USB Microscopes – Which Ones Are The Best?

There are many factors to consider when buying a USB microscope. Today, we are going to look at three technical aspects that one should consider before deciding on the best USB microscope. The most important factor is the image quality which is by far the most the important element. Next we will look at the zoom or the magnification. Finally we are going to talk about the lighting.

Image Quality

The most important element is the image quality and image quality is affected by two factors the lens quality and the size of the image sensor or the size of the megapixels. The primary function of a lens is to focus light onto the digital image sensor. The shaper the focus the better the image quality. High quality lenses produce excellent focus. That is why a digital USB microscope with high quality lens with 0.3M pixels can produce far better picture than a poor quality lens with 1.2M pixels. The second element is the megapixels. The bigger the image sensor size in your digital microscope, the better the image prints are going to be. So when buying a USB microscope you want a relatively large megapixels if you plan to do lots of image editing especially image enhancing and cropping.


On the whole many digital handheld microscopes sold in the market now a day offer a base zoom magnification at 640 x 480 pixels. So When buying a digital USB microscope, the 640 x 480 pixels resolution should be your  minimum requirement. Many manufacturers offer digital USB microscopes with variable optical zoom. The optical available in the market today can vary greatly depending on your price range. It can vary from anywhere from 10x, 40x up to 400x. Some lower end cheaper models basically only have a fixed lens which may or may not be an issue depending on your overall requirements.

Many good number of USB microscopes will offer you digital magnification using their built-in software system. It important to keep in mind that digital zoom is completely different to optical zoom. Digital magnification is performed by a software inside the microscope using complex mathematical interpolation (guess work!) resulting in lower quality images. Optical zoom is better than to digital zoom.


Lighting is one other elements. Digital Microscopes, just like any microscopes, rely upon lights either normal or LED lights to produce good quality images. Therefore when getting a USB microscope, make sure that it has a good lighting system. Many USB microscopes available in the market today offer 8 LED lights. Some cheaper brands can come with only 4 LED lights. This isn’t always a big issue depending on your background light and also the kinds of specimens.

So which brands are the best? Read our latest in depth reviews of various brands of digital microscopes on the market today.

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