Zeiss Microscopes

Developments and Model Review

Founded in the mid 19th century, Zeiss microscopes have been at the forefront of technological development ever since.

A worldwide company, Zeiss’ optical innovations have paved the way for microscopic advances and literally changed the way scientists and researchers use microscopes. 











Zeiss History

Carl Zeiss founded his company in 1846 in Jena, Germany and focused solely on making each microscope by hand.

In the early years of the company, Zeiss met Ernst Abbe, a freelance researcher, professor of physics and mathematics, who was very interested in the field of optics.

The two ultimately became partners, and Abbe’s contributions at Zeiss changed the face of microscopy.

One of his most notable innovations was the Abbe Condenser, a staple of many modern microscopes.

From the early 1900s onward, Zeiss expanded into other optical fields and began to manufacture telescopes, binoculars, spectacle lenses, surgical instruments, attachment lenses for cameras and advances in astronomical instruments.


Zeiss currently manufactures a wide range of microscopes, including electron microscopes:

 • Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM)

  • EVO MA & LS
  • Eigma
  • Supra and Ultra Series
  • Merlin

 • Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM)

  • Libra Series
  • Helium Ion Microscopes
  • Orion


Zeiss Bioscience Microscopes

 • Stereo Microscopes

  • Stemi Series
  • steREO Series

 • Inverted Microscopes

  • Axio Observer
  • Primo Vert
  • Axiovert 40

 • Upright Microscopes

  • Primo Star
  • Axio Lab A.1
  • Axio Examiner, Imager, and Scope

 • Confocal Microscopes

  • Laser Scanning Microscopes or LSM Series


Zeiss Developments

Zeiss microscopes offer a wide range of options economically, technologically and field-based.

The development of their electron microscopes came out of a joint venture with Leica referred to as LEO; these models are impressive and appropriate for larger research facilities.

The Bioscience models, comparable to Nikon and Olympus models, have a wide-range of applications in professional and academic settings.

These models all contain high-resolution optics, ergonomic design, unsurpassed fluorescent capability and a high potential for detailed photomicroscopic images.

Zeiss also offers objective lines of microscopes that can be custom configured to a researcher or laboratory’s specific needs.


Computer/Microscope Resolution

Zeiss’ Axiophot 2 was the first computer-controlled photomicroscope. As with all models to follow, it came with accessories to enable image-viewing abilities, to learn what these techniques mean, just follow the links:

In addition, these models all had the potential to be equipped with cameras, computers and software to create photomicroscopic images.

AxioVision software first appeared in the AxioPhot 2 and would become the basis for digital imaging in later Zeiss microscopes.

Quite advanced, this early program allowed for computer control of the microscope and remote control to adjust images.

The Axiophot 2, with a few conversions, enabled 3D viewing of specimens.

In the bio-medical field, 3D images provide data and make certain medical procedures possible such as:

  • Micromanipulation of cells
  • Patch-clamp technique
  • In-vitro fertilization procedures
  • Detailed examinations of endocytosis, xenobiotics and phagocytosis
  • Injection of matter into nucleotides
  • Panoramic examination of nerve cells

This innovative technology makes Zeiss equipment relevant in education, research and medical (treatment) settings.


Bioscience Models

Zeiss' bioscience line have a wide range of models appropriate for students, researchers and medical labs.

The Axio Lab A.1 and Primo Star are designed for educational and small clinical settings,

With incredible optics, the Axio Scope is a versatile model consumers can customize to fit his/her research requirement.

It’s frame is pyramidal in shape helping to reduce vibration and its focus, stage and transmitted light controls are very well positioned enabling you to rest your arms on the table, so is easy to use.

Along with the Axio models of microscopes from Zeiss came the infinity tube length enabling even better optics.

The Axiovert 40 is considered a top Zeiss model for professional researchers.

These models are competitive with their Nikon and Olympus counterparts, the Eclipse Series and BX and CX Series respectively.

The Axio Lab A.1 and Primo Star are Upright Zeiss Microscopes marketed for their high-performance features at an economical price.

Primo Star

  • Modular illumination, with three lighting options
  • 30W Koehler Halogen light
  • Infinity optics; addresses apochromatic color objectives
  • Siendentopf swiveling, rotating, adjustable eyepiece tube
  • Abbe condenser
  • Ergonomic and energy saving design
  • Portability; integrated carrying handle for safe and easy transport
  • Adjustable swivel tube, viewing angle, height, interocular distance and right/left hand stage operation to accommodate a variety of users

In addition, the Primo Star can accommodate all contrasting methods students need to learn, such as the study of stained tissue samples, phase contrast techniques for unstained specimens, cross sections of plants in botany studies, use of dark field to view diatoms, etc.

As with all other Zeiss microscopes, photomicroscopy accessories include AxioVision software and camera adapters.

Axio Lab A.1

The Axio Lab A.1 is ideal for medical labs and education.

In addition to the many Primo Star features, this microscope is durable, versatile, can handle all the contrasting techniques and has two alternative illumination options, 35w Halogen lamp or 3W LED.

It is TUV-approved for advanced ergonomic design, with accommodating height-adjusted titling tube, soft-touch materials for user comfort as well as all the multi-user design features of the Primo Star.

Finally, it is ideal for an educational setting because multi-tubes enable more than one viewer at a time.

Axio Scope

The Axio Scope is an adaptable upright microscope that can be custom configured to suit the needs of a researcher, lab, school or affordability.

You can update or reconfigure this model as needed.

The number of customizable options is impressive and unique to Zeiss.

These range from 23 different stands, 5 different classes of objectives, unlimited stand space to accommodate large specimens made possible by removable condensers and stage movement.

Axiovert 40

The Axiovert 40, an inverted model, is a leader in Zeiss microscopes and includes the following features:

  • Accommodates all contrast techniques
  • Stage adjustable by height, rotation and temperature
  • Adapters for numerous models of photo and/or video cameras
  • 35W Halogen lamp
  • 3-position reflector mount that increases contrast, allows for quick exchange of filters and invaluable for epifluorescent techniques
  • VAREL, variable relief contrast techniques for thin or thick specimens
  • PlasDIC
  • Siedentopf tube
  • Axio Cam and AxioVision for image documentation

The Axiovert 40 is versatile and durable, with custom options for configuration and components, accessories and the ability to expand objectives in the future.

**** Ebay is a great place to search for a good deal on a Zeiss Microscope.






Zeiss Digital Imaging

Zeiss microscopes come with impressive imaging modules and software, such as:

  • AxioVision
  • MosaiX, scans sample in conjunction with a motorized stage
  • Z-Stack, 3D picture to view a structure in axial dimension
  • HDR, a photography technique that can increase contrast by overlapping images
  • Multi-channel Fluorescence, allows up to 32 channels
  • Live cell imaging, including time lapse

Zeiss was instrumental in the innovation of the surgical microscope with impressive digital visual imaging. There are incredible stereo microscopes in the Zeiss surgical line.

Zeiss was the first to incorporate computers into microscopy and continues to be a strong leader using technology to advance microscopic visual techniques.

The above-mentioned are just a few imaging developments that can be credited to Zeiss, who makes imaging possibilities appear endless.


Zeiss Service and Sales

Although more expensive than other major manufacuturers in the business notably Nikon, Zeiss's service and parts are very appreciated by microscope owners.

Their service personnel are very responsive and knowledgeable. Zeiss prides itself on a well equipped service force and their training is looked to as the standard to reach in the industry. They now sell through a direct sales force which has helped to reduce prices somewhat.

Just remember to demo your model of choice and always try to negotiate the price as Zeiss is noted for high prices in the industry.


Zeiss microscopes have matched and surpassed many competitors in optic innovations, ergonomic design, technology and digital imaging applications.

Zeiss manufactures an entire range of large electron microscopes for larger research facilities as well as smaller bioscience models for use in educational, clinical, medical and general laboratory research settings.

Zeiss’ models, known for versatility and durability, are unique in the customization choices offered to consumers both at time of purchase and as future expansion options.

The quality Carl Zeiss strived for when he began making microscopes and the innovations Ernst Abbe contributed to the fields of optics and microscopy set a standard the company maintains over a century after its inception.


Zeiss Upright Models Review

Axiostar Plus - A smaller but high performance microscope that delivers robust features and upgradeability as well as the Zeiss renowned ergonomics. At a very nice price! 

Axio Scope A1 - This modular member of the Zeiss microscopes family was engineered for teaching at universities, research labs, industrial, and medical applications and used in quality control in a variety of fields. A top quality research grade microscope, it may be just what your imaging requirements need! 

Axio Examiner - This microscope can be configured for all major imaging methods. The Axio Examiner.A1 is an entry-level scope, the Axio Examiner.D1 is more advanced with 75mm parfocal objectives and the Axio Examiner.Z1 is the top of the Examiner line with motorization and the upgraded Zeiss objectives. Read on for features and benefits. 

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