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The Best Petrological Microscope (Petrographic Microscope Reviews)

A petrologist uses microscopes and chemical tests to determine the nature of rocks and minerals. Microscope examination of a rock specimen mounted on a thin section slide is the principle technique used to identify the rock specimen. Further study can determine the components and features of the rock along with its composition, how it was formed and the geological setting of the rock.

As you are probably already aware, there are a wide range of geology microscopes available; from student microscopes to professional microscopes used in scientific labs.

With that said, below are 3 of the best petrology microscopes that I have found along with a complete list of the features of each microscope.  The first is the best polarized microscope for students, and the last two are for professional situations.

The Best Petrology Microscopes Quick List

AmScopre Student Polarizing & Bright Field Microscope 40x-1000x (The Best Polarized Microscope For Students)

This is the perfect polarizing microscope for students. The combination of quality, features and cost make it the best choice. 

The AmScope M500-PZ polarizing monocular compound microscope has a 10x widefield eyepiece, a forward-facing nosepiece with four DIN achromatic objectives, tungsten illumination, coaxial separate coarse and fine focus, a 1.25 NA Abbe condenser, and a plain stage with a polarizing attachment.

The monocular viewing head has a fixed 45-degree vertical inclination to reduce eye and neck strain, and 360-degree rotation capability to enable sharing. An anti-mold head preserves optics in high-humidity areas. 

The forward-facing revolving nosepiece has 4x, 10x, 40xS, and 100xS (oil) DIN achromatic objectives that provide color correction of magnified images. The 40xS and 100x S objectives are spring loaded to prevent damage to the slide or objective when focusing. The 100xS oil-immersion objective uses oil between the specimen and the objective lens to provide increased resolution over a standard objective.

The fully-coated optical system provides sharp, high-resolution images. A compound microscope is used for inspection and dissection of specimens when two-dimensional images are desired.

The microscope has lower (diascopic) Brightfield and polarizing imaging that transmits light up through the specimen for enhanced visibility of translucent and transparent objects. Brightfield (BF) illumination allows the specimen to absorb light, resulting in a dark image on a light background. Polarization is used to view rocks, minerals, and other anisotropic substances.

The polarizing kit includes a round stage and a polarizing filter. The round stage can be rotated to change the direction from which light hits the specimen, and is graduated in 5-degree increments to record coordinates. The polarizing lens filters light from below the stage.

Tungsten (incandescent) illumination provides bright light, and a rheostat controls the amount of light emanating from the lamp. The 1.25 NA Abbe condenser can be adjusted to control the distance of the light from the stage and has an iris diaphragm to optimize the amount of light illuminating the specimen. The condenser is controlled using a spiral mechanism.

The plain stage has clips to secure the specimen in place, and is 4-3/8 x 4-3/4 inches (110 x 120mm) (W x D; where W is width, the horizontal distance from left to right; D is depth, the horizontal distance from front to back).

Separate coaxial coarse and fine focus eases focusing for left- and right-handed viewers, and a rack-and-pinion mechanism provides precise and secure focusing. Focus tension control prevents stage drift.

All the mechanical parts of the microscope are constructed of metal to provide durability and resistance to wear. The metal frame has a stain-resistant enamel finish for durability and to ease cleaning.

Microscope Features:

  • High quality professional polarizing microscope perfect for geology, petrology, mineralogy, toxicology, pharmaceutics, and forensic medicine

  • Infinite Optical System

  • Total Magnification of 40-600X

  • 10X Adjustable Eyepiece

  • 10X Reticle Adjustable Eyepiece

  • 4X 10X 20X 40X 60X Infinity Plan Achromatic Polarizing Objective

  • Standard Coupler: 0.4X

  • Eyetube Angle: 30°

  • Illumination Type: Halogen Transmitted/Reflection Light

  • Coaxial Reflection Light Type: Bright Field

  • Input Voltage: AC 100-240V 50/60Hz.

Polarizing compound microscope features an integrated fine and coarse focusing Bertrand lens. The binocular head is positioned at 45 degrees and is able to rotate a full 360 degrees. This petrology microscope is also ideal for use in geology, mineralogy and many other industrial, scientific and medical applications.

Microscope Features:

  • A high quality professional polarizing microscope perfect for geology, petrology, mineralogy, toxicology, pharmaceutics, and forensic medicine

  • 360 degree rotatable stage with locking control

  • Built-in focusable Bertrand lens on rotatable disc with centering controls

  • Built-in analyzer with capability for removal from optical path

  • 45 degree inclined 360 degree rotatable sliding binocular head

  • Six magnification settings: 40X, 64X, 100X, 160X, 400X and 640X

  • Two pairs of Eyepieces included

  • Large mechanical stage with stain resistant finish

  • Full optical glass elements

  • Precise ground glass lenses

  • All metal mechanical parts

  • Coaxial coarse and fine focusing system

  • Dual side focusing control knobs

  • Focusing tension control mechanism

  • Adjustable interpupillary distance

  • Adjustable diopters on both eye tubes

  • Solid metal frame construction with stain resistant enamel finish

  • High resolution crystal clear images

  • Graduated in 1 degree for 90 degrees

  • Brightfield/polarizing selectable knob for easily changing light from brightfield to polarization.

  • Three DIN strain-free Plan Achromatic objectives included: 4X, 10X 40X (Spring)

  • 55mm - 75mm adjustable interpupillary distance (the distance between two eyes)

  • Oculars with adjustable diopter

  • Rack pinion steel gears for easy and better condenser control

  • Large fully rotatable stage with ball bearing movement, 160mm diameter with graduation marks every 1 degree for the full 360 degrees

  • Stage rotation lock screw

  • Detachable stage slide clips

  • Tension-adjustable coarse focusing

  • Adjustable lock ring stopper to limit coarse range and protect slides

  • 20W Intensity-variable Halogen Transmitted Illumination

  • Spare bulb, fuse, immersion oil, and dust cover included.

  • Manufactured under ISO 9001 quality control standards

Final Thoughts

I'm confident that you'll find the microscope you're looking for, whether it's to use as a student or in your lab, can be found with any of these three microscopes. 

If you feel there's an even better polarizing microscope for geology and petrology, drop me a note and I'll take a look at it and try and add it.