Microscope Buyers Checklist

Use this checklist when requesting a quote for a customized upright compound microscope.

What magnification eyepieces should I choose?
You should always choose 10x eyepieces unless your specific end use/analysis requires otherwise. 10x is the industry standard. As the magnification of the eyepiece goes up, the field of view (amount you see through the eyepiece) goes down.
  • 10x
  • 15x
  • 20x
What “field number” should my eyepieces have?
The field number determines the width of your field of view under different magnifications. The wider the better. (Formula: Filed Number/Objective Magnification = Field of View)
  • 18mm
  • 18.5mm
  • 20mm
  • 22mm
What power objectives should I order?
Your objective power (in conjunction with your eyepiece power) determines your total magnification. Chose how many objectives you need and what power magnification each objective should be to meet you needs.
  • 1x
  • 2x
  • 4x
  • 10x
  • 20x
  • 40x
  • 50x Oil Immersion
  • 60x
  • 100x Oil Immersion
Which grade of objectives should I chose?
Plan Achromats are the standard choice. The more expensive Fluorite objectives are typically reserved for fluorescent microscopy or other microscopy that requires color and spherical correction above and beyond plan achromats. Apochromats are reserved for need specific analysis where chromatic and spherical corrections are required with high numerical apertures. .
  • Plan Achromat
  • Fluorite (More Expensive than Plan Achromats)
  • Apochromats (More Expensive that Fluorites)

Which Microscope Head Should I Choose?

A trinocular head will be required if you intend to mount a camera. If you don’t need a camera, you will be using a binocular head. You can chose between standard binocular and the more expensive ergonomic binocular.The Ergonomic head can greatly increase the price of your microscope as it is one of the biggest cost upgrades.

  • Binocular
  • Ergonomic Binocular
  • Trinocular
  • Ergonomic Trinocular
  • 3 Position Trinocular
How many holes should I chose for my nosepiece?
You will chose your nosepiece based on the number of objectives you will be using. If you intend on using an object marker, you will chose a nosepiece with an additional hole.
  • Quadruple (4 Hole)
  • Quintuple (5 Hole)
  • Sextuple (6 Hole)
  • Heptuple (7 Hole)
What type of stage should I chose?
You should choose from the following options for a stage.
  • Mechanical – Right Handed (Standard)
  • Mechanical – Left Handed (Special Order)
  • Fixed (For slide manipulation with your fingers. Typically Pathologist)
What type of condenser do I need?
Your going to choose your standard Abbe condenser unless you require a specific condenser for special observation.
  • Abbe Condenser
  • Slide Out Condenser (Required if using a 1x Objective)
  • Flip Condenser (Required if using a 2x Objective)
  • Phase Turret Condenser (Combo condense for Bright field, Phase, and Dark field)
  • Darkfield Dry
  • Darkfield Oil
Variable Illumination System

Always choose LED over Halogen unless you have a specific need requiring halogen.LED is safer on your eyes and this green technology is more cost effective over the long run.

Which Modules are available? 
The following Microscope Modules are available for Laboratory Microscopy and should be used based only on need as the price of the microscope will increase with each module.
  • Simple Black and White Polarization
  • Color Polarization
  • Face to Face Teaching Head
  • Side by Side Teaching Head
  • Multiple Teaching Heads (3, 5, 7, 10)
  • Camera
  • Fluorescent Microscope System/Filter Sets/Cubes
  • Phase Contrast Package
  • Object Marker
Additional Standard Items for Consideration? 
The following should be included in all new microscope purchases from a reputable vendor.
  • 5 Year Warranty or better.
  • Instruction Manual in Digital Format
  • Power Cord
  • Dust Cover

Microscope Manufacturers:

The list below includes the major microscope manufacturers. If you do not see a particular microscope manufacturer on this list, they did not meet our standards.

The list has the premium microscope manufacturers who we judge to have the highest quality control in regards to their optical components. We have also listed several reputable companies for their economical qualities for those laboratories where budget pricing supersedes highest quality.

Chose a microscope manufacturing company. 

Nikon (Premium – Recommended)
Olympus (Premium)
Leica (Premium)
Zeiss (Premium)
Accuscope (Economical)
Labomed (Economical)
Meiji (Semi-Premium)
View Solutions (Stereo)
Ken A Vision (Educational)
Other _______________


                                                                                            Buyers make submit questions to us using our Contact Us feature.

* Make sure you use a reputable microscope vendor for your purchase. Seek out a company who offers free consultations.

SEO Enterprsies, Inc

Microscope Sales and Service

1-800-330-7654 Option #2


Nikon Clinical Microscope Review – Model: Eclipse 200 LED

Nikon Eclipse 200 LED Microscope  

Nikon E200


Objectives: Nikon employs it’s CFi60 E Plan objective lenses (pictured below) to achieve excellent resolution and clarity on the E200. The E Plan objectives deliver long working distances, high numerical apertures and flat images over the entire field of view with virtually no curvature of field when used in conjunction with Nikon’s 10x/20mm field of view eyepieces.  The E200 can hold 4 objectives at once and comes standard with a 4x, 10x, 40x E Plan dry brightfield objective set. A 100x oil immersion is also included in the MSRP of $2,049.00 US Dollars. Nikon also offers phase objectives as well as a 2x, 20x, 60x and 50x oil immersion objectives that can be substituted at an additional cost. The 2x and Phase objectives will require a specialized condenser.  


Eyepieces: Nikon’s CFi 10x/22mm eyepieces employ diopters to make both eyepieces adjustable. They can be dialed in for phenomenal sharpness and parfocality, so that no coarse focus adjustment is needed when switching back and forth between the 10x and 40x objective lenses.  Each eyepiece has a built in reticle shelf which can accommodate an ocular micrometer, miller disc, or Howard mold count reticle. Nikon’s quality control team ensures that the same chromium free glass that is used in the objective lenses is used in their adjustable eyepieces. 15x eyepieces are available at an additional cost from an authorized Nikon microscope dealer. 

Condenser: The Nikon E200 comes with a 1.25 brightfield abbe condenser and auxiliary lens. The auxiliary lens allows for full field of view under the 4x objective lens without shadows. The condenser employs a leaf diaphragm which allows the microscopist to accurately set  the condenser to the corresponding objective each time.  The E200 condenser is centered and does not require Koehler illumination. Phase, darkfield (dry and oil immersion), and phase turret condensers are available from Nikon as an upgrade. A swing out condenser for a 2x objective can also be substituted for an additional cost for Pathology and Mohs Dermpathology microscopy.


Stage: Nikon uses a belt driven right handed scratch resistant mechanical stage to achieve optimum range of motion across the x and y axis. The left handed slide release allows for simple specimen switch out for high volume labs. The stage mechanism is equipped with a “push down” reset where the specimen can be changed out without the need to refocus. The wide platform and long fingered specimen holder can accommodate two slides for comparative viewing of specimens. 

Focus System:  Nikon’s coarse and fine focus employ ultra smooth mechanics for ease of use. The focus system comes with a torque ring which can be adjusted to specific user needs and preferences. The focus system also has an upper limit stop which protects slides and specimens. This is especially useful for teaching environments such as the college level biology labs where students are prone to breaking specimen slides which causes glass to get down in the gears and optical path.

Illumination  System 

LED: Nikon has engineered an eco friendly light emitting diode system in conjunction with a “fly eye lens” which illuminates the entire field of view with clean white light. The use of the LED illumination system eliminates the need for a color correcting blue filter found in halogen microscopes of years gone by. This makes for less eye strain on the microscopist.  The LED’s low power consumption and operating temperature extends the life of the electrical components which drive the microscopes light source. The intensity of the light can be varied. The light output is bright enough for a teaching head configuration. 


5 Years: Nikon offers a 5 year warranty on optics, mechanics, and even the electrical system (Most of Nikon’s competitors offer only 1 year on Electrical). This ensures that the microscope is free from manufacturer’s defects. In the event that your Nikon E200 is damaged from user error, microscope parts for the E200 can be purchased online. You may also use Nikon’s database to find an authorized Nikon microscope repair representative in your vicinity for on-site repairs and regularly scheduled preventative microscope maintenance.  

Where to Buy

Online:  The Nikon E200 LED Microscope can be bought online with immediate delivery from an authorized Nikon clinical microscope dealer. Bulk discounts are frequently offered for universities and hospitals.

Target Audience  

Best Fit: Nikon designed the Eclipse 200 LED microscope to fit a wide range of clinical applications. The E200 is modular which means components can always be added at a later date. The strong mechanical design and high quality optics make the E200 a favorite among laboratory managers, veterinarians, and universities. The Nikon E200 is truly a universal microscope which works well across the clinical spectrum. The brochure for the Nikon E200 can be downloaded at the following link: Nikon E200 Brochure

Overall Recommendation

Strong buy. The Nikon E200 is our favorite fixed head microscope for clinical microscopy. The high quality Nikon optics and super smooth mechanics make using the Nikon E200 a pleasure for everyday lab use. We would be hard priced to find a better microscope in the same price range. We prefer the Nikon Eclipse 200 over the Olympus CX series and the Leica DM series.  Nikon’s quality control team ensures that no E200 is sold without meeting Nikon’s renowned quality control standards.

Microscope Eyepieces – Magnification, Field of View, and Fit.


Magnification: Eyepieces come in different magnifications. The most commonly used is the 10x magnification. The majority of pre-configured microscopes come with 10x eyepieces. The major manufacturers such as Nikon, Olympus, and Leica make eyepieces in 15x and 20x for increased magnification. The trade off for that the higher the magnification, is a smaller the field of view, and the more costly the eyepiece.

When calculating total magnification, we multiply the power of the eyepiece by the power of the objective. (and any intermediate or auxiliary lenses.) In the Nikon CFI 10x/22 eyepiece pictured above, the magnification is 10x. To determine the total magnification used with a 40x objective, we simply multiply the 10x by the 40x to get a total magnification of 400 times under a 40x objective.  If you don’t specifically need an increase in magnification, then stick with 10x eyepieces and the wider field of view at the more economical price point.

Field of View: Eyepieces use a “Field of View” number often given in millimeters to measure the complete field of view when used in conjunction with the different objectives on a microscope. Eyepieces typically come sized with 18mm, 20mm, and 22mm field of view numbers. The field of view should always be in concert with the field number of the objectives used.  If you us an eyepiece with a 22mm field of view and an objective with a 20mm outside field number you will get a halo effect when looking through the microscope at low power. It is highly recommended that you consult an authorized microscope representative to make sure the eyepieces you are buying are matched correctly to your corresponding objectives.  The bigger the field number, the larger the field of view. To calculate field of view you can visit the chart in the link.

Physical Fit: The eyepiece must physically fit into the eyepiece tube. Not all 10x/22mm eyepieces are the same. The eyepiece in the picture above fits a Nikon Ci-L microscope head. This eyepiece is proprietary to Nikon’s heads because there are little notches to keep the eyepiece from spinning when using the diopter.

Eyepiece Micrometer: Lastly, the other number that comes into play when looking at an eyepiece is the micrometer size. Most high quality eyepieces accept micrometers.  This micrometer size typically ranges between 18mm and 27mm. This size is typically only available from the manufacturer. The round glass eyepiece micrometer (sometimes referred to as a reticle) is installed through the bottom of the eyepiece and is held in place with a retaining ring. Micrometers are available in a wide variety of types and sizes for counting and measuring.

Closing Recommendation: My advice would be to size your eyepieces according to the manufacturer’s recommendation per the particular model microscope you are using. Interchanging eyepieces can reduce optical quality. Consult a reputable microscope dealer for guidance, now that you have a basic overview of what to look for in an eyepiece.

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 or the Nikon Eclipse 100 LED

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

With a list price of $2,283.00 USD, the Nikon Eclipse 200 LED does not fit into every colleges budget. Nikon makes a smaller version known as the E100 which comes in at a lower price point of $1,443.00. USD. Both microscopes are available in trinocular for camera attachments.

Download a brochure for the Nikon E200 Microscope

Download a brochure for the Nikon E100 Microscope

Diopter – Why adjustable eyepieces are important when buying a microscope.

Your eyes are different from my eyes. In fact, my left eye sees differently than my right eye. This is typical in most human beings. So when you look through a microscope, your right eye is seeing your specimen with a different degree of sharpness than your left eye. By allowing the microscope user to adjust the eyepiece through the use of a diopter, the user can sharpen the focus of the specimen to a finer degree customized to their own eyes.

Adjustable eyepieces are essential to an image’s sharpness. When purchasing a microscope, you should insist upon a microscope where both eyepieces are adjustable.

The good news is that most of the high quality microscope manufacturers, like Nikon and Olympus, provide the option for adjustable eyepieces. In fact, Nikon’s current clinical line of microscopes only come with adjustable eyepieces. When buying microscopes for your lab, make sure that both eyepieces are adjustable.

How to make a 20mm Infinity Objective fit the Nikon 25mm thread pattern Eclipse Microscope Series.

The question arose the other day in a scan of the microscope forums on Yahoo. The user wanted to know if he could use his rather expensive Olympus 100x Oil Objective on a Nikon microscope.

The nosepiece thread pattern for Nikon Eclipse series microscopes is 25mm. (with the exception of the Nikon Eclipse 100 LED which is the standard RMS threading of 20mm)

The thread pattern for Olympus Infinity objectives is 20mm RMS. There in lies the problem.

SEO Enterprises, Inc Microscope Sales and Service is now making available a step down adapter that reduces the thread size of the 25mm Nikon to the 20mm thread pattern of most microscopes, including Olympus, Meiji, and Accuscope.

The Nikon Adapter is available on their website.

How to calibrate a stereo microscope.

How do I complete the initial focus set up on a stereo zoom microscope

 1) Center your specimen on the stage for observation.

2) Adjust your lighting so that the specimen is properly illuminated on the stage.

3) Set your adjustable eyepiece(s) to 0. Your dot (marking) on the eyepiece collar should match up with the 0.

4) Set your zoom to the highest power.

5) Use the focus block to bring your specimen into focus.

6) Using your right eye only, look through the eyepiece on the right side and focus it so that the image is at it’s sharpest.

7) Using your left eye only, look through the eyepiece on the left side and focus it so that the image is at it’s sharpest.

8) Rotate your zoom knob to the lowest power. Your microscope should now be calibrated so that your specimen is in focus throughout the entire zoom range.


Top 5 Microscope Manufacturers.

1) Nikon

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.

2) Olympus

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.

3) Leica

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.

4) Meiji

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.

5) Zeiss

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.


How to calibrate a line micrometer

A straight line micrometer (sometimes referred to as a reticle) is a measuring device installed in the eyepiece of a microscope. The  ocular micrometer consists of a straight line numbered 1 through 10 divided into one hundred divisions. The metric between each division changes based on the different powers of magnification used.


An example of how to calibrate an eyepiece micrometer can be found at the following link: Calibrating an Eyepiece Micrometer