Traditional microscopes are often used in classroom settings and laboratories whereas digital microscopes may be used at home or in a personal lab. Both microscopes have their advantages and allow you to successfully study a given specimen.

But what exactly is the difference between a traditional and a digital microscope aside from the fact that one can be used with a computer?

What sets traditional and digital microscopes apart?

Traditional microscopes, also known as optical microscopes, are commonly used to magnify small objects. There have been many attempts to improve the design of the optical microscope to upgrade its resolution.

But the optical microscope still remains fairly simple in design and it’s used everywhere from classrooms to chemistry labs.

What sets the digital microscope apart from the traditional optical microscope is that the digital microscope uses optics and a digital camera.

Using these two things, the microscope outputs an image to the monitor. Sometimes it does this by using computer software, but it isn’t always necessary.

Differences in magnification

Both digital and optical microscopes are similar when it comes to providing an enlarged view of a specimen. However, the magnification is different depending on which microscope you use.

Optical microscopes magnify the specimen using the ratio of the specimen’s actual size and the size that it appears under the microscope. A digital microscope uses the computer and the monitor while incorporating pixel resolutions, different physical dimensions, and software to resize the image of the specimen.

Which model is better to use?

The digital version is great for speed, convenience, and high-quality images that need to be taken multiple times. The optical microscope is great if you don’t need any of the fancy hardware to get your job done.

For instance, science students in a Middle School classroom may not need to see 3D renditions of a specimen compared to a professional. That said, both microscopes can be great to have on hand and it can be beneficial to use both.

Looking for handheld digital microscope cameras?

Most animal cells are invisible to the naked eye and can be measured between 0.001 to 0.003 centimeters in diameter. With digital USB microscopes, you can not only observe these cells but also capture images and view them in 3D.

Whether you’re looking for industrial microscopes for your business or USB digital microscopes for your own hobby, Dino-Lite has what you need. To learn more about our digital microscopes and USB digital microscope cameras, contact Dino-Lite today.