Swift Stellar 1-T Professional Lab Compound Microscope
Review


Overview



The Swift Stellar 1-T Professional Lab Compound Microscope is a versatile compound microscope designed to meet the needs of amateur and professional users. It comes with an ergonomic design that enhances efficiency and ease of use while significantly reducing strain.


Image: Swift Stellar 1-T Professional Lab Compound Microscope as featured on Amazon.


Some of the features of the Swift Stellar 1-T that many enthusiasts will particularly appreciate include:

 

·       Coated glass optics

·       Interchangeable wide-field eyepieces

·       Eco-friendly LED illumination and auto power-off functions

·       Space-saving compact body 

·       Type C USB plug in



The Frame



Swift Stellar 1-T has an impressive frame that has been designed to maximize efficiency and convenience.

 

Most of the body parts (base, arm, and eye tube) are metallic which gives the microscope a sturdy structure. This not only ensures that it remains in place during use, but also firmly holds and protects the other smaller elements. For instance, the heavy, metallic base provides stability and houses the LED while the power adapter compartment is firmly located in the metallic arm. The use of metallic material for the instrument is also important in that it adds to the overall durability.

In addition to increasing stability and durability, the body also serves a number of well-thought functions. On the upper part of the arm, the microscope has a large handle for easy lifting and carrying. The handle is large enough to allow for a proper grip so that it can be moved safely. 

 

* While the microscope is lightweight, the handle makes it more comfortable to lift and carry.

 

The power adapter fits perfectly in the power adapter compartment behind the arm. It can be easily removed for use or inserted back into the compartment for storage (when not in use). As such, it does not have to be carried separately from the microscope making it easily accessible. The space between the compartment and the arm is also useful in that it serves to hold the power cord. 

Wrapping/winding the cord around the hanger prevents it from hanging loosely thus preventing small accidents. As well, a pair of clips on the upper part of the power adapter compartment can be used to hold/support a portable charger/power bank when in use. 

The other effective utilization of the frame is the inclusion of slide storage grooves/slots behind the stage. The unit, therefore, serves the same function as a rack; holding a few slides (prepared/unprepared) and making them easily accessible to the user.  

 


Energy Consumption



Swift Stellar 1-T has been designed to be highly energy-efficient.


This is made possible through several key aspects of the microscope that include:


Energy-Efficient LED Illunimation


Compared to some of the other types of bulbs (fluorescent and incandescent), LED lights are highly energy efficient. Here, 80 percent of electrical energy is converted to light with only 20 percent being wasted as heat. For this reason, they do not heat up during use which also makes them safer. 

In addition to being energy efficient, LED bulbs are also more stable and tend to last longer than the other types of light bulbs. For instance, compared to incandescent bulbs, an LED bulb can last 50 to 100 times longer.  

 

* LED bulbs are made of non-toxic, recyclable materials. As such, they are eco-friendly and thus a better choice compared to the alternatives. 

 


Reflection Mirror


A reflection mirror can be used for illumination in situations where electric power supply is not available. Therefore, the microscope can still be used by people living in locations without electric power. To use the mirror, the light collector (transmitted light collector) below the condenser is first removed. The reflection mirror is then inserted into place and rotated so that it remains in place. 

While reflection mirrors are often used in places without electric power, they can still be used as an alternative. This option also makes it ideal for use in the field. 

 

* Using a reflection mirror for illumination is also a great alternative for those who may not wish to use electric power. Here, the use of sunlight for illumination cuts energy cost

 


Portable Charger


A portable power bank can be connected to the microscope through the type-C input located below the power adapter compartment. As mentioned, the portable power bank can be positioned and held in place by the holders on the upper part of the power adapter compartment. 

As is the case with reflection mirrors, using a portable power bank allows the microscope to be used in the field where users don't have access to electric power. Given that LED bulbs are highly energy-efficient, a compatible power bank can supply power for an extended period of time, allowing the user a great experience. 

 

* The microscope can also automatically turn off if left unattended. This is because it has an auto power-off function that can detect if brightness remains unchanged for about 30 minutes. This is an excellent feature, especially when using a portable power bank. 

By automatically powering off, it prevents the battery/power bank from being drained. On the other hand, it also saves power if the microscope is connected to an AC outlet. 

 


Other Components and Accessories



Like the frame of the microscope, all the other components have been modified to increase efficiency and comfortable use.


See parts of a microscope here.


Focus Knobs


As the name suggests, the coarse and fine focus knobs are used to bring the image into focus, making it easy to study different parts in detail. In this microscope, the knobs can be found on the right and left side of the stand. This allows both left and right-handed people to use the microscope without difficulty. 

What differentiates the Stellar 1-T compound microscope from many other microscopes is the fact that the focus knobs have been lowered so that they are much closer to the surface on which the microscope stands.  With lowered knobs, the user's hands can rest on the surface while using the microscope. This is especially useful in cases where the microscope is used for a prolonged period of time. 

 

* For this microscope, the focus knob is relatively larger which might make it easier and more comfortable to use for some users.


* Resting the arm on the surface while focusing significantly reduces strain.


* To increase or decrease resistance or torque of the coarse focus knob, the microscope has an adjustment ring that can be turned clockwise or anticlockwise to increase or reduce tension. This ring is located behind the coarse adjustment knob on the left side of the microscope.

 


Brightness Indicator


Like many other modern devices that use electricity, the microscope also has a brightness indicator in place. Located at the base, in front of the light collector, the indicator will light up when the power is switched on. As such, it informs the user whether the equipment is functioning properly. However, it also serves to indicate any electrical issues that can cause damage. 

For instance, any flickering of the light may indicate issues with the plug, power supply system, or AC outlet. It's therefore an important component that can inform the user on the appropriate steps to take and thus prevent significant damage. 

 

* The LED can be easily removed and replaced if need be. The LED can be accessed by simply removing the light collector.



Head


The microscope consists of a Siedentopf trinocular head. Like the frame, the head has been designed with efficiency and convenience in mind. 

 

Swiveling head - The trinocular head (which consists of the photo port and binocular eyepiece) can be rotated around while the microscope remains in place. The design allows for a surprisingly smooth rotation on either side. This is convenient in cases where more than one person is using the microscope.

As mentioned, the metallic frame increases stability and ensures that the microscope remains in place during use. The swiveling head is therefore convenient in that it simply allows for the head to be turned without having to move or turn the entire microscope.

 

* A bearing system between the binocular eyepiece tube and the upper part of the frame prevents scratching when the head is turned. In the process, it also contributes to the smooth rotation of the head.

 

Binocular eyepiece - The binocular eyepiece comes with a number of features aimed at making the viewing experience a pleasant one. For instance, the interpupillary distance/eye distance can be adjusted to accommodate both eyes by pulling the binoculars apart and vice-versa (twisting the eyepieces clockwise or anticlockwise). 

By adjusting the interpupillary distance, the right and left fields of view become one. The left eyepiece has a diopter adjustment ring that serves to compensate for differences in eye vision. For people with different eye visions (or those who use glasses), this is an important feature that that enhances the viewing process. 

Like the focus knob, the diopter is also used for focusing. Following initial focusing using the focus knob, the diopter is used to correct focus for the left eye, while viewing through the left eyepiece, until the image appears sufficiently sharp. 

 

* The Siedentopf head is tilted at a 30-degree angle to reduce neck strain during use.

 

Photo port - For photographic purposes (photomicrography), the microscope comes with a phototube that can accommodate the typical eyepiece camera and a C-mounted camera. To use an eyepiece or eyepiece camera, the eyepiece ring is first screwed in place at the top of the phototube so that the eyepiece/eyepiece camera can be inserted.

To use a C-mount camera, the screw has to be loosened and removed (using a hexagonal wrench). Here, the adapter in place serves as the standard C-mount for the camera. The tube itself can also be adjusted to increase or reduce the length depending on the needs of the user. This is achieved by using a ring at the base of the tube and serves to adjust and bring the image into focus.

 

* The phototube can be easily attached or removed using the hexagonal wrench. When not in use, it can be removed and stored separately if there isn’t enough space (in cases where the microscope is too tall for the storage unit).


* The two options make it possible for users to record and capture images and even live stream the specimen in class or presentation scenario.


* Like the frame, the Siedentopf head also has a smart storage design. As mentioned, the head (trinocular tube) can be rotated in different directions. By turning it 180 Degrees from the original position so that the eyepiece tube turns backward, it takes up less space which is convenient during storage. 

 

For further instructions, the microscope comes with a QR code on the rear side of the eyepiece tube. By scanning the QR code, users can easily access videos and manuals with instructions on various procedures and steps of use. 

In the event that users are stuck or confused at any moment, they can easily learn by taking advantage of this QR code. However, users are always advised to contact professionals in cases where they may not understand how to proceed. 

 


Optics


For this microscope, all the glass optics are coated to reduce unwanted reflections. Essentially, lenses/optics serve to gather and transmit light back to the eyes thus making the image visible. As light moves through (transmitted) the lenses, some are reflected off the surface and lost. This can affect the quality of the image given that some of the light does not pass through. 

To solve this problem, optics can be coated with a thin material. This not only reduces the reflection of light on the surface of the lens, but also improves transmission. Generally, it's estimated that uncoated lenses lose at least 5 percent of light. 

For the Stellar 1-T microscope, all the glass optics are fully coated. This means that both sides of the lenses are coated. This has also been suggested to increase contrast thus increasing clarity and detail. 

In addition to coating, the optics are also treated to prevent mold growth. In humid environments, studies have shown that mold (e.g. aspergillus and trichoderma species) can cause significant damage to optical instruments. Because it grows fairly quickly, it can only take a few days to cause irreversible damage. 

Once the airborne spores fall on and settle on the optics, they germinate to produce organisms that grow and survive by using oils and other organic material (from fingerprints or some of the specimen) that might be present on the lens. This results in the production of acids as the by-product which causes damage to the lens (permanent etches).

Using anti-mold treated optics is therefore beneficial because they ensure high-quality images while also saving replacement costs.  


Image Quality


 

Because of the high-quality optics, the microscope produces high-quality images if the slide is well prepared. Here, one of the biggest advantages is the fact that users get very clear images without any blurring at the edges. As a result, users can obtain high-quality images during photomicrography.  

When oblique illumination technique is used where light is projected at an angle, contrast is increased producing slightly three-dimensional images (3D) that resemble those of differential interference contrast microscopy. This is particularly useful for studying the morphology of various living organisms. 

 


Some of the other features/components of the Stellar 1-T microscope include:

 

·       4 DIN Achromatic objectives that give six levels of magnification (40X to 2500X)


·       Protective dust cover – Use during storage to protect the microscope from dust accumulation


·       Mechanical stage with a scale, rack stop, and holder


·       Power supply adapter (connected using USB) – stored in the Power Adapter Compartment


·       Color-coded condenser diaphragm


·       A quick focus guide - Smoothly moves the stage up and down during focusing 

 


Swift Stellar 1-T Professional Lab Compound Microscope Drawbacks



The Swift Stellar 1-T has many advantages that make it ideal for use in the laboratory or out in the field. It also has a number of outstanding features that set it apart from some of the alternatives in the market. However, there are several aspects of the microscope that some users may find disappointing or inconvenient.


These include:

 

Some accessories have to be purchased separately - As mentioned, the power adapter is connected to a USB cable so that it can be connected to an AC outlet. Because it uses a USB cable, it can also accommodate a battery/power bank especially when the microscope is being used outside.

It's worth noting that the microscope does not come with a power bank/battery for such uses. For this reason, a compatible battery/power bank has to be purchased separately. Similarly, those who wish to use the reflective mirror also have to make a separate purchase. This process might prove to be an inconvenience for some users. 

 

Optics - Cheaper versions of the series come with ordinary achromatic objectives. For this reason, it's important for those interested in getting the microscope to confirm that they are getting the right version. Unlike the cheaper version, the other option (which costs more) comes with the infinity objectives that produce high-quality images. However, the choice will largely depend on the intended use. 


Return to Swift Microscopes Main Page

Return to Compound Light Microscope Main Page

Return from Swift Stellar 1-T Professional Lab Compound Microscope Review To MicroscopeMaster home