Magnifiers vs. Microscopes

by Andy on June 18, 2012

When working on small parts you have many choices for magnification. The two main categories are magnifiers and microscopes. How do you know which is appropriate for your project? There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which best fits your needs.

OC White Magnifier How much magnification do you need?

One of the most obvious differences between magnifiers and microscopes is their power. If you need high magnification then microscopes are your choice, but if you do not need that kind of power, magnifiers can be a great, lower cost solution.

How much working space do you need?

Magnifiers and microscopes have different working areas for their magnifications. This is another reason why microscopes work better at higher magnification. When a magnifier’s diopter gets to be too high, the focal length will become shorter, reducing your working area. Microscopes can offer a longer working area at higher magnifications, allowing you to have enough space to work on your project.

If you are using low magnifications then a magnifier can give you a longer focal length and also give you a bit more room to work side-to-side. Microscopes are great for focusing in on a small point, but magnifiers can let you see the big picture. If you do not need the power of the microscope, it is recommended to use a magnifier so that you do not restrict your working space unnecessarily.

Luxo Microscope Do you want to take pictures or record video of your work?

If your project requires you to take pictures of the magnified product then you should look into trinocular microscopes. These microscopes allow you to capture pictures and in some cases video, to help document defects or areas of interest on your product.

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