Light microscope disadvantages include limited resolution, lower magnification and poorer surface view of the specimen. Compound light microscope require the user to adjust to optical inversion, meaning the specimen will appear to be displaced in the opposite direction it is moved.
Visible light restricts the amount of resolution achieved with a light microscope. Magnification may range from 500x to 1500x, which is much smaller in comparison to electron microscopes; these give magnifications of 160,000x or more. In general, light microscopes require specimens to be thin, small and transparent for optimum viewing. The development of the electron microscope in the 1930s gave scientists greater freedom in viewing minute details of cellular structure.