Cameras run the gambit in prices from inexpensive to costing thousands of dollars…generally a combination of budget and application is a good start. There are many technical factors that go into the making of a camera and ultimately determine the end result of what one cares about most – picture quality….however, generally lower magnification microscopes, ie, stereo, do not require the higher end cameras….whereas a research grade compound microscope with better optics is best complimented with a higher end digital camera to yield the best resolution/image quality. To clarify, a high end research stereo microscope such a Meiji RZ Series would warrant a higher end digital microscope camera.
There are two categories of digital cameras; Digital Eyepiece Cameras simply slips into the eyepiece or photo tube, sometimes they go over the eyepieces, such as the Ken-A-Vison Pupil Cam 1401KRM – these are the least expensive and offer very descent picture quality for the low price. These range in price from $ 199 – $ 1,199.00 and go up to 10MP….
The other type is called Digital Microscope Cameras, these are higher quality quality, offer a wider variety of features, considering low lighting conditions for fluorescence microscopy, metallurgical and phase contrast applications to high quality color reproduction for pathology or cytology to professional publications. CCD Chip Cameras are recommended for this application… The most common and least exensive are CMOS Cameras which are used in most brightfield applications at lower cost and range from below 1mp to 20mp….the higher the Mega Pixel isn’t necessarily the only determining factor for picture quality rather frames per second and internal components such as type of image sensor that make up the camera……most common are 3-5 MP. These also offer very good picture reproduction.