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  • Stephen Wilkinson

High-Powered Microscopes: How to Set Them Up in 8 Easy Steps

High-powered microscopes allow scientists to study cells and discover microorganisms. These microscopes are most popular as they are usually seen in schools, hospitals, and laboratories.

Learn more about high-powered microscopes and know how to see your specimen with them.

What Are High-Powered Microscopes?

A high-powered microscope is just an ordinary compound microscope. It is considered high powered because of its two-stage magnification.

The total magnification of a microscope is equal to an objective lens magnification multiplied by the eyepiece magnification. For example, if your eyepiece has 10x magnification and your high-power objective lens is 40x, the total magnification will be 400x.

The magnifying power of high-powered microscopes is typically between 40x and 1000x.

Parts of a Compound Microscope

Because a high-powered microscope is also a compound microscope, it is vital to learn its different parts, functions, and jargon before setting them up.


It is a platform where you put the slide containing your specimen.

Coarse focus

A knob that allows you to adjust the height of the stage for focusing.


The eyepiece is a part of the microscope where you have to look to see your specimen.


The condenser is located below the stage. It collects wavefronts from the light source and focuses them to illuminate the specimen evenly across the field of view.

Field of View

​The field of view refers to the view area you can see through your microscope's eyepiece.

Objective lenses

A high-powered microscope has many objective lenses containing different magnifications from low to high.

Objective lenses are attached to the revolving nosepiece that you can turn to choose which lens you need. When focusing, you always start with low-powered objectives.

Fine Focus

Fine focus is a small knob that allows you to adjust the lens to make your image clearer. You can achieve a clear focus more often under a high-power magnification by adjusting the fine focus.

How to Set Up Your Compound Microscope into High-Power Magnification

  1. Start with the low-power objective lens. Click it in place using the revolving nosepiece.

  2. Place a microscope slide on the stage underneath the low power objective lens for more effortless adjustment under the high power objective.

  3. Use the coarse focus to adjust the distance between the objectives and the slide.

  4. Look through the eyepiece to adjust the coarse focus until you see the image.

  5. Adjust the condenser to illuminate the specimen.

  6. Once the images come into focus and you see the part of your specimen you want, you can change your lens to high power.

  7. Adjust the slide, ensuring that you see the parts you want to view under the microscope.

  8. Use the fine focus, coarse focus, and condenser in refocusing under a high power objective lens.

Important Reminders

  • Do not allow the objective lens to touch the slide.

  • Do not touch the lenses with your fingers. Instead, use lens paper.

  • Be careful to buy a microscope with the magnification that you need. High-power does not necessarily mean it is better in quality. Many microscopes provide fuzzy images if the magnification is more than 1000x.


High-powered microscopes are mostly used in schools. They are used to examine small samples, such as bacteria, blood cells or other tiny life forms. They can also be used to view items that you cannot see with your naked eye.

When buying a compound microscope, there are many things you should consider. The budget is one. Commonly, microscopes that belong to a higher price range have better optics. That's why they are excellent investments.

It is also essential to choose the correct magnification. The most useful objective lens magnifications are x4, 10, 20, and x40.

If you have a problem choosing a suitable high-powered microscope for you, ask an expert from our shop to guide you.

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