Many years ago before Biomedx, I bought my first microscope. At that time I was told I’d have to spend $10,000 or more to get what I needed to do “live blood” imaging. Ouch. “If you’re serious, you should only buy German – like a Zeiss”, was another remark.

Then there was the $26,000+ “wonder-scope” marketed for live blood biological work from a group selling to the medical profession with “patented“ technology. Side by side, the Biomedx system with a standard definition camera priced under $5,000 actually performed much better and delivered a far superior image. The only wonder about those more expensive scopes is that people actually bought them.

One dealer had told me he tired of taking calls out of the blue from people wanting to do “darkfield” blood work who knew very little of what they really wanted or needed.

Then there have been other sellers of systems that take advantage of this. I’ve heard some say things like, “model x is really only a student scope, you should move into the mid-line model y for the clinical rigor, it will hold up better.” The reality in this case was that the “student” model was just on the low end of the cost spectrum but for the average clinic it was quite sufficient.

When looking for a scope the mechanical aspect of a microscope is very important, the smoothness of the focus and stage control is one measure of quality. And certainly the optics, the light, and the video that delivers the image is paramount.

It is important to know your application, optics and mechanics. I was fortunate to have discovered early on that the Olympus optics are of exceptional quality. Side by side against similar German optics at the same price point (which some had considered to be a benchmark) it is impossible to tell the difference.

With superior optics at a good price, do you need to go to excessive price levels for a microscope to do this work? Not really. With the right solid entry level clinic scope you can get a great price, and with some creative modifications, have an upgrade path to empower it to do everything for live blood imaging that the most expensive scopes can do at half the cost.

Most often microscopes used in a CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) clinic or wellness facility is typically not being used in a diagnostic capacity but as an educational and empowerment/compliance tool for the client. It’s a tool to observe the qualitative properties of an individual’s underlying biological terrain in one fluid compartment - the blood - and possibly saliva or urine. As such it needs incredible optics and light/video imaging capacity.

I learned long ago that it is important to stick with top tier optics and mechanics in a system. Through creative modification and the tool & die of some custom parts, a top tier manufactured baseline microscope could adapt as needed to equal the imaging and performance of the most expensive microscopes from the top manufacturers. The result – amazing value.

I would consider top tier manufacturers to be Olympus, Zeiss, Nikon. A 2nd tier manufacturer (particularly where phase contrast is concerned) would be Meiji from Japan. And then there are scopes from Russia and China. China has flooded the market with low cost microscopes with many varied names. For the clients of Biomedx, although these systems can be easily acquired, I have not been willing to compromise my quality, versatility or imaging standards and have yet to find the Chinese systems worthy for our primary market. It is with a number of inferior systems with various name plates that I’ve found insufficient lighting capacity, optical quality, and questionable craftsmanship in some cases.  

When you are looking to save money it is often true that you get what you pay for. I tell “shoppers” that are looking for the cheapest scope that yes they can find scopes that are less expensive - but cheaper is the operative word. There are some brands you definitely do NOT want if you want a high quality image and a finely engineered  piece of equipment that will last you a lifetime.

There are many things to consider when buying a microscope for live blood and dry layer imaging. Biomedx has been selling into this marketplace since 1994 and has point specific knowledge about the work and practice management involved.

It really is important before you plunk down good money on a system, to investigate all of your options. I have seen many people make rash decisions, and later come to regret their haste.

Biomedx is an Olympus OEM/VAR as well as a direct line dealer for other quality components. We do not mark up our microscope prices beyond standard dealer retail pricing. In some cases, prices are less. This is in sharp contrast to what we have seen others do in this area. Prices and markups can reach exorbitant levels.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably in the market for a microscope. Please continue to look over this material, gather your questions, and give us a call.  

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