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A video microscope is a microscope which generates a live video feed of the object being viewed. There are a number of uses for video microscopes, and a range of styles are available from models designed for use by hobbyists to high tech versions used in scientific laboratories. Scientific supply companies and science stores often carry video microscopes, and it is also possible to order them directly from manufacturers. It is also possible to purchase video adapters for existing microscopes which can be used to turn them into video microscopes.
With some styles, the microscope is hand held, allowing the user to manipulate it around an object to obtain a magnified image. Other video microscopes have conventional microscope stages on which a specimen is mounted. Hand held versions tend to be popular among hobbyists, while microscopes with stages are used in laboratories.
A video microscope can be extremely useful for things like demonstrations and group instruction. Using the video microscope, a user can manipulate the specimen and area of focus, and people can see the image on a television screen or monitor. The wide field and size of the video image can also be an advantage in a variety of situations, such as a laboratory where people need to be able to manipulate specimens very precisely, and looking through an eye piece while performing delicate work could be challenging.
The microscope can typically connect to a wide variety of screens, ranging from laptop computers to ordinary televisions. This makes the video microscope a highly flexible tool, which can be appealing to hobbyists and useful for fieldwork situations, as the microscope can be carried into the field with a laptop for quick viewing of interesting specimens. A still camera may also be integrated into the design for the purpose of capturing images of particular interest.
In addition to providing a live feed, a video microscope may also be able to record what it sees. This can be useful when a microscope is used to evaluate forensic evidence, as it provides documentation of exactly what happened to the evidence while it was examined. It can also be helpful in the scientific community, as it provides a clear record of a specimen which can be reviewed at a later juncture to look for material which may have been missed during the microscopy session. Videos can also be used in presentations at conferences and scientific events to demonstrate new research.