The stereo microscope is a specialised form of optical microscope.
The stereo microscope uses two separate eyepieces which provide slightly different viewing angles for the left and right eyes. In this way it produces a three-dimensional view of the area being examined. It can provide a magnification of up to about 80x.
Reflected illumination (light reflected from the surface of the sample) is usually used with the stereo microscope. It can be adapted to produce varied effects such as raking light.
Stereo microscopes generally have a long working distance and a good depth of field, making them ideal for use in the scientific examination of paintings.