Mattel Microscope

G’day; there seems to be some interest in the Mattel toy
microscope/computer input, and so I checked it out. It looks
interesting - I’d love to SEE one at US$99 which is the price
shown. ( Would be around NZ$200 without freight etc!) It might
be just a toy, but it might also be just what some folk -
jewellers included, might find useful. Magnification is from
x10 to x200 in steps; plenty for all sorts of interests - so
long as the magnification is optical and not simply computer
zooming! That is, if the lenses of the optics aren’t too bad.
And of course, you can save, enhance, and print images. If you
are interested try the following (select, copy and paste the
URL below into your browser, hit the ‘Go!’ If it doesn’t work,
don’t blame me; I copied and pasted it off my browser; so use
Yahoo (or whatever) to search for <Mattel +microscope +computer.
'Yere tiz:-

Wish I were a kid with a rich old grandpa! Cheers,
John Burgess

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

Two neat links


. . . My experience in this business, nothing is cheap, except
that Mattel microscope that I bought with someone’s
suggestion here. Well look at the brite side, I now own a
microscope and can look at dust mites on my jewelry.

Scott’s is not the first Orchid post from an unhappy Mattel
microscope owner. As a suggestion for anyone wishing to sell their
microscope, contact a local mineralogical club. A jeweler’s piece of
junk is a micromounter’s dream, cheap 200x magnification computer
photos of very small crystals. I have already purchased a microscope
from an unhappy Orchid member and they should be an easy sale to
would be micromounters who can’t afford the cost of a really good
stereo microscope (my real money went for a Nikon E950 for my
jewelry). Look at Bob’s Rock Shop links for a listing of clubs near
you (Internet Providers in Your Area | RSinc).

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona

Regarding the Intel/Mattel Microscope,John McLaughlin made a good
point. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Some of you hate it,
others love it. I’ve been intrigued by the little device ever since it
was first described on Orchid, but not enough to risk $90 to find out
if I would like it. However, I would be willing to pay $50 (incl.
shipping) to any Orchidian who wants to get rid of his/hers. This
could be a win-win situation. Contact me offline. Regards…Bob Williams

I think at least some of the problems that people have had with the
Mattel microscope is that many of the people on the list appear not to
know what a microscope is to be used for.

What many people on the list have used is a low power stereo
microscope. If you were to spend $1000 for a standard light
microscope, you would find a very small field and very small depth of
focus especially at as high a power as 200X. The field of view of a
microscope and the depth of focus goes down rapidly with the power. It
is not to be used to photograph a piece of jewelry or even a gemstone
of any normal size. The field of view of an expensive light microscope
would be only about 1 mm at 200X if my memory serves me.

I have considered buying one of these and I as the following
RESOLUTION AND QUALITY? I really would like to know. Notify me off
line if you wish.

Please do not take any of these comments personal, but there are
different tools for different tasks.


Hello, I would also like to get one of those Mattel Microscopes if
anyone wants to be rid of it. I work for a small school district.
Like schools everywhere, we don’t have lots of money. Ask the school
board at contract time! Any way if it didn’t work out the way you
wanted, I can find an excellent home for it. As usual I will buy it
and use it in my classroom. I think it will work well for the Earth
Science class. Wish I could start a jewelry making class here. Lots
of interest, but no funding. If you are interested in finding a good
place for the microscope contact me. Steve Ramsdell

Tom, We use both microscopes here in our shop. We have found many uses
for the Mattel scope. It helps to show customers their own stones and
also we use it as a kind of orienter for the customer to use the
larger scope (where to look for an inclusion etc.) We are also using
it in our appraisals for pic.s of the stones. While it does not have
the resolution or detail for 200X for pics, it is very nice to be able
to point out some of the details in a piece to a customer. we just
started using the scope and have not really mastered the use of the
software end of it yet but that will come as we go. I also use it for
details in my wax and finished products for rough spots, considering
my finger and eyes are not as sensitive as they used to be. I have
found it a useful tool so far…Char

Ms. Charolette’s Gold & Gem Specialties LLC
Rob & Charolette Purviance
115 N. 2nd Street
Guthrie, OK. 73044-3135
(405)-260-0638 (main office)
(405)- 260-0634 (fax)

Keep in mind that this thing is marketed as, and intended as, a young
persons toy. It’s a relatively low resolution digital camera with
some fairly cheap optics attached. Think about what kind of digital
camera you can get for 90 bucks, after all. This thing is making
money for someone. You’re not getting a Nikon here. I didn’t check
for sure, but it looked like about VGA resolution. Within that, it
works quite well as a lower power, student grade microscope. By
student, though, I’m thinking elementary and junior high school
stuff. Don’t give this to your premed students at Harvard. I’d say
it’s strengths are that the computer intervace makes it both easier
and more fun for a kid to use than a traditional microscope. The
optics seem fairly good for it’s grade. I didn’t, for example, see
lots of distortion or color fringes. But metallic/reflective objects
tended to “flare”. The contrast range is typical for a cheap digital
camera. Less than what you can see visually through an optical
microscope. Same thing for the resolution/focus. It’s fun, but don’t
expect the kids to be doing advanced studies in biology here. I
didn’t have a chance, but would love to see what it would do with thin
section minerals and crossed polaroids. Might be possible to have
some fun there. But simply examining jewelry? You’ll do better with
a good hasting’s triplet loupe, I think.

Peter Rowe

OK, I may as well throw my virtual hat into the ring…

I can’t afford to pay cash for a Mattel microscope, but if you have
one you don’t want I’d be willing to trade for it at full value in
rough, cabs or faceted stones. Tell me what you want, and perhaps we
can strike a bargain?

Peter B. Steiner - TripleRock Lapidary - Buffalo, NY, USA

   Keep in mind that this thing is marketed as, and intended as, a
young persons toy.  It's a relatively low resolution digital camera
with some fairly cheap optics attached. 

Peter is correct. However, this can be used as more than a toy, just
not by jewelers. Look at
PS컨설팅 - 법인전환 | 개인사업자법인전환 | 가업승계 | 가지급금 to see how the
Mattel microscope is used in providing details of Arizona micro
fossils. These are adequate images for the web and illustrate why I
was eager to get a scope (purchased from another Orchid member). My
Nikon 950 is for jewelry, the scope is for micromount minerals and
fossils (plus dust mites, pond scum and anything else I can lay my
hands on).

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona

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