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Condensers are located above the light source and under the sample in an upright microscope, and above the stage and below the light source in an inverted microscope. They act to gather light from the microscope's light source and concentrate it into a cone of light that illuminates the specimen. The aperture and angle of the light cone must be adjusted (via the size of the diaphragm) for each different objective lens with different numerical apertures.
Condensers typically consist of a variable-aperture diaphragm and one or more lenses. Light from the illumination source of the microscope passes through the diaphragm and is focused by the lens(es) onto the specimen. After passing through the specimen the light diverges into an inverted cone to fill the front lens of the objective.

Upright Microscopes

Type Technique Numrical Aperture Object distance(mm) Magnification
Abbe condenser Bright field 1.25   4x-100x
Abbe condenser Bright Field 0.9 1.9 4x-100x
Achromat  condenser Bright Field 0.8 2.0 4x-100x
Achromat swing-out  condenser Bright Field 0.9/0.22 1.8 2x-100x
Achromat swing-out condenser Bright Field 0.8/0.12 3.2 1x-100x
Sliding Achromat  condenser Bright Field 0.9 2.2 2x-100x
Achromat/Aplanat condenser Bright Field 1.4 1.6 10x-100x
Long Working Distance condenser Bright Field 0.8/0.3 8.2 4x-100x
Long Working Distance Condenser Bright Field 0.65 10.2 4x-40x
Darkfield condenser (Dry) Darkt Field 0.8-0.95 4 20x-40x
Darkfield condenser (Oil) Dark Field 1.2-1.43 1.5 20x-100x
Phase condenser Phase Contrast 1.25   4x-100x
Phase contrast condenser Phase Contrast 0.9 1.9 10x-100x
Universal Condenser (Dry)   0.88 2.5 2x-100x
Motorized Universal Condenser (Dry)   0.88 2.5 2x-100x
DIC condenser (Oil) DIC 1.4 1.6 10x-100x
Swing-out condenser Polarizing 0.9/0.22 1.8 2x-100x

Inverted Microscopes

LENS attached additionally to condenser frame.

Type Numrical Aperture Object distance(mm) Magnification
Condenser lens 0.72 13 10x-100x
LWD condenser lens 0.52 30 4x-100x
ELWD condenser lens 0.3 65/75 4x-40x
NAMC condenser lens 0.4 44 10x-40x
High NA condenser lens (Dry) 0.85 5 10x-100x
High NA condenser lens (Oil) 1.34 1.95 10x-100x
Darkfield condenser (Dry) 0.8-0.95 4.5  
Darkfield condenser (Oil) 1.2-1.43 1.5  

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