How to Use a Magnifier:
Magnifiers work by focus. The greater the magnification of the magnifier, the closer your eye and object need to be to the lens. Low power products are great at reading text, mid range magnifiers are commonly used for rocks and stamps and high power devices are used for gemstones and ultra fine detail examination. More magnification is not necessarily better, you need the right magnification for the task at hand.
High power magnifiers like jewellery loupes require you to be right up close to the magnifier but are generally unsuitable for reading.
With a wide range of magnification options available from 2x up to 14x, it can be overwhelming as to which one to purchase. Here are some basic magnification guidelines.
Higher magnification also reduces the overall lens size too.
These are great for reading and come in large sizes, all the way up to A4 size. Normally in a handheld or page design these portable units are the best general purpose.
A large page magnifier allows you to view a whole page at once easily
These are often spot lenses inside handheld units or in loupe designs and are better at reading tiny text on things like contracts and maps, normally if they are stand alone (i.e. not a spot lens in something bigger) then they will also be very portable.
Fantastic for stamps and coins, a 4x magnifier will allow you comfortably see detail normally at the edge of human vision.
A fantastic hobby range, great for painting and inspection, loupes and high powered handhelds are popular in this group. Very handy to have.
This covers all basic loupes and stand magnifiers. These have very small lenses and often require you to have your eye right up to the lens. If you're trying to view slides or inspect tiny marks on flat surface this is the range for you.
Being very small, it's perfect for looking at your old slides and negatives.
Stand or hands-free magnifiers
Stand magnifiers are helpful for reading books, magazines or stock pages and for some writing tasks. Because they rest on the page and don’t have to be held, they are ideal for those with tremors or for people who are not strong enough to hold a hand-held magnifier for any length of time.
Video magnifiers are electronic magnification devices that are available in desk-top and hand-held designs and enable you to modify the image of the object being viewed. Text color (white letters on black background, for example), brightness and contrast can easily be adjusted to make the object or text easier to see. Video magnifiers provide many levels of magnification from 1.5x – 50x. The portable video magnifiers are small and light enough to be taken to school, computer labs, or senior centers.
Hand held magnifiers
Ideal for reading menus, price tags, ingredients, thermostats, or prescription bottles. They are available in a wide variety of designs and magnifications. Many are illuminated to provide additional light.
A loupe (pronounced 'loop' in English) is a small folding or stand magnifier (from 12mm to 21mm diameter) of high magnification (usually about 10X) which folds into a case or is very small; these are used by jewellers for reading small marks and are often called jewellers' loupes.
Lighting makes a huge difference when the light is poor, such as in auction rooms and at night. Good lighting between the magnifier and the object increases clarity by reducing shadows and improving contrast, So if you suffer from poor or low vision, a lighted model is going to be a huge help to you.