Optical stereo microscopes are used to study objects with low magnification, usually up to 100x, however, there are research models that allow to capture an image with a magnification of up to 230x and a resolution of up to 1.1 microns, using 10x eyepieces. Usually, stereo microscopes are used to study the macrostructure, defects, welds, fractures, large-sized specimens, or to study small details (in assembly of microelectronics, mechanical assemblies, etc.).
The distinguishing feature of a stereo microscope is a higher depth of focus than common optical microscopes (upright and inverted) and the ability to form a three-dimensional image, unlike microscopes with a common optical layout.
Olympus SZ51 and SZ61 microscopes utilize the Greenough optical design, while SZX7, SZX10 and SZX16 use the Galilean optical system. In the Greenough design, the light first passes through two optical channels located at a certain angle to each other, and then is transmitted to each eyepiece separately, while in the Galilean design, the light first passes through the magnifying objective lens and only then it passes through two parallel optical channels. The Galilean design is more complicated and expensive, but it allows the stereo microscope to be upgraded later and used in research models, while the Greenough design provides minimum modernization potential, and this system is used to produce simple models for routine tasks.