Top critical review
27 people found this helpful
Looks nice. Only TWO magnifications - 20X and 400X. No zoom. Very low image resolution.
on 22 December 2012
This is a very nice looking package for the price. The microscope body has that soft, slightly-furry feel that is just a pleasure to touch (beware though, after a few years, this kind of surface coating often breaks down and goes sticky. I have several pieces of commercial equipment that has done this. However, it may never happen with this device. I just thought I'd warn you up front).
On with the praise -
The LED light control wheel at the top is easy to use, as is the focus/zoom control. Both have a quality "damped" feel and operate very smoothly.
The stand that it comes with is surprisingly useful and has a gorgeous glossy black coat.
The microscope clips in and out of the holder very easily, but is completely secure.
The software supplied is functional, but not outstanding. It does have some surprising options for a "Microscope" - Face-tracking (with effects such as "Mosaic", "Animal Face", "Animal Face", etc. There are also limited image modification effects, and Photo Frames.
I realise that if you can offer these options for next to no effort, then it is all added value for money.
As you may have surmised from the comments above, it can be used as a WebCam (with no audio).
You can record images using the software, or the hardware button on the top-side of the microscope. You can also record videos (AVI format). Still images are captured in JPEG format (JPG).
I really really wanted to like this this microscope. It just looks and feels fantastic.
Sadly, that's where the quality ends.
I probably made a mistake when researching the microscope, but it does not zoom from a magnification range of 20X to 400X. It is two magnifications - 20X AND 400X. That's it. From the manufacturer's website - " The VMS-004 only magnifies at 20x or 400x. It cannot magnify in between."
Also, the detector resolution is quite low for a microscope - 640x480 (0.3Mpixel). For the price, this is OK, but I thought that whatever the image view was, it would not be too pixelated, and would produce a "decent" image of a small area. It does not. I have made better images using an old "3D" flatbed scanner.
I think this is suitable for people happy to look at very flat objects. I am trying to use it to examine solder-joints on printed circuit boards. You know, hobby use.
The 20X magnification shows a useful area (about 12mm across) when placed against the board. The problem comes from the pixels being so large that small details, around 0.25mm across, are not clearly resolved. Add to that, there is also "pixel sparkle" that can obscure details that I am trying to view.
The 400X magnification is better (the magnification increase is optical and not digital). The trouble is, and you will get this with any virtually optical system, is the limited DOF (Depth Of Field). DOF is basically how much of a raised surface (in this case) is in focus. This is not the fault of the microscope, but like I say is a function of this type of lens system ( a macro lens).
A plus is that there is very little chromatic aberration (rainbows around objects and edges of the image).
Putting aside it not being any good for my use, the quality of flat images at either magnification are, in my opinion, acceptable, if a little out of focus.
The thing is, kids, students, and so on, might want to look at 3D objects such as house-flies, feathers, and so on, under high resolution. I think in this case you are going to be really disappointed, especially at 400X, as you will only be able to look at a very small area in focus at a time.
My conclusion is that a really nicely presented device is let down by the physics of such a small package and a stupidly-cheap low-resolution imaging chip.
It is worth the money if you only want to look at signatures on paper, painting techniques, etc, but not much use as a cheap optical kids' microscope-replacement.
As an all-purpose "I-wonder-what-that-looks-like-magnified" device, it pretty much fails on most counts. A nice idea, but a few more quid could have been spent on the imaging chip.