My Opinion on New Microscopes
Gordon Couger 8/19/86

These are my thoughts on new microscope for the amateur microscopist

Much of my prejudice and I am sure some is prejudice in the literal sense that it is based on judgment made form past experience as will as the as the fact we all see the world through the prism of our experience and believes. Most of the time I was working out I had my own business I started working on my own hook at 13 and costs is a very real thing to me. Not just the purchase price but the total cost including the operating, repair and how much I can recover when I sell out. Everything we own will be sold out soon or later. I not by ourselves by our widows, kids or the sate.. Mine are very different than most. I have only spent less than 20 of my 50 yeas working for wages. Much of that was in high school and college when I was also running 20 to 100 head of cattle. Then I went to work for the College after I went broke farming. . Every were I worked I got the job done and they never complained if I deiced to go fishing at the spur of the moment at 3:00pm. I never when fisting if there was work to be done. Most of live I worked for lousiest boss a man can have, me.

My prejudice against new scopes because of the financial reality of the depreciation that is part of any new item that goes out the door and the fact that many of us progress by trading up or become disenchanted and sell out. Ether way we take a loss of this instant depreciation on a new microscope. I the case of good used scope this loss is much smaller. If use a figure of $3,000 dollars you may be able to get a new Zerniki phase scope for that. Members have bought a Leitz Smith interference phase scope for that from a dealer that backed it and Zeiss DIC phase scope will run about $4,000 to 6,000.

To me your Nikon E2000 is just shinier Pacific rim scope. The one thing that they do have going for them is Nikon stands behind them and if you bought then form a good dealer he does too. That is probably worth a large part of the difference over time. If you have problem you have pretty good chance of getting it fixed.

Another thing used scopes have going for them is a large supply of parts. May or NOS (New Old Stock) but in many cases the age and use of the part is not of much concern. If the stand has problem 30 to $100 on ebay solves it. If your careful you can sell of he extra parts and show a profit.

The first really serious parts problem was a plastic gear than showed in the 1970's in a Nikon. Plastic gears have lot of things going for them. Most are self lubricating and have enough give to be largely backlash free and very smooth without tedious hour s of hand fitting. The down side is they are aren't a durable as metal. They are easier to damage and oil and age can cause them to break down and it affect a lot of them so there ready made spare parts from retired scopes is not not very plentiful for plastic parts. Age and being scavenged for other scopes that had them fail has taken its toll. That's why Nikon and Olympus are in my list of scopes. The Japanese became players in the market in the 70's just plastic was coming on the scene. As one member said, “if its not black send it back” Only a very few black scopes have plastic parts. I am a black scope guy.

To be fair plastic is making great strides. If I were designing a scope to compete in todays market it would have plastic parts. It has to to compete in the market. I am not designing microscopes I am buying them and the last nice on I bought was transmitted light Polarized light Scope that the stand was mad in the late 1950's.

Unlike a local dealer we can look though the scope and help you as they do in the gossip meetings of the Quekett Microscopical Club in the UK something would should probably try to correct at lest on the East and West Coast Chicago and Kansas City and any placer there is a gagel of us that can get together. That's why local dealers are important.


A new t transmitted light polarized light scope will cost 4 of 5 times what used Zeiss or Leitz counter part will form a dealer with a good guarantee. Eight or ten times or more than eBay prices. Researchers are still buying Polarized light Leitz Ortholux scopes that were first made in 1934 or 35.

is Unfortunately be it a $400 dollar scope or $400,000 dollar one you still take the same 30 to 60% hit on depreciation as soon as you take delivery. I have seen million dollar Zeiss scopes 4 years old go for $1,000 each on the auction block in the aftermath of 2000 tech crash.

The hash realities of inflation and competition assure that mechanics of the $400,000 dollar stand aren't as good a 50 year old Zeiss or Leitz. As far a resolution we can't resolve much more with a conventional light more with a conventionally like microscope than we could 100 years ago. It is a lot easer to do and lot easier on the eyes.

The optics on new scopes re better but not a lot. Most of the improvement is seen in reflected light optics from better costings  and wider field eyepieces that are a lot easier on you eyes. Olympus eyepieces don't quite correct Leitz and Zeiss objective but it takes very very good lighting an technique to make it show. They are crisper brighter ad have more contrast than old ones and you can buy Olympus WHK 10x 10L or their brother for infinity objectives for ¼ the price of their Zeiss cousins and the best Zeiss eyepieces are only marginally better.

If you work with a good dealer that know what he is doing a develop a trusting relationship you can get a good scope for a lot less money. The transmitted light Zeiss WL is in price range of E2000. It is no prom queen optics are good and it does take good pictures. See: science-info.org/pages/GCouger/camera-mount The dirt on the scope is something I didn't know was there. It glowed under the florescent light of electronic flash.