help me find <$200 digital microscope for a 16 year old

I have young friend who wishes to study medicine and i wan to get her a usb microscope of some sort. I am quite limited in my finances so my budget is $200 or less ( than includes postage to Australia). I have been looking on EBay (if there is anything worthwhile on there could you give me a link) and would really like some suggestions.

Whatever you do, don’t but new. A new microscope under $200 will be an absolute piece of junk.

I wouldn’t worry about USB.

Check with your local universities. They might have some old microscopes collecting dust. Meet with them, tell them why you would like one, and I’m betting someone will give you one.

American Science and Surplus has a couple of digital microscopes that might fit your needs…and one of them might be cheap enough that it fits your budget, even including shipping. I have no idea what the exchange rate is. Their inventory changes periodically, so check on this NOW. This site also has other lab equipment and geek gear.

I use this one here at the zoo all the time. They’re so much more fun and useable than light microscopes, especially for live critters. Under $60.

Sadly Aussies seem only allowed to buy books from amazon. We are in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t a university for at least 300km (plus I don’t drive). Whatever I buy has to be over the internet. Will check out Lynn’s link. Thanks so far.

what age and previous science experience?

This is for her 16th Birthday.
She goes to a very small school with very few science resources. They do a lot of theory but have had very little hands on experience. I have been trying to help her make up for that by giving her some basic chemistry and biology experiments to do (we had fun blowing stuff up:D). Whatever microscope I get her will come with free lessons from me.

I am also planning on getting her a whole heap of prepared slides as well as teaching her how to stain and prepare her own

OK, definitely go to AS&S, then. They have all kinds of CHEAP science stuff, and lots of kits as well.

In that case, you probably should look for a light microscope; the digital scope I linked to, and others like it, only has around 150x magnification, and no slide mount – no good for your intended uses. If you definitely want USB functionality, you’ll need to add a microscope viewer, another $50+.

Something like this? I can’t personally recommend the store (just came up on Google), but Celestron is pretty well-respected for optics.

Sadly Aussies seem only allowed to buy books from amazon. We are in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t a university for at least 300km (plus I don’t drive). Whatever I buy has to be over the internet. Will check out Lynn’s link. Thanks so far.

The good news is that a few other folks are planning on helping with the cost so I can increase the budget to maybe $400 including postage (yay)

Yes, but the secret is to find the model number on amazon, and google that…the vms-001 microscope above is also available on eBay. You might also be able to contact the vendor die toy to see if they’ll sell to you direct, or if they have a reseller in your area that’ll meet your needs.

I think I have found what I want here: 400X STUDENT MICROSCOPE

New, international-standard, full-sized illuminated student microscope. Professional quality at a student price, it has turret-mounted achromatic objectives, fine and coarse rack-and-pinion focus and substage diaphragm light control, and a metal frame. It is built to international DIN standards and accepts all DIN eyepieces and objectives. With extras like focus stop for slide protection, adjustable tilt and (2) spring clips, it is a fine instrument for most home science work. If you are looking for more magnification purchase the spring loaded 60X or 100X (oil immersion) objective lenses. Brings your scopes total magnification up to 600X or 1000X magnification. For easy and precise slide maneuvering add the mechanical stage. All are great additions.
Magnification: 40X, 100X, 400X.
Objectives: 4X, 10X, 40X Achromatic.
Illumination: 15 watt built-in.
Stage: 120mm x 130mm with (2) clips.
Focusing: Rack and pinion coarse/fine
Weight: 7 lbs., 4 oz.
Height:14.5" 52453 MICROSCOPE, 400X
$139.00 EACH

Plus buying some of these extras:


plus this:
Transform your biological microscope into a digital microscope and transmit live, full-color video images to your computer. This Premiere MA88 digital camera has a 640 x 480 pixel eyepiece, and comes with an adapter so it can be used with either a 23mm or 30mm barrel microscope. Its 6-ft lead terminates in a USB jack. Use the software CD-ROM that comes with it with Windows 95, 98, 2000 and XP.

The only problem now is that they will only deliver to the USA. Would anyone be willing to act as a go between for me by any chance?

I can do that if you want.