Low power stereo microscopes are perhaps the most useful optical microscopes for beginners with a wide range of applications and brilliant 3D viewing capability. I would recommend a stereo microscope for first time users, students, children, and everyone who will not be studying cells, or subjects at magnifications higher than 50x. A stereo microscope has 2 tubes - each with its own eyepiece and objective lens. Everything looked at is in real 3D and this greatly increases one's understanding of anything observed. From live whole insects right through to most of the microscopical animals and plants of pond, river, and oceanic life, the stereo microscope is the most useful instrument.