Microscope software for OSX

andonstar USB microscopeGot myself an Andonstar 2 megapixel USB microscope about a year ago, mainly just for testing it out, and having it readily available when some repair project demanded it. The microscope is actually pretty nice given its ca USD 60 price point, with decent picture quality, a sturdy stand (even though it’s somewhat of a pain adjusting it) and a built-in adjustable light source.

To be honest it hasn’t been used much (it did come in handy during the repair of the BK Precision LCR meter though).. but this is in part due to the lack of good OS X software for use with generic USB microscopes. Over the past year I have tried some video software, and still have a few on the try-these-out-list.

On a related note, during the fall I got a few (an auction lot that contained a bunch of units..) Leica stereo microscopes (M60 and MZ6). These are extremely nice – intended for medical research, electronics production etc – they have extremely good optics and mechanical construction. LED lighting, mounting rails for the work bench – and one of them has a photo tube..  I need to 3D print an adapter to make a regular digital camera fit the tube, but once that’s done, it should be possible to take some really nice pictures there.  If a USB webcam is used, the images could be fed into a computer too – very nice.

Right now the list of OS X apps looks like below. I am sure there are more and maybe better options – feel free to add them in the comments.


Used this app to begin with, don’t quite remember what OS X version I had at the time,  reported to work on 10.10 though. It does feel kind of dated though, last update was in 2010
Free trial version, ca USD 18 for a license, http://www.edhsw.com/mixscope/

Digital Viewer

This has been the app I have used most during recent months. It’s basic, but gets the job done. You can adjust parameters such as contrast, hue, saturation, brightness, save images, movies and configurable time lapse images to disk etc – pretty nice.

The software is really intended for the USB microscopes sold by Plugable, but can be downloaded by anyone.

Free download, http://plugable.com/products/usb2-micro-200x#drivers

Apple Photo Booth

Comes bundled with all Macs. Not really intended to be used with microscopes, but works nicely with the Andonstar.



Seems to be a nice piece of software, could not get it to work though. Could be that it is locked to the USB ids of the microscopes sold by the same company.

There are optional software modules for microscope measurements, which is a nice feature.



Another commercial software, which if I understand it correctly will work with any USB camera or microscope – if you buy the software. The free version only seems to work with their own microscopes.



Another older software, have not tried it.

Document with info on what software to use to what microscope.


12 Replies to “Microscope software for OSX”

  1. Hi there,

    I just got this same usb microscope, which my mac identifies as a sonix. Although its sold as having a 1600×1200 resolution, I can’t get close to that.

    None of the mac software I’ve tried offers more than 8xx x 6xx res.

    Any suggestions? Or am I misunderstanding the concept of resolution?


    1. Not sure… It’s been a while since I used the microscope, but I really think I got higher resolution than 8xx 6xx….
      On the other hand – with a USB2 microscope the frame update rate will be pretty poor at higher resolutions, so I tend to use it at lower resolutions so I get a decent frame rate.

  2. Anyone got a clue as to why my newly acquired AMScope MA500 camera won’t work on Mac ? I’ve tried with the ISListen software they bundle with it, but the Macs I’ve tried it with do list a USB device (1/2.5 5.0MP color CMOS camera ), but no device is found when using ISListen. Also tried the other software above in this article.

    At first I thought it was due to me using Sierra, but also tried OSX 10.9, and that exhibits the same behaviour. The camera does work when I use it on a Windows machine, so I don’t think it’s a hardware/cable defect.

  3. Useful review – thanks for sharing. Now have Digital Viewer working with my Andonstar, which although basic has most of the features I need.

  4. an quick and dirty solution is to launch the usb camera from within VLC.app by pressing cmd+r and setting the desired resolution. can confirm for the mixmart microscope.

    i’m still looking for a piece of software that would allow me to comfortably set white balance, exposure, etc manually.

  5. dennis asked
    “Anyone got a clue as to why my newly acquired AMScope MA500 camera won’t work on Mac ? … but no device is found…

    FWIW, we just got an AmScope dissecting scope with an MU2003-BI-CK camera. I first installed the included capture software, called AmLite on a USB 2 MacBook and it just worked. (We did have to discover that clicking Automatic Exposure is required to see an image.)
    But when I installed the software on my USB 3 iMac for testing, no camera was found. In thinking about it, I realized that I had first installed in the hard drive > Applications folder. On the iMac, I put the software in another folder. Once moved the software to hard drive > Applications, it saw the camera.
    Some apps are fussy about where they are installed.

  6. We’ve bought an Adonstar microscope ADSM302 and another one based on the Hayear HY-2307 camera. The recommended software for both cameras only works on Windows.

    After a quest on software that enables viewing and storing of images and videos, as well as measurements on the images I found Macnification from Orbicule http://www.orbicule.com/macnification/download/
    This software is directly plug-n-play compatible with both cameras, and is a better alternative to the bundled software versions

  7. My Amscope software isn’t working. I have the MD500 and recently just got a new macbook. It will register the camera is connected but when I click on it, it only holds a still of the first frame and stops responding. I have the most recent update from their website but maybe they need a new one. Has anyone else noticed this?

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