A digital microscope is a variation of a traditional optical microscope that uses optics and a digital camera to output an image to a monitor, sometimes by means of software running on a computer. A digital microscope often has its own in-built LED light source, and differs from an optical microscope in that there is no provision to observe the sample directly through an eyepiece. Since the image is focused on the digital circuit, the entire system is designed for the monitor image. The optics for the human eye are omitted.
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Digital microscopes range from, usually inexpensive, USB digital microscopes to advanced industrial digital microscopes costing tens of thousands of dollars. The low price commercial microscopes normally omit the optics for illumination (for example Köhler illumination and phase contrast illumination) and are more akin to webcams with a macro lens. An optical microscope can also be fitted with a digital camera.