The Swift microscope, manufactured for over 50 years, places emphasis on meeting the educational needs of teachers and children.
Choosing the right microscope for a student can engender a lifelong interest in science.
A poorly designed microscope will lead to frustration and stifle a child’s scientific curiosity.
Above all, student microscopes need to be durable and easy to use.
Versatility is the keyword for the M3 series of Swift microscopes.
The M3 series lets students view both microscopic and macroscopic specimens, with magnifications that allow it to be used for any purpose from dissection to cell identification.
By changing the objectives and adjusting the stage, the student can switch to macro use in the classroom or field. The bright LED illumination emits little heat and will last 40 to 50 hours after an eight-hour charging.
Other features include:
The M3 is also available in a more economical monocular version, with the same capabilities including macro observation of opaque objects such as rocks, plants and insects.
Rechargeable batteries and charger are included as well as an instructional DVD and slide kit with prepared and blank slides.
Accessories including a cleaning kit and various prepared slide kits are also available.
Even with the all-metal construction, product reviews indicate this may not be the best choice for middle school use.
Several small parts must be interchanged to convert from micro to macro use – a challenging exercise for a child, especially in the field.
The Swift M3 is also available in a monocular version which may be preferable for young children who will have an easier time viewing specimens through a monocular eyepiece.
This microscope comes with the same features/specs as the binocular M3 model.
Also targeting the educational market, the M2250 series of Swift microscopes is geared towards middle and high school students and contains several features that help protect it from casual abuse.
The monocular head has a locked-on eyepiece to thwart theft; synthetically lubricated slip-clutch gears prevent over-focusing to protect the objective lens as well as the specimen.
The stage clips that hold the specimen in position also lock into place.
This series offers a choice of two illumination options.
The M2251B model has a 120-volt, 20-watt Tungsten bulb with a cord-hanger to contain the power cord, while the M2251CL has a corded LED illuminator.
The M2251C offers cordless LED illumination with a bulb that lasts up to 100,000 hours and 3 AA rechargeable batteries that yield 50 hours of usage after an eight-hour charge.
For enhanced contrast, the cordless version has an iris diaphragm with protective plastic shield.
Ideal for a classroom setting, a 360-degree rotatable head permits easy viewing between students.
Additional features include:
Optional upgrades for these Swift microscopes are limited to a mechanical stage with x-y left-side fine control and an upgraded 10X-20X zoom eyepiece.
User reviews are few and succinct but generally concur that this very basic microscope delivers workmanlike performance for a fair price.
Offering three low power magnification settings, this series of Swift microscopes is referred to as the Tri-Power design.
With objectives of 1x, 2x and 3x and a 10x eyepiece, the Model 123 has total magnifications of 10x, 20x and 30x.
The Model 124 offers a maximum 40x magnification and a 15x eyepiece is also available for this series, and turning the turret containing the objectives changes magnification.
These Swift microscopes also offer protective features such as locked-in eyepieces and stage clips to prevent unauthorized removal.
The slip-clutch focusing gears prevent students from damaging the focusing mechanism.
Dual LED illumination, above and beneath the stage, provides a bright, white light that emits almost no heat; lights can be operated separately or in unison, are easy to replace and have an estimated life of 50,000 hours.
Other notable features include:
Excellent for use in geology or biology as a dissecting microscope, stereomicroscopes are not designed to offer the high magnification required to study cells or other minute structures.
Unfortunately, this model does not have a camera port and does not lend itself to being used as an imaging platform.
Only the left eyepiece has an adjustable diopter to allow for increased focal acuity.
These educational Swift microscopes are comparably priced but no individual model offers the versatility desired in a learning atmosphere.
The M3 series has the most utility but some of its features are difficult for a child to use without supervision.
With both macro and micro viewing capabilities, the M3 bridges the gap between the M2250 series with its higher magnification and the M27LED stereomicroscope characterized by a wide viewing field and lower magnification.