Bunton Instrument Company, Inc.

New & Used Microscopes

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New Optical Microscopes

There are two basic types of optical microscopes today … compound and stereo. Compound microscopes come in both upright and inverted style. The typical visual magnification range of a compound microscope is about 25x to 1000x. Numerical aperture is critical for evaluating lenses on any microscope. Numerical aperture determines resolution. Further, the type of glass in the optical system is important. Lenses are either achromats, fluorites or apochromatics. Lenses can be offered with some curvature of field or totally corrected for a flat field of view across the entire visual image. Eyepiece field of view index (in “mm”) is an important factor on any microscope since that determines how much of the sample you will see at one time at any particular magnification. Typical FOV index on oculars will range from 18mm to 26mm. Stereoscopic Drawing

Stereoscopic Microscopes

Stereo (AKA dissecting) microscopes are actually two low magnification compound microscopes set at a certain parallax angle so that each eye is seeing a slightly different perspective of a three-dimensional object. Typical stereo microscopes will have a visual magnification range of about 3x to 50x. Student models may be fixed at 10x or 30x and sell for under $500. More advanced “zoom” stereo microscopes may range from 3x to 100x. There are Greenough style (original design) and CMO (central main objective) zoom designs. A CMO (AKA Gallilean) stereo microscope is the best choice for stereoscopic vision and/or photomicroscopy. Some Greenough styles will have a dedicated camera port integrated into the viewing tube. If the main mission is to have first-class digital imagery you will want to explore the “macrozoom” (AKA photomacroscope). These instruments are technically compound optical microscopes with a relatively low magnification range. They do not produce “stereo 3D” (S3D) images! It is important to note that a digital camera mounted on any compound or stereo microscope will not give you S3D. See our Digital and Video Microscopy section on one alternative solution for true S3D digital imaging.

Compound Microscopes

Bunton sells NEW MICROSCOPES as well as fully reconditioned LEITZ compound microscopes. It should be noted that a good discontinued Leitz optical microscope that has been restored by us will have a one year warranty … it will also be more expensive than a brand new microscope that might be made in China or Japan. It is also important to note that today all major microscope makers have their entry level microscopes made in China. Fact is, China has rapidly moved into a position today where they build and supply most of the student/classroom microscopes and laboratory microscopes around the world. The internet is blanketed with hundreds of vendors selling no-name or private label microscopes of Chinese or Indian origin. Beware. The one Chinese-made microscope line with brand recognition and good support after the sale is MOTIC. Visit www.motic-usa.com. We sell Motic, Meiji (Japan) and Infinity (USA). We specialize in the legacy microscopes from E. Leitz and they were all made in Germany with materials and innovative designs that are no longer offered by most microscope makers around the globe. Feel free to contact us to discuss your exact requirements. Visit us on YouTube channel “The MICROBG”.

  • Darkfield
  • Phase Contrast
  • Modulation Contrast
  • Differential Interference Contrast
  • Fluorescence Microscopy
  • Polarized Light

photo C

On the Subject of Optical Light Microscopes … historically the “COMPOUND” microscope has been around for over 300 years. About 1900 Mr. Greenough designed the first practical “STEREO” microscope which was actually two compound microscopes set at a specific angle and set up for binocular viewing by an individual … two perspective views, one for each eye. The brain could then “fuse” the two images (stereopsis) to achieve depth cues (depth perception). Stereo microscopes are also called “dissecting” or “binocular” microscopes.

Certainly we can also have monocular, binocular or even triocular (photo) body tubes on our compound microscopes. Typical compound microscopes will have a visual magnification range of about 20x to 1000x. Stereo microscopes will have a magnification range of about 2x to maybe 100x (visual magnification at the eyepiece). All microscopes can be altered by simply exchanging front lenses (objectives) or the secondary optic (eyepiece) magnification. It is important to note that “numerical aperture” determines resolution and, normally, the higher the magnification, the better the resolving power. Some new stereoscopic microscopes from the major makers (Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss and Leica … aka NOZL) will perform quite well up to 500x (or more). Some apochromatic stereo microscopes can easily cost you $15,000 or more!

In the 1970’s the firms Wild (Swiss) and Zeiss (German) introduced hybrid compound microscopes with low magnification front lenses and single optical channels for maximum resolution. The “photomacroscopes” were called M400 and Tessovar respectively. They were intended for high resolution photo-documentation. Later, Wild came out with the M410/420 photomacroscopes. It is important to note that a single optical channel photomacroscope will produce superior images when compared to a stereomicroscope at the exact same magnification. Reason: only one of the two optical channels on a stereo microscope is used for the camera system.

Stereomicroscopes have relatively lower numerical apertures because they are normally optimized for maximum free working distance (reduced numerical aperture). Stereo microscopes permit depth cues where compound microscopes and “macroscopes” do not give the viewer S3D (stereo three dimensions). See our digital solution for digital S3D (Retro-Opsis DV) in the “Digital and Video Microscopy” section of our website. A demo is shown on our YouTube channel … digital S3D with the help of using two cameras and a computer!

As you can see, there is a new generation of “disruptive technology” at work today. The machine vision industry generated what we call “zoom photomacroscopes” that are designed for use with small format (c-mount) analog and digital cameras. The very first “zoom” on the market goes back to the 1970’s with the Optem products (now Qioptiq) from the Rochester, NY area. Several US and Chinese copies have been on the market now for decades. You have a front objective, internal zoom and back eyepiece for the camera sensor. An American firm (Infinity Photo Optical www.infinity-usa.com) has been offering advanced alternatives to stereo and compound microscopes for many years.

Infinity now has products that can be used with DSLRs and MILCs, long working distance microscope objectives, coaxial illuminators, fluorescence LED modules and individual “macro” front optics. What is different about the Infinity instruments? In a few words … variable working distances with internal focusing capability. See our YouTube channel for a full demo on four models. Resolution and magnification ranges go well beyond those achieved with stereo microscopes since these are all single optical channel designs. The fact that we can use small (c-mount) or large (DLSR) format sensor digital cameras make them a very interesting and attractive alternative. There is nothing like these on the market since the technology is patented. Everything but the lenses themselves are made in America. Motorized versions are available for digital z-stacking. They are very compact and easily mounted on support stands to meet specific needs. These are more than simple cross-over alternatives to compound or stereo microscopes … they are designed to have a camera on the backend and viewing oculars are really not required. The computer displayer now becomes our visualization channel when used with “photomacrozooms” or the Infinity Photo Optical instrumentation.


Inverted Microscopes

Most inverted microscopes are for the biological market. They are designed to be used with chambers, dishes and flasks … sample holders that would be difficult or impossible on and upright design. Inverted biological microscopes (AE2000 Motic) start at about $2,500 and range up to about $8,000 (Meiji). We have a great selection of Leitz reconditioned inverted microscopes (Diavert) in our used microscope section of the site. The Motic AE 30 series (as shown) can be configured for incident light fluorescence studies using an arc lamp or LED. We also offer the fine Meiji (Japan) inverted metallurgical microscopes … designed to be used with polished metal samples that must be kept flat so that the entire field of view remains in focus as the specimen is scanned. All inverted microscopes may be equipped with a phototube for digital photomicroscopy. Most biological inverted microscopes will be offered with phase contrast equipment to permit high contrast viewing of low contrast (living) cells.




This new instrument is designed specifically for classroom and lab work involving transmitted light. Typical objective set includes strain-free 4x, 10x, 40x and 60x dry lenses. Binocular and trinocular versions are available and options exist for an attachable mechanical stage and the usual compensators for conoscopic work. Bertrand lens and rotating analyser and polarizer. Phototube version is shown in the photo. Prices range from $3500 to $4500.00 and feature a full five (5) year warranty period.

photo D

Click photo to enlarge

This new infinity-corrected advanced model may be ordered with both transmission and incident light equipment. Typical systems will be in the $8-$10,000.00 range. Point counting stage is available and a graduated 6-order quartz compensator is offered along with the usual mica and gypsum plates. Visit: www.meijitechno.com



Transmitted Light LED Fluorescence

Here you will see the latest Fraen (Italy) upgrade for the laboratory microscopes from Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss, Leica and Motic. Certain other models can be considered but this kit requires about a 50mm clearance between the substage condenser and the dust window of the stand. The advantage of LED is even illumination at low to medium magnifications, LED economy and economical upgrade costs. Perfect for student use and the ECOFLED II system has a built-in shut-off for using the microscope for normal brightfield observations … no accidental high intensity “blinding” of the user! A further advantage of transmitted light fluorescence over incident light fluorescence equipment is the fact that the intensity of the fluorochrome emission remains the same at all magnifications … not the case as you increase objective magnification (and n.a.) with a Ploem (incident light) system. ECOFLED II upgrades are $3,250. They are easily installed on-location via locking clamps. Turn the unit on and you are good to go. Use with your existing brightfield condenser or consider a special condenser for maximum light transmission ($500 extra). Let us know your microscope make and model and we can tell you if it will accept the standard product with appropriate clamp mechanism.



  Click photo to enlarge

This microscope features 1:6.5 continuous zoom range (7x-45x with 10x oculars) with a variety of support stands from single boom (as shown) to transmitted light bases and accessories for gemstone and insect (darkfield) studies. Optional PHOTO TUBE to connect your 35mm or digital camera. FIBER OPTIC LIGHTING WITH DUAL GOOSENECK ....ADD $350.00...see: Fiber Optics pages.



We are pleased to now offer the MEIJI line of microscopes from Japan. The RZ has been on the market for a number of years now and it fits in nicely with our other stereo microscope offerings. The 10:1 ZOOM RANGE with excellent optics and CMO/parallel design make the RZ a perfect alternative to the high priced major microscope maker models that can easily exceed $8,000.00 in the class. Most RZ models are under $5,000.00 and versions are available for photodocumentation (film and digital) as well as for integration with Retro-Opsis DV REAL 3D digital viewing and recording. Options for camera lucida, epifluourescence and microsurgery (boom stands) are available upon request. Note the ergonomic viewing tube, coaxial coarse/fine focus and integrated dual iris diaphragm to control contrast and depth of focus.


NEW MODULAR STEREO MICROSCOPES. . . . $1,200.00-$1,700.00!

Three models are available...FOUR STEP, FIVE STEP and ZOOM

A variety of USA-made stands and fiber optic illuminators are available.

Widefield viewing tube to accept RETRO-OPSIS imaging accessories.

Best price/performance value on the market today...ask for details on the new K-SERIES.


K401PLAN ...the latest in FLATFIELD viewing with 4-Step mag changer 0.6, 1.2, 2.5 and 5.0. 1X high quality front lens ...only $200.00 more than the standard K400

SMZ168 ...latest stereozoom with 1:6.7X zoom (0.74 to 5X) and 4.5" free working distance. GREENOUGH design for high resolution images up to 320X ...binocular or trinocular with wide variety of oculars and supplemental front lenses.


Rotary Base
360 degree rotary base allows you to showcase the gem to a customer or to confer with a colleague on proper identification.



Able to accommodate both a gem holder and inclusion pointer simultaneously in addition to different contrast methods.

1:6.7 Zoom Ratio Gemmology Microscope

Click photo to enlarge

STARTING AT $2100.00


FAX or E-MAIL us for detailed catalogs on these products.


MasterCard and Visa accepted

PRICES … the bottom line on price can be the final factor in a prospective customer’s decision process. There are many websites available for learning about microscopes and their application but very few even discuss the “bottom line”. Case in point … stereo microscopes range in price from $200 to well over $20,000 (not a typo!). Compound microscopes range in price from about $500 to well over $50,000. EBay auctions can be confusing if you do not know what you are looking for … go to EBay and search “microscopes” and you will see what I mean. Be more specific in your EBay search … you will see new instruments (usually from China) and used microscopes being sold by sellers who know very little about microscopy. LTBB!

Fact is that most microscopes being sold on EBay and by on-line microscope sellers will rarely offer expertise in microscopy much less help you select an instrument to meet your exact requirements and budget limits. Many major microscope makers in the USA will now try to sell their products without the need for a “dealer” or local support reseller … you have to “Contact Us” and register to even get close to a pricetag on what they are selling! At Bunton we talk to you first to determine your needs and budget limits. Do you want to get into some contrasting methods? Do you want digital image capture or analysis? Do you want a new or used microscope? When do you plan to make a purchasing decision? Our company has been doing microscopy sales for over 55 years here in Maryland. Many EBay microscope sellers do not even tell you who they are or where they are located. LTBB!

Bunton accepts University and government lab purchase orders with Net 30 payment terms with a signed purchase order. There is no charge for quotations and the pre-quote consultation or demonstration is free of charge. We want you to get exactly what you need without any surprises at the bottom line. We also accept PayPal and credit card orders. Payment is also accepted in the form of personal or corporate check with appropriate clear-time prior to shipment. We do not accept foreign orders with credit card payment. Minimum credit card transaction is $100. All foreign transactions (including Canada) will be issued a proforma invoice and payment information with our bank’s SWIFT code and account number. A credit application may be processed if your institution or company is a long-term (multiple users) facility with prospects for future business relations and orders. One-shot orders from private organizations or companies will always require pre-payment or COD terms … this includes hospitals. If you are not clear on this please contact me prior to our discussions. You can also check with your own Purchasing Department to be sure you are following their guidelines when dealing with new vendors like Bunton. All orders are subject to Maryland, DC or Virginia sales tax unless a sales tax exemption certificate is on file or if it is well-known that your organization is tax exempt.

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12610 Jesse Smith Road · Mt. Airy, Maryland 21771
Phone: 301-831-3434
· Fax: 301-831-3424 · E-Mail: micro3d@comcast.net

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