Microscopes are used for inspecting connectors for two primary purposes, checking polished ferrules during termination to ensure proper end finish and checking connectors in the field to determine if they are clean. To date, one type of microscope has been used for both operations, but a new tool from a long time industry expert may change some minds. To inspect polish quality, you need high magnification, typically 100 to 400X, with most users preferring the higher magnification. But if you inspect for dirt at that magnification, you can only see the ferrule end, ignoring the rest of the connector which can be filthy and you will never see it.
Ed Forrest, the ‘guru of cleaning’ has come up with a very useful tool. Ed is well known for his website on cleaning and his books (go to http://fiberopticprecisioncleaning.com/) and has now added a product for inspecting connectors for cleanliness. Instead of a standard microscope, the RMS-1 Fiber Optic Inspector uses a zoom microscope attached to a PC with unique 3D-printed adapters to hold connectors (http://thefoa.org/images/RMS-1_Data%20Sheet.pdf)