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I have tried a PC connected close up camera, and the disconnect
between my hands and the camera were too much, and variable, for me.
Also, the depth of focus was too shallow. Also, my bench real estate
was too precious to lose almost a square foot for the notebook.
I now have a used Nikon SMZ-1 zoom microscope, with an articulating
stand and a 0.5X Barlow lens. I bought all on eBay for about $650 in
total. Without the Barlow, I have 5x-30x magnification and about 4"
working distance. With the Barlow, I work at 6.5-7.5", and 2.5x-15x
magnification. The depth of field is great at 2.5x, and fairly
shallow at 15x, but enough to set tiny stones. The view is
surprisingly wide. The stand allows me to swing the scope in and out
of my work area. I adapted my bench to have an additional bench pin
setup a bit lower so I could use the microscope without craning my
neck. It all works well, and the view is first class. Those used
Nikons are a great deal on eBay, and if you choose the used route,
make sure you get the originalNikon eyepieces, which are really nice
and a large part of the final optical quality.