Research Stereo Microscope

SMZ25 / SMZ18

  1. Key Features
  2. Sample Images
  3. Accessories
  4. Specifications/Dimensions

Evolutional stereo microscope

Nikon has developed an all-new stereo microscope that features a large zoom ratio of 25:1, high resolution and exceptional fluorescence transmission capability to respond to increasing demand for imaging systems that span spatial scales from single cells to whole organisms.


Motorized zoom model with the highest zoom ratio and resolution in the SMZ series


Manual zoom model providing advanced optical performance and incredibly bright fluorescence at an economical cost

Type Motorized zoom Manual zoom
Zooming observation BF/DF/FL/Simple polarizing BF/DF/FL/Simple polarizing
Zoom ratio 25:1 18:1
Magnification range 0.63x - 15.75x 0.75x - 13.5x
Maximum magnification 315x*1 270x*1
Maximum FOV ø70mm*2 ø59mm*2
Maximum NA of objective 0.312*3 0.3*3
  • *1Using SHR Plan Apo 2x/C-W 10xB
  • *2Using SHR Plan Apo 0.5x/C-W 10xB
  • *3Using SHR Plan Apo 2x

World's largest zoom range and highest resolution in the SMZ series

Dynamic zoom ratio of 25:1


An innovative optical system known as Perfect Zoom System provides the world's first zoom ratio of 25:1 (zoom range: 0.63x - 15.75x). Even with a 1x objective lens, the SMZ25 captures the entire 35mm dish and simultaneously delivers microscopic details.

Arthromacra sp.
(Using SHR Plan Apo 1x with SMZ25)
Image courtesy of Japan Insect Association

Offers the highest zoom ratio thanks to Nikon's Perfect Zoom System

A breakthrough in stereo microscope design, Perfect Zoom System dynamically change the distance between the two optical axes as the zoom factor is changed. This change in optical axis distance enables maximization of light entry into the optical system at every magnification. The result is an uncompromised, large zoom range, high resolution in both eye paths, and minimal aberrations over the entire zoom-range. Furthermore, this breakthrough in optical design enables all of these desirable features be housed in a compact zoom body, resulting in an ergonomic instrument design.

Superior resolution never before seen on a stereo microscope

The SHR Plan Apo series objective lens offers a high resolution of 1100LP/mm (observed value, using SHR Plan Apo 2x at maximum zoom), delivering brilliant images with true-to-life colors.

SHR Plan Apo series

Comparison of resolution and color aberration by resolution chart

Conventional model

Auto Link Zoom (ALZ) supports seamless viewing at different scales


ALZ automatically adjusts the zoom factor to maintain the same field of view when switching objective lenses. This function enables seamless switching between whole organism imaging at low magnifications and detailed imaging at high magnifications.

Bright and high contrast fluorescent images


Enhanced brightness and uniform illumination in low magnification range

The SMZ25 series is the first stereo microscope in the world to use a fly-eye lens on an epi-fluorescence attachment. This innovative design ensures bright and uniform illumination even at low magnifications, resulting in uncompromised uniformity in brightness across a large field of view.

Improved S/N ratio and crystal clear fluorescent images thanks to an improved optical system

Nikon's newly developed optical system offers a drastic improvement in S/N ratio even at high magnifications. This improved S/N ratio makes it possible to capture cell division, which is difficult using conventional stereo microscopes, and samples with low excitation light.

Zoom body with significant improvements in optical performance

Nikon has succeeded in improving the signal and reducing noise in fluorescent images by using a short wavelength, high transmission lens. Combined with an innovative epi-fluorescence attachment, the SMZ18/25 is better able to detect excitation light than conventional fluorescent stereo microscopes.

Sample images


From left, Fluorescence, Brightfield


Single fluorescent neurons can be visualized in live C. elegans
Fluorescence and OCC images of a live C. elegans expressing GFP- and RFP-neurons
(using SHR Plan Apo 2x at zoom magnification of 3x with SMZ25)
Image courtesy of Julie C. Canman, Ph.D., Columbia University

Automation and digital imaging

A wide range of digital imaging capabilities with the Digital Sight series and NIS-Elements imaging software

Easily obtain the information you need, such as Z drive position, zoom factor, objective lens, filter cube, and LED DIA brightness by using the Digital Sight series and NIS-Elements or Digital Sight series DS-L4 together with the microscope.

Imaging Software NIS-Elements

One software for all systems: NIS-Elements which is Nikon's flagship, cross-platform imaging software can now be used with Nikon's latest stereo microscope systems SMZ25 and SMZ18. NIS-Elements enables a wide range of advanced digital imaging capabilities, easily from a PC.

Multichannel (multicolor)

Individual cells resolved in a live drosophila embryo expressing GFP and mCherry
(Using SHR Plan Apo 2x at zoom magnification of 8x with SMZ25)
Image courtesy of Max V. Staller, Ph.D., Clarissa Scholes, and Angela DePace, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Multiple fluorescent channels can be captured in conjunction with other imaging methods such as OCC or brightfield.

Time lapse

Easily setup a time-lapse imaging experiment with NIS-Elements.

Calcium-imaging: Time-lapse imaging of GCaMP expressing neurons inside a live zebrafish shows individual neurons firing at different times (arrowheads). The last time-frame shows a whole cluster of neurons firing (asterisk).

(Using SHR Plan Apo 2x at zoom magnification of 9x with SMZ25 and camera head DS-Qi1)
Image courtesy of Joe Fetcho, Ph.D., Cornell University

Extended depth of focus (EDF)

Capture multiple high resolution images at different focal depths to create a single extended depth of focus image or quasi-3D image.

Select the in-focus area and produces one all-in-focus image Zebrafish embryo (Using SHR Plan Apo 2x at zoom magnification of 3.4x with SMZ25)
Image courtesy of Hisaya Kakinuma, Ph.D., Laboratory for Developmental Gene Regulation, Developmental Brain Science Group, RIKEN Brain Science Institute

Camera Control Unit DS-L4

The DS-L4 is a tablet-style control unit with a large 10.1 inch touch display that can be used to quickly capture images without connecting to a PC. The scale bar automatically adjusts to accommodate changes in magnification. Optimal imaging parameters for each sample type and observation method can easily be set using the scene icons.
Detected observation condition/available control
◯ : Detection and control of observation condition possible
◎ : Detection of observation condition possible
  • Motorized focus unit
  • Motorized epi-fluorescence light set (control box A)
  • Manual focus unit
  • Manual epi-fluorescence light set (relay box and control box B)
DS-L4 NIS-Elements DS-L4 NIS-Elements
Zoom magnification
Objective (with nosepiece)
Diascopic LED illumination stand (ON/OFF, light intensity control)
Fluorescence illuminator (light intensity control)
Filter cube changeover

For other combination, please confirm Nikon.

  • *With NIS-Elements F (Free package), functions above are not available. Use NIS-Elemsnts D/Br/Ar.

Easy to use

Easy-to-use OCC illumination


The new LED DIA Base with a built-in OCC illuminator generates minimal heat, consumes little power and is long-life. This illuminator can enhance the contrast of uneven surfaces, such as that of an embryo.

Comparison images


Conventional diascopic illumination
OCC illuminator

Zebrafish embryo (using SHR Plan Apo 1x at zoom magnification of 5x with SMZ18)
Image courtesy of Junichi Nakai, Ph.D. Saitama University Brain science Institute


Conventional diascopic illumination
OCC illuminator

The OCC illuminator can be controlled using a slide lever. Thanks to scales on the slide lever, the user can save and reproduce desired illumination levels. In addition, an OCC plate can be inserted into the illumination unit from the front and rear sides, so images with different shadow direction can be observed.

What is OCC illumination?

The acronym OCC stands for oblique coherent contrast (OCC), which is a form of oblique lighting method developed by Nikon. Compared to conventional diascopic illumination that illuminates directly from below, OCC illumination applies coherent light to samples in a diagonal direction, giving contrast to colorless and transparent sample structures.

User-friendly remote controller


The all new remote controller provides easy access to zoom and focus controls and is designed for both right and left hand use. The remote controller contains an LCD monitor with an adjustable backlight which provides information regarding the zoom factor, objective lens, filter cube, and LED DIA brightness at a glance.

On-axis imaging for digital images

Easily switch between stereo position (stereoscopic view) and mono position (on-axis view) when using the P2-RNI2 Intelligent Nosepiece by simply sliding the objective lens.

Comparison of on-axis image and stereoscopic image (From left, On-axis image, Stereoscopic image)

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