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Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) is a high-contrast, high-resolution imaging modality, used primarily for imaging hemoglobin and melanin. Important applications include mapping of the microvasculature and melanoma tumor margins. We demonstrate a novel PAM design that markedly simplifies the implementation by separating the optical illumination from the acoustic detection path. This modification enables the use of high-quality commercial optics and transducers, and may be readily adapted to commercial light microscopes. The designed PAM system is only sensitive to signals generated in the overlap of the illumination and detection solid angles, providing the additional benefit of quasi-dark-field detection. An off-axis PAM system with a lateral resolution of 26 μm and a modest axial resolution of 410 μ m has been assembled and characterized using tissue samples. The axial resolution is readily scaled down to tens of micrometers within the same design, by utilizing commercially available high-frequency acoustic transducers.