Celestron S10-60 Stereo Microscope – My Initial Thoughts

About this Article: Hi, I’m Chris – a teacher and a lover of microscopes! On this site I share beginner microscopy activities for kids and students. Legal note: This information does not constitute professional advice to you and your circumstances or guarantee quality or fit for purpose of the following products. Use of this website is governed by our Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy posted in the footer of this website. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Celestron S10-60 is a stereo microscope with a nice magnification range of 10x – 60x that would be great for looking at:

  • Insects like spiders, wasps, ants and butterflies
  • Coins and bank notes
  • Rocks (Great for Rockhounds)
  • Jewelry

The magnification range of this model was the first thing to appeal to me. It’s got a wider magnification range than most competitors, and while it doesn’t hit 80x magnification like a few of its competitors, it’s also got higher magnification than many others (which cap out at 50x).

For example, most stereo microscopes on the market today offer 25x and 50x magnification. Instead, this one offers 10x, 20x, 30x and 60x – which gives you a lot more versatility when looking at your specimens.

Overall, I think this is a very competitive stereo microscope that’s as good as or better than most on the market. It’d be a useful piece of equipment for viewing visible specimens at lower magnification than a compound model. So, I selected this microscope as the best affordable stereo microscope on the market today.

I think it hits a trifecta of three things:

  • Its versatile magnification range
  • The good lighting options
  • The included experiment kit

To see the price of the Celestron S10-60 microscope, check here.

Celestron S10-60 Microscope Review

1. Magnification

Most home and school lab stereo microscopes only give 2 magnification levels (usually 20x and 40x or 25x and 50x, depending on the eyepiece). So I was impressed that this model has 10x, 20x, 30x and 60x magnification.

This wider range of magnification levels is achieved thanks to two WF 10x and WF 20x eyepieces and a rotating objective turret that provides 1x, 2x and 3x magnification. Multiply those magnification levels to get those four total magnification levels.

Note that this magnification is significantly lower than the magnification potential of a compound microscope, which might achieve magnification up around 400x – 1000x to look at bacteria and cells. You won’t be able to see that sort of granular detail with a stereo microscope.

2. Binocular Head

The head of this microscope is a binocular head with comfortable ends to gently rest your eyes. All stereo microscopes are binocular, so this is nothing special.

The eyepieces are adjustable, but you might need to re-focus your microscope after adjusting the interpupillary distance.

And unlike compound microscopes, you adjust your focus by moving the head up and down along a vertical metal stand. There’s a single coarse focus control rather than fine focus, which I’ve found is common unless you buy a very expensive stereo microscope (which will then have a fine focus knob).

There is the option to get a higher-end trinocular stereo microscope, which might be useful if you want to get into photography (photo stacking, for example, is really popular among stereo microscopists and can render remarkable images). But to be honest, for beginners in stereo microscopy, that’s probably not necessary at this stage. This all depends if you’re doing this to inspire a scientific imagination in your kids, or if you want to do microscopy as a hobby as an adult. 

3. Lighting

Stereo microscopes tend to have upper lighting, whereas compound microscopes tend to have sub-stage lighting. This is because above-stage lighting is best for visible specimens, whereas sub-stage is best for specimens not visible to the human eye.

Interesting, this model has both above and below stage lighting.

The below stage lighting can be useful in this instance for increasing the contrast of the view, but most of the time the above-stage light is good enough.

Another great feature to also help with the contrast is the black viewing stage you can place over the sub-stage light to provide a black background if that’s of more help. I like the idea, but don’t find it useful most of the time.

The last thing to mention about the lighting is that it operates using halogen illumination rather than LED. Personally I prefer LED because it provides a brighter light with less electricity consumption.

All of this is illuminated through AC power, not batteries.

4. Included Specimens

Many entry-level stereo microscopes also include specimens and educational kits for you to get started out of the box. This one has four included insect specimens that you can take a look at right away, but you’ll probably want to purchase other educational kits pretty soon. There are some good geology and insect kits online from National Geographic, or go for a walk and find some interesting items to look at. Some good ones to start with are jewelry, coins and rocks that you can collect on the beach.

5. Brand

One thing that did give me some pause is that Celestron is more well known for their telescopes than their microscopes. They have some really excellent telescopes on the market, but they’re not as well known as a microscope manufacturer.

Furthermore, in my research on compound microscopes, Celestron didn’t register highly on any of my lists.

Nonetheless, they are clearly lens experts and their skills in creating telescopes can transfer over to microscopy quite well. On top of that, compared to some little-known brands who get all their microscopes out of the same factories in China, I’m inclined to trust Celestron for their solid reputation in optics in general, if not microscopy per se.


In general, I’m quite impressed by this stereo microscope. There are only a few small downsides.

1. Magnification

The magnification is impressive, especially the range from 10x to 60x. But there are some stereo microscopes that do get higher magnification – up to 80x and even 120x.

But remember that magnification isn’t everything. Sometimes you’ll be happier and more comfortable with 40x magnification to see the image best.

So overall, while you might not be satisfied with the 60x magnification, personally it’s fine for me.

2. Can’t see Cells or Bacteria

If you want to look at things not visible to the naked eye, a stereo microscope isn’t for you. For that, you’d need to get a compound microscope.

Stereo microscopes are best for coin collectors, rock collectors and younger kids who want to take a closer look at things they find out in the garden.

3. No Camera

This is not a digital stereo microscope. There are many out there, especially those made by Omax. If you want to take photos of your zoomed-in viewport, you’d need to get a digital microscope or an eyepiece attachment. Unfortunately, they’re surprisingly expensive – so much so that I’d consider trying to get one off Craigslist or another second hand buy-sell website because digital stereo microscopes are well out of my price range.

If you get a camera model, I’d recommend one with a USB 3.0 attachment and ensure it’s 5MP or higher for good resolution. You might also want to get one from an established brand to ensure they continue to deliver updates to their software.

What can you Look at?

I want to really reinforce that stereo microscopy is not for looking at cells and bacteria. Rather, it’s better for things like insects, rocks, jewelry, leaves, fossils, and similar items. In general, if it’s visible to the naked eye, you’ll get a nice close-up view with a stereo microscope. But if it’s something that’s not visible to the naked eye – like a tardigrade, cell, or bacteria – you’re going to want to go for a compound microscope instead.

My Verdict

Overall, I really do like the Celeron 10x – 60x for a basic lab or home stereo microscope. The magnification range is nice, and they’ve featured some good lighting options. One thing I’d have preferred to get was a fine focus knob as well, but I also don’t think that’s a big deal breaker for a stereo microscope.

In the end, I did select this as the best stereo microscope for beginners, particularly because of:

  • Its versatile magnification range
  • The good lighting options
  • The included experiment kit

To see the price of this microscope, check here.

I hope you found this review useful, and good luck in your hunt for a microscope!