THE NEW entry-level inverted microscope from Olympus, the IX53, was launched this week at the European Microscopy Congress – EMC2012 – in Manchester, UK. It replaces the old IX51 model, promising improved performance and a modular, ‘future-proof’ configuration, yet it costs only about half the price of the outgoing model.
If you haven’t seen many IX51s, that isn’t too surprising. Olympus is quite open about the fact that it hasn’t sold many of this model, which has been available for a decade.
The reason it proved so unpopular is down to its price. With a cost of between 15,000 and 17,000 euro, the company says its customers would prefer to upgrade to the IX71 model (now replaced by the IX73) rather than pay a premium for an entry-level instrument.
Equally likely, we think, is that those customers would simply buy a rival manufacturer’s microscope instead.
The new IX53 model, launched along with its bigger cousins the IX73 and IX83 (collectively known as the ICX3 range), has at least a fighting chance of reversing the situation. Olympus’s head of sales in Europe told LabHomepage that the new instrument will cost just 8000 euros – half the price of the old one.
The IX53 shares the modular configuration of the other models in the range, with a swappable deck component below the objective. This can accommodate any of a variety of components, such as filter turrets or magnification changers, to enable the instrument to be customised for a specific operation. There is just one swappable bay in the IX53, while the IX73 has two and the IX83 two plus an additional half-height bay to house specific automation components.
These instruments are aimed squarely at the cell biology lab, particularly for live cell imaging, with the entry-level model targeting the routine tissue imaging user and the IX83 at the high-end research lab.