We’ve had a few inexpensive stereo microscopes returned lately with the complaint that the microscope would not focus properly. This is a shame, because most of these microscopes are fine; the customer just didn’t know how to use them.
Stereo microscopes are one of my favorite microscopes to recommend for students and youngsters because they are simple to use and you can stick just about anything underneath them, as is, no preparation needed. Just send the kids out into the backyard and have them collect rocks, bugs, twigs – just about anything. Because these objects vary widely in size, stereo microscopes, even inexpensive ones such as the Meade 8300, are made with a head that can be moved up or down on a vertical shaft to make room as needed.
The head must be adjusted properly to not only make room for the specimen, but also to bring the microscope head into the proper working distance of the optical system. If the head is outside this working distance, either too low or too high, the specimen will not come into focus. Not a big deal. Just raise or lower the head slightly and try again.