Omax is a brand (associated with the AmScope brand) which tends to produce high magnification microscopes. This 40x – 2000x microscope (model number MD82ES10) is one of their lower-end models designed to be value for money compared to many more expensive 2000x microscopes.
The most appealing feature of the Omax MD82ES10 is the built-in camera. Usually you have to buy an aftermarket camera that you can slide onto one of the eyepieces. Or, you’d have to get a trinocular camera (two eyepieces for eyes, one for camera) if you want to use the camera and look with your own eyes at the same time.
Omax solves this problem with a built-in camera.
But on the downside, it’s only a 1.3MP camera. This is a very low resolution camera – think old camera phone quality. Those (like myself) wanting nice high quality imagery and crisp video footage would just get a regular microscope then want to use a DSLR camera with a microscope adapter instead. Here’s how I set it up.
The choice is yours.
For the rest of this review, I’ll break down what I see to be the pros and cons of this microscope.
OMAX MD82ES10 Compound Microscope Review
I usually review microscopes from top to bottom. So to stick with the convention, let’s start with the binocular head.
1. Binocular Head
Most 2000x microscopes have binocular heads. This means – just like binoculars you go bird spotting with – you can look through the microscope with two eyes. The microscope will deliver the same image to both eyes.
There are pros and cons to a binocular head.
I like a binocular head for my personal at-home high quality microscope. But I prefer a monocular head for a shared microscope or one I’d use with children. Children can often struggle with feeling comfortable with binocular scopes, and they often want to adjust them once you hand the microscope to the child. By contrast, a monocular scope needs less adjustments and less dexterity.
Overall, whether it’s binocular or monocular isn’t a deal breaker – this is just my opinion on binocular vs. monocular microscopes.
2. Built in USB Camera
Next up is the headline feature of this microscope: the built-in USB camera. It’s definitely a cool feature.
The best part about the camera is that it isn’t an ‘attachment’. So you can look through the microscope with your eyes while also recording what’s going on.
There’s one potential downside, depending on your needs.
A 1.3MP camera can deliver images with a 1280×1024 resolution. Personally, I would choose to get a much higher resolution camera – preferably a DSLR camera with microscope adapter.
P.S. If you get this microscope, you can get the software for the camera direct from the Omax website – see the software downloads for Omax here.
3. Objective Lenses and Magnification
This microscope features four objective lenses, allowing for up to 2000x magnification.
The lenses are: 4x, 10x, 40x, and 100x. (You multiply this by the eyepieces which are 10x and 20x to get the total magnification, so your minimum magnification will be 40x and maximum will be 2000x).
It’s also worth noting that the 40x and 100x lenses are spring loaded to protect the lenses and slides if you accidentally collide them. The best way to avoid a this is to use fine focus adjustments at higher magnifications so there aren’t any severe collisions between the slides and the lenses.
The 100x objective lens can also be used for oil immersion (and of course you’d want a spring lens for oil immersion). This is a pretty advanced technique that’s not really used all that commonly, but it’s good to know you have a microscope capable of this for when your intellectual curiosity demands it.
4. Mechanical Stage
A mechanical stage is one of those things I am willing to pay extra for. It significantly improves user experience. Normal stages only allow you to make vertical axis adjustments to help focus your specimen.
But a mechanical stage allows you to move your slide around like a ‘viewfinder’ to scan your specimen.
This is incredibly useful.
The Omax MD82ES10 has a mechanical stage – so you’re in good hands here.
There is only a below stage light for this model (which is the best lighting for translucent specimens), but no above stage light. An above stage light is usually more useful for stereo microscopy than compound microscopes, so you should be ok 95% of the time with a below stage light.
There is also an iris diaphragm to control the aperture, which I like more than the cheaper 11-hole diaphragms. You can tell that it’s a step up from those more basic models.
The light dimmer is an expected but still appreciated feature – make sure you dim the light before turning it off and on to improve the light’s lifespan.
While I use a PC so it didn’t bother me during my research, I’ve read some reviews online that people with Apple / Mac computers had trouble getting the camera software working. Do your due diligence if you have a Mac to make sure it’ll work for you.
I didn’t like that the camera is only 1.3MP, although that’s probably sufficient for most people. Personally I wanted higher quality images so didn’t go with this camera.
Overall, I’m impressed by the Omax MD82ES10 as an entry-level binocular 2000x microscope. Unfortunately for me this microscope straddled the mid-range so I chose not to get it. Instead, I went for one lower-level teaching microscope which was monocular with 1000x zoom, then another trinocular microscope with 2500x zoom.
But for people who want one mid-range personal microscope, I do think this one is an appealing choice.
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.