As the name suggests, magnifiers are tools used to magnify small objects or let you see small details in greater detail. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and are used in a variety of fields such as science, medicine, engineering and around the home. Here’s an overview of different magnifying tools.
The most common is a handheld magnifier. They come in different sizes and magnification strengths, and can be made of glass or plastic. Handheld magnifiers are great for reading small print, examining small objects such as stamps or coins, and for inspecting plants and insects. They are also commonly used by people with visual impairments when reading.
Similar to a handheld magnifier is the magnifying glass, basically the kind of thing a TV detective would use. They have a larger lens, a handle and are often used for looking at larger objects. Because they’re portable, they’re popular with hobbyists and professionals alike. Archeologists would have them in their tool box, as would a gardener who needs to examine a plant closely.
Loupes are small magnifiers that are worn like a pair of glasses. They are commonly used when you need to perform very delicate, precise work such as jewellery making or perhaps dentistry. Loupes come in different magnification strengths, and are available with different types of lenses such as achromatic and triplet lenses. They can also be illuminated to provide better visibility in low light conditions.
Once you’re in a science lab, microscopes take over. Used to magnify small objects such as cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms, you’ll find them used in research and diagnosis, and are also in education. There are a number of models such as compound and stereo microscopes which all have different magnification strengths. They are typically illuminated with LED or halogen lights for clearer and more precise magnification.
Out in space, magnifiers become telescopes and are used to see the solar system and beyond. Telescopes are the principle tool used in astronomy and can have different types of lenses such as refracting and reflecting lenses depending on where and how you’re looking. Industrial sized telescopes will have computerised mounts and software for precise magnification and tracking.
Stepping away from the conventional use of lenses, digital magnifiers use digital technology instead (think of the way your phone’s camera can enlarge an image). They can be handheld or desktop devices with different magnification strengths. Because they’re digital, these magnifiers also allow you to adjust brightness and colour contrast, take pictures and record videos.
There are many types of magnifying tools, each with a specific purpose in a variety of fields and activities. For many, they’re an essential tool (would you trust a dentist who can’t see what they’re doing?). Always choose the right type of magnifier depending on the task at hand. Whether you are a scientist, a hobbyist, or a person with a visual impairment, there is a magnifier that can help you see better and more clearly.
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