Omax compound microscope CS-M834
The Omax microscope chain of quality lead me to run into the CS-M834 on my way up, and made me to realize that there are many, many, MANY variants to this unit. Seriously, I think this thing has more variants than AmScope microscopes do, it’s quite crazy. I found this unit configured for brightfield only, for darkfield, for phase contrast, for a mix of the three, with Plan (higher quality) objectives, without, etc.

The list can go on when you start considering the different packages with cameras and what not, but for today, I’ll be looking at just the Omax micrsocope model CS-M834 on its own. Well, almost on its own. We’ll get to that in a bit.

The “CS-M834” Omax Microscope Review

omax microscope review cs-m834
Omax CS-M834 Trinocular Compound 40x – 1600x Microscope. Click on any image of the unit here for information on purchasing or additional product specifications.

This Omax microscope came with a flawless finish on it, which I really appreciated. The paint didn’t have any oversprayed areas where the paint ran while drying, and came with a nice, smooth feel to the pearl white finish.

Packaging was stellar–most companies just dump everything into the styrofoam box, slap a cardboard box around it, and send it on its way. Not an Omax microscope. The microscope itself was wrapped in styrofoam for the top and bottom, and the CS-M834 bagged to keep out dust or dirt from the sensitive optical elements. The head, objectives, eyepieces, and other accessories came in a separate sytrofoam container, with well cut spaces for each component, and individually bagged for clean delivery. I’ve had a few microscopes come in the past with dust, dirt, and fingerprints on them, so this was a refreshing change of pace. I wish I took pictures of the unpacking process, but I was a bit too excited to get started and failed to do so. Sorry! =)

omax microscope review cs-m834
Front of the CS-M834

Everything I needed was right in the box to get started, except for slides. So, as usual, be sure to pick up slides with your Omax microscope purchase. Blank are great for making your own, or prepared if you want some more unique samples that you aren’t likely to be able to get your hands on. I added a camera of my own from AmScope to capture a few images for your viewing pleasure, so I’m not 100% sure about Omax microscope camera quality, but I’d imagine it probably is about the same as the AmScope MU300 I used.

Setup was simple, however I would have preferred for the locking screw where the head meets the body of the Omax microscope to be a thumbscrew like most AmScope microscopes have, but this one needed an allen key in order to be loosened up. It came with one in the box, so it wasn’t a big issue, just a bit easier to use by hand.

The objectives were in plastic cases to keep dust and debris out, so that was a plus in my book. The stage was cling wrapped, as well as all optical elements covered. So the Omax microscope was perfectly clean when I opened the box. Very good value added to the item in my book for attention to detail and care of my product.

I used the CS-M834 with a few prepared slides I had on hand to test out the optics. The halogen light was extremely bright, but easy to dial down with the dimmer on the left hand side, near the power switch. Cycled through all the objectives, and was impressed with it being parfocal. This means that when you change objectives, they basically stay in focus. Minor readjustment of focus was needed, but that was attributable to the samples I was using having a bit of depth to them. Remember, when you use greater magnification, your depth of field becomes more narrow, which means some parts of your sample at a different depth will be out of focus. You can see a bit of that happening with my Tilia Stem cross section image below:

Tilia Stem
Tilia Stem captured with the Omax CS-M834 and AmScope MU300 with the 10x objective (200x total magnification).

The image above is only taken at 200x (10x objective, 20x camera), and you can see some of the deeper elements are out of focus. It’s bound to happen. Fusion (or EDF) is a function that can help remedy this. It essentially fuses pictures taken at different focal points and mashes them together into a clear image with depth. AmScope’s ToupView has this function, and I’m sure the Omax software does too, but I haven’t used it. Perhaps in the future I’ll try out one of their cameras, but for now, m MU300 does everything I need it to.

The other interesting thing I noted that I really liked about the CS-M834 is that when I used the camera and the eyepieces, despite the magnification difference, I did not have to do a great deal of refocusing. The trinocular port was already long enough to compensate for the difference (20x camera, 10x eyepieces). It was quite refreshing, compared to other compound microscopes I have used. So if you’re in the market for a microscope where your eyepieces are going to match your camera, this may quite be the one for you.

omax microscope review cs-m834 oil immersion
CS-M834 using the oil immersion technique. The objective lens is immersed in the oil, and the bright bead of light shows how concentrated cedarwood oil keeps the light as opposed to an air medium!

I tried all objectives out and used oil immersion as well (if you’re new to Omax microscopes, or microscopes in general, here’s my tutorial on oil immersion that can help you get started or learn about it), and the optical quality was great. The depth of field left a bit to be desired, but again, it isn’t the microscope’s fault or due to poor quality, but just the type of sample I was using. EDF cleared it all up quickly, however I wasn’t happy enough with the image to post. User error in taking enough images for a top notch quality picture. Next time! Here’s what I did get with it though:

Pine Needle 100x
Pine Needle cross section captured with the Omax CS-M834 and AmScope MU300 with the 100x objective (2000x total magnification).

You can see due to the depth of the sample that it’s not perfectly clear. Also, using such high magnification is difficult to get perfect focus on the entire sample. But, I was able to get a very interesting image of my sample–it almost looks like a watercolor painting. I wasn’t happy with my EDF image, but again due to user error. Perhaps when I get some more time, I’ll see if I can get a clearer image for you. But, through the eyepieces, the clarity was stellar. I could not have expected more from a microscope with such a great price point.

My only main qualm with the unit is the placement of this Omax microscope’s fuses. Sometimes with a power surge, bulbs can break and boards can fry if not protected, so most microscope manufacturers put fuses in the unit in easy to reach locations. This allows a user to easily swap fuses if a power surge happens–fuses break the circuit of power before it damages the board or bulb with their low resistance, low capacity nature. The CS-M834 unfortunately has them in a rather inconvenient location.

To access the fuses on this Omax microscope, one needs to remove the 5 screws on the rear panel where the power cable attaches, and the panel will lean over at an angle to expose the primary circuit board. From there, the fuses are easy to remove, but a simple fuse design where a single screw allows it to slide out is generally a preferred design (like AmScope microscopes tend to have). Here’s the process for changing the fuse on a CS-M834:

omax microscope review cs-m834
These 5 screws need to be removed to allow the back panel to lean over. There is a wire that prevents total removal of the panel, so please take care when loosening the final screw.

omax microscope review cs-m834
Fuses are the small glass vials located next to the red and blue assembly. Each Omax microscope has two fuses, but they are usually sold as a pair anyway.

All in all, for someone who uses Omax microscopes less frequently than other brands, this certainly piqued my interest in checking out more of them. The overall experience using the unit was pleasant, without any hitches or problems that would lead me dissatisfied. Overall, one of the best units I’ve used of this price and quality point, and certainly an awesome value for the dollar if you need a professional level compound microscope, are a hobbyist that wants to break into microbiology, or are in need of a student microscope for your educational needs.

If you wanted to check out more technical specifications, or need information on where to pick your Omax microscope up from, feel free to do so from here: Omax CS-M834

9.5 Total Score


User Rating: 3.57 (3 votes)