The Olympus Stereo Microscope: SZ Series

An Olympus Stereo MicroscopeStereo microscopes were designed for comparing specimens side by side and an Olympus stereo microscope is more than up to the task. Olympus has two models that are part of the popular SZ series. The SZ61 and the SZ51 have the latest features that any Olympus microscope can offer.

Stereo microscopes, also called dissecting microscopes, give you a three-dimensional view of the specimen by using separate objective lenses and eyepieces for each eye. They have lower magnification when compared to compound microscopes, but they also have a longer working distance. This allows you to examine many different types of specimens of all different sizes. Models in the Olympus SZ series have a lot to offer those performing biological and industrial work.


Olympus Stereo Microscope Review:


Neither model would be an Olympus stereo microscope without some great features:

  • Comfort View technology
  • Multiple light sources to choose from
  • Greenough optics system
  • Magnification that ranges from 6.7x to 45x on the SZ61, and from 8.0x to 40x on the SZ51
  • Front access controls
  • Lead-free optical components
  • Five system configuration options

These Olympus stereo microscopes are easy to use, thanks to their Comfort View technology. This feature lets the user adjust the pupil aberration and eye point in order to get the right fit, making it easy to find the field of view and keep it in place. The Comfort View eyepiece can really make the job quicker and more productive.

The Greenough optics system is another big feature. It provides two zoom paths that incline inward. This system delivers a large, flat depth of field, resulting in an image that is very clear, accurate, detailed, and colorful.

These microscopes also offer a multitude lighting options. They have an LED illumination stand, a transmitted light attachment, and a bright/dark field transmitted light illuminator. If you need variable contrast control, Olympus also makes a high-level transmitted illuminator to go with these models.

We weren't able to find very many downsides with either Olympus SZ microscope. Some users have reported difficulty with getting them to focus, although that could be partly due to not understanding how to use a stereo microscope. If you have a problem with the focus, use the knob on the microscope head to move it up and down. Sometimes this is all one needs to fix such an issue.

Also although we love the Greenough optic system, keep in mind that it works by mimicking the natural stereoscopic sight of two eyes. This feature makes it harder to observe specimens that have a small unevenness to them. Some users find that this causes eyestrain and would like to see an objective power geared more to this need.

Pros and Cons (Based on Our Experiences and Consumer Reviews)


  • Easy to use and comfortable with minimal eye strain
  • Greenough optics system gives a sharp, clear image
  • Different lighting options


  • Reported difficulty focusing
  • Some users complain that the frames are not sturdy enough



An Olympus stereo microscope is a wonderful piece of equipment for the research and technology industries. The Greenough system offers superior optics while keeping the SZ61 and SZ51 compact. Images are bright and clear with both models.

There are very few downsides to these models, and each comes with a lot of options for accessories. The SZ61 and the SZ51 are siblings that are some of the most popular in the stereo microscope world. They both provide a compact design and superior optical performance that get the job done well.


Recommended for: Either model would be very useful for those performing biological research or industrial examinations. Whether dissecting biological samples, soldering electronic components, or performing ballistics, this is a microscope is for the serious laboratory.

Olympus SZ-61 and SZ-51 Microscopes can be affordably purchased on Ebay.

Rating (4.5 out of 5):Microscope Detective RatingMicroscope Detective RatingMicroscope Detective RatingMicroscope Detective RatingMicroscope Detective Rating


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