It is not known exactly who invented the microscope and when. There are several hypotheses, but none of them has been confirmed. It is possible that the first microscope was invented in 1590 by the Dutch eyeglass masters Hans Jansen and Zacharias Janssen.
Or perhaps it happened a little earlier – in 1538, and no longer in Holland, but in Italy, by Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro. Also, the invention of the microscope is often credited to the well-known and not needing introduction Galileo Galilei, who could have created it around 1609.
If you use a portable digital microscope outdoors, you may need a power source. For that purpose, you can use a portable generator.
Best Portable Digital Microscopes Under $60
|7.01 x 4.53 x 2.13 inches||9.1 ounces|
40X to 1000X
|Metal||See Best Price|
|7.3 x 4.6 x 1.9 inches||10.4 ounces|
|Plastic||See Best Price|
|8.5 x 6.9 x 3.4 inches||1.4 pounds|
|Not Specified||See Best Price|
But we must remember that the microscope in the modern sense is not the same optical device that was invented several centuries ago.
Its design has already changed a lot, and our contemporary can call the very first prototype, at best, a magnifying tube. Let’s take a look at which portable digital microscopes on the current market offer the best performance at an affordable price.
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1. Bysameyee USB Digital Microscope 40X to 1000X
The Bysameyee USB Digital Microscope is among the top portable microscopes for schoolchildren and coin collectors due to its good price-performance ratio. Despite the low price and simple appearance, the microscope has good characteristics.
It is equipped with a USB cable with an additional micro USB tip and a Type C adapter, that you can connect to a smartphone or other external screen. The scope is compatible with Android Windows 7 8 10, and Linux Mac and provides magnification from 40x to 1000x, ensuring a sharp picture.
A disk with the drivers is included and the software is very easy to use. The eight LED lights of the Bysameyee USB Digital Microscope provide good visibility. You can adjust the brightness and match the lighting for each examined object and check the tiniest of detail.
You can turn on the zoom function or leave it off and choose various filter options that can be very useful. It can be tricky to focus at high magnification just because it is very lightweight.
The device produces images at a fairly low resolution (640×480), compared to modern digital cameras, but works great for examining bread crumbs, an insect wing, a drop of water, a tree leaf, old coins, etc. With it, a child will be able to learn about the world around him. All in all, the Bysameyee is a great entry-level portable digital microscope at a reasonable price.
2. Facamword Wireless Handheld Digital Microscope
Being quite affordable, the Facamword Wireless Handheld Digital Microscope amazes with its elegant design and availability of classic options together with unusual features. The device gives magnification from 50x to 1000x, while allowing you to take photos and videos of 1080P resolution.
The list of systems with which this microscope is compatible is quite wide and includes Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, and iPad. The device is equipped with an adjustable lighter of eight diodes. Unfortunately, the scope does not have an SD card slot.
In order to save the taken shots, you need to connect it to your smartphone, tablet, or PC via the included USB cable or Wi-Fi.
And the last one (Wi-Fi option) favorably distinguishes the Facamword Handheld Digital Microscope from a number of similar ones, as there are no many concurrent products that provide it. The built-in battery life is enough for 90 minutes of fun exploration. Both the device and its stand are made in a pleasant white color.
The stand’s tray has not only two measuring scales (one in centimeters, the other one – in inches) but also a grid with cells of five by five millimeters. When the Facamword Digital Microscope is mounted on the stand it’s on a flexible leg, which allows you to choose a convenient viewing angle and distance to the object for better focusing.
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3. LCD Digital Microscope, ANNLOV 4.3 inch
The LCD Digital Microscope, ANNLOV 4.3 inch model, which is suitable for children, students at school, or university continues the microscopes rating. It’s built very well and looks solid.
With its very sharp closeup picture, this is a great scope to copy the image to large PC displays to study thin and transparent objects, examine preparations, and conduct laboratory tests of an entry-level. The device zooms in and out, provides powerful magnification from 50x up to 1000x, and has eight adjustable LED lights.
It has a large screen about the size of a small smartphone, and you can adjust the brightness of the light. There is an option of taking photos with date and time. A sturdy stand allows fast focusing at full magnification. The ANNLOV LCD Digital Microscope also has a battery the capacity of which provides almost three hours of continuous work.
So, you can take the microscope, let’s say, for a walk with a child and examine various micro-objects of nature. Precise focusing makes it possible to see fine details. With a 1mm calibration slide, lines less than 0.01mm can be easily distinguished. Some of the buyers say the instructions are not very clear.
Others note that the setup and operations are so easy that there is no need for any instructions. The ANNLOV Digital Microscope helps to examine the structure of insects, plants, microorganisms, scuffs on the coin. Quick to assemble and so fun to use!
Best Portable Digital Microscopes Under $120
|16.1 x 12.2 x 5.9 inches||2 pounds|
|Not Specified||See Best Price|
|11.2 x 8.4 x 3.1 inches||2.4 pounds|
|Steel||See Best Price|
|Not Specified||Not Specified|
|Plastic||See Best Price|
4. Koolertron LCD Digital USB Microscope 600x
The Koolertron digital USB microscope with a 4.3-inch full-color liquid crystal display is equipped with an adjustable light of eight LEDs. Providing magnification zoom from 10x up to 600x, the device can be used in two ways – being installed on a stable metal stand, or removed from it.
Thus, you can use this microscope both in stationary conditions and “on the go”. However, the dimensions and weight of the stand are so small that you can also take it with you on a trip, if necessary.
The stand allows you to adjust the distance between the lens and the test object, as well as the tilt for a comfortable position of your head and neck. Also, the stand facilitates working by having two clamping bars and measuring scales (in centimeters) applied to it in two dimensions.
The Koolertron digital USB microscope can save your photo and video files to an SD memory card (not included) up to 32 GB. It also has a micro USB port for connecting to an extra display or saving files directly to a computer.
The device is powered by an included rechargeable lithium battery.
Anyone can use the device due to the simple and quick adjustments. The Koolertron digital microscope can be recommended for biological research in laboratories or educational institutions. The model is suitable for both children and adults.
5. Koolertron LCD Digital USB Microscope 220x
The Koolertron LCD Digital USB Microscope is equipped with a 4.3-inch display. The device can be used both as a handled one, and when installed on the medal stand, it comes with. The stand has an interesting feature: two LED bulbs on flexible leads, which allow you to change the angles of illumination of the examined specimens.
The brightness is also dimmable. When set up on the stand, the device can be adjusted in height and tilt under the required parameters. As if that weren’t enough, the Koolertron LCD Digital Microscope even has an infrared remote control and even a UV filter. Not only does the filter protect the lens, but reduces reflection and stray light as well.
The device provides magnification from 10x to 220x. For viewing the maximum magnification, it is recommended to use an external 21-inch display. When connected to an external monitor, the microscope is capable of delivering a sharp image at 1080p resolution.
Photos and videos that you take with the Koolertron Digital Microscope can be saved to an SD memory card up to 32 GB, as well as transmitted via the USB connectors. The device is powered via USB from any suitable power source capable of delivering 5V, including a power bank.
The Koolertron Microscope can find applying in different areas such as jewelry, soldering, hobbyist electronics assembly, insect research, or collecting tiny objects.
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6. Mustcam Handheld Mobile Digital Microscope
The Mustcam handheld mobile digital microscope differs from many others with its unusual design. It fits easily in your hand, and the little monitor with a liquid crystal display folds out of the body itself. For better stability and sharper photos and videos, you can use a small stand included.
The stand is designed in such a way as to provide tilt and height adjustment of the lens. The operating systems with which the device is compatible are Windows 7 and 8. The Mustcam handheld digital microscope produces digital magnification up to 1200x and 300x optical one.
You can save captured photos and videos of microworld objects to an SD memory card. The device supports cards up to 32 GB. The card itself is not included. A high-resolution image is achieved through a 5-megapixel sensor.
The Mustcam mobile digital microscope runs on a rechargeable lithium battery and comes with a charger, two USB wires for connecting to external devices (one is micro USB and the other is type C).
Another useful accessory that is included – is a soft black fabric carrying cover to protect the scope from scratches and damage if you have to take it outdoors. All in all, its pocket-friendly size, availability of all necessary attachments, and autonomic power supply offer the device complete portability.
Best Portable Digital Microscopes Under $300
|6.12 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches||1.3 Pounds|
10x t0 220x
|Metal||See Best Price|
|9 x 15 x 10 inches||0.01 Ounces|
10x to 120x
|Not Specified||See Best Price|
|4.8 x 2.2 x 1 inches||4.4 Ounces|
10x to 200x
|Plastic||See Best Price|
7. Celestron MicroDirect Handheld Digital Microscope
The Celestron MicroDirect Handheld Digital Microscope magnifies from 10 to 220x and provides 1080P resolution, which means a very sharp picture. You can work by holding the microscope with your hand or by placing it in the included high- and tilt-adjustable stand.
The solid metal stand has two clamping strips for fixing the examined samples. Having micro USB and HDMA ports and cables included, the microscope can display an image on any compatible external screen, as well as save it to a micro SD memory card. Not only do the cables stream images in full HD, but also power the scope.
The Celestron MicroDirect Digital Microscope’s setup is effortless, the software is very clear, the picture quality is excellent. The focusing mechanism makes it much easier to examine specimens at high magnification. You can take photos right with the on-device button.
The LED lights can be adjusted or completely disabled. What makes the scope record still images of high definition? It has a 3.5MP high-speed sensor with larger pixel sizes for more detailed information and higher refresh rates. The device captures 720p HD video at 30fps if you connect it to a PC via USB.
Sad to say, the scope is not macOS-compatible. It does not have its own inner battery and can be powered from an outlet using a suitable cable and plug, or from an external battery (power bank).
Overall, despite some shortcomings, the characteristics of the Celestron MicroDirect Microscope allow it to be used for a wide variety of purposes, both at home and in the office or at school.
8. Celestron 44314 FlipView Handheld LCD Microscope (Grey)
The Celestron FlipView Handheld Microscope has a good optical performance. Due to the monitor, the model is perfect for biological, clinical, laboratory observations in educational institutions, where it is necessary to demonstrate the research results to a group of people.
But the device can also be successfully used at home even by inexperienced people. The built-in monitor can be easily folded flat into the gray body of the microscope itself. The device is very ergonomic: holding it with your right hand, you can make all the necessary settings, like focus adjusting, with its fingers.
At the same time, with your left hand, you can adjust the angle of the 3-inch full-color monitor to your liking. The monitor rotates 270 degrees. Photos and videos are very easy to make and can be saved on an SD memory card up to 32 GB (not included). For more stability, use the flip-out leg when taking photos or videos.
Or use the included metal stand via the ¼-20 connector. An adjustable eight-LED illuminator provides excellent lighting for your shots. For capturing high-definition images and videos, the Celestron FlipView Handheld Microscope is provided with a 5-megapixel sensor and five-element IR cut lens.
The device magnification is from 10x to 120x and can be increased up to 300x when viewed on PC. The device is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which gives you hours of work and viewing outside, or anywhere without being tied to an outlet.
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9. ViTiny VT-300 Portable Digital Microscope
This ViTiny VT-300 Portable Digital Microscope has perhaps the most unusual design of all presented in this review. At less than five inches long and one inch thick, the device fits easily into a pocket or purse.
By combining the lens and monitor into one working plane, and with its wrist strap, the scope looks like a photo-camera from the end of the last century. The device is capable of digital magnification from 10x to 200x and gives preview images of amazing clarity on its 2.8-inch liquid crystal display.
Would you like to save the captured photo or video files? This microscope has a built-in flash memory of two gigabytes for that. And, of course, you can view the files or transfer them to the PC or other external device via the included USB cable.
The 2-megapixel sensor of the ViTiny VT-300 Portable Microscope provides a fairly acceptable resolution. Four adjustable LEDs make specimens examining more comfortably. The software of the scope comes on the enclosed disk and is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10 operating systems.
The device runs on a Li-ion Battery included and comes with a Power Adaptor. Last but not least advantage, the ViTiny VT-300 Digital Microscope has a one-year warranty.
FAQ for portable digital microscopes buyers
1. Can we see microbes through a microscope?
Yes. But this is not as easy as we would like. As a rule, to observe microbes under a microscope, it is necessary to treat the specimen with special dyes or use special research methods – for example, the dark field method, which requires a darkfield condenser.
2. Is it possible to use a microscope as a measuring tool?
Yes, of course, together with an eyepiece with a measuring scale or a calibrated video eyepiece, you can measure the size of various objects with a microscope.
3. What is a focal length? Is it somehow related to magnification?
The focal length is usually understood as the distance from the plane of the specimen (object) to the focal plane of the lens, at which the image of the object becomes clear. The higher the magnification, the shorter the focal length.
4. What is the function of an objective in a microscope?
The objective is part of the optical system of the microscope. It is installed in a revolving device, which is located above the stage, directly opposite the examined sample.
The lens “looks” at the sample, zooms it in several times and transmits the picture above – into the eyepiece tube, directly to the eyepiece into which we are looking. That is, the function of the objective is to form an enlarged picture. Objectives vary in magnification, design, and optical quality.