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Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Jun 30 20:06:53 EST 1999

At 12:39 PM -0400 6/30/99, Robin Bingham wrote:
>Dear list members,
>We are ordering new dissecting microscopes for use primarily in plant
>systematics and general botany. One model that looks fairly good is made by
>Southern Precision Instrument (SPI), their 1880 series. Is anyone out there
>familiar with this company and these microscopes? Are you happy with the
>quality of the scopes as well as the warranty and service provided by the
>company. Any other comments or input regarding good dissecting microscopes
>for classroom use would be greatly appreciated. Also any information about
>specifications that (having not ordered microscopes before) I might
>overlook would also be helpful!

Hi Robin!

My first suggestion is to think about how your new
order fits in with current inventory.  Parts and
supplies are always best if they are interchangeable!
It is also critical that each student have the same
instrument as every other student for efficient
instruction purposes.  Having a hodge-podge is a
pedagogical nightmare...I have had that and hate it!

We chose Swift because we have a lot of Swift equipment
and the lifetime warranty was considered admirable and
unnecessary...they are sturdy.  I chose the fluorescent
built-in illumination scopes for ease of set-up and take-down.
They stay cool for practical exams, and the bulbs last
a long-long time.  They do have the down-side of having
epi-illumination only from one side, so sometimes you have
to rotate a specimen into an unnatural position to get
good shadow contrasts. But the ease of transillumination
is wonderful for those specimens that are too big for the
compound scopes but too small for dissection scopes.

I also got the measuring reticules for all my scopes so
we could directly measure objects to within 0.1 mm...nice!

Finally, in considering scopes, always find out the distance
from base to ocular.  Some scopes are too tall for comfortable
use depending on your benching.  After you know this measure,
put some books under one of your current scopes until you
raise the ocular to the specified height and try using it.
Will student's have to stand to use them...or worse...stand
hunched-over?  NO!  I rejected some beautiful Olympus scopes
because of this measurement!

I have no complaints about my choice after five years of
use, so I guess that's a pretty good record.


Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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