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AFTER 1990.





Readview Microscope by Meade Instruments

Click on Any Image for a Larger Version


This is a folded optics portable microscope made by Meade Instruments. This microscope comes in a brightly readiview box colored box containing a readiview case foam-filled fitted plastic case, containing a single specimen slide, a blank depression slide and a magnetic disc to hold slides on the scope stage.

Readiview Microscope top and bottom It features two magnifications, 80X and 160X, changeable via a sliding switch on the bottom. It has a moveable illuminator so that direct lighting for opaque objects, darkfield (oblique) and brightfield transmitted light illumination are all possible. Ambient light can also be used for transmitted illumination. The arm erects upward for transmitted brightfield illumination, or projects light from the side when in its downward position and illuminates via reflected light. There are stops between these two positions to allow for oblique lighting. There is a compartment on the bottom that takes two AA size batteries. A tripod fitting is in place on the bottom. A focusing control adjusts focus. The eyepiece can be removed to use as a 10X spot lens.

Images are quite clear and bright due to good glass lenses. Negatives include some quite noticable image shift when changing magnification, and also that the two magnifications are not parfocal, requiring a substantial amount of refocusing when changing magnifications. For me, these two problems are more than trivial, especially considering what can be obtained in other inexpensive microscopes these days. The portability and optics are quite nice, and the ability to change illumination is also a plus. The simple newer version, the 'Trekker', has only ambient transmitted illumination, and built-in reflected illumination for viewing opaque objects. Its magnification is fixed, so by definition the issue of parfocality and image shift are not issues. These features make it cheaper, easier to use and at the same time, make the 'Trekker' less versatile.

Readiview Illuminator Positions

HISTORY OF THE MEADE READIVIEW: Invented by Keith Dunning and Richard Dickinson in the UK, it was first made about 1990; production was scheduled to cease about 2012, although Meade is still selling remaining stock; it is no longer sold through retailers. In 2004 a simpler, lower power (35X), single-magnification version, the Trekker, was developed and licenced to a different company. The Trekker microscope is still being produced and sold by retailers today. The design of the Readiview and Trekker was the basis of the Newton microscope for the Millenium Health Foundation, a project designed to make a practical cheap portable microscope that could be within financial reach of developing countries. Unfortunately at almost $1000 for a complete outfit including mechanical stage and oil immersion high power objective, this instrument is about ten times the price of a Readiview!