Olympus Stereo Microscopes
Pros, Cons and Pricing

Olympus stereo microscopes are able to view the specimen in three dimensions.

Stereo microscopes are really two compound microscopes in one unit enabling the user to focus on the same point from slightly different angles. The image is upright and laterally correct rather than upside down and backwards, as found in compound microscopes.

Olympus History

Olympus, a Japanese maker, launched its first stereo microscope, model XA, in 1933, using a Greenough optical design. The Olympus stereo microscope was designed for ease of use and comfortable observation with a hand rest on both sides of the stage. This allows for easier micro-dissection.

Utilizing three objective lenses, the microscope had a maximum total magnification of 48x which is little compared to modern stereo microscopes. Just prior to World War II, Olympus launched the XB and XC models.

Olympus Pros

With its “Comfort View” technology, the Olympus stereo models are some of the easiest to use.

With this technology, you can adjust the eye point and pupil aberration to achieve the right fit, enabling you to find and maintain your field of view. Not only that, but this feature lets you work faster and be more productive.

Another feature is the Greenough optics system, which inclines inward with two zoom paths. This provides an enlarged, flat field depth, and gives a detailed, clear and full-color image.

Olympus microscopes feature are:

  • Transmitted light attachment
  • A stand with LED illumination
  • Transmitted light illuminator for bright/dark field

Olympus makes a high-level transmitted illuminator for these models, if you require a variable contrast control.

Olympus is known for manufacturing a rugged microscope so thankfully they break infrequently.

Olympus stereo microscopes are made to be used in a variety of applications and settings so they are purposely manufactured with design elements allowing for a variety of stands, eyepieces, objectives, and lighting techniques.

Olympus's strength is in its dealer organization and are very firm on their pricing policy.

Olympus Cons

Issues considered as disadvantages are:

  • Several discrete magnifications, a single fixed magnification or a zoom magnification system. This may be difficult to manipulate but with experience becomes easier.
  • Longer working distance than with a typical compound microscope. This is not so much of a disadvantage. In actual fact, this is the purpose of a stereo microscope. Work can be done on the specific specimen/object while it is being observed through the microscope.
  • Olympus continues to work on their personnel technical training as this has been inadequate in the past and there have been reports of end-user disappointment.
  • A poor parts supply for older models (users have been able to rectify some parts problems by looking on auction sites such as ebay) and effort to find these parts can be time-consuming.


Olympus microscopes start at just under $2000 for non-illuminated models and ranging from $4000 and higher for stereo zoom microscopes.

Used models can be found for one-third the cost of a new microscope.

Olympus' pricing is competitive when compared with competing models in the Nikon or Leica microscope products.

Olympus Stereo Microscopes are well known worldwide for:

Superb optical performance,

Precise & practical zoom ratios

High image resolution

Easy, comfortable operability achieved by their many original ergonomic design features.

Olympus designs their stereo microscopes for high-resolution viewing of live specimens and provides users with quality and performance, which raises the bar for the laboratory optics industry as a whole.

Official Site: olympusamerica.com 

Olympus Stereo Models Reviewed:

Olympus Stereo MVX and SZX

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