I recently purchased a Bausch + Lomb 5X watchmaker loupe for making close-up inspections of small parts. I have other magnifiers, but it’s good to have something small, lightweight, and pocketable.
This isn’t my first loupe. I used to have a Bausch + Lomb loupe at my lab, for inspecting the largest features of my samples without a microscope. I also own a 2x loupe, made by some unknown brand in India. It’s actually quite decent, but I needed higher magnification, hence the purchase of this Bausch + Lomb 5X.
The magnified image is crisp and clear, and I’m happy for what I paid. The plastic housing itself is smooth and well-made, and you can immediately see the differences between this loupe and my no-name 2X.
It’s durable, too. I know this because it bounced around on the floor after it slipped from my hands. Whoops. There are no signs of damage.
It’s probably not recommended, but you can use it hands-free, like how jeweler’s loupes are used in the movies, clamping it in your eye socket. It’s not comfortable to do so for long, and as I said, it’s probably not recommended.
The loupe comes with a small storage pouch, which I don’t care for as it sheds small fibers.
- 5X magnification
- Glass lens
- 2″ focal distance
The loupe can be used in either direction. I tend to use it in reverse most often, because the larger air gap between lens and object allows more light to reach it, resulting in a brighter image and even a different view depending on the direction of the light.
This is one of those things that you don’t know you need until you need it. Overall, I’m pleased with my purchase. It could be better, but for under $10, it’s about what I expected.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Mine doesn’t quite appear the same as above. It says: B+L, 5X, Bausch + Lomb. Model number is 814172. An optional headband is also available, 814114.
There are no markings on the loupe itself, other than the brand and magnification, but the packaging says that the loupe is made in the USA.
Also excellent: Bausch + Lomb 14x Hastings Triplet; I’ve kept one on the cable loop in my laptop bag for years and, when needed, has always been great too. Its construction is tough and keeps it fairly clean too (though I’m sure that in my pants pocket it would be a lot worse).
I use this….
I can’t believe you can buy something like that for 10 dollars. nice.
do you happen to use any of those head mount magnifiers – like you see some jewlers use. if so what do you get and why – I think I’m finally in the market for something like that.
I have one of those too, Bausch + Lomb also, can’t find it at the moment.
Stuart. What we’ve used in commercial photographer since the daze of analog (aka film) is the B & L 5x Linen Tester.
Its very design is way better then any loupe for multiple purpose use.
Amazon presently shows it as only available from third parties but it’s still the gold standard.
You’ll see why when you study its design. Google it.
We must have 5 or 6 still.
(And big Rodenstock chimneys that cost 10X as much.)
Optivisor is what I use. I’ve had this one for 30 years no problem.
Has any ever seen any good deals on the eyeglass mounted telescopic lenses like surgeons and dentists often use? The give great magnification but at arms length so you can comfortably work on something while still seeing detail. Medical supply houses have them for $1,000 to $1,500 but I figure someone out there must make them at a price without the extra “0” for the medical premium. Looking at them it seems like they should sell for around $200 or less.
I think a big chunk of the cost of those things is the custom fit; hard to imagine them being worth a dang if the fit’s off even a little. And yes, every time I’m in front of one of those things I want one too.
I have a set of surgical loupes, and the fit really is critical. The salesperson takes a host of measurements and works out exactly at what distance you want the scopes to converge, what angle you want to hold your neck, the shape of your nose bridge, interpupilary distance with your eyes converged, etc. They really are bespoke items. Now, you could probably make a cheaper one-size-fits-some version but the alignment is a lot trickier than binoculars.
Belomo website has something like that, not custom for around $300. Reed Prince recommended the site below for the triplet product, not the dental magnifiers
For scroll sawing I use a no-name 1.5x or 2x lens about 3″ across with an LED light, mounted onto a bendy arm with a clip at the other end. I doubt it cost more than $20 or $30, and the optical quality at the edges of the lens could be better, but it (mostly) stays where I put it, and the field of view is big enough that I can look through it constantly while I’m scroll sawing. Something similar with a bigger lens (not sure if they make those things in 6″, but that would be awesome) and/or a little more magnification would be nice to have, as would a head-mounted set of flip-down lenses like MtnRanch describes.
4x to 5x loupes were a mainstay for photographers, as they cover an entire 24x36mm slide. There is a big difference in resolution between ordinary loupes like this one and the better aspheric doublet or triplet loupes like those made by Schneider-Kreuznach, Zeiss/Contax, Rodenstock, Mamiya/Cabin and so on. Unfortunately, the demise of film photography has also led to the discontinuation of photographic loupes, although you can still get new-old stock on eBay.
One reasonably priced option still made is the 10x Belomo triplet loupe made in Belarus, and favored by geologists. It has a much smaller field of view than a 4x, but much larger than the excellent Bausch & Lomb Hastings triplet 10x loupes.
I did a good deal of research before buying a 10x loupe a couple of years ago, and the Belomo triplet was my choice, having both great reviews and a reasonable price. The lowest price at the time was from https://belomostore.com/
I use my phone camera as a magnifier. It even comes with a light. 🙂
I do sometimes but that doesn’t work well when you are wanting to see something clear optically – most cell phone cameras use a digital zoom and at 5X or so you can get artifacts. It’s one thing for reading the back of a vitamin bottle – it’s another for checking a 100th of an inch opening in a part fitment. Or reading a surface finish.
I have a German made 8X Agfa Lupe that I bought many years ago for slide and negative viewing. The bottom section is clear to allow more light in. Googled it to see if they are still available. They are – for $80!
Has anyone tried the SL-71 by the company Engineer? Was looking at it a week ago and then this thread comes up.
The U typeface of BAUSCH is backwards. Something I would expect of Chinese manufacture.
No, I don’t think it is backwards. See the product image here:
Man of the Woods
Instead of looking/fumbling for a magnifying glass to read small print, I just use the camera on my cellphone (always attached on my belt or in my tool belt). If the info will be used over and over, give it a name and file it. If it is a “one-time” project aid, delete when you are done with that project. MotW