Compound Microscopes

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Compound Microscope Definition

A compound microscope is an instrument that is used to view magnified images of small objects. It can achieve higher levels of magnification than stereo or other low power microscopes and reduce chromatic aberration. It achieves this through the use of two or more lenses in the objective and the eyepiece.

The objective lens has a short focal length and is close to the target object where it collects light and focuses the image of the object inside the microscope. The second lens, in the eyepiece, has a longer focal length and further enlarges the image.

The characteristics of a compound microscope are:

  • Two or more convex lenses
  • Typical magnification range between 40x and 1000x
  • One objective is used at a time
  • Two-dimensional images
  • Availale in monocular, binocular and trinocular configurations

the parts of a compound microscope are:

  • Eyepiece (ocular)
  • Bodytube (head)
  • Arm
  • Nosepiece
  • Base
  • Ojective lenses
  • Specimen or slide
  • Stage
  • Stage clips
  • Aperture
  • Condenser
  • Coarse and fine adjustment controls
  • Stage height adjustment
  • Illumination
  • Iris diaphragm


High-Quality Compound Microscopes

Compound Microscopes are optical microscopes that have two or more convex lenses. This allows for a detailed study of your specimen in a two-dimensional image. Compound Microscopes are available in Monocular, Binocular, and Trinocular configurations. They have many objectives of varying magnifications that are mounted in a rotating nosepiece. Typically, the range of magnification on a Compound Microscope is between 40x and 1000x. For higher magnification (for example, 10x eyepiece x 40x objective = 400x or total magnification) a mechanical stage is recommended. Some Compound Microscopes are capable of lower or higher magnifications. Because only one objective is used at a time, the viewer will see a two-dimensional image of the specimen. Common uses for Compound Microscopes are for biological applications that include high magnification of internal cell structures such as plant, animal, and human tissue or blood. For entry level student microscope use, refer to the Monocular Microscopes; also, for biological applications for medical, laboratory and research, refer to Binocular Microscopes.

Optical, Polarizing, Metallurgical Microscopes & More

Our selection of Compound Microscopes includes Inverted Microscopes, Phase Contrast Microscopes, Polarizing Microscopes and Fluorescent Microscopes; for Metallurgical Microscopes, Gemological Microscopes, Live Blood Cell Microscopes and Hair Transplant Microscopes, Asbestos Microscopes, Dental Microscopes, Mohs Microscopes & Gout Microscopes refer to the Specialty Microscopes Section. Please view our Microscope Accessories section to see our selection of Botany, Zoology or Human Prepared Slides, which includes blood.

Please contact New York Microscope Company for any Compound Microscope inquiries, custom configurations, quantity discounts or support required at 877-877-7274 or

New York Microscope Company is the only microscope company to offer Free Service Protection Guarantee with the purchase of every microscope. Visit our Free Service Protection page for more details.