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How to Calculate Total Magnification

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In this post, I will walk you through how to calculate total magnification. But first, we need to understand what a microscope is. A microscope, otherwise known as a compound microscope is a tool that helps us to see microscopic objects (very tiny objects) that we cannot see with the naked eye.

how to calculate total magnification
how to calculate total magnification

There are different designs of microscopes today. However, you need to know that a microscope consists of a rack, eyepiece (ocular), stage, eyepiece tube (eyepiece holder), condenser, aperture, objective lenses, knobs, nose piece, and light source.

how to calculate total magnification
how to calculate total magnification

How to Calculate Total Magnification

To calculate the total magnification of an optical system, you will need to multiply the magnification of each individual component in the system.

A sample video of microscope

In other words, total magnification is the product of all magnifications along the light path from the object to the observer’s eye. We can also refer to the observer’s eye as a recording medium.

For example, if you have a microscope with an eyepiece that magnifies 10x, and an objective lens that magnifies 40x. The total magnification would be 10x multiplied by 40x to obtain 400x.


Total magnification = eyepiece x objective lens

Example 1

Thus, assuming

objective lens = 10x


Total magnification = 10x * 10x = 20x

Example 2

With the object’s lens as 4x

Total magnification = eyepiece (ocular) x object’s lens

Which implies that the total magnification = 10x * 4x = 40x

Note: It is important to know that the power of the eyepiece is usually 10x. Additionally, the total magnification can vary depending on the combination of lenses and other optical components used in the optical system. It’s also dependent on the distance between the components and the object under observation.

The magnification of objective lenses are 4x, 10x, and 40x.

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