Image from digital microscope compared to image from optical microscope

INSIGHTS

Digital microscopes vs Optical microscopes: 2 key differences

2 key differences when looking at digital microscopes vs optical microscopes are magnification levels and field of view.

If we ask you what the difference between a digital microscope and an optical microscope is, you’ll probably say that there’s no eyepiece on a digital microscope. And you’d be right.

On digital microscopes, you use a monitor to display a sample instead of looking through an eyepiece.

There’s several reasons for that:

  • You don’t have to bend your neck to look through the eyepiece, creating a healthier and less painful setup
  • With a digital display, it’s easy to document your work
  • It allows for in-person discussions between colleagues

 

 

Digital microscope vs Optical microscope

The use (or lack) of a monitor, however, also affects the magnification levels and field of view of each microscope.

In this blogpost we’ll discuss how and why that is – and why you need to know the difference.

 

Digital microscope vs Optical microscope: Field of view

Field of view, sometimes abbreviated to FOV, refers to how much you are able to see when using an inspection microscope. With a digital microscope, Field of view will be bigger than on a optical microscope even if both microscopes are at the same magnification level. This means that you’ll be able to see more of a sample om a digital microscope than on an optical microscope.

The main reason for this being the 16:9 widescreen camera aspect ratio of the monitor that’s being used with a digital microscope.

 

 

See the difference yourself 

In two simple steps, you can see the difference in Field of view quite easily:

  • Start by adjusting the two microscopes so they’re at the same magnification level
  • Place a metric ruler underneath each microscope

It will quickly become apparent that despite using the same magnification level on both microscopes, you have a higher Field of view on the digital equipment, allowing you to see more your sample.

 

Comparison field of view digital and optical microscope

 

 

Digital microscope vs Optical microscope: Magnification levels

We now know that when using the same magnification levels on a digital and an optical microscope, the digital microscope will display a larger field of view.

But what happens if we adjust the microscopes to have the same Field of view then?

If continue our experiment on our microscopes that are currently at the same magnification level, we know that the digital microscope has a larger field of view. To align the microscopes, we therefore need to reduce the field of view on the digital microscope.

How do we do that? By zooming in.

When zooming in, however, we are also increasing the number of times a sample is reproduced. What this means is that by aligning the field of view, we’re increasing the magnification level on the digital microscope and in turn, allowing us to see more detail at the same field of view level.

Comparison fov / field of view digital and optical microscope

 

 

In summary

Field of view of a microscope and Magnification are two interlocked factors related to microscopy – regardless of the type of microscope we’re talking about. But when comparing digital microscopes and optical microscope, a key differentiator is 16:9 widescreen camera aspect ratio of the digital microscope monitor.

This creates:

  • Higher magnification on a digital microscope at the same Field of view compared to an optical microscope

or

  • Bigger Field of view on a digital microscope at the same magnification level compared to an optical microscope

Get started with a digital microscope

Not sure which microscope you need? TAGARNO's digital microscopes can magnify from 4x-660x on a 24'' monitor and their field of view ranges from 409.0mm/16.10” to 0.8mm/0.03”.


What microscope you need will depend on your industry, if you want to use specialized apps to optimize your processes and if you need to document your work. Follow the link below to learn more.


Find the right microscope for you

 

 

Want to learn more about digital microscopy? 

Here’s a selection of blogposts for you to read next.

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