My new (used) microscope
My microscope stand arrived from BMI Surplus a few days ago. It is a Bausch and Lomb "B" stand with a transmitted light base. It cost 3 times as much as the original fake stand I purchased, but it's heavy and sturdy and has an XY base that allows the specimen to be moved around incrementally.
Bausch and Lomb "B" stand
XY microscope base
I couldn't figure out how to pop off the arm from the stand, so I took my pod, removed the arm, and plopped it into this stand. I have an extra B& L arm now, which I will sell on eBay.
Bausch and Lomb Stereo 7 microscope with photo port on a type "B" stand
$200 for Pod (great deal)
$325 for stand (okay deal)
There are some gem microscopes made by Amscope that you can buy for about the same price. However, I've been told by some of the experts at Gemology Online that they have inferior optics and eventually, you will purchase a better instrument.
The Bausch and Lomb Stereozoom 7 is the only microscope in this line (B & L made a line of stereo zooms numbered 1 to 7) that that can hold the optional photo port. Since this microscope is not made anymore, it is only available second hand from Ebay or 2nd hand lab suppliers, like Labx.
The challenge now is to find right equipment to attach my Sony NEX-5 to this port.
If you need a portable magnifier or if you are not ready to commit to buying a microscope, I recommend an LED loupe. It is $6.99 with free shipping from eBay.
It magnifies an amazing 60x and is really small (2"x2")
It is lit by both white and UV LED lights (a switch alternates the light source)
I find the loupe's lights too bright and shining in the wrong direction to see inclusions, so I use my LED penlight to light the stone from the side. Here is a Tsavorite garnet seen through the loupe and lit with my penlight. I shot this picture by holding the loupe in one hand, and my Sony NEX-5N with the other.