I have been reading a lot about biology and evolution and decided that I wanted to see some of it first hand. I know this is geeky, but I haven't been so excited for any purchase in a while, so it is worth it.
I went onto trademe and bought a cheap kid's microscope that magnifies up to 900x. This was a big mistake, since it was cheap with a poor design (I could go on for a page about it) and the optics were so crap that it was unusable and I would have smashed it if I'd HAD to keep it too long.
So, I asked if I could return it and Pipsqueaks took it back. I have to say, their service was excellent and they didn't do anything except contact me to ask what they could do to help out.
I then went looking on trademe again and found someone selling their grandfather's old microscope for a reasonable price. I knew from looking previously, that any lab microscope of similar quality would cost $400 or so, so decided to go for the buy now of $120.
Now that I have it, I am glad that I did. Take a look at my microscope:
Note the coarse and fine focusing and note also that the optics don't move, only the specimen tray does. The eyepiece also revolves a full 360 degrees, so without moving the base, you can view from a different positions.
There is a 10x eyepiece and 4x, 10x and 40x objective lenses (totals of 40, 100 and 400 times magnification).
The optics are high quality so I have no complaints and I've been cutting up things to take a look at them. I think I will look for an attachment so I can mount my digital camera on there. It is very cool.