LCD vs optical microscope

I searched but only found one recent thread on optical microscopes for the bench (2017), so here goes…I’ve been looking for a boom stand stereo microscope for my jewelry bench. I have Optivisors and a large magnifying glass + light on a swing away lamp, but I’ve wanted a stereo microscope on a boom stand and finally found one for sale recently. An old American Optical zoom head. I was about to complete the sale when a friend showed me a listing for a Koolertron LCD microscope on amazon for about $200…the old style stereo microscope was going to be much more money than that. The LCD screen microscope is very inexpensive and you can take pictures and put them in your account or send them out easily ass well as view your ongoing work… IDK of anyone who uses one of these, any comments as to which works best?.

lcd mcroscope thz

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a microscope for your jewelry projects? We recommend:

Great question. I’m also in a similar position. It almost seems at that price range it would be a great addition to the tool set even if I still had to ultimately buy an optical.

I’ve never used anything by the brands Koolertron or American Optical, so I can’t make specific comments there, but I have used other digital and optical microscopes. The choice really depends on what you’re wanting the microscope to do.

If you’re looking for a way to record your work, document repairs at take in, make photographs for appraisals, or just generally show things to other people, digital microscopes are extremely useful.

If you’re looking for everyday magnification while you work though, an optical stereo microscope can’t be beat. It’s the sort of change where once you’re used to working under one, it’s darned near impossible to go back to an Optivisor.

With a digital microscope, you’re going to be limited by the image sensor resolution and whatever post processing the thing does to make an actual picture. Things like autofocus, aperture size, contrast, white balance, etc. are all handled more smoothly by the human eye and brain than any digital camera I know of. I’m sure we’ll beat evolution there someday, but right now it’s still got a hell of a head start.


In my day job, I’m an optical engineer and I get paid to understand imaging. The problem with any camera based system is that it will not accomodate the brightness range your eye can. It might be possible to do better than a microscope camera with a fixed aperture, but you would still have, at best 10% if the dynamic range of your eye. The eye has several physiological features that are always working to maximize dynamic range, and looking at a monitor doesn’t use them to their fullest. For one thing, the rods and cones in the eye’s focal plane are constantly changing exposure area to optimize their signal- and this occurs before the iris can relax. In short the LCD microscope will not match the response of your eye.

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thank you for sharing that information!


Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a microscope for your jewelry projects? We recommend: