There are three types of microscopes: Stereoscopes
(lowPower Professional Microscopes. For the general consumer, you will probably be looking at one of the first two types.
are microscopes with low power, capable of seeing things like coins, jewelry, insects, germs, rocks, and more. They are easy to use because they require no preparation of the specimen or object. The light shines down from above and not up from under the object, so there is no need for it to be translucent. They have limited magnification (10x, 20x, 30x, and 40x) and only some models offer a zoom. Usually these models are binocular, meaning that they have two eyepieces for 3D viewing.
** Prices start at around $100 and go above $500 for a zoom lens.
* Digital Microscopes
are for the professional who wants the high power of a compound microscope, but who also wants the technological superiority of digital imaging built in to the microscope. Usually they are binocular with a third (triocular) piece that is used for the camera. They come with a wide magnification range, optional zoom, adjustable focus on the eye piece, and a progressive scan, low MP digital sensor, with an estimated 1024x768 resolution on many models.
** Prices start at around $750.
* Microscope Kits
are perfect for children. They are small, simple, and inexpensive ($50+). Plus, they offer a way to get familiar with scientific procedures and spur their interest in science and nature.
* C&A Scientific
* Discovery Channel
* Educational Insights
* Microscope World
* Newcon Optik
* Swift Instruments