Best price-quality optical microscope for charcoal analysis

Greetings everyone, I hope everyone is coping well with the situation.

I am a Ph.D. student working in archaeobotany and like most of us, I haven’t been able to work in the lab for the past months. Since I really need to study some charcoal samples and my lab in Italy doesn’t have the necessary instrumentation (and there is no way the University will buy it at the moment), I was thinking about investing my bench fee in buying an optical microscope. I know that the prices for this kind of microscopes are very high in general, but I was wondering if there are some in the range of 1.000/1.500 euros (or something more) that could be worth the investment.

For example, I was looking at an Enderlein Transmitted Light MK8T, but I don’t really know if it could work for me and I was wondering if anyone has ever heard of/worked on it.

Do you know any reliable second-hand sites (preferably in Europe) in which I can find some good microscopes (like Zeiss, Olympus, Leica, etc…) at an affordable price?

Thank you!


Hi, you might want to give more details about the samples you want to image.
Necessary magnification and resolution?

Do you have an example image of similar samples to yours ?

Did you consider building your own?

Keep in mind that a microscope like that one requires an additional eyepiece camera.

Also, if money if a big issue you can try one of this first. You can find some under 30$…If they are set up correctly they can be sufficient for some purposes…but not for others.

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You might also ask around your university to see if someone has one that you could borrow. The microscope you mentioned looks like the kind of microscope that an undergraduate teaching lab might have a few of. If the teaching lab is also closed they might be willing to let you use one for a few months?