If you regularly work with metallic and electronic specimens, or even just large specimens that simply won’t fit under a normal microscope, observing and studying them can be quite difficult, if not bordering on impossible.
This is why metallurgical microscopes were developed. A metallurgical microscope aids us in studying and manipulating large objects and metallurgical specimens, allowing us to perform various tasks such as fault inspections, sample viewings, quality checks, and so on.
So, if you’re looking for the best metallurgical microscope, here is a review and buyer’s guide on the best metallurgical microscopes this 2020. Go through each of the products’ features and specs, and use the buying tips I’ve provided to help you make the right decision.
best metallurgical microscopes Review
Take a look at this review of the best metallurgical microscopes that are sure to meet your expectations and more. You’ll notice that this really is just a competition between two brands, Omax and AmScope, since they are the leading producers of various types of microscopes.
If you care to do your own research, you’ll find out that it’s hard to find a metallurgical microscope, let alone a good one, so I’m happy to let you know that these two brands are offering us with these many options.
1. Omax Infinity polarizing metallurgical microscope
Ranking at the top is the Omax Infinity polarizing metallurgical microscope, which, as the name implies, features slots for polarizers, analyzers, and color filters. It has a magnification range of 40x to 2500x from its interchangeable widefield eyepieces and objectives.
In fact, its revolving nosepiece fits four achromatic objective lenses that are engineered with a corrective plan field. The trinocular viewing head, on the other hand, is designed with a 30 degree vertical inclination and a full 360 degree rotation capacity.
Moreover, with the true color 14 megapixel digital camera, you can capture and record specimen images and videos at a maximum of 4K ultra HD resolution and 24 fps, as well as edit and measure using the included software that is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
2. Omax Infinity trinocular metallurgical microscope
Taking the second spot is the Omax Infinity trinocular metallurgical microscope, another excellent digital metallurgical microscope that boasts of a high magnification of 40x to 2000x, and an impressive 14 megapixel digital camera.
Although it has a somewhat lower maximum magnification power than the first one, it has all the other specs and features, including the 100x dry objective lens, the camera, editing and measurement software, and the USB output.
But, aside from the built in condenser for reflected light and a matching opaque metal stage plate, it also has an attachable condenser for transmitted light, as well as a transparent glass stage plate to match.
3. AmScope ME300TZB-2L-10M metallurgical microscope
In third place is the AmScope ME300TZB-2L-10M digital metallurgical microscope, which is quite similar to the Omax Infinity trinocular microscope, since it also has a magnification range of 40x to 2000x, and other similar features.
This microscope is designed with interchangeable widefield ocular lenses in varying magnifications contained in a sliding trinocular head that features an interpupillary distance adjustment, a fixed vertical inclination, and a full 360 degree rotating capability.
It also has a quadruple revolving nosepiece that is forward facing and equipped with high focus oil immersion lenses, again in variable magnifications. It’s an excellent metallurgical microscope that you can use in working with lots of different specimens.
4. AmScope ME300TZB-2L-8M metallurgical microscope
Next up is the AmScope ME300TZB-2L-8M digital metallurgical microscope, which features high resolution microscope and camera optics, as well as intensity adjustable halogen illumination delivered by episcopic and diascopic illumination systems.
It has a lot of the same specs and features as the ME300TZB-2L-8M mentioned above, including a double layer mechanical stage that is designed with strategic divisions and graduations to enable you to easily measure specimens.
The caveat, however, is that it only has an eight megapixel camera, rather than the ten that the first model has, or the 14 MP camera that the Omax polarizing microscope boasts of. Nonetheless, it’s still an excellent choice that will give you a good value for your money.
5. Omax Infinity USB 3.0 metallurgical microscope
Another metallurgical microscope by Omax is the Omax Infinity USB 3.0, which, like the first two, features a 30 degree inclined trinocular viewing head with widefield ocular lenses, and can rotate a full 360 degrees.
It has a similar magnification range of 40x to 2000x like the second model, and even features two condensers and specimen stage plates for reflected and transmitted light, as well as a color filter holder.
But, there are key differences, especially in that this model only has a 5 megapixel true color digital camera. It does, however, make use of a high speed USB 3.0 cable to connect the camera and software to your computer.
6. AmScope ME300TZB-2L-M metallurgical microscope
Going back to AmScope metallurgical microscopes, there is also the ME300TZB-2L-M, a digital metallurgical microscope that features a 1.3 MP digital camera that lets you capture, record, and display images and videos on your desktop computer, laptop, or even a projector.
It also has much of the same specs as the first two AmScope microscopes, such as the 10x and 20x interchangeable widefield eyepieces, the 4x, 10x, 40xS, and 100xS objective lenses, and the episcopic and diascopic illumination systems.
However, unlike the first two, the performance of this microscope is significantly limited in the sense that it only has a 1.3 megapixel camera, so you can’t expect the same image and video resolution as you would from the others on this list.
7. AmScope ME300TZ-2L metallurgical microscope
And then there is the ME300TZ-2L metallurgical microscope also by AmScope, which is an analog trinocular microscope with episcopic and diascopic lighting systems. It gives you virtually the same functionality with none of the frills of its digital counterparts.
Meaning, it’s still pretty much the same metallurgical microscope, but you are getting a fully functional third viewing head on the trinocular eyepiece, rather than a built in digital camera. It’s also movable and rotating, so you and another person can observe specimens simultaneously.
Its main frame is made of an enamel coated high tensile strength steel, so it’s durable, corrosion resistant, and largely impervious to stains and scratches. It’s also somewhat lighter and considerably cheaper, since there is no camera attachment.
8. AmScope ME1200T inverted metallurgical microscope
Finally, we also have the AmScope ME1200T inverted trinocular metallurgical microscope, a great microscope that offers high resolution settings and sharp magnified images of specimens. Its main feature is an inverted frame that gives you plenty of room to view large specimens.
This is something that you won’t really be able to do, at least not without lots of effort and difficulty, with the other microscopes on this list, so that design feature alone is noteworthy and makes it stand apart from the rest.
Perhaps the main issue with this is that it has a significantly lower magnification power of just up to 500x, a far cry from the Omax Infinity which has a magnification of 2500x, and the other AmScope products with a magnification of 2000x.
Metallurgical microscope Tips & Buying Guide
While there is a certain limitation when it comes to options for metallurgical microscopes, at least in terms of brand, there are still quite a few variables that you need to consider, so it’s not always an easy decision to just pick one.
In order for you to make the right choice, you need to be fully informed on what exactly a metallurgical microscope is, what it does, how it works, and the many key functions and features you need to look for.
What is a metallurgical microscope?
A metallurgical microscope is essentially a high powered optical microscope that operates by making use of reflected light in order to illuminate and magnify images of opaque objects and specimens, including metallurgical items.
In a sense, it’s better than a typical compound microscope, since it can image opaque specimens that conventional light microscopes normally won’t be able to handle, since light cannot pass through the specimen.
How does a metallurgical microscope work?
The mechanism and technology behind metallurgical microscopes is quite simple, but that’s what makes them ingenious in their own right. It makes use of an episcopic illuminator, wherein the light from the light source is reflected down onto the specimen with the use of a mirror.
It becomes complicated if you overthink it, but what basically happens is that both the light directly from the illuminator, and the light reflected by the specimen, pass through the objective lenses and work in creating a magnified image of that specimen.
What are the types of metallurgical microscopes?
Technically speaking, a metallurgical microscope is already a specific type of microscope. That said, it does come with its own subcategories, each depending on how the microscope is built, designed, and operated.
Student metallurgical microscope
The simplest form of a metallurgical microscope is a student microscope, which is basically a modified simple microscope with a main body that inclines, adjustment knobs for coarse and fine focus, variable illumination, and interchangeable eyepieces.
It also often features a bright field illuminator, color filter holders, and a monocular eyepiece, although you may also find binocular versions.
Benchtop metallurgical microscope
A more advanced version of the metallurgical microscope is the benchtop, which features a revolving nosepiece that you adjust manually, a tilted binocular viewing head, a light source that can be polarized, and a frame that is incredibly heavy yet stable.
It’s most often used exclusively in metallurgy, since it has the capacity to enable viewers to assess the metallurgical properties of various objects in a quick and reliable manner. You’ll find this type of microscope in many metal works facilities.
Research metallurgical microscope
And then there are research metallurgical microscopes, which are mostly what I reviewed on this list. A research microscope is a trinocular microscope that can be modified with special attachments, commonly a digital camera to capture specimen images.
It’s a more advanced microscope and has a wider and more versatile functionality, especially since it’s often digital. While it can be costly at the get go, it’s certainly more cost effective in the long run, since it makes research and practical work more efficient.
Semiconductor metallurgical microscope
Another type of metallurgical microscope is the semiconductor microscope, which mainly features a wide and large specimen stage plate, and a deep and big microscope throat, enabling you to work on variable sized specimens.
You may find that many of these semiconductor microscopes feature key specs that increase its functionality, such as dark field illuminators, polarizers, color filters, and achromatic objective lenses, all of which allow you to examine specimens better and more accurately.
Inverted metallurgical microscope
Included in the product reviews is a certain type of metallurgical microscope that is different from research microscopes, which is the inverted metallurgical microscope. As the name implies, it is designed with an inverted specimen stage plate.
This allows you to examine significantly larger specimens that you otherwise can’t image through the other types of microscopes, since its unique design allows light from the illuminator to pass through the objective lens, then the specimen, and finally through the eyepiece.
Upright metallurgical microscope
Finally, as opposed to the inverted metallurgical microscope, there is also the upright metallurgical microscope, wherein the illuminator can be found above the specimen stage plate. It also commonly features achromatic objectives, widefield eyepieces, and a diopter.
What’s great about upright metallurgical microscopes is that they can either come with a base stand or a more advanced pillar stand that enables you to refine the focus of the microscope, resulting in a better and clearer magnified image.
What factors do you need to consider?
It all boils down to what and how you plan on using the metallurgical microscope. What makes a metallurgical microscope special is that first, it uses reflected light, and second, it allows for imaging large specimens.
As such, these are the first things you need to look for. How does the microscope’s illumination work? Does it make use of transmitted light as well? Can it be modified from bright field to dark field? If the answers are yes, then the microscope is more flexible and versatile.
Moreover, how big is the stage plate? Can it be adjusted? Are the nosepiece and viewing head attached to a pillar stand? Is the microscope a semiconductor or inverted type? Again, yes to all these questions gives you a larger working area for larger specimens.
A metallurgical microscope is a versatile and efficient type of optical microscope that allows you to conveniently image and manipulate large and metallurgical specimens. It is even readily adaptable to technology, such as by fitting it with a high resolution digital camera capable of capturing crystal clear specimen images in real time.
There are even lots of different types of metallurgical microscopes, with each catering to specific needs and requirements, all to help us do our job better and more efficient, whether it’s for school, research work, products manufacturing, or whatnot.
The best metallurgical microscope really depends on what you need and what you’re looking for, but I highly recommend the Omax Infinity polarizing metallurgical microscope. It has impressive specs and features, including high magnification lens and a high resolution camera.