A while ago I saw an ad for a portable digital microscope -- I think it had VGA quality screen on it, but saved images at a higher resolution. Unlike most it did not have to be tethered to a laptop, and so was a good field scope for botanists, geologist, and other people dealing not portable subjects. I addition it could be used without a stage, so that you could photograph subjects in situ. I think it had a range from 10 to 60 magnification.

The price was quite reasonable -- ball park about a hundred bucks -- cheap enough to consider giving to an budding naturalist nephew.

Now I cannot find it. All such I find now are either very expensive, or must be used tethered.

So: Requirements:

  • Usable without either power cord or USB tether.

  • Mininum resolution 1 Mpixel. Prefer higher.

  • Images recorded to SD card.

  • Is treated as a camera for downloading images -- USB connection to PC.

  • Usable without a stage for taking pictures of rock, bark,

  • 10-40 magnification.

Addition: One of the commenters pointed out that there are a plethora of addons that in effect are close up attachments to a camera phone. Indeed, instructables has one that you can make for about $10, using the lens from a laser pointer.

Overall this is a good approach. The camera portion is much better quality than anything I've seen under hundreds of dollars.

To date all the ones I've found are fixed magnification, and have no focus adjustment. Hand holding them is awkward.

Pointers please?

Thanks to a comment, I rechecked Amazon, going to their American site instead the Canadian one. Unfortunately Amazon's search will score a hit if the keyword is in the 'customers also looked at'

Some clever notions: Wifi link to a smartphone/tablet.

Resolution is poor on most of these. Typically 720 x 400 -- slightly better than standard TV.

Portability for a lot of them is low. Is 'Luggable' a word? For field work it should be as easy to carry as a camera at worst, and best would be a solution that was easy to put into a pocket or backpack.

Possible instrument: Koolertron $125 U.S. Good idea -- bit pricy for my intention, and only luggable.

Possible Instrument: Celestron COSMOS 3MP LCD Handheld Digital Microscope $US80 Big gap in magnification from 3.7 to 54. Very mixed reviews.

At this point I'm leaning to a smartphone solution

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    \$\begingroup\$ What are you looking for that search terms like digital microscope or usb microscope on Amazon, B&H, Google, etc. don't turn up? I see dozens of models priced from $30, and some in the $100 that have an integrated screen. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Dec 1, 2016 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could add some words to your basic search: - Digital microscope - Digital usb microscope - Digital microscope for mobile - Digital standalone microscope - Digital portable microscope This could be a comment but I want to emphasize the search options. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Dec 1, 2016 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited question some. But in brief: NO CORDS. no power cord, no USB cord in the field. Resolution comparable to that of a smart phone. Minimum 1.5 Mpixel. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2016 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given your edit, this is sounding more like a shopping question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Dec 2, 2016 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Caleb, you may be right. Certainly on the border of being a shopping question. I almost deleted it, but it has received some interest. If downvotes bring it to zero, I will delete the question. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2016 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


There are some interesting microscope adapters you can get for camera phones. I've personally used the Nurugo Micro with good results.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good idea. You get a point just for suggest a new lead to check. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 1, 2016 at 6:32

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