I freely admit that I am a scope snob, so this row of metal and glass makes my heart glad. You can't prep well if you can't see your material, and when it comes to bang for your buck, Swiss optics are my choice for stocking a workbench. There is one interloper in this mix, the second boom from the left holds a Nikon SMZ-1, which happens to be the first microscope that I purchased for myself, however, I've recently made the upgrade to a Wild M8 for my own freelance work. To outfit the VPL lab, I chose two M8's, the beauties on the right, to be the real workhorses. As budget allows in the next few years, I will probably be replacing the rest of the Olympus setups that Bob Rainey used for so many years. For the purposes of training students and volunteers who come through the lab, I've purchased a Wild teaching setup outfitted with an M7 body and two upright heads. I will soon be adding a custom focusing mount developed by Mike Eklund at The Natural History Studio (also my source for much of my refurbished lab gear) that will enable the teaching setup to be mounted on a boom arm for maximum reach and specimen diversity.
These used scopes can be tough to come by in good condition and at a reasonable price, but I'm very happy with the deals that I've gotten on the last 4 or 5 that I've bought. The above packages have been outfitted with Fostec/Schott light sources and Schott ring lights.
The Felch Quarry brachiosaur skull
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