Choosing a microscope camera? SmartMicroScope Optix vs. Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0

Traditional microscopes are a thing of the past, however – many US schools still have them in their classrooms. In order to turn these traditional microscope devices to digital, one needs a digital microscope camera. This is a device that can be used with microscopes to digitalize the images projected on the device. In this report, we’re reviewing two microscope camera products: SmartMicroScope Optix and Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0. We presented their hardware features, microscope software compatibility, alignment to US education and other criteria. In the final section, you can find a summary recommendation for the best school microscope camera.


SmartMicroScope Optix microscope camera device utilizes top hardware features in order to offer users perfect imaging and recording. It has a 2-megapixel camera and a myriad of different advanced features: live magnification, comparison of two images side by side, measuring microscope specimens, big zooming, recording and saving photos and videos, annotating, assessing… SmartMicroScope Optix users can view images with a resolution of up to 1600x1200px.

SmartMicroScope Optix is the way for your classroom to go digital instantly. You can use some of these special features to take your science education to the next level with versatile microscope investigations and activities.

Optix features 2 collars so it could fit most traditional microscopes manufactured for the US market. The device uses USB 2.0 and works with Mac, Windows and Chromebook.

Ken-a-Vision microscope camera has 2 megapixels as well, which allows for images for up to a 1600 x 1200 resolution. It uses digital CMOS technology in order to provide crystal-clear digital images. Using the microscope software included, students can capture images and measure specimens.

SmartMicroScope Optix Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0
2 MP image resolution 2 megapixels
Zooming, measuring, comparing Digital CMOS technology
2 collars to fit most microscopes Measuring and capturing images
USB 2.0 output 94’’ USB cable
Images up to a 1600 x 1200 resolution Images up to a 1600 x 1200 resolution
Price: $299 Price: $399


SmartMicroScope Optix microscope software can be easily accessed on any computer or chromebook by with the SmartMicroScope Online Viewer app at You can log in to the app using your username and password, which you will receive along with your SmartSchools Systems product. This microscope software is compatible with Chromebook, Mac, PC. You can save microscope images directly to a cloud drive with just one click.  

Ken-a-Vision has a microscope software called Applied Vision™ 4.0. It’s used for data collection, imaging, measuring, and some other features which enable compilation on reports based on microscope investigation. This microscope software is compatible with PC, Mac and Linux.

SmartMicroScope Optix Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0
No-install software CD Applied Vision software
Chromebook, PC and Mac compatible PC, Mac and Linux compatible
Online Viewer with advanced features No online platform
Option to save to GoogleDrive/Dropbox No option to save to GoogleDrive/Dropbox


You receive a 5-year warranty when you purchase a SmartMicroScope Optix product. With Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0, the company provides 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

SmartMicroScope Optix Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0
5-year warranty 1-year limited warranty

Educational Support

For science teachers in the US, it’s important that their microscope package includes teaching materials and educational support. We’ve compared the educational package included with these two products, regarding the US curriculum:

Chromebook Support:

It’s crucial that digital microscope devices and microscope camera gadgets in US classrooms are compatible with Chromebook. Even though most microscopes and microscope software products are compatible with Mac and PC, in 2018, more than 60% of computing devices sold to the US education market were Chrome OS devices (chromebooks). Therefore, it’s crucial that chromebook digital microscope devices are part of every US classroom.

Ken-a-Vision does not offer advanced features for Chromebook.

SmartMicroScope Optix, on the other hand, offers a number of features chromebook users can utilize in their science curriculum. On chromebook microscope platforms, using the SmartMicroScope Online Viewer, students can transfer their findings and the results of their investigations in their school. Chromebook microscope camera included in Optix enables old, traditional microscopes to be adapted to new technologies and be connected to the newest chromebook devices.

SmartMicroScope Optix Ken-a-Vision Megapixel Pupilcam 2.0
Chromebook-annotation/assessment No
HD Phototaking on Chromebook No
HD Recording videos on Chromebook No
Zooming, measuring on Chromebook No

Summary Recommendation

Ken-a-Vision has acceptable hardware features, but it’s not a suitable classroom microscope. In order to use the Ken-a-Vision microscope software, users have to bring a CD and install it on every device where they want to use it. It does not offer advanced features with chromebook, so it can’t be fully utilized in many US schools.

Smart Microscope Optix is especially suitable for US classrooms because it’s chromebook-compatible, which as of 2018 very important for US education gadgets and devices. It’s also much more convenient than Ken-a-Vision because it has a cloud-based software program which can be accessed online.  This makes the SmartMicroScope Optix a fantastic Ken-a-Vision alternative.

David Walling

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