Microscope for College and University Labs (On a Budget)

Q: College Lab Manager:  Which binocular microscope would you recommend for the multi-user environment of the college laboratory setting?

A: Microscope Consultant:  Taking three things into consideration, price, optical quality, and durability, I would recommend the Nikon Eclipse 200 LED.

The Olympus CX-31 would be a close second, but costs more than the Nikon E200.

With a list price of $2,038.00 USD, the Nikon Eclipse 200 LED does not fit into every colleges budget. So we then look at the second tier microscope companies such as Accu-scope, Labomed, and WP. The second tier microscope companies make solid microscopes that focus on economics before optical quality.

The newest model offered by WP is the 3008-L3 college level binocular microscope.

Bang for your Buck

Better Objective Package: This microscope comes complete with a 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x, and 100x, Oil Plan Objective package. This trumps the competition who offer four objective packages due to the limiting four hole nosepiece.

Wider Field of View: The WP 3008-L3 provides 10x objectives with a true 22mm field of view. This trumps the competition by providing a wider field of view for students. 22mm field of view is the typical field number you find in next level clinical microscopes used on the professional level.

Better Mechanical Stage: The WP 3008-L3 comes standard with a right handed graphite mechanical stage. The graphite makes this stage scratch resistant.

Better Illumination System: The WP 3008-L3 comes standard with a energy saving variable LED illumination system which is superior to the old halogen illumination system found in other brands of microscopes. Greener technology and no more “replacement lamp” costs = $ savings for bulk users.

Better Condenser: The WP 3008-L3 comes standard with a 1.25 Abbe condenser. The diaphragm control is marked with each magnification to ensure that students are obtaining the optimal image.

Storage Friendly: The WP 3008-L3 comes with a built in cord wrap and 360 degree rotatable head. This allows for the 3008-L3 to fit comfortably into storage cabinets.

Of course the 3008-L3 comes with all the standard options that your typical college microscope comes with. A 5 year limited warranty from the manufacturer allows for you to buy with confidence.


The 3008-L3 is a legitimate contender for “best low cost college level microscope of 2015” in our opinion.  As always, it’s best to cost shop all microscopes based on the microscope model so you know that you are getting an apples to apples comparison on price. As always, with educational institutions, make sure you request your educational discount. Most microscope companies will also include free shipping. The 3008-L3 is a simple assembly straight out of the box which does NOT require a qualified microscope service company to set up. Most microscope companies now provide written quotes via email from their websites.

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