Celestron Microscope Has an LCD Screen

The feature makes it easy to share images among family and classmates.

LCD microscope also snaps digital photos of specimens.
LCD microscope also snaps digital photos of specimens.

Step back and relax a bit. Using a microscope will no longer require hunchbacked peering, thanks to an LCD-equipped model due soon from Celestron. A 3.5-inch screen replaces the eyepiece, making it more comfortable to use. Plus, it's easier to share the experience with family or classmates.

It's otherwise a traditional compound microscope that uses slides to hold specimens and lenses to magnify them up to 400 times. That puts it in the range of basic lab models with power to see detail at the cellular level. It's more than enough to gross out a kid sister with germs from her spit.

The scope's $300 price tag is about twice the cost of a similar model without the LCD. But the extra money also buys a built-in, 2-megapixel digital camera and a USB cable for transferring images to a PC. Or you can just save them to a memory card.

Celestron says a 4x digital zoom can magnify images to the equivalent of 1,600 times. But I imagine a digital zoom is no more useful on a microscope than on a digital camera, where it simply enlarges a portion of the image. It doesn't add detail.

Celestron says the new microscope goes on sale sometime in late February or early March.