Digital or Traditional Microscopy?

Phaos Optic Science Educational Series

March 22, 2021
12:00 PM (GMT)

15 Minutes


The most traditional form of microscopy is optical microscopy, also known as light microscopy where it uses visible light to view a sample through the magnification of a lens system.

A variation of the traditional optical microscope is the digital microscope whereby, instead of using an eyepiece, it uses a digital camera. Images will be seen in real-time on the computer screen.

As mentioned in the earlier post on magnification, there are three variables that will play a role in magnification, namely: Angle of Incidence, Curvature of the Lens and the Refractive index (RI)5.

Differences between conventional optical microscopes and digital microscopes

Digital microscopes perform the same tasks as optical microscopes. But, there are additional features that differ from one another.

The most crucial difference between a digital microscope and a conventional optical microscope is that in the former there is no provision to view the sample directly through the eyepiece.

Should I Choose Digital Microscopy?

| Ergonomics

A key reason to choose a digital microscope is the ergonomics of the instrument. If you are working in a research laboratory with a high sample throughput, or, if you use microscopes for hours together, a digital microscope is your best choice.

Since images are instantly displayed on a computer screen, you are will be able to analyze them with ease. What’s even better is that Phaos’ OptoNano 200 System has an autofocus feature that assists in auto-focusing the image.

| Large depth-of-field

Digital microscopes offer a large depth-of-field that will allow you to precisely observe your cell cultures or on an uneven surface.

If you were to combine this with the depth composition function, it will allow stacking of focal positions of numerous images, leading to high-clarity pictures.

| Analysis in 360 degrees

Digital microscopes have a variable-angle capability that allows observation through 360 degrees.

| Multi-lighting feature

Some digital microscopes come with a multi-lighting feature.

At times, some parts of the image may not be clear due to glare. By changing the direction of the ring light, the glare from the image is removed.

| Broad magnification range

You will be able to analyze your cell cultures in depth because of the range of magnifications available in digital microscopes.

| Remote working

Digital microscopy can be linked to a cloud-based system to facilitate remote working. What this means is that you can operate the device and observe the samples using a computer.

Overall, optical microscopes have been the workhorse in diverse settings, including research while Digital microscopy has got several unique features that make it advantageous in the research setting. Users should look at their application to decide which microscope to go for.

Unsure what microscope or features for your application? Book an appointment us and our technical team will share their expertise with you!