The trouble with most optical equipment is that it won’t get used unless it is out of the case, opened up, and powered on. But if it is open and lying around, it will get highly abused. I buy my cameras, spectacles, binocs, etc. assuming they’ll be dropped and splattered, and they should hold up to this misuse. But until now I haven’t been able to find a microscope strong enough to do its job yet sturdy enough to be left on the kitchen table ready for inspections by toddlers and teenagers. Now after several years of looking for an everyday microscope suitable for a busy family I found one.
The Brock Magiscope #70 is exactly what I had wanted. It has a single moving part that my five-year old can handle. He can put a leaf in and focus it right. Rubber bands hold the slide. For light the scope uses a fat fiber optic bent pipe which channels ambient room light to the underside of the objective lens (no electricity). There is no fussing, no adjustments. The viewing field is amazingly bright and clear, with a choice of 100x magnification, good enough for high school work. We’ve discovered we can press the lens of a digital camera to its eyepiece, focus on the digital screen and get pretty good microphotography shots.
And best of all it is practically indestructible. The thing is simple and rugged as a hammer. In fact it was built for the abuse of K-12 classrooms, which is probably as grating as a war. Brock offers a “lifetime replacement warranty, including accidents.” If it breaks, ever, they replace it. And they do. (Some visiting kids manage to break the light optic — I have no idea how — but Brock replaced it with no questions asked.)
This tool is always on, always out (it sits next to the fruit bowl); we use it.