An endoscope is provided with an integral optical element which includes a lens system and an objective lens that is recessed approximately 15 mm from the distal end of the endoscope. An integral illuminating element includes a fiber optic bundle that terminates at the distal end of the endoscope and illuminates the region of the distal end. The lens system terminated in a viewing port that is laterally displaced from the proximal end of the endoscope and which connects to a high resolution video camera that can display a magnified image on a high resolution video monitor, thus obviating the need for an unimpaired visual path from the proximal to the distal end of the endoscope. A lumen can be provided adjacent the lens system which brings a ventilating and clearing gas over the objective lens to keep the lens clear. The magnified video image can also be supplied to printers and recorders.