The Blog

Affordable Microscopes for Everyday Use

January 27, 2014

Putting Technology to Work

The revolution in digital technology has touched the microscope world in some truly amazing ways. With a few mouse clicks you can now get a state-of-the-art digital microscope capable of 400X magnification that fits in the palm of your hand. Did I mention they are easy enough for a child to use? Simply hold the microscope over the object, focus the image using the thumbwheel and capture detailed images or video at the touch of a finger.

Yet this tremendous capability is not without a few shortcomings. The compact design means that the image sensors and focusing lenses have a big job to do and a very small space in which to do it. In many situations this can lead to compromises in lens quality, depth of field issues, and limited magnification range, resulting in blurry edges, hazy colors and less-than-optimum images.

Fortunately, these issues and many more have been addressed by Dino-Lite in their new lineup of Edge series handheld digital microscopes, all of which feature brand new 1.3MP CMOS sensors, full range magnification from 10X to 220X, wider field of view and enhanced LED illumination.

Magnification Displayed Automatically




The AM4515ZTW will automatically display the magnification level on screen, making it easy to dial up or return to a specific magnification level again and again. This is especially helpful to quality assurance inspectors who need to make frequent comparisons at a known level of magnification for their certification workflow.


The AM4815ZT has two distinct image capture modes which are unique and proving quite popular. They are Extended Depth of Field (EDOF) and Extended Dynamic Range (EDR). EDOF mode works by automatically capturing several images in sequence, each of which is at a slightly different focus depth. The software will then digitally “stack” or compile the images into one frame, resulting in a single sharp image with vertical surfaces (Z-axis) in clear focus. This makes it perfect for inspecting bolts, drill bits, bore holes and anything with a degree of height or depth.

EDOF in action



The EDR capture mode uses the same mulit-image concept, yet with highly reflective surfaces. It functions by automatically taking many images at slightly different exposure settings and then digitally “stacking” or integrating them into a single image. In this fashion, the EDR mode can reveal areas of pitting, corrosion and other details of dark or reflective areas which may be lost in normal imaging.

EDR in Action

This type of imaging fidelity works well for pcb quality inspection, certified gemstone identification and grading, electronics repair, and any situation calling for a big image of a very small part.

Pretty incredible stuff when you consider that this imaging capability has only been around for a handful of years at the most, and it bears strong testimony to the warp speed of technological development we currently live in. One can only wonder where we’ll be in a year, or even 6 months from now.