Question: stereo microscope confusion

Joined
Mar 8, 2019
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48
Thread starter #1
hi folks,
i have been drawn to working very small lately. fine details in rings. i want to get better at it but i feel that i can only go so far with glasses and probably need better magnification. i started looking at used stereo microscopes on eblay but discovered that i have no idea what any of the numbers(7.3x blah, blah...) mean. i want to be able to see better but i also don't want to buy a scope that i cant even fit my hands and gravers underneath, between the lenses and the work......

how do i determine a distance to the work by the numbers?

how much magnification is "normal" for engraving? and what numbers represent that?

any advice?
 

T.G.III

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Jul 25, 2009
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Oregon
#2
Due to having limited funds to start, I started reading any and all posts relating to magnification, from my research I went to e-bay and bought everything second hand, Olympus SZ-40 for the scope, then found the 10x eye pieces (came with 20x) then sourced a stand (had to fabricate a mount) then source a barlow lens, was told it was a .5 it's actually a .3 . The .3 gives loads of clearance (10") between the lense and the work piece, so much so that the flourescent ring light that came with the scope is useless.

this link should provide enough information to get you started on the correct path

https://engraverscafe.com/forums/stereo-microscopes.120/
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
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Japan
#3
B&L stereo zoom 3,4,5 with boomstand 10x ocular (eyepieces)
used at the 'bay 150-300$.
They re real work horses!

Or

Meiji emz series! Quality is a bit better but also more expensive!

Best are Leica & Zeiss, but even used, pricey!

I have used an old Meiji for 12yrs and now a Zeiss for 2!
The Meiji is great but to compare it with the Zeiss, it's like day & night!

If U r on budget, the b&l is for the price un-beatable!
Clear view, no headaches!
And, if u want to upgrade later, it will sell probably in the same price range, minus shipping ...!

Just, do not buy a cheap new Chinese, Russian, ... microscope!
Better, get a good quality brand, used!

Best of luck!
 
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Joined
Mar 29, 2019
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#4
I have B & L stereozoom 4, works great but I constantly have to readjust it to make sure I'm in focus and alignment or I end up with eyestrain at the end of the day. Mind you I could have a bad egg, and I sometimes spend 10-12 hours on the scope a day, I almost have enough saved for my Leica a60f, its gonna be a glorious day......once you work under a scope, you will never go back!
 
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Dec 29, 2015
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#5
No, I wouldn't say that!
I use more often my headloop (opticiviser style but made by Zeiss) than the microscope!
It's just so much easier to be able to move ur head freely to see the work from different angles!
Sure, when it comes to finer (smaller) detail work, there's no substitute for a good microscope!
My eyes are not 25 any more !

The b&l scopes are in my opinion the best value for money!
If u have problems after using it over a longer period, it may need a professional cleaning service?!
skin fat and dust is finding its way into the inner microscope, difficult to clean proper by ur self!
That's the advance of a good quality microscope over a cheap one, u can open and service it!
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
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#6
Yes I do mostly finer work, so my Opti visor doesn't get used very often. The B & L stereo zoom is probably the best value because of the longevity of the unit and the massive volume that was produced. If I am reading correctly they started making them in 1959. I believe the stereo zoom 4 model that I am using is newer, but still over 40 years old. I paid more for the 0.5 auxiliary objective, than I did for the scope body.....
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
40
#7
As a biology prof., I have ~ 35 stereozooms of various makes at work. The B&L's are certainly good bang-for-the-buck so long as you avoid the 7X model. That one is usable, but a little fuzzy. New Chinese and Russian scopes are a mixed bag optically. I would not buy one without trying it; some are trashy - some actually very fine. They mostly look alike, but come with differing ID's, so I can't make a specific recommendation about them. I have found their focusing, zooming and stands to be annoying "flexible fliers." If you want very, very good optics and the best obtainable mechanics in a used scope, look for a Wild M5. If you buy a used B&L or Wild on Ebay, I think you could get your money by reselling it. You could sell the B&L when you trade up to a Wild and sell the Wild when you retire. The Wild does not zoom, but the optics are so good, and there are enough powers that I do not miss it.

BTW: 1) Fifty years ago, I would have killed to have one of those Chinese LED ring lights that you can get on EBay so cheaply today. 2) One who does not keep his scope under a dust cover does not deserve to own a decent scope.
 
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Joined
Dec 29, 2015
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#9
By the way...
Wild microscopes (Swiss) went 1986 to Leitz (Leica), they still produce by Leica under the name Wild at the old Wild factory at Herbrugg/Swiss.
So if you buy Wild, it has Leica optics, or is produced before 1986 !

Top (!!!) Quality Microscopes are only produced by 4 Companies worldwide!
Leica, Zeiss (both Germany),
Nikon & Olympus (both Japan).
All other top microscope brands are either closed, or owned by one of these 4!

Though, there are Chinese, Russian, Indian ... microscopes ... but


Greetings
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
48
Thread starter #10
thanks for all the advise on this subject. i was all in for spending money on a used b and l but ran across a used leica on ebay for about 100 dollars more. i also bought an auxillary lens to lengthen the working distance. very nice with a snazzy stand set up. have to make a new stand for the ball vises so that i can sit comfortably with it. will be engraving rings with it soon enough.....
 
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