Mycology microscope suggestions?

The joy of iNat is that it has reinvigorated my passion for mycology. I’m hoping to purchase a microscope to aid in my identification of mushrooms. They seem to be selling for cheaper now than when I was younger. Can anyone suggest a model that’s affordable and of reasonable quality for basic mycological work? Bonus points for models with digital cameras so I can use the pictures on iNat for even better documentation.


I have done a bit of research into this topic for the same reason - from what I have read, there are many cheap/mass-produced options that are functional but not of a high build quality. I’ve seen these for $250-400 online. The way to go for a well-built, reliable scope seems to be to get a second-hand one from an older, more reputable brand if you can find a good/trustworthy seller. Brands like Leica, Meiji, Zeiss, Nikon, Olympus, etc. I have seen some promising ones for $400-700. These are obviously not cheap, and for basic use, something from AmScope like this brightfield binocular scope w/ camera might be a good tool for the job:


I got an Omax microscope on sale on Amazon some time ago. It is a compound microscope with 100x oil immersion objective, which may be what you need for fungal spores and such. I’ve been very happy with it. If I remember correctly, it was less than $500 with a couple of accessories I got along with it (such as a stage micrometer to calibrate rulers). It has a USB camera that plugs into a USB port on my PC or laptop and that turned out to be very convenient for teaching online as I could switch to microscope live view during class meetings simply by changing the camera in zoom. It can also of course be used to take digital pictures, either with the software that came with the microscope or directly in Photoshop. As an example, here’s a moss observation where I used the microscope to look at spores.


Can I get this for ~ $250 for use to photograph protozoa (through a cell phone or digital camera attached to the lens)?

Asking 'cause I just ordered it and can barely still cancel, probably. I was thinking of the more expensive trinocular model with the eyepiece for attaching the camera but don’t know if it’s worth it, or if the camera from that brand which comes at extra cost is worth it, since people complained of its resolution in other reviews.

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That looks like a very nice microscope. It seems their prices have dropped even further from when I was looking for mine. The third eye piece is convenient for attaching a camera, e.g. for live view on a computer screen, but there are work-arounds if you don’t have it. I see a lot of students use their cell phones to take pictures through the eye pieces in the lab. It takes some practice but they can usually get some really good results with that method.

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