Author Topic: Microscopes  (Read 1370 times)

Microscopes
« on: June 07, 2019, 09:51:37 am »
My eldest monkey is an inquisitive sort. Today she has taken some wasp nest we had in our roof space and a wasp gall.

Her birthday is next month and I remembered the great Roger Deakin said about buying a child a microscope

I'm thinking this would make a great present so after recommendations, don't want to spend a huge amount incase it gets broken. Having done a bit of googling there seems to be a lot of digital ones now. Are these better then the traditional sort?

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 10:02:53 am »
We had a digital one when Pcolbeck junior was small. No they arent better in the precision and absolute resolution sense than a traditional one but for kids they are more fun (so long as they have access to a PC).

The good points are usually better depth of field that a traditional microscope and you don't need to prepare slides. Great for looking at pond life etc. pLus you can record videos of what you see.

For general interest I would go digital but check the reviews and see what's robust and child friendly.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 10:22:29 am »
Ideally I wouldn't want it to have to be connected to a pc to view so can take out and about. We do have a laptop if required for uploads etc

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 10:45:43 am »
How old is your eldest?
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 11:02:23 am »
She will be 8

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2019, 11:14:34 am »
I would probably buy a normal analogue field microscope then for outdoors and maybe a digital one for at home. I don't think you can get any digital field microscopes that record to a card but have normal optical viewing as well, they would come with either a screen of their own (spendy) or some kind of link to a mobile phone as a screen. These things get expensive really quickly.
Plenty of decent cheapish field microscopes out there and they are robust, check google for reviews.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2019, 12:08:09 pm »
I had a basic microscope as kid – sturdy little thing with a mirror and light source and three optics. Came in the little kit with slides, balsam, and stains. I'm to this day not sure why or how I got this considering my parents were never especially interested in my proto-academic endeavours.

But anyway, it was the best. If I had a kid, I'd buy one for them. Then take it off it off them for me.
!nataS pihsroW

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2019, 12:56:47 pm »
You can get adapters to attach a phone to the lens, to let you take photos. Maybe simpler/cheaper than a digital microscope.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2019, 01:01:05 pm »
As a child of a medical microbiologist, I found any microscope that was cheap enough to be used without adult supervision to be an exercise in disappointment.  Once you've cultured your own lurgy, embiggenating creepy crawlies and bits of plant fluff is rather meh.

Though I am increasingly tempted by one of those newfangled digital ones, for fiddly electronics work and allowing barakta to properly inspect the side of her own head.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2019, 01:27:39 pm »
I rescued my old optical microscope from my parents loft.  Needs a new incandescent bulb unless I can find an LED replacement.  Free to a good home.  I’ll even include the dissecting kit .
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2019, 01:36:37 pm »
You had me at dissecting kit....stupid question but does the bulb require it to be plugged in to the mains or is it battery powered?

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2019, 01:58:36 pm »
I think it can take a mains feed, but I’ve never had an adapter for it, so power is via 2 x AAs or reflected light from a mirror.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2019, 02:23:12 pm »
FWIW you can take photos using a digital camera, or use it as a display etc by simply pointing it down the eyepiece of a standard microscope.  If you want to do this on a regular basis you can make a little (wooden?) gizmo that holds the camera in exactly the right place.  Thus almost any 'proper' microscope can easily be made to do much more than it was originally designed to do.

You don't get the extra depth of field etc of a USB microscope, but you do get a better introduction into 'proper microscopy'.

cheers

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2019, 03:21:06 pm »
I rescued my old optical microscope from my parents loft.  Needs a new incandescent bulb unless I can find an LED replacement.  Free to a good home.  I’ll even include the dissecting kit .

The microscope I received for my 12th birthday (1970) ran off two AA batteries and used a (?2.4V) screw cap torch bulb.  It had a mirror on the other side of the bulb holder, so could use other light sources.

I found the field of view frustratingly small, especially at high magnification. I think it had three objectives.

The school and university microscopes were SO much better though!

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2019, 03:29:34 pm »
I had a basic microscope as kid – sturdy little thing with a mirror and light source and three optics. Came in the little kit with slides, balsam, and stains. I'm to this day not sure why or how I got this considering my parents were never especially interested in my proto-academic endeavours.

But anyway, it was the best. If I had a kid, I'd buy one for them. Then take it off it off them for me.
*Laughs*

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2019, 03:45:18 pm »
Andrew Im sure my eldest monkey would give the microscope a good home. I can cover carriage if you want to pm me details

Thanks

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2019, 04:46:09 pm »
I'd still get her a field/pocket microscope. They're great fun.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2019, 08:41:02 pm »
It's no joke that I was convinced for quite a while that I'd discovered alien life forms in a local puddle. I spent ages cataloguing them. Anyway, I have a botany degree now, so I'm a bit wiser.

I'm still convinced that Number Stations are aliens though.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2019, 09:15:48 pm »
Andrew Im sure my eldest monkey would give the microscope a good home. I can cover carriage if you want to pm me details

Thanks


It's a "Regent" . which seems to have been marketed as a "student microscope" , 2 x eyepieces & 3 x objective lenses.  I had 2 boxes of sample slides, but they appear to have been dumped.  PM me an address & I'll find a box & pop it in the post. 

Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2019, 10:57:11 pm »
My sister got a microscope as a kid for Xmas but was never interested. I got something equally uninteresting to me that Xmas. Both got put away and forgotten. Then I found the microscope and asked to use it. That led to a deal where we swapped Xmas presents (about 6 months afterwards). I suspect we opened each others presents due to a mistake by our parents when they labelled them.

I think they're a very good present but only if the child shows signs of being interested and they're old enough to use it properly too. Otherwise it might be a waste.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2019, 11:03:14 pm »
I was more than ready for my microscope. Cheap gift optics are often a disappointment.
David spends AGES helping people with mediocre telescopes and dreadful mounts.

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2019, 06:53:16 am »
So mainly due to having been out the country for her birthday we have the monkey her microscope yesterday and she loved it.

Question we got a feather and a leaf and could see them really well. However I made up a slide from a bit of clear plastic as need to get some slides and we tried looking at a hair and could only see the light underneath, same if we just tried the hair on its own.... What am I doing wrong?

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Microscopes
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2019, 07:36:44 am »
We used to start on low magnification, get that centred and focused, then step up magnification, recentring and refocusing each time.  You've probably tried that, though...
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2019, 08:01:39 am »
Also starting at the top of the slide and working down.

Re: Microscopes
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2019, 10:43:23 am »
I made up a slide from a bit of clear plastic as need to get some slides and we tried looking at a hair and could only see the light underneath, same if we just tried the hair on its own.... What am I doing wrong?

three problems;

1. to see something thin like a hair you need to use reflected light (not transmitted light) and (if you are using a camera which automatically sets the light balance) the hair needs to be mounted on a background of similar reflectivity as the hair, otherwise the camera will set itself for the background light intensity. A small piece of card or matte plastic would be ideal, in a middlingly dark colour.

2. Microscope slides don't look fancy but they are; plastic may look transparent and non reflective but under the microscope it may be otherwise.

3. At high magnification the lens focal length is very short. Hence slide cover slips are made very thin. If you are trying to use a piece of plastic as a cover slip it could easily be too thick to allow focus, even if it is suitably transparent (which most plastics are not)

hth

cheers