The Opterra microscope is designed for fast and gentle confocal imaging of live cell preparations. It can combine the speed of wide-field imaging and the resolution of traditional confocal systems while minimizing phototoxicity. It can be adjusted for varying objective lens magnifications by means of a seven-position pinhole/slit aperture. Opterra's swept-field imaging scanner can allow high-speed confocal imaging of live cell and small organism preparations at resolutions comparable to conventional point scanners. Opterra's second scanner, which is designed for photoactivation/bleaching/ablation, can operate simultaneously with imaging. The photoactivation scanner can be coupled to both visible and multiphoton lasers.