Stereo Microscopes


Dissecting the World Around You

Stereo microscopes, which are still referred to as dissecting microscopes sometimes, are known to give an erect and three-dimensional perspective to the specimen. This microscope has low magnification power and has two eyepieces with two objectives. These create the effect of perception with depth. 

Stereo Microscope

The main and primary purpose of a dissecting microscope is for viewing and observing relatively large and solid specimens or surfaces. The dissecting microscope earned its name for proving how useful it is. It enabled the viewers to manipulate what specimen is being viewed with an important degree of precision.

This microscope is suitable for detailed work such as watchmaking, microsurgery, and circuit board inspection and manufacturing.

As you read further, stereo microscopes are designed based on two basic configurations which are fixed magnification and continuously variable zoom. Also, it is designed based on two basic groups: 

Common Main Objective and Greenough design. 

Greenough Design

This is the oldest of the two basic groups. The Greenough stereo microscope is an amazing tool that is used for production processes like soldering on a miniature scale. It can also be used to dissect specimens in Biology. What’s good about this is that it is very easy to maintain and very simple to use. 

The one that is credited for designing the use of two angled objectives is Horatio S. Greenough. Those angled objectives produce a slightly different view that creates a three-dimensional effect. These individual body tubes have their objective and ocular lens each. 

The Greenough design’s advantage is its alikeness to a compound microscope because it also allows a section of high apertures. Its disadvantage, however, is something that is known as the keystone effect. The keystone effect Is the slightly angled tilt inside the focal plane that is caused by two lenses viewing at slightly different angles of the same image. 

The outside of the image in the field of view can either be slightly over-focused or under-focused because the lenses are not exactly parallel. With that said, the only part that is correctly focused and at identical magnifications is the central regions of the image. 

Common Main Objective Design

The Common Main Objective Design, also called the CMO, is a very commonly used stereo microscope for research and development due to its ability to provide high-resolution images and has available optical and illumination accessories. 

The Common Main Objective Design features a relatively large and lens that is a single objective type, that is then shared by a lens assembly, and a pair of ocular channels. The CMO design virtually removes any tilting of images that are seen in the focal plane. However, it still has an optical anomaly that is called perspective distortion. This is where you will see the viewed object with its center appealing elevated. 

This is more of a concern on CMO-designed stereo microscopes that are low in price. So, expect that those CMO-designed stereo microscopes used for research are much more expensive and made by a major manufacturer that makes sure to avoid having the said distortion.

Both designs, the Greenough Design, and the Common Main Objective Design are available in both zoom and fixed variety. But zoom is considered as a more varied open option in stereo microscopy. But of course, your choice should rely on the task that is needed to be achieved. 

The Types:

Stereo Fixed Microscope

The term “fixed” pertains to a microscope that is used in stereo microscopy

The fixed magnification has two objective lenses. These lenses refer to the optical element used to gather and focus light rays on the image. 

Its magnification is at a fixed degree which is limited to the lens’ capability. You can increase the magnification by switching to a stronger eyepiece. 

This is useful because it will allow you to have a stable focus while viewing your specimen since you cannot adjust the magnification higher or lower. 

Stereo Turret Microscope 

Stereo microscopes come with a variety of mountings. One of its options is the turret style. One type of stereo turret microscope is the objective turret in which you can add an objective lens that can be rotated into a viewing position. With this, the user can change the magnifications easily just by rotating the turret mounting. While stereo zoom types are more flexible than turret types, turret types are considered to be more economical. 

Stereo Zoom Microscope

The stereo zoom does what exactly its name implies. This is very popular. The stereo zoom microscope can zoom in or out to decrease or increase the magnification until it’s satisfactory for the user. The range of magnification relies on how strong your eyepiece is. 

The stereo zoom microscope offers two options for its stand:

The simple stand is great if you are going to use the microscope for the repair and observation of items like coins, entomology, and watches. The boom stand option is used for using the microscope on larger applications and it can be mounted on the floor and get an added boom that will act as a counterweight.

This stand is commonly used for commercial inspections like circuit board inspection, soldering, and repair and engraving. This is much more pricey than the simple one. 

Choice of Optical Heads

Binocular Stereo Zoom Microscope

Binocular means that two eyepieces are placed on the zoomed microscope. To change the focus, you have to turn the knob which will slide the microscope up and down. 

Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope

Trinocular indicates that a third eyepiece, or simply “phototube”, can be added without affecting the operation of the microscope. The third eyepiece allows the added camera to capture images or record videos. With the said feature, the trinocular became more popular than the other. 

There are lots of offered stereo microscopes in the market today and the right one for you will depend on your needs. This particular light microscope greatly contributed to the field of microscopy with its real ‘hands-on’ capabilities.

Stereo Zoom Microscope 

Take time to read a variety of zoom microscopes that are now ergonomically designed, with adjustable boom frames and lots of digital options.

The stereo zoom microscope is unquestionably the best stereo zoom camera for most people.

A stereo zoom microscope has the ability to have a focal length that ranges from 2.5mm to 1000mm, which is more than enough for viewing objects that are small. They are also designed with a high-quality optical system and offer bright and crisp images at all magnifications.

Digital Stereo Microscope

Digital Stereo Microscope

Take time to read the useful ability of these microscopes to send digital images to view a vast variety of electronic components, and tiny gems to live organisms.

There are many advantages of using digital stereo microscopes. One of the most obvious is that they can be used to take pictures and videos. Digital images are usually of higher quality than the ones taken with analog microscopes. One advantage that stands out is that a digital PCR microscope can be used to document your observations.

Digital stereo microscopes are also easier to work with because they have a large LCD screen, which allows you to zoom in on objects more easily. They are more cost-effective because they don’t require the use of film or slides, therefore making them cheaper in the long run.

Top Stereo Microscope Brands


Take a look at Nikon’s offered stereo models that have a wide range of capabilities that can accommodate a vast number of research fields.


If you go for excellent optics and elegant mechanics, try to look at Olympus’ MVX and SZX models. 


In terms of ergonomic designs and serious innovations, you have to check out Leica’s offered stereo models.


This will make you realize that you can have a high-quality instrument that’s very flexible to do a variety of tasks and also be customized to be suitable for any manufacturing, and research, or medical needs.


Try to look at Wild’s stereo models if you’re looking for a tried but true workhorse.

AO Stereo

This offers models that are good quality and long-lasting.

Bausch and Lomb

This one excels in terms of clarity and image quality.

Levenhuk Stereo Microscopes

This is used mostly for scientific and manufacturing fields for its ability to examine both small and large samples.