I'm posting this as a follow-up on What to look for when buying a light microscope?. The answerer states that you would need to use a an inverted microscope to count cell in the hemocytometer(counting chamber).

I've read, partly, a book on lab diagnostics tests and it was not written that there. Moreover, they mentioned things about microscopes featuring a compound upright microscope both in words and picture.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you should be able to! The reason I suggested the use of inverted microscope was because I put a number of other things in the same sentence such as dishes etc. Inverted microscope is used in those cases to reduce the distance between the objective and the sample when looking at the dish with cells. In most cell culture rooms that I have worked in, an inverted microscope is used! Inverted light microscopes also tend to have a phase contrast, which is helpful in viewing cells! $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2014 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ I have now made an adjustment to my response to reflect this point! $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2014 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Bez Sorry to bother, but what features would I want to have on my microscope(on a upright compound one) for lab work(urinalysis, blood work, cytologies, histologies, fecals and all other)? $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2014 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a molecular biologist (fluorescence and cell culture) so I do not know much about urine or blood work analysis microscopy. This is best posted as a new question but please show some degree of research into the question to prevent it from getting a close vote! $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2014 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


Yes it can. You will want to use a thin hemocytometer and the working distance of the objective (20x) needs to be long enough to focus both the cells under the cover glass and the grid under the hemocytometer. Because you are looking at it from the top it would be helpful probably to have some phase on the scope to increase your contrast so that you can more clearly see the grid.

Hemocytometers are most commonly used with inverted microscopes because inverted microscopes are the most convenient microscope for performing tissue culture, and 's a commonly used to count cells when passaging or setting up an experiment etc, as they allow you to view cells in a culture plate. Upright microscopes require that you make a slide.


You can use a hemocytometer(counting chamber) on whatever microscope for transmitted light, regular scope, inverted, whatever. It doesn't make any difference.

But you should keep in mind what a counting chamber is designed for: to count red or white blood cells, reticulocytes, yeast cells, whatever.

They're not designed with having the best possible image in mind. Their dimensions fall far outside the specifications microscope optics are calculated for.

I measured a few (regular Thoma from the well known brand Assistent): thickness is 4 mm. The standardized coverslips to be used with those are 0.4 mm thick.

There's a very small chance, some minor distortion will be visible in the image ;-)...


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