All About Microscopes

There are two main types of light microscopes:

COMPOUND and STEREO microscopes.

COMPOUND MICROSCOPES are so called because they are designed with a compound lens system.  The objective lens provides the primary magnification which is compounded (multiplied) by the ocular lens (eyepiece).  Visual information produced by compound microscopes are two dimensional, as opposed to those produced by stereomicroscopes which are three dimensional.  Most provide an image which is upside down and backward as compared to the actual orientation of the object.  Compound microscopes usually have several objectives in magnifications ranging from about 4x to 100x.  Eyepieces are commonly 10x resulting in total magnifications of 40x to 1000x (Objective x Eyepiece). Compound microscopes may be upright or inverted. There are a variety of microscopy techniques available for compound microscopes, many of which are discussed below. In addition, more on STEREOMICROSCOPES may also be found below.


Transmitted Light

Brightfield Transmitted Light microscopes are the most common type of compound microscope…

Phase Contrast

Transmitted Light Phase Contrast is an illumination technique which enhances the phase difference between…

Differential Interference Contrast (DIC)

Transmitted Light Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) is an illumination technique which, like Phase Contrast…


Epi-Fluorescence, or Reflected Light Fluorescence is a technique in which light in a certain band of wavelengths…


Polarized Light is an illumination technique in which polarizing filters…

Reflected Light

Reflected Light Metallurgical microscopes are used to examine opaque specimens…



also called dissecting microscopes, are really two compound microscopes which focus on the same point from slightly different angles….

Illuminators For

The latest LED illumination options for new microscopes or to update existing ones.

Stands For

We offer a variety of aftermarket stands for stereomicroscopes.

Martin Microscope Company keeps a wide variety of new and used microscopes and accessories in stock.

There are many microscope websites out there that will display hundreds of different microscopes with no clear indication of what makes one better than another.  We take a different approach.  

The microscopes and accessories we list on our website are not an exhaustive list, but rather are microscopes that we have used, serviced, and generally recommend.  As an independent company with many years of experience in microscopy, we are able to carefully select specific models from various brands at various price-points that we believe are the best in their respective classes.  

We are a full-service microscope company providing sales, support, service, and even customized solutions.