Microscope cameras - hand held - does anyone use?

Edinburg, TX

Am interested in purchasing one of those hand held microscope cameras that you hook up to your computer with a USB cord. I know most are 1.3 megapixels - which leaves a lot to be desired but am still wanting to buy one.

Has anyone used one and if so, which one would you suggest and how well is the depth of field when viewing everything other than a flat object?

I want it specifically to photograph butterfly eggs and first instar caterpillars - tiny things that are 1mm to 3mm in size.

Have seen several on Amazon from Digivision, Carson, GSI, Veho and Celestron ranging from $30 to $60 - but don't know how well they will work or what to pick.

If anyone has used one please provide some feedback and suggestions.

Thanks in advance!!!

~ Cat

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)


It's a toy (my daughter got one for her kids). It does some pretty good close ups (I thought it did pretty good but you need to put it right on top of the subject such as your skin or clothes, etc.) so it might be okay for your needs. This was the Eyeclops she bought. For the low price it kept her kids entertained for a short while.

I would read the users' reviews who bought one and make a decision then. Some give it very poor marks while others give it a thumbs up. Anyway after reading reviews I decided not to get one myself.

Edinburg, TX

Figured they'd be classified more as a toy than a piece of useful equipment for viewing things like coins but did see some images on amazon. Some looked really fuzzy and bad but others showed a nice detail. Might still have a go at it - guess if all else fails I could return it.

Really wish I could find out information on a decent microscope that takes digital images within a reasonable price range. There's just so many out there and I haven't the foggiest of what most of the descriptions mean! Wish we had a local store where I could get some hands on viewing.

Thanks for your input...am still researching :o)

~ Cat

Eastern Long Island, NY(Zone 7a)

Never used one, but this may help...


Edinburg, TX

Thanks...I actually use the mini-microscope loupe that's the second one on that page. Works good for seeing the wee butterfly eggs and other teeny stuff. Still looking for something with camera/image saving capabilities.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

You can spend a little or a lot (thousands of dollars) on microscopes with camera attachments. I thought about a mid range microscope (between 500 and 1000 dollars) but still find it hard to justify.


Edinburg, TX

I don't mind spending up to $1000 or maybe a little bit more on one that will fit my needs - trouble is...I don't know enough about microscopes to make that high dollar decision :o)

I guess I need to start asking my doctors about what microscopes they use in their offices? Really, really, really wish there was a microscope store around here where you can actually try them out or at least see photos of what they photograph. Most sights offering microscopes just show images of flat items. Show me a photo of a butterfly egg in good detail and I'll buy it!!!

Got another questions...what is truly best...LED? Fluorescent lights? or fiber optical illunators? I really do like those LED light rings. Am wondering if the brightness or heat generated by those lights will harm viable butterfly eggs?

That website is really good...lots to read through...so many choices. Have noticed most of the tv shows dealing with medical, criminal or science fields use leica optics. I have a camera with a zeiss lens that I am partial to.

~ Cat

ps... don't guess National Geographic will be giving away an electron scanning microscope any time soon!!! Did you see the butterfly egg photos in their most recent issue. Very amazing but a tad too detailed for my use...still very, very impressive!!! :o)

This message was edited Sep 19, 2010 8:18 AM

Edinburg, TX

Found an inexpensive hand held microscope to toy with.
Veho VMS-004 USB microscope with 400x magnification.

Not the best of megapixels but fun enough to keep me amused for a few more days.

A penny at somewhere around 20x magnification. 640x480 - don't think it allows for any bigger.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint
Edinburg, TX

Butterfly wing at around 360x magnification. A mere 41kb in size. Still leaves a lot to be desired as far as color goes...and when you're trying to photograph something shiny - like a caterpillar head - the LED lights are reflected on it. Am still amusing myself though :o)

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint
Edinburg, TX

Also realized when trying to zoom in 400x on a butterfly egg - I can only get part of it in the photo - zooms in way too much - can't figure out how to get out of the 20x and 400x settings. Still trying to work around that and amusing myself :o)

...part of Jackson's face off a $20 bill :o)

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint
Reston, VA(Zone 7a)

Howdy, I take photomicrographs frequently at work. If you can really spend $1000.00 you can probably get a very, very nice system if you shop around. The Olympus BH-2 microscope is an excellent microscope, but it is the previous generation, so there are a lot of them getting replaced and a lot of them gathering dust in university and corporate storerooms. You'll need to add a tube (might already be on the microscope) to the top to mount the camera; I recommend a Nikon Coolpix as the camera. The last thing you'll need is some sort of image software, like ImagePro or ImageProPlus, which *should* come with a way to hook the camera to the computer. If not, you'll have to ask your camera shop about it. This will work well for anything on a microscope slide. If you are doing dissecting, you will need a dissecting scope which is a bit different. I bet you can find a used dissecting scope pretty easily and cheaply; their optics don't need to be so fine as for the other type. Might take some searching, but I know there is a LOT of excess out there. Good luck. Sarah

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)


I don't see anyway to mount a camera on an Olympus BH-2 microscope.


A camera mount looks like a major and expensive modification for the BH-2. There are many digital microscopes available today, which have built-in digital cameras. For the most part, the megapixel capacity of those cameras is quite limited. A much smaller number of microscopes have provision to attach your own digital camera, which easily can have more megapixels than the built-in camera models.

TexasPuddyPrint wouldn't mind spending up to $1000, which is more than most of us gardeners could budget for. I too am interested in a microscope to which I could attach a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera. Since I am interested in small insects and plant parts rather than individual cells, I would be using a magnification in the range of 5 up to maybe 100. Since many digital cameras can now take video and even HD video, there would be the possibility to view and record tiny insects like aphids and thrips in action, and later show that video on your TV. There are some stereo microscopes meant for equipment inspection that look interesting to me, because it would be possible to take it into the garden and focus it on a living plant. The world of digital microscopy, like everything else digital, is rapidly changing to integrate with other digital devices.


Some telephones now have very impressive digital photo and video capabilities. It's a brave new world, with the emphasis on new. I bet there is a product out there in the price range that Cat can budget that would be very impressive. If not today, then tomorrow. I think things have changed significantly since this thread started. It seems that 3D movies and 3D TVs are "catching on" and three-dimensional microscopy, photography, and videography may be in our near future.

(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned)

Reston, VA(Zone 7a)

Because the BH-2 microscope is a generation behind (but has wonderful optics), there are really good deals to be had on them. If you're really lucky, you can find one with a camera mount. I wish you luck with whatever you select.


Edinburg, TX

Do let us know what you end up using. Am still on a quest!

~ Cat

Willis, TX(Zone 8b)


If you ever get in the Houston area, plan a trip to this place:


They have tons of microscopes, telescopes, binoculars, etc. and they will let you play with the ones they have out. I tried out dozens of binoculars last time I was there. It's a neat place to visit.


Edinburg, TX

Thank you! I'll have to find their address so I can check them out hands on.

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