Operator inspecting metal parts with a TAGARNO digital microscope


What is a digital microscope?

Learn everything you need to know about digital microscopes in this thorough guide to the world of digital microscopes.

A digital microscope – also known as a digital scope or digital inspection system – uses a digital camera as a microscope instead of using an eyepiece. It is used for inspection and analysis of micro objects and samples that are too small to observe with the naked eye.

Digital microscopy is used by companies worldwide in industries such as agriculture, electronics, foods, and forensics and it is used to examine e.g. metal, plastic and medical devices.


This post will take you through

What is a digital microscope used for?

A digital microscope is used to inspect and analyze anything that’s too small to observe with the naked eye. A digital microscope is therefore used across industries to inspect anything from crops in agriculture to PCBs in electronics.

What makes the digital microscopes useful across industries is the specialized software that can be used during the visual inspection process to automate and optimize many quality control processes, regardless of what you’re inspecting.

How does a digital microscope work?

A classical optical microscope uses lenses viewed via an eyepiece to magnify an object. By comparison, a digital microscope uses a digital camera and optics to show captured images of small objects to a computer monitor.

This seemingly small difference has significant impact on how comfortable the microscope is to use with job-related musculoskeletal pain being extremely common among microscope operators. By using a monitor instead of an eyepiece, the operator can look straight instead of downwards, relieving them of neck, back and shoulder pain. 

There’s many types of digital scopes, however. Some of them are more or less handheld and others are very advanced microscopes with several measurement functions and observation methods. Using modern technology, digital microscopes combined with the right software can capture photos for documentation purposes, record and edit videos, analyze 3D samples, make precise measurements, and create detailed reports on the completed inspection.


Are digital microscopes better than optical?

The main difference between a digital microscope and an optical microscope is that a digital microscope doesn’t have an eyepiece. Instead of looking through an eyepiece, objects and samples are displayed on a monitor. Benefits of using digital microscopes instead of optical microscopes include:


  • Creating documentation of your work only requires a press of a button 
  • Healthier and less painful setup, since you don’t have to bend your neck to look through the eyepiece on the optical microscope
  • Easier collaboration with in-person and remote colleagues or business partners with screen sharing options


What are the benefits of a digital microscope?

As opposed to stereo microscopes, digital microscopes have auto-focus. This makes it easy to move samples around to inspect them from every angle without needing to adjust the stage or lens. The microscope will focus on its own. If you look at samples with big changes in height or uneven surfaces, this will be of great advantage.


Some of the most important benefits of a digital microscope are:


  • Great user experience
  • Customizable with software and firmware releases
  • Easy data saving and storing processes
  • Reducing work pain with ergonomic use


Digital microscopes are often very intuitive to use and creating documentation of your work only requires a press of a button. Similarly, making sure that whatever you’re inspecting is in focus under the microscope has never been easier with digital microscopes using auto focus. If, however, you need to focus on a specific area of the sample, simply change to manual focus and adjust accordingly.

Using a monitor rather than an eyepiece, the digital microscope also helps the user maintain proper posture. Compared to traditional microscopes that often create awkward postures and repetitive movements, this relieves the operator of neck, back and shoulder pain while also improving their productivity.  

Lastly, the lower buy-in costs of a digital microscope combined with the many software capabilities available when going digital can take your visual inspection processes to the next level.


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With this e-book, you'll hear directly from a customer why they chose TAGARNO's digital microscopes and how they use them today.

You'll also learn even more about the benefits of a digital microscope and how you can find the right microscope for your business.

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Using a digital microscope in different industries

Digital microscopy is used to optimize business in many different industries. In general, the results are better workflows, increased efficiency and optimized quality control.

Let’s have a look at how digital microscopy is used in different industries.



Seed analysis in agriculture is a very specialized process that relies heavily on a high quality image from the digital microscope. Based on the magnified image, the operator can identify the seed type, germination capacity, fungal diseases, foreign varieties and more before capturing a photo of their findings with the control box.

Another benefit of using a digital microscope for these processes is the digital display. This allows the operator to work more comfortably while also having the option of asking a colleague for a second opinion if necessary without having to take turns looking through an eyepiece. 



For many professionals within the Electronics industry, simply being able to document issues during PCB manufacture or reworked PCBs is enough reason to change from traditional magnification systems to digital microscopes.

What many find, however, is one they’ve introduced a digital microscope to their facilities, the digital microscopes can be used for multiple processes. Simply have a look around in your facilities: How many desk magnifiers and stereo microscope can you spot? All of these system could potentially be upgraded to a digital and more modern solution that improves your efficiency and reduces your PCB escape rate. 


Food industry

Perform efficient analyses and quality control in the food industry with a digital microscope. In a matter of seconds, you can measure the size of fish feed, the color of roasted peanuts or calculate the number of impurities in milk powder or flour.

By letting the digital microscope perform the analyses, you’ll produce more accurate analyses and obtain lower claim rates.


TAGARNO MOVE inspecting circuit board

Metal inspection

Use a digital microscope to detect even the smallest cracks, broken edges and burrs in metal. You can even use apps like the Measurement app to measure, highlight and annotate the identified issues before capturing a photo of it for documentation purposes. 


Plastic inspection

Check the quality of your injection molded plastic components with a digital microscope. With 60 frames per second, you can twist and turn your components to view it from every angle before capturing a photo of any identified issues.

Within the Plastic industry, the Measurement app is also commonly used to identify and document runner system wear.


Medical device inspection

With features like presets and the PNG reference app, using a digital microscope can improve your overall efficiency and create consistency across inspections. By saving your most used settings as a preset, the digital microscope will adjust itself to the saved settings. This will happen in a matter of seconds which is much faster compared to doing it manually. 

By using heads-up displays to verify the shape and/or size of your products, you’ll also be able to detect issues more efficiently and accurately.



With a digital microscope, criminalists can utilize the low and high power magnification capabilities and large field of view to find and analyze microscopic forensic evidence.

To document findings, connect the microscope to a computer and use the included Windows OS Camera app or simply press a button on the control box. The images can then be sent directly to your Laboratory Information Management System of choice.


A selection of the best digital microscopes from TAGARNO

Frequently asked questions about digital microscopes

1. What is a digital microscope used for?

A digital microscope is used across industries and companies worldwide to inspect anything that’s too small to see with the naked eye. For more information on how specific industries use digital microscopes, we recommend reading the Using a digital microscope in different industries section of this guide.

We also recommend exploring our cases for an insight into how different customers use digital microscopes in their businesses.

2. What are the differences between a digital and stereo microscope?

The biggest difference between a digital and stereo microscope is how you’re inspecting your samples.

While a stereo microscope uses an eyepiece, a digital microscope uses a monitor. Using a monitor creates an ergonomic setup that is more comfortable to use and provides more flexibility in terms of movement and where the microscope can be installed.

Other differences between a digital and stereo microscope include:

  • Digital microscopes offer auto focus while stereo microscopes do not
  • It’s a lot easier to capture photos of your work using a digital microscope that is already using a monitor to display the sample
  • Digital microscopes have a built-in computer that allows you to use features and software as part of your inspections to improve your efficiency and accuracy of analyses

3. What make TAGARNO digital microscopes special?

The digital microscopes from TAGARNO are designed, engineered, and manufactured in Denmark. Unlike other digital microscopes, all features and software run on the microscope itself and are controlled via a control box. This means no separate computer is necessary.

The TAGARNO digital microscopes also only use separate monitors. That is, there’s no built-in screen or eyepiece. This is not only more comfortable for you as a user, but also provides maximum flexibility in terms of where you want to install the microscope.

4. What is the best digital microscope?

Figuring out which digital microscope is the best can be difficult and will depend on your specific needs.

One feature that you can’t gloss over though is the quality of the camera used inside the digital microscope. For the best user experience, you need a digital microscope that produces high quality images using optical zoom only and auto focus. The microscope must also produce 60 frames per second to prevent a lag as you’re moving the sample around.

All digital microscopes from TAGARNO meet these requirements and are great options for businesses worldwide. Which one is right for you will depend on which features you need.


4. What does a microscope cost?

Digital microscopes come at different price points, depending on their image quality and amount of features and software that you’ll gain access to.

When considering microscope cost, however, it’s essential to look beyond the initial investment. Digital microscopes, like those offered by TAGARNO, provide a comprehensive solution that goes beyond magnification. The true cost of microscope ownership includes factors such as:

  • Documentation capabilities
  • Ergonomics and operator efficiency
  • Consistency and reusability
  • Collaboration capabilities


Two operators inspecting seed using a digital microscope

There’s more to read

Now that you’ve made it to the end of this guide, here’s a few other blogposts that you might find interesting.

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