Buying my first microscope!

Hello friends!

I am new to this world.

I have been watching and now I wanna buy my first microscope + camera.

What do I need to get as close as possible to the image quality as on Journey to microcosmos videos?

I know they use stuff to get the background black and also DIC-technology. It’s not needed for me but it would be cool.

Could you guys drops some links or model names to microscopes (camera mount, DSLR-preferably, is required).

I know I wont get the same quality as they do but please link the best cheap ones! maybe 300-600 USD range. Used or new.

Best regards,

Hello. This is a bit difficult to answer objectively. I suppose you need to see what others who have bought various scopes in that price range have to say about them. YouTube has many reviews. Also the ‘microbehunter’ web resources and YouTube videos maybe useful to you (just search for microbehunter). Also check out and ask on the microscopy subreddit (from which I have been banned for life for some reason!).
If you are into DIY and 3D printing then I can heartily recommend the open source PUMA microscopy system where you will get not only a versatile and upgradeable microscope but also a good background theoretical education in microscopy at the same time - from baby level to pro - but then I would say that since it’s my project! Here are the links:

I’ve been playing in this arena for a couple of years. My journey sounds similar. I suspect that many of us started in the same place, lost.

We just released a microscope with a contrast kit to do exactly what you’re asking: Voxyl XC3 Binocular Biological Upright Microscope | Microscope Supply

This is a video from our TikTok page. We’ll post a more exciting (and informative) video soon. The Achromat objectives actually look really good, but I do recommend the Plan Achromat objectives. They not only have a flatter field, but they give slightly better contrast with the oblique filters.

There are several microscopes under $600 that will give you nice images, but it’s the wild west out there trying to navigate what’s good and what’s not. That’s both in terms of reliability and optics. You can also buy filter sets and different patch stops to increase contrast. We decided to create a contrast kit specifically for this microscope so new users don’t have to spend a tremendous amount of messing around with these things. I spent well over 100 hours just figuring out the best patch stops, filters and their locations.

The kit comes with oblique (DIC-like images) stops, Darkfield stops, Psuedo-phase stops, various color filters and a kit that inserts into the condenser. The kit uses magnets and the whole thing is very easy to use.

I don’t want to come across like a used car salesman here, that’s really not my style. I have talked to so many people who are in the same boat as you. It’s not only difficult to find a decent microscope under $600, but then you absolutely need to enhance the contrast to get the same microorganism viewing experience that you see on the microcosmos, TikTok, etc.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to message me (or you can contact me through the Microscope Supply website). If our microscope doesn’t make sense for you, I’m happy to help you find something else, even if it’s not something we offer.



I forgot to address the camera! We will be offering a trinocular head, but for a LOT of applications, I highly recommend using your phone. I have used a lot of different cameras (even very expensive microscopy cameras), and the images you get from most phones are superior. Some phones do a fantastic job in low-light situations as well. We have a phone adapter kit for under $200, but a $20 mount from Amazon will do just fine.