Microscopes open a whole world of things to see that normally escape notice. Beautiful diatoms, the intricacies of feathers, the structure of leaves, and my favorite, the fascinating types of swimming protozoa. A whole aquarium in a drop of water.
I have several microscopes. My current favorite is my Celestron Research Microscope
With an Abbe 1.25 condenser, built-in mechanical stage, binocular head, four achromatic objectives 4x, 10x, 40, 100xr (oil), two sets of eyepieces, 10x giving powers of 40x, 100x, 400x, 1000x, and 15x with powers of 60x, 150x, 600x, 1500x. $489
Microscope wish listThe Olympus MIC-D Digital Microscope
This microscope connects to your computer via the USB port. There is no eyepiece. It is a digital camera. The camera is underneath the slide, making it ideal for watching pond life swim around. The condenser can move around, so in addition to bright field, dark field, polarized, and reflected light, you can do oblique illumination. $795
The Meiji Model VT-T-PC
Trinocular with S-Plan 4X, and Phase Contrast 10X, and 20X objectives, mechanical stage and LWD (N.A. 0.55) condenser
Trinocular microscopes let you watch what you are photographing or videoing. I've always wanted a phase contrast microscope for watching protozoans. This microscope is inverted, with the objective lens under the subject, and the light on top. This is great for watching protozoa. $3573.