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Hi all,

 

In case you couldn't tell, I am trying to upgrade my current painting gear to something that gives me more capability to expand my skill base.  One thing I have recently considered is magnification.

 

I have heard some folks use reading glasses, and a few that use desk mounted magnifiers.  For those that use them, what makes them worth it? (FWIW, my eyesight is 20/20, I am just trying to get closer without putting the mini right into my face). 

 

 

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I use a head mounted magnivisor.  They come in different shapes and magnification and are available at most hobby stores.

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I actually bought a desk mounted magnifier, even got one with clips that could hold a miniature but just couldn't get used to it. So I'm still just bringing the miniatures up to my face to paint details.

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I use an Optivisor, which is a head mounted contraption, much like what a dentist might use.  Only they're used by hobbyists.  And aren't as expensive as the ones a dentist would purchase.

 

The usual problems with magnifiers that they're usually small (like, 2-ish inches in diameter), so that you tend to use only one eye when looking through them. This destroys your depth perception, in addition to eye fatigue.

 

I tried reading glasses, but my vision was bad enough that I didn't get any benefit from them.  Bifocal glasses help, but as I've aged the Optivisor gets more and more use. 

 

Don't go with the cheap version found at Harbor Freight.  You can find a clone at Michaels for $30, or $15-ish if you use a 50% off coupon.

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I'm not a fan of the desktop magnifiers.  I think they are hard to use for painting because you have to hold your head at just the right angle, and that can lead to a stiff neck.  Head-mounted magnifiers like the Optivisor are easier to use for me, and since my near vision is not very good, it makes seeing details much easier.  I've used the glass lenses found on the Optivisor as well as the cheaper plastic lenses on a Harbor Freight magnifier.  They both work well enough for me, and I switch back and forth depending on how much magnification I want.  I've read that some people have difficulty using head-mounted mags, but I was able to adjust to one after a short learning period.  

 

If you have 20/20 vision and can see details without any magnification, that's a great place to be.  For you, the main thing I'd be looking for is good light, either natural or daylight lamps.  I like to use one lamp on either side of the desk to minimize shadows.  Then, if you want to try a magnifier, I suggest you try out a pair of reading glasses first.  You'll get some magnification at very little cost, and they don't stick out like the head-mounted mags do.  Depending on where your lamp sits, the head-mounted mags can run into the lamp.  It is something you can adjust to, though.

 

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First, try an Ott bulb or other form of strong LIGHT. I would say that LIGHT helps more than magnification. 

Harbor Freight has a magnifier, and it's cheap enough (under $10) that you can see whether or not it works for you. I rarely use mine for, say, eyes, but when I need it, I find it useful.

Again, use a magnifier that has LIGHT. Not one that doesn't use light. One that uses LIGHT. LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT.

Repeating myself since the last guy who replied to my recommendation didn't get one with LIGHT<_<

Edited by ced1106

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I use an Optivisor.  

I have also tried cheap copies, but usually get a headache pretty quickly from them. 

 

A proper Optivisor have GLASS lenses, not cheap, cast acrylic lenses, and that makes a lot of difference. 

 

 

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Optivisor for the win.  Only way I would paint.  Great lenses, both eyes, makes painting far easier with good light sources.

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I got a headband with lenses.

Works fine and of course I paint under a daylight lamp.

image.png.e2fbb053e8ec410dfc6717b30e99e6fb.png

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I love my magnifier.  It is easy to keep clean and to position with its extension arm (45 inch reach).  I agree with ced1106 about the importance of the light. I use a magnifier model with a bright fluorescent tube light which is quite cool (bluish).  It's also not hard on the eyes the way I find some of the LED lights mounted on magnifiers to be.  I have a triple fluorescent strip light above my painting desk which has full spectrum bulbs, so the two seem to compliment each other.  I have a daylight lamp as well, but I find lately that I haven't been using it as much because it partly shades out the light from the triple fluorescent.  I do find that I often have to take the miniature away from these lights and bring it close to the natural light from a window to get a sense of what the colours really look like.  When the light is too bright,  I find it tends to make me think the highlights have more contrast than they actually do when viewed under less intense light. 

 

The main problem I find with the magnifier is that I sometimes can't get the right angle with my brush when trying to paint into deep recesses on a miniature because the brush handle collides with the frame of the magnifier.  The other minor problem I had is that the mounting for the lens and bulb is plastic on my model.  I had the tension knobs adjusted too tight so when I went to change its position, the case began to progressively crack and it became less steady.  I glued it back together with epoxy and it's fine now, but I'm thinking that one with a metal case around the lens would be better.   You also have to be careful not to pinch your fingers between the sides of the extension arm when setting it up/taking it down.  There are models available now which have enclosed arms so this is less of a risk. 

 

I'm thinking about getting a visor, but I've only just recently started wearing glasses and I'm still trying to get used to them. 

 

Geoff

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