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[Celegans] cheap scopes summary

Ryder, Elizabeth F via celegans%40net.bio.net (by ryder from WPI.EDU)
Thu Jan 17 13:29:31 EST 2008

Hi again worm breeders --

Here is a summary of suggestions I got for cheap scopes/light sources.  My initial query is below,
followed by a summary of the many responses.  Thanks so much to everyone for writing!


Initial query:

Does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap dissecting scope (say, $2000 or thereabouts)  that is just good enough for routine maintenance of strains? (i.e, can distinguish L4s and males, light source doesn't fry worms).  I thought maybe those of you who use C. elegans in teaching labs might have suggestions, but I'd love to hear from anyone with a bargain!  We only need to get one scope, so not likely to be able to get companies to demo their products.

I will be happy to summarize any responses I get back, and repost.  Thanks in advance!

Liz Ryder

Liz Ryder
Department of Biology and Biotechnology
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA 01609

Responses, in no particular order:

1) Olympus SZ30 system w/ transmitted light stage     about $1500 new in 2003
(Morris Maduro)

2) refurbished scope from Vermont Optechs
(but may not be less than $2000; I(Liz) purchased a Wild M5 from John Orens
 at Vermont Optechs years ago, and it is great, but even then was >$2000.  Dave
got an Olympus with zoom, also >$2000, but cheaper than new
(Dave Reiner, Liz Ryder)

3) Nikon SMZ645s w/ transmitted light stage    about $2000
(Andy Golden)

4) Several people suggested trying ebay once you know what kind of scope you would like

5) We have purchased several Leica S6E's for less than $2000 and like them very much.
  We set them up with 10X eyepieces, a 0.63 to 4 zoom, and bases that have two positions
 for a fiber optic light source (transmitted or reflected light).  They work fantastic for  and flies.
  We use them as both teaching and research stock maintenance scopes.
(Tim Lindblom)

6) Chinese knock-offs of Wild M5A ( Beth De Stasio, David Raizen)
 sold by Motic  (Motic K400L)   about $1000 (but wrong base is shown)
           I think this is the same scope  sold by Tritech Research (they will also sell you a base
 for transmitted light with fiber optics, but of course it costs more)  about $2500 for scope with some extras
The Motic scope was also mentioned in a previous thread someone pointed out to me:
At 16:47 -0400 4/15/07, Brendan Galvin wrote:
>Dear Everyone,
>Thank you for all your suggestions on inexpensive dissecting
>microscopes.  My wife ended up buying Motic K400L microscopes
>through  VWR.  The list price was  $1,185.08 but by talking with
>both Motic  and VWR we were able to get them for around $862.00.
>These scopes  are very similar to the old Wild M5As.  The optics are
>great and they  have built-in incident and transmitted light
>sources.  They are  perfect for my wife's lab activities.  The only
>concern is that the  transmitted light source is built into the base
>such that over  extended use it may cause the base to heat up
>somewhat.  To what  extent this is actually a problem I'm not sure.

7) I bought Olympus under 2000. It's only up to 40x and you need to be careful about their base,
 they look different when you look at the worm under the scope. You need to ask them to put a frosted
 glass between the light source and the mirror. You can fix it if you can explain your sales rep about the problems.
Scope: SZ51
Base: LMS-225W - they have two light sources, which I don't like.
I think it was about 1600 a piece (Myeong Lee)
And here are some interesting suggestions about a cheap light source:

8) More specifically, if you're looking for a cheap, cool light source,
try LED lights. I'm using a $5 9-LED flashlight (about the size of a
roll of quarters) as a light source with a Wild dissecting scope. The
only downside is that the light dims as the batteries run out, and it
needs 3 AAAs ~weekly (depending on how much scope time). I got some
$1.99 12-LED desk lamps but haven't had a chance to test them. They
have an AC adapter and are quite bright, with a flexible neck I hope to
bend into position for the scope.
One nice thing about the white LEDs--they're bluish and counteract the
yellow tint of the agar. I think they're also a lot cooler than
incandescent lights, which is part of why I tried LEDs; I was working
with oxidative stress reporter strains and trying to eliminate
unplanned stresses. (I still couldn't tell the difference between
control and copper-exposed animals, there was so much variability
between individuals. But I really learned how fast you need to look at
your worms after putting on the coverslip! Oxidative stress reporters
are great for detecting handling problems.)
Hope this helps!
(Kathryn Hedges)

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