Numismatic and History Discussions > Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage

Recommendation for good handheld magnifier?

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Ken W2:
This may seem like a silly question, but does anyone have a recommendation for a true 5x or 10x easy to use handheld magnifier with a field of view large enough to see an entire denarius or ant? By easy to use I mean one with comfortable eye relief. I’ve been looking for a lab or industrial grade magnifier of that description since before I started collecting ancients, and with my aging eyes the need grows worse. I know that as magnification increases field of view decreases, so it will probably require a large lens to get both the desired magnification and FOV. I’ve been getting by with the collection of tools below, left to right, two so-called 5X magnifying glasses which are probably 5 diopters (about 2.25x), a cheap 4.5X bug loupe which actually is pretty good, the 10X Carson loupe and a 16X loupe.  Any leads would be appreciated

I don’t have any great recommendations for you. You have a nice set (nicely pictured, too). I have had several similar magnifying glasses over the years, but their magnification (5x, 10x, what have you) are largely unknown. I sorely miss a Russian high powered metal-framed loupe I found in Rome, but have since misplaced, probably at a coin show. It looked like your 16x loupe (hmmm…).

Joe sent me a nice ‘credit card’ magnifier with my last FAC coin purchase. I’ll take that on my next trip to a coin show.

My eyes are also aging, and the need for lighting has grown. My go-to magnifier is an LED desk lamp:
Carson MagniFlex Pro 2x LED Lighted Gooseneck Flexible Magnifier with 4x Spots Lens and Magnetic Base (CP-90). The 4x spot is about the size of a jeweler’s loupe, so rather small, and the 2x main glass is rather low power, but it all seems to work.

Virgil H:
I have one of those gooseneck magnifiers, well I actually stole it from my wife, she used it for stitching. I don't like it. I have aging eyes, too, one of my biggest issues is I need bright light for everything, plus I wear glasses. The gooseneck is awkward and, while I use it, I usually revert to a handheld magnifying glass I can more easily control. On mine, the lens is uneven, perhaps a better quality device would work better. I use the lamp more for illumination.

That said, I think the answer for me would be a microscope with an option for 5X. Mine is 10X/20X and even at 10X, it magnifies too much for seeing the entire coin. It is wonderful for detailed work, but I, like you, like seeing the entire coin filling the frame. When you wear glasses, a microscope is a pain at times.

I also got one of those magnifiers from Joe and I think the one I got was flawed. It was a cool little item. Hint, hint.


Ron C2:
Fwiw, I use a 4x Bergeon watchmaker’s loupe that you wear over am eye like a Monacle.

For anything needing more magnification, I move to the stereo microscope.

Ron, I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that we want to see that picture. Will it be more Dread Pirate Ron, Special Forces Ron, or gemstone Ron?


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