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How to Select the Right Digital Camera for Your Microscope

Sharing what you see under a microscope used to mean having someone else physically look into the instrument you were using. Today, digital cameras for microscopes make it easier than ever to share images with your students, colleagues, other professionals in your field, or anyone around the world. There are a plethora of options available for microscope cameras. Choosing the one that’s best for you or your lab involves considering the format of your instrument, its intended applications, any specific requirements of the camera itself, and integration with your existing software or hardware.

Format of Microscope

One key factor that will determine the type of camera you purchase is the type of microscope you intend to use it with. If you have a trinocular microscope, then you can attach almost any camera with the help of an appropriate camera adapter. However, if you use a binocular microscope, you’ll first need some sort of beamsplitter to direct the light to a camera port. Beamsplitters are available for many upright microscopes and some stereo microscopes. You must then choose a camera and camera adapter that are suitable for your sample or application. A third option would be an eyepiece camera that inserts directly into the eyetube of your microscope — you won’t be able to use that eyetube anymore, but you’ll have a camera. 


One of the most important considerations is how you will be using the camera with your microscope so that you can decide which features you would like to have. Will you mostly be taking still images or videos? Are you going to be presenting live, or simply sharing your work afterward? These factors will help you determine whether you look for a camera with more control over the image acquisition process (capture) or if sharing the image across multiple devices via WiFi or Ethernet is preferred. Some cameras offer multiple connection modes, too.

Required Specifications for Camera

Like any other camera, digital cameras for microscopes have various standard specifications that you can use to compare them, including:
  • Live resolution
  • Capture resolution
  • Pixel size
  • Frame rate
  • Exposure time
  • White balance
  • Other image settings (such as gamma, saturation, and contrast)

Integration with Existing Software and Hardware

One final consideration when choosing a camera for your microscope is ensuring that it will be compatible with any existing hardware or software. Some cameras work as standalone devices for image capture and may include their own built-in software, meaning that no PC is required. Other cameras have advanced software for control, acquisition, and measurement and must be connected to a PC. Still, other cameras give you the option to use them as a standalone device (no PC) or to use them with software for greater control and advanced functionality.

Find the Right Digital Camera for Your Microscope at UNITRON

There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing the right digital microscopy camera. If you would like assistance with selecting the right one for your application, reach out to us today.

4 thoughts on “How to Select the Right Digital Camera for Your Microscope”

  • Brian

    I have a binocular kyowa lumiscope and want to add an eyepiece camera and then USB connected to a TV screen and enjoy some darkfield items. I assume I should also have the PC software that I may use.

    • mark.clymer@accu-scope.com
      mark.clymer@accu-scope.com February 2, 2022 at 8:50 am

      If you want to go directly from the camera to a TV monitor, you'll need an eyepiece camera with HDMI-out. We don't offer these, but you can find microscopy cameras on Amazon, with eyepiece adapters and HDMI-out.

  • Greg Raab

    I just returned an AmScope camera because the software was not user friendly and the resolution was not up to par. I have a Leitz Ortholux I with a trinocular head in a petrographic configuration. I need to be able to take pictures under cross polarization, i.e. fairly dark viewing, and also in a bright viewing (plain polarization). I would appreciate any advice.

    • mark.clymer@accu-scope.com
      mark.clymer@accu-scope.com July 20, 2022 at 9:06 am

      Great question! For the general audience, cross polarization produces a black or nearly black background and the specimen is typically seen in beautiful colors against the dark background. Sample movement isn't an issue either, so longer exposures are acceptable without causing blurring. In this situation, a camera with good sensitivity and low noise is recommended. The Teledyne Lumenera Infinity 3 series cameras would be a good choice, followed by the Infinity 5 series (https://microscopes.unitronusa.com/unitron-microscopes/digital-microscopy-cameras/lumenera-cameras.html). The Infinity Analyze 7 software is reasonably easy to use and Lumenera has done a nice job with some video tutorials (https://www.lumenera.com/support/microscopy/training-tutorials.html). Our own MPX-5C Pro camera (https://microscopes.unitronusa.com/unitron-microscopes/digital-microscopy-cameras/excelis-cameras/excelis-mpx-5c-pro.html) would also perform nicely in this application, and our CaptaVision+ software is also easy to use, plus you can customize and streamline the interface to hide functions you don't use.
      Please feel free to contact us for a quotation or to speak with an applications specialist.

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