My bench microscope system consists of the GRS Acrobat stand, which
is absolutely unbeatable in functional convenience, and an LW
Scientific Paragon microscope. Without even taking my eyes off of the
eyepieces I can move it side to side, up, down, change the angle of
the microscope in relation to the bench top, and focus.
I have long used LW Scientific microscopes for the quality/cost
ratio. As it turns out the Paragon model head fits directly into the
Acrobat ring clamp with no modifications needed (the fitting round
plate is a little on the thin side in relation to the depth of the
clamping ring, but once tightened properly I've never had a problem).
You can purchase just the "head" without stand for about $150.
The optics are superb. Period. I use this scope all day: setting,
wax carving, clean up with sanding sticks, rubber wheels, everything.
No eyestrain. I currently have the wide field eyepieces that came
with it but they now offer an even wider accessory set for about $60.
This lens system is as close to flat field as you can get which is
why it is easy on the eyes. This means that there is a flat plane of
focus with no distortion. If you focus on a piece of graph paper
positioned perpendicular to the optical axis there is no loss of
focus or curving of the lines at the edges. I tried a Meiji a friend
of mine owns and found distortion around the edges of the viewing
field. There is no distortion at all in the Paragon.
Part of the reason for this is that the Paragon comes in two power
configurations: 10/20X and 10/30X (I use the 10/20X with the.5
multiplier). Zoom lenses suffer more distortion, more light loss,
and less sharpness than 2 power systems. With the addition of the.5
multiplier lens this effectively gives you 5/10/20X or 1/15/30X
capabilities which I find more than adequate. In fact I've never used
the 20X. This is way too powerful for the size of items you normally
work with at the bench. Examining stones is a different proposition -
and you should have a seperate scope for it.
I have used zooms in other labs and studios but have always
purchased two power configurations for my own studio for the reasons
listed above. They are, as a bonus, less expensive as well.
LW also has a variable power fluorescent ring light for around $150.
Here is the link for LW Scientific's less than stellar website. In
fact, it seems only partially operational today but I suggest you
call anyway. They do not list the microscope heads as being available
separate from the bases but if you call they will quote, sell, and
17 2nd St. East, Ste. 101
Kalispell, MT 59901
Toll Free: 877-203-1482