Simple microscope and Compound microscope are two different microscopes having different properties in terms of use. So in this article, we will discuss the Simple microscope vs Compound microscope.

Microscopes are instruments used to magnify the images of a small object. There are many different kinds of microscopes with different uses and properties used for different purposes. Microscopes are used in laboratories and academic experiments. To use microscopes we must know about them.

A simple microscope is an instrument that uses a single optical lens for the magnification of an object while a compound microscope is an instrument that uses two lenses for the magnification of images which includes one objective lens and an eyepiece. A simple microscope includes a hand lens, reading glasses, etc. while a compound microscope is a laboratory instrument.

Here, we will learn how a Simple microscope differs from a Compound microscope in its properties and applications.

Simple Microscope vs Compound Microscope

CharacteristicsCompound MicroscopeSimple Microscope
Lenses (in number)3-5 magnifying lensesOne lens
MirrorsOne side of mirror is concave while the other is plainBoth sides have concave reflecting lenses
Level of magnificationHigh-levelOnly one level
Magnification powerUp to 2000xUp to 300x
InventionInvented by Hans and Zacharias Janssen in 1590.Invented by Antony van Leeuwanhoek in 1670.
LensOnly 1 biconvex lens with a short focal lengthOne objective lens and one eyepiece.
Condenser lensPresentAbsent
Light sourceIlluminatorNatural
UseUsed in advanced ways to study the specimens in detailUsed in simple ways such as enlarging images while reading
Magnification adjustmentPossibleNot possible
Use of coarse, knobsPresent for focusingAbsent
StructureSmall stand with one hollow cylindrical attached to the base for holding the microscope.A curved arm is used to hold the microscope


The difference between a Simple microscope and a compound microscope explains how the properties of a simple microscope vary with the compound microscope. A compound microscope is used in laboratories for the examination of microscopic specimens for their detailed study, Simple microscope is used for the basic magnification of objects in our everyday life.

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