Product Type: Bresser microscopes
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I spied with my little eye
Bresser Biolux 20X-1280x
Member Name: goosey
Bresser Biolux 20X-1280x
Date: 29/09/10, updated on 17/11/13 (1945 review reads)
Advantages: Educational tool
Having worked, for a large chunk of my life, in laboratories, I had access to, and used microscopes of varying sizes and complexities, all of which allowed a fascinating insight into the beauty and sometimes ugliness of nature.
When I left laboratory work, the one thing I missed, next to my colleagues (of course) was a microscope. A good one was far too expensive an instrument for me to consider purchasing; instead, I bought a cheap, but useful little Tasco microscope with a 30X magnification. Not brilliant, but better than nothing.
A few years ago, I spotted a microscope in Lidls, for about £35. I was sceptical at first, thinking that it might be one of those plastic, toy-like instruments one buys for children with a fleeting enthusiasm for seeing their collection of creepy-crawlies magnified to nightmarish proportions, but thought it worth checking out, so threw caution to the wind and purchased the Bresser Biolux AL microscope and accessories.
~~~~What did I get for my £35?~~~~
A strong brown, wooden case made from plywood, filled with goodies that would make any scientifically inclined child dance with glee.
I was expecting just a microscope, but before I detail the instrument, I will list the accessories that accompanied it in the box, each secured to a removable vertical tray, along with an A4 sized instruction book.
(1) One 5X and one 16X-magnification eyepiece lens with lens protection caps.
(2) A Barow lens, which doubles the magnification of the combined eyepiece and objective magnifications.
(3) A PC-Ocular, called a MicrOcular - a camera, which when attached to the microscope eyepiece-holder and with the USB connected to a PC, displays the specimen image on the monitor.
(4) An Ulead Photo Explorer SE Software disc. This CD-Rom is necessary for the installation and use of the micrOcular.
(5) A mains lead, to power the microscope LED illumination systems.
(6) A platic case holding ten glass slides and slide covers, plus five slide preparations, such as yeast, and fly wing.
(7) A matted lens for use with the micrOcular.
(8) Rudimentary microscopy instruments, tweezers, pipette, scissors and a natty little 'micro-cut' for slicing specimens.
(9) A prawn breeding plant and specimens of yeast, prawn eggs and sea salt in plastic bijoux bottles. With comprehensive instructions on how to breed the prawns and observe their growth and also included are some additional, simple, yet interesting experiments.
~~~~The Bresser Biolux AL Microscope~~~~
The Bresser Biolux AL, built in Germany, is an excellent quality, sturdy , metal microscope, coated in a cream, metallic paint and tipping the scales at around 2 kilograms. The black, plastic base houses the dimmer wheel, for reducing or increasing light passing through the condenser lens, situated on the base; this light illuminates specimens placed on the microscope stage, from underneath, through a small aperture in the stage.
Situated next to the condenser is a small on/off switch, for illuminating the specimen directly from above, rather than from below. The second light, located on the microscope arm, above the stage, points directly down onto the specimen.
The whole unit stands about 27cm in height; the base measures 13,5cm x 10cm.
Below the stage, are a series of six coloured filters mounted on a wheel, used for viewing transparent specimens such as single, unstained cells, making the components of the specimen more readily identifiable.
A proportion of the wheel protrudes from under the left edge of the stage.
On top of the stage are two moveable bars, set at right angles to each other, called the mechanical Desk or plate, with a 1mm gap between it and the stage. The specimen slide, held between the two claws of the 'desk' move forward, or sideways by the manipulation of the two knurled screws attached to the mechanical 'desk.' A locking screw on the back, locks the 'desk' in position if required.
Each bar of the 'desk' has graduated scales, so that by noting the position of the pointers on each scale, a specimen can be removed and replaced later with the scales as per the last viewing, to find the exact part of the specimen again.
Immediately above the stage, attached to the underside of the microscope head, are three objective lenses, permanently fixed to the objective revolver - a revolving stage, allowing the selection of an appropriate lens magnification.
The magnification choices are, 4X, 10X and 40X.
On microscopes that are more sophisticated, the objective lenses can be unscrewed and interchanged.
Joining the top of the microscope-head is the eyepiece-holder, a 7.5cm hollow tube into which the appropriate lenses are inserted.
Three lenses, which slot into the eyepiece-holder, are supplied with this microscope; firstly the Barow lens, a 7.5cm graduated tube with a lens positioned at its base, is inserted into the holder, then either the 5X or the 16X-magnification eyepieces is inserted into the top of the Barow lens.
The function of a Barow lens is to increase the magnification of the lenses in situ. With the Barow lens fully extended, magnification is doubled.
For example: With a 5X eyepiece and a 4X objective lens, the magnification is 20X.
When the Barow lens is fully extended, the magnification is doubled to 40X.
The minimum magnification achievable with the Biolux AL is 20X and the maximum, a magnificent 1280X. Therefore this microscope is suitable for viewing a large range of specimens.
However, the Barow lens cannot be used in conjunction with the micrOcular lens and the standard condenser lens should be replaced by the matted condenser lens when using the micrOcular.
Focusing the microscope is simple, the stage racks smoothly up and down, towards and away from the objective lenses. (In larger microscopes, it is the objectives that are racked up and down to focus.)
It is always advisable to avoid damaging the lenses, by initially racking the specimen up to the lens and then focus by racking the stage down.
The microscope is easy to set up and use. The lenses are of excellent quality giving clear images with no irritating aberrations sometimes encountered in inferior quality lenses.
It doesn't take long to get the hang of which filters and magnifications to select, trial and error adds to the fun.
This microscope is perfect for students studying science-based subjects, medical or otherwise. It is relatively inexpensive. Lidls occasionally have these on special offer, especially around Christmas time, though there is no guarantee of that. Since purchasing mine, I have seen it in Lidls each Christmas. Sometimes they sell a slightly different model of microscope, but it looks to be of the same quality as this one. Now is the time to keep an eye open for one of these.
I thoroughly recommend this microscope for science students especially, and even for those youngsters with fleeting interests, it is much cleaner and safer than a chemistry set and who knows, they might, in the words of a well known actress, gain an 'Ology' and become a scientist, one day.
The world could do with more "Ologists."
Summary: Sometimes it pays to throw caution to the wind. On this occasion, I am glad that I did.