Technaxx TX-158 Microscope Review

I just got this idea that I want a Microscope. There are very many to choose from, and the prices vary much as well. I have no professional or real need of a Microscope, I am just a nerd. One thing I wanted to do is to have a close look at my Elemental Dice.

When I was quite young I had a childrens microscope that was 100x, 200x, 300x magnification. It was not so easy to use, and obviously it was not capable of capturing digital pictures. After doing some research I decided to buy a very simple cheap USB/Wifi microscope, knowing that it would probably not be so amazing.

Technaxx TX-158 basics according to marketing:

  • Live view for PC or smartphone (so I can use my iPad as a screen)
  • Photo/Video (I just care about photo)
  • With a stand
  • LED illumination
  • Magnification up to 1000x (as I see it, it is max 40x magnificaiton, see below)
  • Full HD resolution

This is mostly true. What is absolutely not true is 1000x magnification. The stand is on the cheap (light, flappy) side. The pictures are 1920×1080 and then the question is: are they that sharp? You will see for yourself below. All pictures below are straight from the TX-158, no editing.

Basic usage and features

It is easy to get started (with iOS, only thing I tried).

  1. Charge it using USB (cable but no power supply included)
  2. Download the iWeiCamera App from Apple App Store.
  3. Turn TX-158 on.
  4. Connect your iOS device to the unencrypted WiFi network called Cam-something
  5. Start iWeiCamera
  6. Use the wheel on TX-158 to focus
  7. Use the button in the App or on TX-158 to take a picture.

That is kind of it. You export the pictures from the iWeiCamera to Photos (in iOS), and then send them to your Mac with AirDrop (or something else you find convenient).

Optical Capability

TX-158 has 8 LED lights that can be adjusted (pressing the on-button repeatedly). This is convenient. It also has a transparant plastic shell around the lens. I have found that the shortest possible focal depth is “kind of” the distance you get if you place TX-158 on a surface. You may be able to focus on something that is slightly closer, but not much. If a small coin fits inside the plastics shell you are probably fine. My 16mm dice also fit inside, that does not work.

You may however photograph items more far away. This picture of a 16mm metal die is taken (horizontally) from almost 10cm (click the image to open the full resolution).

The noise around/behind the die looks a bit strange, but it is probably reasonable given how I mounted the die between white postit notes. If I open this picture on my computer display the object is about 16cm large (with no digital zoom). The actual object is 16mm, so to me this is about 10x magnification.

I then moved the die as close as possible and focused on “13” in the top left corner.

I would say this picture is about 4x more magnified than the previous one (just measuring the height of “13”.). Compared to the real object I would say we have about 30-40 times magnification. Anything “more” than that is just digital zoom, and I do not think the picture quality allows for much digital zoom.

Zoom & Focus

The box that comes with TX-158 states on the backside: “Up to 1000x magnification / Magnification adjustable with turning wheel”. In the little booklet however I read: “Zooming: turn the focus wheel until you reach the personal best view option”. So it is a focus wheel and the marketing about “adjustable magnification” is a lie. The good thing is that it is obviously a “fixed” or “prime” lens which is better for image quality than a zoom lens. Adjusting magnification is easy (within 10-40x something) by simply moving the TX-158 closer or more far away from the object. But when the object gets too close to the lens it can not focus anymore.

The little booklet also mentions Autofocus. I am not 100% sure, but I don’t think it has any autofocus.

More pictures

All the below pictures are taken by simply placing the TX-158 on top of whatever I photograph and manually adjusting the focus.

Dust on a plastic surface
The surface of a worn Teflon or Ceramic frying pan

An oiled wooden table

One of my hairs
Worn wooden surface
A leaf, cut off from a pineapple (stainless surface at top of picture)
A blanket made of wool
Fake/faux leather
A piece of dirt – wax from a cheese probably – on a stainless surface
A piece of linen cloth
The text TECHNAXX, on the image of TX-158 printed on the box it came in
Pineapple
3cm mark on an aluminium ruler (the lines to the right are mm lines)
A drop of honey on what I thought was a black metal surface (the 8 LED lights reflect in the drop)
An iPhone connector
Tip of a knife
Grains of salt in a blue porceline bowl
A safety match
Letters svERige on a coin

Conclusion

After having played with an analog childrens microscope at 100-300x when I was little, I kind of hesitate to call the TX-158 a microscope at all. To me it is more a macro-photo-camera.

When you get to “real” 300x magnification you can start seing things that this device do not at all reveal. I would say it is 40x magnification (and then I am quite generous), but perhaps that is the wrong way to measure it.

The practical thing is that 40x is not THAT much, so it is quite easy to move around the TX-158, find your object and adjust the location of things manually. For a higher magnification you probably need a much more stable stand, and being able to move the microscope or the sample in a controlled way. TX-158 is more point and shoot.

Anyway, when you read about different microscopes for sale on Amazon and other places, if it mentions magnification in the range of 1000x, just do not trust it. I doubt any real microscope can be 100-1000x magnification or anything like that.

The iWeiCamera-App is very rudimentary. Copying images from the App to Photos gives me a message in Chineese. But connecting the iPad via WiFi and getting started is very simple.

I guess for soldering work or other very delicate work, it is a useful digital magnification glass. Then the stand probably more comes to its right too.

  1. Elemental Dice Silver vs Silver | TechFindings - pingback on 2021/10/14 at 21:11

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