Monday, 26 November 2012

Basic microscopes for novices

I noticed today that there was a question about suppliers of basic microscopes for novices wishing to start recording hoverflies (or for that matter other insects). I've posted a reply there but then reflected that it might make a useful subject for this blog.

Stuart Ball and I have bought micropscopes on two occasions in the past couple of years.  The first time we did this was facilitated by an OPAL grant - we bought a zoom microscope together with an optical camera and software for use on our hoverfly training courses. The following year we bought 13 basic microscopes which we use to run courses at venues where microscopes are not available. These too were funded through an OPAL grant.

In both cases we went to GX Optical near Cambridge">Stereo

The model we bought was fairly basic and cost around £250 without a light. We chose not to have a fixed light as fixed lights can get a bit hot and will fry the entomologist and the subject-matter. Instead we use a goose-necked lamp from Homebase - about £6.00. A setup like this will not give you Leitz quality but it is pretty adequate for the basics. The camera is also pretty good and is certainly suitable for what we want to do. The combination of camera microscope and teaching kit has been a huge success and we are indebted to OPAL for the finance that made their purchase possible.

Our contact at GX Optical is Bob Town who is absolutely excellent - really helpful and willing to look at the options needed to provided the microscope you need. Do tell Bob that you come with our recommendation as we are very happy to endorse their microscopes.

uffolk CB9 9AF

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