AmScope SE400-Z Review – Best Stereo Microscope

The AmScope SE400-Z Professional Binocular Stereo Microscope is our top choice and recommendation.

Review Overview

The AmScope SE400-Z's stereo microscope has the winning combination of affordable price, ease of use, quality build, and suitable features making this the microscope of choice for hobbyists and and workhorse professional work. See our AmScope SE400-Z review below:

The AmScope SE400-Z is traditionally styled with a boom arm design, suitable for applications ranging from electronics repair, engraving, sodering, and more. The 17 inch boom arm allows for adjustments to be made in both the X- and Y- axes. The 13.5 inch pillar allows for a wonderful 9 inch vertical working distance.

This stereo microscope features a binocular viewing head and comes with a 10x widefield eyepiece installed. A 20x widefield eyepiece is included with the package to achieve greater magnification.The binocular viewing head has an interpupillary range of 50 to 77mm and a 30-degree inclination to reduce eye and neck strain. The eyepiece contains a dioptric adjustment featuring accommodating differing eye-strengths.

Beyond the objective, our AmScope SE400-Z review unit sports a solid, heavy base and an adjustable gooseneck with 1W LED light.

Our AmScope SE400-Z review will examine the build quality, design, optics and ergonomics.

AmScope SE400-Z

Packaging

We were surprised by the quality of the packaging given the price of this stereo microscope.

The unit we reviewed came packaged in a sturdy cardboard box. The box contains styrofoam inserts and each piece is covered with clear plastic. We were surprised by the quality of the packaging given the price of this stereo microscope. The objective is fitted with the 10x eyepiece and the 20x eyepiece is included in a separate box. Each non-assembled part is packaged individually with plastic ensuring no damage occurs during shipment.

Design

The hallmark feature of the AmScope SE400-Z is the comparatively large 9 inch vertical working distance.

This stereo microscope boasts a traditional design with a solid base, boom arm, and objective and eyepiece unit. While the base is sturdy, if you push the eyepiece at a certain angle, you can cause the unit to tip, however this should not occur during normal use.

The boom arms are very nice and feel solid. The 17 inch boom arm allows for adjustments on both the X- and Y- axes. The hallmark feature of the AmScope SE400-Z is the comparatively large 9 inch vertical working distance which is achieved by the inclusion of 13.5 inch pillar. As with the boom arm, the pillar feels very solid. 

We were particularly impressed with the smooth operation of all of the adjustment knobs and dials of the AmScope SE400-Z.

The quality of the machining is evident and we had no issues while making precise adjustments. We did notice that the multiple adjustment points on the boom arm and eyepiece unit meant we spent more time than we liked adjusting for the correct depth of field and focus. Also, only the left eyepiece has an adjustable diopter (we are not sure why this was not included in the right eyepiece as well). 

The gooseneck arm of the 1W LED light is appropriately stiff, allowing for quick adjustments while staying in place when needed. While the light of our AmScope SE400-Z review unit is very bright, we would have liked to see a second LED. We would have also liked to see a USB camera mount, however you may mount a camera on the tube. 

Optics

The 1x objective resolves very well and delivers a sharp, clear image.

We initially believed that the 10x and 20x magnification would not be enough, however, for our applications, this was the perfect amount. Anyone looking for a stereo microscope for PCB work, sodering, and electronics repair will not be disappointed with the 10x - 20x range. AmScope's widefield designation for both magnification units lived up to its name and we had no issues maintaining focus on our specimens. 

 

AmScope SE400Z Review Specifications
Head Binocular
Magnification 10x, 20x
Objective Power 1x
Eyepieces (DIN, 30.5mm) WF 10x18mm, WF 20x10mm
Focus Bilateral coarse
Microscope Stand Boom-arm stand
Vertical Working Distance 9" (13.5' overall pillar length)
Boom arm 12" working distance (17" overall length)
Head rotation X- and Y- axes
Illumination type Upper, reflected
Light source 1W LED on adjustable gooseneck
Power 110V-120V, UL listed

AmScope SE400-Z Review

What's in the box

  • AmScope SE400Z stereo microscope with boom-arm stand
  • WF10x18mm eyepieces, 30.5mm, one pair
  • WF20x10mm eyepieces, 30.5mm, one pair
  • 1x objective
  • (2) Eye guards
  • LED light
  • Dust cover
  • Power cord
  • Instructions
9" Working Distance
Lots of space to manipulate your specimen
Smooth Dials and Knobs
Well machined, smooth adjustments
Light on Feature Set
Only 1x Objective; 10x and 20x Magnification

AmScope SE400-Z Review - Final Thoughts

If you're in the market to buy a stereo microscope, buy the AmScope SE400-Z. After our review, we believe this is the best stereo microscope when considering price, quality, and features. Although only 10x and 20x magnifiers are included, we believe that for most uses it will be more than suitable to achieve the desired viewing image. The AmScope SE400-Z exhibits the best combination of high quality build and affordable price.