A digital microscope is a must-have STEM tool for every classroom. Many US schools still have a traditional microscope, which makes digital microscope cameras the perfect tool to adapt them to traditional microscopes. There are many options to choose from, but quality image and software compatibility are two of the top priorities for science teachers. In this report, we’re observing and contrasting two microscope camera devices: SmartMicroScope Optix and Moticam 2. We’re comparing their hardware and software features, as well as pricing, warranty and alignment with science classroom existing technology. In the last section, you can find a final evaluation of the best microscope camera for schools.


SmartMicroScope Optix is a microscope camera which uses high-quality hardware to get a crystal-clear image. It’s a 2-megapixel camera with a variety of options: live magnifying, comparing two images, measuring specimens, zooming in or out, recording photos or videos, saving images… The hardware makes it possible to take your microscope activities and investigations to the next level and present it to students in a digital environment. It has 2 collars and can fit almost all traditional microscopes. SmartMicroScope Optix uses a USB 2.0 output and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Chromebook. With SmartMicroScope Optix, you can get an image resolution of up to 1600 x 1200px.

Moticam 2 offers similar hardware features for a much higher price. It’s also a 2-megapixel microscope camera with 1600 x 1200px resolution and option for live imaging. The only major difference in the functionality is that Moticam 2 uses a MiniUSB output. However, it costs $200 more.

SmartMicroScope OptixMoticam 2
2 MP image resolution2.0 MP
Zooming, measuring, comparingLive imaging, specimen observation
2 collars to fit most microscopes12 mm focusable lens, 2 variable eyepiece adapters
USB 2.0 outputMiniUSB output
Images up to 1600 x 1200Images up to 1600 x 1200
Price: $299Price: $499


SmartMicroScope Optix has a convenient and easy-to-use cloud software called SmartMicroScope Online Viewer.  This allows the Optix to be a plug and play microscope camera with advanced features.  A unique solution.

When you want to start using it, just go to and log in using your credentials. The license key is included in your Optix product box. From there, you can use some of the advanced microscope software features like live imaging, taking photos, recording videos, measuring microscopic specimen, annotation, assessment, draw a circle and more. With SmartMicroScope Optix, you can save images directly to your Google Drive or Dropbox, making it easy to share it with students afterwards.

Moticam 2 microscope software is compatible only to PC and Mac, but not Chromebook. You receive a microscope software CD which you have to install on any computer where you want to use the Moticam program.

SmartMicroScope OptixMoticam 2
Cloud-based softwareCD software
Chromebook, PC and Mac compatibilityPC and Mac compatibility
SmartMicroScope Online ViewerNo online platform
Saving to Google Drive or DropboxNo direct cloud-saving options


When you purchase SmartMicroScope Optix, you receive a 5-year warranty. For 5 years, it’s guaranteed that Optix does not have any material or workmanship defects. This warranty is issued by SmartSchool Systems.

Moticam 2 only has 1 year of limited warranty. It’s provided by the company Motic Asia from Hong Kong.

SmartMicroScope OptixMoticam 2
5 year warranty1 year limited warranty
US-basedHong Kong-based

Educational Support

For a classroom digital microscope, it’s important that the software include teaching materials which can deepen the knowledge of students and help teachers across the US.

Chromebook Support:

In 2018, over 60% of devices sold to US schools were Chromebooks. In order to serve schools, teachers and students, every educational software moving forward should be compatible with chromebook in order to be effective teaching tools.

Smart Microscope Optix includes the Online Viewer software, which is compatible with Chrome OS. It allows access to Chromebook digital microscope materials and science activities. Within the Chromebook microscope web app, teachers and students can take pictures, record videos, assess, annotate, compare, measure…

Moticam 2 works only on PCs and Macs, so users with chromebooks cannot access advanced science features such as measuring, recording or assessment.

SmartMicroScope OptixMoticam 2
Taking HD photos on chromebookNo
Taking HD videos on chromebookNo
Measuring specimens on chromebookNo
Easy annotation on chromebookNo
Easy assessment on chromebookNo

Summary Recommendation

After comparison, it’s clear that SmartMicroScope Optix is definitely a more suitable school microscope camera.

It enables digitalization of your traditional microscope and allows live image projections, making it easier for students to grasp science lesson and microscope activities. This perfect Biology microscope offers high schoolers plenty of activities and investigation, making it easier to visualize the theoretical part of their science education.

This chromebook microscope camera gives access to plenty of different teaching materials and educational support system, which Motic microscope camera simply does not have.

The compatibility with chromebook is also another major point: since more than half of US education devices sold last year were Chromebooks, Moticam 2 will soon be very limited in many classrooms across the country.  The SmartMicroScope Optix is a great Moticam alternative.

David Walling

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