The highest quality optics, durability of mechanical components, and customer service have Nikon ranked as our number one choice. This Japanese based company is second to none in quality control.
Olympus comes in a strong second as a company known for performance and ergonomics on it’s microscopes. Olympus has a wide variety of accessories and custom options. Their price point is a bit higher than we would like to see, especially when compared to Nikon.
Leica ranks third in our opinion. The once great German optical company seems to have moved manufacturing outside of Europe on some microscopes. Still, Leica is a strong choice due to their optical quality. Pricing on their oil immersion objectives is one factor keeping them from ranking higher.
The only microscope company that manufacturers it’s microscopes completely in Japan as of this writing. (Nikon and Olympus, both Japanese companies have opted to manufacture throughout Asia at this point) Meiji is not a well known name, but based on price and quality, they’re definitely in the top 5. They are a leader in stereo microscopes for industrial purposes.
Zeiss still makes the world’s best surgery microscopes. However their upright compound microscopes don’t seem to be in the same class that they once were. This quality fall off and the price have Zeiss microscopes down in the 5th position. Customer service is also a challenge.