The Celestron CM2000CF is Celestron’s mid-range compound microscope. It’s the most affordable option you’ll get from Celestron that also comes with advanced features like:
- A mechanical stage,
- 4 achromatic objectives, and
- 2000X magnification
Personally, I like the balance here between quality and quantity. If you were to step down to the CM1000C or CM800 you’ll be sacrificing these features. Stepping up one more level (to the CB2000F) will only offer you the step into binocular lenses, which I don’t particularly like for microscopes for kids anyway.
So, I do find the CM2000CF to be an appealing model. It’s got the balance between user experience and price point right for me personally.
Of the above three features that I highlighted as key to this model over the CM1000C, the one worth paying for is the mechanical stage.
I much prefer mechanical stages over ones that simply offer height adjustability and am willing to pay for that feature. I find moving slides on non-mechanical stages a right pain. As an adult I find having to manually adjust slides mm at a time annoying, but when you’re working with children and they need to move the slides around it’s a downright deal breaker.
You might notice that I don’t care much for the 2000X magnification.
I’ll discuss why a little later.
Celestron CM2000CF – Full Review
When reviewing microscopes, I generally look at the features systematically. I start at the top and work my way down (more ore less). So let’s start where I normally do – the eyepieces.
1. Monocular Scope
The CM2000CF is the most powerful of the Celestron C-model monocular microscopes. For those intent on 2000X zoom in a monocular scope, this would be appealing.
Personally, I prefer monocular microscopes over binocular models for students. Monocular microscopes are less fuss when sharing the scope (you don’t need to make any adjustments, they’re easier to attach cameras, and they’re easier for children to use).
Of course, a binocular microscope is better for a personal scope – especially for those people who work alone and can set and forget the binocular settings. If that’s you, and you’d like to pay for the luxury of a binocular scope, it might be worth forking out the small added fee for the CB2000F.
The interchangeable 10X and 20X eyepieces are what you’d expect from a microscope at this price point and should be sufficient to get the job done. The one thing that’s worthy of comment is the pointer in the 10X eyepiece.
A pointer can be very useful when working with clients, students and children. It is – as the name would suggest – a piece of metal that ‘points’ to the very middle of the field of view.
When working with an immobile specimen, you can adjust the position of the specimen (using that mechanical stage, of course!) so the pointer literally points to the area you want to direct people’s attention.
The nice thing about an eyepiece pointer is that it’s always in focus, and of course it is an excellent teaching resource.
3. Zoom and Objective Lens
This model has the highest zoom of the monocular scopes in Celestron’s range thanks to its forth objective lens with 100X zoom. But that doesn’t particularly impress me. Most people do just fine with a 1000X microscope.
High school biology, for example, only really requires 400X magnification. A 1000X scope will show bacteria in excellent detail. So, 2000X is somewhat overkill unless you really need it.
The Celestron CM2000CF only has lower light illumination using a halogen light source. You can control the intensity of this light source using the diaphragm.
The CM800 is the only one in the CM range that has both an overhead under lower light source. It’s not entirely clear why they chose not to have an overhead light for the models with a greater zoom range, but all-in-all I don’t find this to be a dealbreaker.
5. Mechanical Stage
This is one feature that really does appeal to me. The stage has the regular fine and coarse adjustments for height, which allows you to find focus.
But this is also the most affordable I could find in Celestron’s range with a mechanical stage. A mechanical stage allows you to make fine movements of the stage on the horizontal and vertical access to get the perfect view.
The mechanical stage combined with the 10X eyepiece’s pointer, this makes for an excellent teaching microscope setup.
Without a mechanical stage, you find yourself moving the slides manually. Under the pressure from the clips, the slides are hard to move about. They tend to stick, then move too far once they finally budge.
If you’ve got kids doing this, it’s a recipe for frustration – and a slide with fingerprints all over it.
So, I prefer a mechanical stage (like on this model) and will pay for it.
While none of the following downsides of this model are particularly important to me (I think this model strikes a good balance), they may be for some people:
- Not Binocular – Some people prefer binocular microscopes, and I understand this. They can be nice and comfortable. I choose to use monocular scopes because I like them for teaching purposes, mainly. Those working alone and not sharing a scope might like to step up to the CB2000 instead.
- Not Battery Operated – You need to have it plugged into AC to operate the light.
- No Digital Camera – While you can get models packaged with a digital camera, I prefer an aftermarket camera eyepiece so I can choose my camera quality. Nonetheless, I understand if some people would want to get a package where there’s an included camera with the purchase. Don’t go below a 2MP camera if you’re wanting to do quality presentations.
Conclusion & My Verdict
The Celestron CM2000CF is my preferred compound microscope in Celestron’s range. It strikes a good balance between price point and features. I particularly like it for a teaching microscope thanks to the monocular head, pointer in the eyepiece and the mechanical stage. This combination makes for the best user experience in a classroom.
I also think the zoom is satisfactory – and in fact is more than I’d need.
The biggest downside I find personally is the lack of battery. You need it plugged in to use the light.
But I also understand some people would want a binocular model for comfort if it was a personal microscope and wasn’t going to be used by children – for that, step up to the Celestron CB2000.
But, if you’re happy with a monocular microscope, it’s hard to look past this model. You can buy the CM2000CF here.
Hi, I’m Chris and I run things around here! I share all my microscopy experiments, microscope information and tricks, how to guides, and microscope reviews in the articles on this site. Browse around to see what you like (I recommend the experiment ideas section) or connect with me on any of the social platforms listed below.