Microscope suggestions for fungi?

Does any one have a microscope they LOVE? I intend to use it for fungi identification.

I would like to be able to connect it to my Windows computer, but I also have an iPad.

Specs. / Cost / Necessary “accessories” would be well-appreciated!

Reagent suppliers?


I’m interested too! Especially if someone can recommend something cheap that will still serve for fungi ID - it’s just a hobby of mine and I am poor but dang I want to be able to actually ID them lol


I have no suggestions, but the topic causes my heart to ache. In the early 1980’s I got to work with a beautiful old German (Leitz, Zeiss?) dissecting microscope. It had three fixed focal lengths, was all black, and side rests for your arms. The Canadian government decided to sell these old ones off, and about 5 of us put in a bid on a Lot. Our bid was about 15 dollars C short. I loved that microscope!!!


I don’t have any specific knowledge about requirements for studying fungi, but I recently purchased a microscope and can share what I have learned.

I purchased a compound microscope from Amscope. I suspect that all current inexpensive to moderately priced scopes are probably built in the same factory in China, and then sold under a variety of brand names worldwide; Amscope is one of those. Depending on your needs you can get one starting around $200-$300; the model I purchased was around $500 about a year ago, because of recently added tariffs it would be $600-$700 now. Adding a dedicated camera will add another few hundred dollars, they have software that runs on PC or Mac. Purchasing a microscope from one of the Big 4 (Leica, Zeiss, Nikon, Olympus) would start at a minimum of over $1000.

Quality of build and optics seem very good so far. In its new condition the scope compares favorably to Leica student lab microscopes, my only recent point for comparison. It probably would not hold up as well under student lab use, but for personal use that is not really an issue.

One of the negatives was choosing which scope to purchase - Amscope has dozens of models with multiple options and it usually unclear how one differs from another. One easy way to limit the options is to rule out any that offer magnification greater than 1000x, beyond that point you don’t get any more resolving power. For me a requirement was a mechanical stage to position the slide, trying to do that by hand would be miserable. With those requirements met you still have to choose from about 30 scopes.

The biggest issue I ran into was that the scope as received was almost but not quite as described on the website (basically the lighting system had been changed but the description had not been updated). I decided this was not a big deal for me, but you might want to consider ordering from Amazon rather that direct because of Amazon’s no-questions-asked free return policy.

Bottom line, I have had the scope for almost a year and so far perfectly happy with it.

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I do not know what requirements for fungi are, you might need a dissecting scope more than a compound microscope. However if you need a compound microscope the Nikon Labophot is a great choice. It was one of the first microscopes made to be easily used with a camera. Because of that you can either buy a setup made to connect a camera to, or rig up a relatively cheap set of adapters to connect the camera. They were made in the 1980s and can be obtained for a few hundred dollars on ebay.

A huge variety of customization can be done to these microscopes. For arthropod identification one with phase contrast is worthwhile, although you can do a lot without it.

As for objectives, any finite objectives not made for a compensating eyepiece work well. The most common choice is probably hunting down CFN objectives made for that system. Those should work fine with a camera but in some cases more modern objectives are better choices. Most are not sold today but if you don’t need phase contrast than a new 10X objective can be purchased which will be adequate for most purposes.

There is a 4X objective from Amscope which is known to be extremely good value for its price. I haven’t yet tried it, but a Lomo 3.7X should be even better.

Because of short depth of field any microscope works best by using a camera with a silent shutter and using Zerene stacker to combine multiple photos into one photo with more depth of field.

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This is the lab where I worked, and I believe ‘my’ microscope is the far one. You can just make out the silver fixed length apertures, and the left arm rest.

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Thank you!

I found this to be helpful: https://www.mushroomexpert.com/microscope.html

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