital microscopes do not include one in the package. When buying one, you need to consider noise, pixel size, quantum efficiency, dynamic range, frame rate, and spectral response. Additionally, make sure that the camera is compatible with the application that works with your microscope.
Advantages of Using a Digital Microscope
This is among the best advantages of using a digital microscope. Using a traditional microscope might lead to neck strain and back pain because of the tedious eyepiece and low working positions. This is most especially for people who use them for a long period.
Traditional microscopes might involve frequent microscope knob adjustments that are tedious and causes tension. It is also likely to have eye strain because of the bright light sources involved when using traditional microscopes. The digital microscopes on the other hand are user-friendly and are not taxing to your body when working.
This is because even if it comes with eyepieces, you do not necessarily have to use them. You can simply stream the images to a wider screen, making your work more enjoyable and less tedious. Therefore, this means that the chances of eye strains and back pains are hugely minimized. This leads to high efficiency because you can handle a high workload with minimal physical strain.
- Promotes remote learning and education
Digital microscopes allow you to stream real-time observation through a computer, which you can also project for a larger view. This function enables you to live stream the process over video chats with students, promoting remote learning.
Additionally, regardless of the number of students you have as an educator, they do not have to take turns to view specimens as you can display them on a larger projector screen saving you time. Besides, a digital microscope gives you the rare opportunity of running an experiment during a theory lesson.
This is by enabling you to capture images and videos and incorporate these graphics in your lesson plan for better understanding. You can live to share these lessons with your students for years on end, making it a great option for busy tutors.
- Allow multiple users
Using a digital microscope is efficient and convenient for multiple users. For instance, if you are several tutors using one microscope, it comes with software that allows each user to create an individual profile. This means that each user can select their profiles and start working from where they stopped last without needing to adjust the working station.
- Data accuracy
Another advantage of using a digital microscope is that it gives enhanced data organization and storage. This is because the gadget can capture a specific date or image, then upload it with just a click of a button. Unfortunately, this function is hectic to exercise when using a traditional microscope. This is because image preservation is a challenge and the caption of multiple moments in a period is a taxing task.
- Compact size
In most cases, laboratories feature limited bench space and the available space has lab equipment and other supplies. Therefore, a digital microscope comes in handy because of its compact size that fits on the limited bench space available. The traditional microscope on the other hand is bulky and requires a lot of room for accommodation.
Who Should Use a Digital microscope?
A digital microscope analyzes and inspects specimens, making it an efficient tool. It can be used by people in the following sectors;
- Industrial manufacturing
Care and Maintenance Tips
For your digital microscope to continue performing well over time, it requires proper maintenance and routine care.
- Use the dust cover: whenever you are not using your digital microscope, you need to cover it to keep it from dust. Never cover the microscope with a dust cover when its illuminator is active.
- Lens cleaner: use the lens cleaner to get rid of smudges and fingerprints. Apply the cleaning solution to the lens tissue paper and wipe the lens’s surface.
- Lens tissue paper: get some lens tissue paper to clean your lenses. The tissue paper is delicate and cannot scratch the lenses. Never use a paper towel or facial tissue to clean the lenses because they are abrasive.
- Compressed air duster: invest in a compressed air duster to blow away dust particles and fine dirt from the microscope. The gadget thoroughly cleans the microscope without contaminating it.
- Whenever you are transporting the digital microscope, always hold the base and the handle to prevent any chances of dropping it accidentally when on the move.
- Never place it at the edge of a laboratory bench or table during use to eliminate chances of falling
- Only use lens cleaner or distilled water to clean the microscope
- Always get a clean lens tissue to clean each part of the microscope
- Once you use immersion oil, clean away residue immediately to prevent it from drying up on your lens.
- When storing it, make sure that the objective lens is in its position and the stage should always be lowered before storage.
Optical vs. Digital Microscopes: Which is Better for Your Application?
Both optical and digital microscopes are used to magnify specimens for better analysis. However, they differ in structure and function. A digital microscope uses a screen to display the sample while for an optical microscope, you have to use the eyepiece to see the specimen.
Another profound difference between these two models is the field of view. A digital microscope will always give you a bigger field of view as opposed to when you are using an optical microscope even when using similar magnification. This difference occurs because of the 16:9 widescreen camera factor in a digital microscope.
Magnification is another difference factor when using optical and digital microscopes. Since the field of view differs between the two even when using similar magnification, adjusting the optical one to achieve the same field of view between the two requires you to zoom out the device. This gets in the way of how much detail you can view on the optical microscope. Therefore achieving a similar field of view requires you to lower the magnification creating another difference between the two.
Since the display of specimens differs in both models, they use different applications. The manual gives you the best instructions on which application is best for your model.
How Does the Digital Microscope Work?
The digital microscope has a digital camera and optics to complete the magnification and display of the specimen. Additionally, it comes with computer software that handles advanced tasks which might include adjusting images, analyzing 3D samples, recording video, creating reports, taking measurements, and editing video footage.
Which is Better – A wired or A Wireless Microscope?
It depends on where you are using the microscope and for what purpose. If you do not have a specific workstation and you need to be on the go often, a wireless microscope will be highly convenient. A wired microscope on the other hand is ideal if you have a specific workstation as it can remain connected to a wall power supply.
A digital microscope comes with numerous advantages compared to its traditional counterpart. Some of these advantages include that it is easy to use, saves bench space, is easy to carry, is easy to use, and gives you more details than a traditional microspore. It will, however, cost a little more than a traditional microscope. If you are looking for efficiency and a high level of accuracy without extreme physical strain, get a digital microscope.
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