Magnification 101: Traditional vs Digital Microscopes

Magnification is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a microscope or an optic instrument. And if you are a hobbyist or an enthusiasts, certainly, you already know the importance of this. Whether it may be for a traditional or a digital microscope, this factor is very essential.

As it happens, both digital and traditional microscopes require excellent lens performance. And one of the best ways to inspect this part is to learn about its magnification ratings and features.

Essentially, the magnifying performance of the traditional and the digital microscopes are quite different. Although many would prefer to have their own digital microscopes, the lens’ values and perfomances of these instruments are not as great as the traditional ones. And this is why you would see a lot of individuals, especially the professionals, still prefer to use the conventional microscopes. And for some reasone, the conventional ones are believed to have a more powerful performance value than the digital types.

Magnification: Conventional vs Digital

The ratio of the size of the specimen determines the magnification of the traditional microscope. This is particularly the size that appears under the microscope and its actual size. Hence, when using a traditional microscope, the size of the specimen matters. You can actually see it as a manual type since users, like you, would need to adjust the ratings and ratios depending on the specimen or the subject.

Meanwhile, a digital microscope makes use of a monitor and a computer with different dimensions to provide you with different pixel resolutions of your specimens. Software programs are also used to resize what the observers are seeing on the screen.

Hence, using a digital microscope may help you easily in this aspect. magnificationAnd this is why a lot of people, especially hobbyists and enthusiasts prefer them.

Aside from being an easy tool, it offers real convenience and reliability. And this is quite fitting for first-timers and newbies in the field of microscopy.

Now, to compare magnification of the traditional microscope versus the digital, start it with its field of view. The magnification value that you often see in digital microscopes serves as a reference of the comparable magnification from the traditional microscope.

There are still some cases though where it varies. That is why it is best to use a field of view under a specific magnification to compare magnification between the two tools. Field of view is a number that represents a real dimension. It does not change based on pixel dimensions, monitor size variations, and resizing of the software window.

In Comparison With

So, if you really want to compare the magnification between a traditional microscope from a digital microscope, you should use a field of view. When you are required to work at a certain magnification level, you can do a comparison between: 

  1. The resulting size of the specimen on your display
  2. The physical dimensions of the specimen that you will magnify.

For instance, if your specimen has an actual dimension of 10mm, you then compare it to the size of the specimen as displayed on your screen. Proceed to adjust the magnification of your digital microscope until 100mm. Based this on your screen is occupied for the total magnification of 10x.

A lot of people using the traditional microscope can compare with digital models. They can attest that digital gives you more than you expect from the former. This comes when the same optics are used. However, this can be a problem for most digital microscopes as they lack the hardware that will allow contrasting techniques to be applied like phase contrast, DIC, and fluorescence.

About Zoom Lens

Apparently, digital microscopes come with a zoom lens and fixed objectives. And they are not actually the same in terms of the quality of the spherical aberration correction and flat field that you can find in traditional microscopes. So, in this aspect, you will see that traditional types works better in terms of the zoom features. 

But, if in the case that you are after getting a digital type, your best option would be getting a digital microscope that comes with an integrated camera. However, these types may cost much more than the usual ones. So, expect to shell out a few more bucks! Nevertheless, you will get to have a much more personalized and manageable control with the microscope.

The Best Takeaway

With the given processes and facts above, it is quite easy to see that traditional microscopes have a much more effective magnification feature. But it is not to say that the one is so much better than the other. And this is because types of microscopes have something to offer to its users in terms of the Field of View and Magnification standards.

In actuality, digital microscopes still have an edge over traditional microscopes making them popular in this modern day and age. They are popular for their convenience and speed. They are also capable of producing images in high quality for any observer to see. Just be sure that you are well aware of the resolution of the digital camera that you are getting with your digital microscope. In this way, you are making the most of what your digital microscope can offer.

Hence, the best takeaway from this point is that traditional and digital microscopes have great and incredible features to offer on their own. And when it comes to the optic lens, magnification, and field of view, it is not that really appropriate to compare the two types.

The truth is that each type of microscope has its own distinct feature and function. Moreover, each has its own advantage and drawback. Which is why a lot of professionals tend to utilize both types. And the same goes for the hobbyists and enthusiasts. And in the end, the exact purpose of the usage will be largest factor when deciding which type of microscope you should be getting.

Now, if you want a much deeper understanding of digital microscopes, here is a quick video for you: