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Microscope for SMD and inspecting work

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Hi all,

I'm sure this is covered a million times, but was wondering if there is some new information out there. I had a flimsy MUSTOOL G1200 microscope from Bangood attached to a modified articulating arm (for a lamp) and it worked pretty well (until it quit working forever). The build quality was pretty poor as was the camera and firmware.

Now I'm looking to upgrade. What would you suggest? I like the fact of an integrated/attached monitor for inspection work and the ability to capture image/video on device. That said, I also like the idea of a stereoscopic microscope. What brands would you suggest looking at? I don't do that much of SMD work, but for the little I do, the old MUSTOOL worked for that.

What price are you looking to spend?

Typical price for the general china microscope that most of us use is around USD$350 to USD$650 depending if you want a basic stand or a boom stand. 
Also a cameras upgrade can add a little extra too, they usually come with a cheapish 720p camera.

Good question. I would say 500-700usd

This is pretty good.
And luckyzoom is a known good seller

You just need to decide on simulfocus head or normal head.

The simulfocus head allows for both eyepieces and camera at the same time, the normal head has a switch with redirects one eyepiece to the camera.
Simulfocus is nice but the extra optics needed result in a small reduction in image quality compared to the normal head.

(Note: I don't know anything about the camera that is included in that bundle, YMMV)

Good things with that bundle are that
-Includes both the barlow lenses
-Includes the 1/2 camera adaptor that gives you a bigger picture via camera, without that your cameras only sees a tiny area in the center.
-Has a good double boom stand.

EDIT: Sorry, i didn't notice the huge shipping cost.  Shipping costs have really got crazy since covid :(

If you just want to be able to view a board on a video monitor you may be able to rework a USB camera designed for video conferencing.   That would be the extreme low end and can help minimize the number of video monitors on you desk.   Plus it should be easy to integrate into your current arm support.   

A more dedicated solution would be a video camera with HDMI output.   At th elow end you have something like this: https://www.amazon.com/MOKOSE-Digital-Security-Industry-Distortion/dp/B08BZPDRTS/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIj5v8tonE8AIVi8izCh2yRwSrEAMYAiAAEgI_8vD_BwE&hvadid=417005710537&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9005653&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=6365455859891983729&hvtargid=kwd-302125063582&hydadcr=18477_9831761&keywords=hd+camera+with+hdmi+output&qid=1620820261&sr=8-4.   Higher end solutions would use a common lens mount allowing for adaptation with the lens that fits your needs best.   Going with a common C Mount, you can go a low as: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33011944310.html?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.9.5ebd62b7px4WkP.

Now you may be wondering why I'm suggesting piecing together a system out of components, instead of an integrated system.   Well there are two big reasons, it is almost a certainty that the hardware you buy today will not be available tomorrow or the following year.    I run into this a lot at work, digital camera designs don't last long before they are replaced by something else in the market place.   I run into this a lot at work, as cameras fail you are generally forced to seek a new model to replace the old.   However buying a camera beats that expense of buying new optics and mechanicals.

The second reason to go with a camera that has a standard mount (C-Mount and F Mount just being two of a few popular mounts), is the availability of lens with a wide array of capabilities.   A company like Edmunds has a massive selection of lens, for example: https://www.edmundoptics.com/c/imaging-lenses/1000/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=homepage%20products&utm_term=imaging# and they are just one supplier.   

In the end there are two important elements of a vision system that frankly are more important than the camera itself.   That is the lens and the second item is the lighting.   The more control you have over these two things the better off you are.   The unfortunate thing is that lighting is a lot like the cameras themselves, what is here today may not be here tomorrow.   


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