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Whether you have trouble with your vision or not, when you work or play in the world of the very small, you need all the help you can get. Lighted magnifiers offer a distinct advantage over those without their own light source because they can help to further reduce unnecessary eyestrain and fatigue. Think about it. The darker your immediate area is, the more difficult it will be to read the newspaper, study a coin collection, or see the fine print on your medication, regardless of how powerful a magnifier you use.
Making use of task lighting in a well-lit room can help tremendously, but magnifiers that provide their own bright and directional illumination can help even more. The fact is, the better the quality of light you use, the less magnification you’ll need to comfortably see what you’re doing.
The field of view provided by a magnifier is the area beneath the lens that’s actually in focus. The size of this area becomes smaller as the power, or magnification, of a lens becomes higher. While you can see more detail with a more powerful magnifier, that benefit comes at a price, since you can only focus on a relatively small part of an object at any one time.
By adding a light source to your magnifier, you can decrease the power that’s required and increase your viewable area. Less powerful lenses tend to be less expensive, and are often larger and easier to handle.
Using a lighted magnifier also means you can take advantage of a longer focal length, or working distance, between your lens and that very small world you’re trying to view. Defined as the distance from the center of your magnifying lens to the optimal point of focus, the focal length of a magnifier is what determines just how much room you and your tools will have to move around; whether your task involves working on needlepoint, or repairing a watch.
Since this focal length increases as magnification decreases, the better the light, the lower the lens magnification required, and the larger your working area becomes. Overall, a lighted magnifier can provide you with a far more relaxed and comfortable viewing experience than a non-lighted one.
So how do you know which is the best lighted magnifier for you?
The first point to recognize is that not all light is created equal. For example, an LED bulb uses far less energy than a halogen bulb, and can last up to ten times as long as a fluorescent one. LED light is also extremely directional compared to other types of lighting, meaning that most of it lands directly on whatever it is you’re trying to see, rather than on everything else in the room. The LED bulb is far more durable than its halogen counterpart, and it has the added benefit of remaining cool to the touch, no matter how long you leave it on.
If you’ve decided that an LED lighted magnifier is the way to go, the great news is that they’re available in a range of magnifications and styles – from handheld, to hands-free, to the loupe variety. The power and type you choose will depend on the size of magnifying tool you prefer to use and, more importantly, on the task at hand.
If you want to read a label, study a map, or enjoy the latest best-seller, a lighted handheld magnifier or reading glass might work best for you. If, on the other hand, you need to use your hands or other tools to manipulate whatever it is you’re looking at, then a hands-free version is probably your best choice.
Generally speaking, the typical LED illuminated handheld or hands-free magnifier offers a larger field of view than the average lighted loupe, but loupes too come in both handheld and hands-free designs for those looking to get a better view of the fine detailing on a coin, stamp, or gem.
From mini loupes for your pocket or keychain, to fully adjustable workstation magnifiers ideal for electronics and crafts, there’s a brightly lit magnifier that’s perfect for lighting the way through your next hobby, book, or fine craft project.
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