A digital video microscopeis 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.
Video microscopes are commonly low priced commercial microscopes designed for use with a computer, although advanced systems that do not require a separate computer can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The low price commercial microscopes normally omit the optics for illumination (for example K?hler illumination and phase contrast illumination) and are more akin to webcams with a macro lens. For information about stereo microscopes with a digital camera in research and development, see optical microscope.