Dissecting Microscope Parts

Dissecting Microscope Parts

Before discussing the article topic of dissecting microscope parts, it’s essential to fully appreciate the microscope’s functions. 

The dissecting microscope is also referred to as a stereoscopic microscope and is ordinarily used to study three-dimensional objects. And also as the name suggests for dissecting and analysing biological specimens under low magnification between two and two hundred and fifty times. 

When you compare the dissecting microscope to compound microscopes, there are some crucial differences. Dissecting microscopes have low power opticals and illuminators. The illuminator provides a reliable source of spatially coherent (fixed-phase), light for the microscope.

Because dissecting microscopes are less powerful, they have a longer working distance, typically between 25 and 150mm. Thereby giving the microscope’s user the ability to maneuver the specimen he is studying and perform dissections under the microscope. 

Using a typical dissecting or stereoscope microscope light is played on the specimen from above, which creates a three-dimensional image.

If you want to view specimens or objects that light cannot penetrate, you will use a dissecting microscope.

The user can see the real colors of an object and can move the item to perhaps attain a better viewing angle, at the same time. Numerous specimens can be viewed this way, even living organisms. 

Stereo-dissecting microscopes utilize two optical paths through their two 10x eyepieces. Commonly known as binocular stereo microscopes, they are very adaptable. By combining the low magnification, longer working distance, quality LED lights, and first-rate stage plates, they provide users with an authentic color, 3-dimensional view, of the item being observed.

Some dissecting microscopes have a digital camera to enable users to take images and videos of the objects they are studying.

Dissecting Microscope Parts

Parts of Dissecting microscope

Dissecting Microscope Stand/Arm

The stand/arm is the spine of the dissecting microscope because its function is to provide support for the head while at the same time connecting the head to the microscope base.

The microscope’s design will determine if the stand is hollow, an immobile arm or cylindrical rod. To light the specimen from above the power cable will extend from the top part of the stand. Typically the arm track will also be positioned on the arm or stand to allow the microscope head freedom to move up and down the arm, enabling it to focus on the subject.

Functions Of The Dissecting Microscope’s Stand/Arm

Head Support

As previously mentioned, the stand supports the head of the microscope. If you consider the stand to be the microscope’s spine, it allows the head to travel up and down to focus on the object in view.


The coarse focus knob’s location is on the rigid construction stand. When the user turns the knob, it allows the head to move up and down to focus on the specimen. However, on the hollow rod stand the coarse focus knob is situated elsewhere. Irrespective of where you will find the knob its function is the same.


There needs to be a safe way of transporting the microscope, and the easiest and safest way is to move it by holding the stand.

Dissecting Microscope Base

The base is there to support all parts of the microscope. It’s large and heavy so that it can form a solid platform for the microscope. The base is also where you’ll find the stage. Unlike the compound microscope where the base and stage are separate from each other, the base is also the stage in the dissecting microscope. Should you not aware this is the part where the user places specimens for viewing.

Some microscopes have clips on the base to hold specimens securely. Once again, a significant difference between compound and dissecting microscopes is that the user cannot reposition the latter’s base during viewing.

Other components of the microscope are on the base, such as the on/off switch.

Dissecting microscopes can have two sources of illumination. Some have only the overhead light, while others have both overhead and stage lighting. If the microscope only has illumination from above the control for that light can be found on one side of the stage. The control gives the user options in how much light they need to use to illuminate the specimen; the intensity can be increased or decreased dependant on the user.

If the microscope has two light sources, the user can adjust the light intensity independently.

Dissecting Microscope Head


The eyepieces or the ocular lenses are what the user looks through to view the specimen. The lenses in compound microscopes are not interchangeable with ones in the dissecting microscope. In effect, the ocular lenses magnify the images that project from the objective, thereby enlarging the image for closer study. There is a gap between 10 to 15mm from the user’s eye to the ocular lens to prevent the user’s eyebrows from coming into contact with the eyepiece lens. Commonly referred to as the eye relief.

If the user wears glasses, he can adjust the eye relief distance from 25mm to 30mm.

The eyepieces have designations on them stipulating the magnification the eyepiece provides. Generally, this is ten times magnification or 10x, which the user would expect to see on the eyepiece. In addition to the magnification label, some eyepieces may also have the title “WF” designating the eyepiece to be a wide field of view. Which simply means the user will see more of the specimen in the viewer.

Dissecting microscopes may also have a diopter adjustment. This adjustment is handy because it allows for each eyepiece’s adjustment for a user whose eyes have different focal quality.

When using binocular eyepieces, there must be the ability to alter the interpupillary distance (the gap between two eyepieces), to accommodate both eyes for different users.


The objectives are the primary lenses and are responsible for magnifying the specimen and collecting the light that produces the image seen through the eyepieces. Similar to ocular lenses they will be of superior quality glass, not plastic. The objectives of a dissecting microscope are not in view but are secure in a cylindrical cone. The user turns the cone to adjust the magnification levels.

There is one objective lens for each ocular lens to create the three-dimensional images seen in the microscope’s eyepieces.

Other Parts Of The Dissecting Microscope

The Zoom Knob: Just below the eyepieces are the zoom knobs, each side of the microscope head. If there’s a particular area of the specimen that the user wants a closer look at, he can zoom into the object. Zooming in can affect the focus, so there might need to be some re-adjustment using the focus knob.

Prism: Is capable of bending light, thereby changing the direction of the image.

Relay Lens: These invert the image so that it appears the correct way when viewed.

Reticle: This has a grid for measurements and is made from glass.


The dissecting microscope parts come together to create a fantastic piece of equipment for dissecting many organisms and is utilized where high magnification is not necessary.