Monocular versus Binocular Laboratory Microscopy: Which One will win?

There are different types of microscopes available in the market today. The two most common types would be the monocular microscope and the binocular laboratory microscope. If given the choice, which one should you choose?

If you are looking to buy a microscope for laboratory use, you might be confronted with this all important question: Should you get the monocular microscopes or the binocular laboratory microscope? The answer depends upon a lot of factors, of course. And these factors vary from one user to another.

Before comparing the two, it is best to describe each of them first. Monocular microscopes have a single eye piece tube. Basically when you use it, you have to peep into the hole with one eye and close the other. It basically works like a telescope. When using binocular microscopes, on the other hand, you use both eyes. Binocular microscopes have two eyepieces, one for the left eye and another for the right eye. In essence, you are to look through it like you would with a binocular.

These are the different points of consideration when comparing monocular versus binocular laboratory microscopes:

1. Level of expertise. First and foremost, assess the level of expertise of the user of the microscopes. Are they student novices or are they considered experts in their field? Between these two, students and novices including all hobbyists should be able to settle for the monocular microscope. A monocular microscope is a lot simpler to setup and to use when compared to binocular microscopes. Since students and novices are basically first time users of microscopes, the other additional features of a binocular microscope is not going to be vital for them just yet. But for the professionals, they certainly will be.

2. Budget. When buying anything, you cannot discount the fact that you have to put up some cash as a form of investment. How much are you willing to spend on your microscope? If your budget falls below $500, you might be able to only purchase a monocular microscope. There might be some low quality binocular microscope that may work within that budget, but plus the shipping fees and all other charges, you might just exceed the $500 mark. So when it comes to price, monocular microscopes are comparatively cheaper than binocular microscopes. If you have a modest budget, go for a high quality monocular that is rich in features than a low quality binocular that can’t give you the right resolution you need.

3. Application. You should also define the actual uses of the microscope. Why are you buying one? Is it merely for your stamp or coin collection hobby? Or are you going to use the microscope for disease diagnosis and an in-depth biological research? If the microscope is simply for your hobby, then a monocular should be sufficient. It will be able to give you what you need. Using a binocular microscope may be all too much if it is going to be used merely for analyzing the intricate details of a coin. However, if you are going to use the microscope for life-changing discoveries and projects, a binocular microscope is what you need. These devices will be able to give you the right clarity, resolution, orientation, and color of the specimen you are observing.

4. Features. What features can’t you do without? Do you need a microscope that is capable of 1000x magnification power? Or would a 10x or 40x enough for you? Do you need a fixed stage or a movable one? These are some examples of the specific features of a microscope that you might want to consider when buying one. Generally speaking, monocular microscopes have lesser features than binocular microscopes. But there are times that the good features of a binocular microscope also appear on a certain model of monocular microscope. If this is the case, then the only difference between the two would be the field of vision when you peep into the hole. If that is not of utmost importance to you, then a monocular would do.

5. Length of use. If you are the type of person who is stuck inside your laboratory looking at specimens for countless of hours, using binocular microscopes are more advisable. With these types of devices, you won’t need to close your other eye all the time while viewing. A binocular microscope is going to be more ergonomic for you.

These are five good points that you can use to determine the winner of the clash between monocular versus binocular laboratory microscope. Looking from the surface, the binocular microscope is the more favorable one. But then again, the better buy between the two is always dependent on the microscope’s actual use.


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