top rated trinocular stereo microscopes

The Ultimate Guide to Trinocular Microscopes: Features, Benefits and Reviews

One of the more advanced optical microscopes that you can use, and is within your budget range, is a trinocular microscope, which is essentially any type of optical microscope that has a trinocular viewing head.

It’s an excellent microscope for education and learning purposes, as well as for research and development, and more practical applications. You will find many trinocular microscopes across many fields and disciplines, including chemistry, microbiology, pathology, medicine, and so on.

These microscopes also come with lots of amazing features that make them truly versatile and useful microscopes for studying various specimens and objects. Take a look at this list of the best trinocular microscopes, and read the buyer’s guide to help you pick the best one for you.


Trinocular Microscopes Review

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of trinocular microscopes out there. Some are compound microscopes, some are stereoscopic, and some are other types of microscopes that happen to have a trinocular viewing head.

But among all those microscopes, nothing beats the quality, performance, specifications, and features of these top five trinocular microscopes that are sure to meet and exceed your expectations.

1. AmScope T690C-PL-10M trinocular compound microscope

The best of the best and ranking first is the AmScope T690C-PL-10M trinocular compound microscope, which is a high quality and cutting edge biological microscope with a trinocular head and lots of other exciting features.

This is a high end microscope that allows for an in-depth observation of specimens, due to its high magnification range provided by super widefield ocular lenses and infinity plan achromatic objective lenses. You can easily look at bacteria, cells, and many other microscopic elements.

Moreover, it’s also equipped with a digital camera that boasts of a high resolution image capacity, and a USB connection that gives you access to an integrated computer software that is readily compatible with various operating systems.


2. Omax full size lab digital Compound Trinocular microscope

Your next best bet if you like what the AmScope T690C-PL-10M offers but can’t afford the steep price range is the Omax full size lab digital trinocular compound microscope, since it has most if not all the features of the AmScope, but without the hefty price tag.

This budget friendly trinocular microscope is equipped with lots of features that include an impressive maximum magnification of 2500x, a 10 megapixel camera with a computer software for viewing, measuring, editing, and sharing specimen images and videos, and many more.

Plus, the camera is even built with a reduction lens to let you have a wider viewing field. Some other amazing features include the specimen stage that is double layered and stain resistant, and a locking mechanism for the focus knobs.


3. AmScope T490B-DKO Trinocular Compound Microscope

Taking the third spot is the AmScope T490B-DKO trinocular compound microscope, which is another high magnification compound light microscope with a trinocular viewing head.

It has a slightly lower magnification capacity than the first two microscopes on this list, but with the integrated dark field condenser, it definitely competes. Plus, it offers a simultaneous viewing through the binocular head and the third port.

This third eyepiece is a parfocal trinocular port that is adjustable, and readily comes with a detachable C mount that makes it easy and convenient to fit with a digital camera. All in all, it’s an excellent professional trinocular microscope.


4. AmScope T490B-DK compound Trinocular microscope

Ranking fourth is the AmScope T490B-DK trinocular compound microscope, which is an insanely affordable yet highly versatile and multifunctional trinocular biological microscope that even features dark field illumination capabilities.

It has much of the same specs and features as the AmScope T490B-DKO, including the magnification capacity and dark field condenser. It even comes with a halogen illumination that is built with a rheostat.

This microscope is designed in such a way that it’s easy and comfortable to use, but surprisingly high functioning. It may have a basic engineering, but that’s precisely what makes this microscope easy to upgrade into digital anytime you like.


5. National Optical 163-PH trinocular Eyepieces microscope

Next up is the 163-PH trinocular compound microscope by National Optical, which is another cutting edge trinocular biological microscope that is packed with plenty of must have features to give you the performance you need.

It’s also relatively affordable as compared to other microscopes with similar specs and features. Now, there are a couple of downsides, that being that this offers a lower magnification of only up to 1000x, and doesn’t come with its down digital camera.

Despite these things, however, it comes with its fair share of must have features and specs, such as widefield ocular lenses and phase contrast objective lenses, and the capability to operate under phase contrast and bright field illumination techniques.


6. AmScope SM-4TZ-144A Professional Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope

The AmScope SM-4TZ-144A Professional Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscope is a high-quality microscope that offers professional-level features and functionality. With 3.5X-90X magnification and a 0.7X-4.5X zoom objective, this microscope provides excellent clarity and detail for a variety of applications. It also comes with a double-arm boom stand and a four-zone LED ring light for easy positioning and precise illumination. Additionally, the included 0.5X and 2.0X Barlow lens allows for even greater magnification and versatility.


7. AmScope SM-3TZ-54S-5M trinocular stereo microscope

If what you are looking for is a stereo microscope with a trinocular head, I highly suggest the AmScope SM-3TZ-54S-5M, which is a professional grade digital trinocular stereo zoom microscope with a 5 megapixel camera.

This digital camera is even equipped with a 0.5x reduction lens that makes for a significantly wider field of view, and can be connected to a computer software via a USB 2.0 output, so you can capture, record, measure, edit, save, and share images and videos of the specimen.

Moreover, this trinocular stereo microscope makes use of a boom stand that gives you ample working room to observe, handle, and manipulate large specimens, making it extremely useful in various fields, such as medicine, dentistry, and even electronics.


8. Vision Scientific VS-5F trinocular stereo microscope

Last but certainly not the least is the Vision Scientific VS-5F simul focal trinocular stereo zoom microscope, which is a high resolution stereo microscope despite its low magnification of only up to 45x.

Its main selling point is its double boom arm stand, which enables the user to manipulate much larger and three dimensional specimens in a precise and controlled manner. Hence, it’s perfect for laboratory, research, medical, and industrial applications.

Plus, its trinocular viewing head is designed to rotate a full 360 degrees, and can be fitted with a digital camera or even an HD touch screen. The binocular part even features interpupillary adjustment, and makes use of widefield eyepieces.


As you can see, each of these microscopes are excellent in their own way, and all of them promise must have specs and features. But, there is no microscope that has it all. So, the question is, how do you choose the right one for you?

Trinocular Microscope Buyer’s Guide

Trinocular Microscope Buyer’s Guide​
Source: Flickr

With the wide range of product selections from various brands, as well as the many different features, components, specs, and functions that each of these microscopes offer, it can surely be tough to make the right decision on which is the best trinocular microscope for you.

In order to help you out, here is a comprehensive buyer’s guide packed with all the information you will need when it comes to choosing the right trinocular microscope that will give you the performance you need, and will offer the best value for your money.

What is a trinocular microscope?

First of all, what exactly is a trinocular microscope? It’s basically any type of optical microscope that is built with a trinocular viewing head, meaning, three eyepieces composed of a typical binocular viewing head and a third separate monocular eyepiece.

This is so that two people can look at the specimen being observed at the same time. Alternatively, the third eyepiece can also function as a mount for a digital camera to be attached to the microscope to capture and record images and videos of the specimen in real time.

What is a trinocular microscope used for?

The design and build of a trinocular microscope makes it highly beneficial in various applications, such as in teaching students or working with a colleague, since the microscope allows two people to look at a specimen simultaneously.

More importantly, however, is that trinocular microscopes are great for recording the progress and behavior of a specimen over a long period of time, since it can readily be fitted with a digital camera while still allowing the observer to periodically look at the sample himself.

Types of trinocular microscope

Trinocular viewing heads can be found on optical microscopes of every type. Technically speaking, as long as the microscope features a viewing head, that viewing head can be trinocular.

That said, trinocular microscopes are commonly compound light microscopes and stereoscopic or dissecting microscopes, with a few fluorescent microscopes, dark field microscopes, and metallurgical microscopes. Rather than deciding whether you want a monocular, binocular, or trinocular head, knowing what type of microscope you need should always be the first step.

Viewing head versatility

One important thing you need to understand about these trinocular viewing heads is that they should offer three viewing positions, wherein one allows all of the light to be directed to the binocular viewing head, and the other two positions direct certain percentages of this light both the binocular head and the third eyepiece or camera, or solely to the camera.

This is important to take into account, since this is one of the main factors that make the microscope as versatile as possible. Being able to control how and how much of the light is directed affects what one or two persons can see, or what a camera can see.


In relation to the positioning of the viewing head is the illumination system of the microscope. For example, bright field illumination functions differently from dark field and fluorescence microscopy, and this will affect how you see specimens, not just in how the specimen is illuminated, but also in how the light interacts with the viewing head.

The type of light and where it’s located also factors in. Arguably the best light source is a halogen light bulb, but it’s costly. Hence, LED light bulbs are insanely popular, since they’re bright and energy efficient. There are also fluorescent and tungsten light bulbs that you’ll find.


As with all microscopes, since their main purpose is to magnify images of a specimen, one of the most important factors to take into account is the trinocular microscope’s magnification power, as this will determine what and how much you can see through the eyepiece.

With compound light microscopes, a high magnification range is to be expected, which can reach up to 2500x, especially when oil immersion objective lenses are used. The more important question is,however, do you really need that much magnification?


If you want a digital trinocular microscope, then the camera component should be one of the things you need to evaluate. You are going to want a high quality digital camera that offers a high resolution, but you should know that 10+ MP cameras are not easy to find.

What’s more important here is that you have a large viewing screen or monitor, so the camera’s zoom function actually serves a purpose. Moreover, the integrated software should be compatible with your device, and offer plenty of functions for you to use.


Do you need to use a microscope for other purposes and by utilizing other microscopy techniques, such as dark field microscopy, phase contrast microscopy, or polarization? Then you need to look for a microscope that can give you that.

Rather than purchasing separate microscopes for each individual purpose, there are versatile and intelligently engineered microscopes with multifunctional capabilities, including a few on this list. This makes things more cost effective, and enables you to use the microscope for various applications aside from bright field microscopy.

Overall quality

Of course, the overall quality, performance, reliability, and durability of the microscope is essential as well, since you don’t want a microscope that you can barely use. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting hundreds or thousands of dollars for nothing.

Don’t skimp out and buy plastic microscopes just because they’re cheap, but more importantly, make sure that the optical lens systems of the microscope, and the camera if applicable, are reliable and noteworthy.

Final thoughts

Trinocular microscopes are highly useful and beneficial optical microscopes that can be operated by two people at the same time, or can be used with a digital camera that captures the specimen under the microscope.

When it comes to the question of which one is the best trinocular microscope out there, there technically isn’t one right answer, since it actually depends on what you need and what you’re looking for.

That said, I personally recommend the AmScope T690C-PL-10M trinocular compound microscope, since it’s one of the most high end trinocular compound microscopes with all the best of the best features and specs, including an impressive magnification range, halogen lighting for illumination, and a 10 megapixel digital camera.

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