David Brown dbrown at PTLOMA.EDU
Thu Jul 1 12:49:59 EST 1999

At 09:39 AM 6/30/99 -0700, you wrote:
---snip--- new dissecting microscopes for use primarily in plant
>systematics and general botany. One model that looks fairly good is made by
>Southern Precision Instrument (SPI), their 1880 series. Is anyone out there
>familiar with this company and these microscopes? Are you happy with the
>quality of the scopes as well as the warranty and service provided by the
>company. Any other comments or input regarding good dissecting microscopes
>for classroom use would be greatly appreciated. ---snip---Robin Bingham
	Our Experiences:
		We have used Bausch and Lomb, Swift, A.O. Spencer, and
Nikon. The greatest task has been to find a qualified repair service. Our
Swift were damaged by some repair services but we solved that problem
by a telephone call to the Swift company. They warned us about our last
"bargain" service company. By following their recommendations our Swift
scioes are now giving good images again. Local, quality service must be a 
high priority for any microscopes, and may require brand selection.
	Our last purchases were grant funded so Nikon was selected. They
are pricey but their features, image quality, and ease of use justify their
After using the new, high-end Nikons all of our other microscopes now seem
to be a lower quality than before. Great microscopes will spoil you!
	Another department asked for our advice for dissecting scopes but
were severely limited for funds. We were able to find a CIS (former USSR)
import giving tremendous features for the price, but they are quite tall and
require interchaging eyepieces rather than providing a simple zoom. The price
was so low that even if they are discarded after they cause problems in a 
few years (no parts?) it still seemed the best value.
	The way the base is designed to swing over herbarium sheets differs
from one brand to another. Some take up much more table space than other.
Some are difficult to focus or have restricted field-of-view size. I have used
some that had inadequate focal distance at the optics, they required
at the large base between specimens. Others have awkward "relief" at the 
eyepiece and produce eye fatigue when used for any length of time. The 
companies will not tell you this information, you must try each of them

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