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Magnifier Reccomendations?


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Can anyone can recommend a quality magnifier lamp to use for mini painting?

 

My wife finally conned me into checking out her lamp (she cross stitches a ton) and I liked it enough that I'd like to get one for myself. The things I'm struggling with are:

  • What diopter/magnification works best for painting figs?
  • What brands have the best reliability?
  • What features do mini painters find most critical when buying a lamp?
  • Do people prefer table top, clamp on, or floor models for painting figs?

 

As an aside: Has anyone tried using a magnifier while airbrushing? Picking up an airbrush is going to be my next major expenditure after this.

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While my vision is still good, I'm starting to develop blurry vision when things are too close, I checked out a set of magnifers from a fellow forumite @SamuraiJack at ReaperCon one year & these felt good.

 

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There is a variety of brands to choose from, just go with the one that is the cheapest on Amazon. They are very lightweight & for someone that doesn't like sunglasses, I don't mind wearing this if needed. The lens flip out of the way & even then, there is "breathable" space for your vision

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I have a clamp-on OttLite that I like quite a lot. This company is known for the color of the bulb which is suited to painting and taking pictures of the minis. It has a 5 diopter (1.75x) magnifier. The optical quality is really good for the price - not as big a factor at these scales but always relevant. It feels solid and has good adjustability. I do find myself leaning right onto the light at times which is probably a bad habit. The brand is popular/well-reviewed in quilting and cross-stitch circles. I didn't buy the cheaper no-name brand on Amazon and don't regret it.

 

It would be okay if you went slightly higher in magnification but I think this is the most common choice. For clamp vs floor vs desk it depends on your painting setup. Clamp is most flexible but they all have roles.

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I use an Optivisor, too, with replaceable glass, so I can change magnification should I desire that. And you can buy aftermarket lights to attach to the front of the goggles and get very bright, very flat light for painting. To address the original question, I've also used a magnifier lamp and I hated it. The back of my brush was always bumping into the underside of the magnifier lens and making it difficult to paint.

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1 hour ago, Doug Sundseth said:

To address the original question, I've also used a magnifier lamp and I hated it. The back of my brush was always bumping into the underside of the magnifier lens and making it difficult to paint.

I had a similar experience.  It is possible to adjust your angles and/or use a shorter brush handle, but in general it doesn't work well.  I also didn't like that I had to adjust my body to accommodate the position of the magnifier on the lamp, which tended to give me neck pain. 

 

I'm sure some lamps would give you a better experience than mine (a low cost model from a craft store) did.  You could probably get one to try out and return it if it doesn't suit you.

 

Any sort of binocular magnifier has been a better choice for me, though.    

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I can't recommend enough how nice an headband (optivisor style) with the aftermarket Quasar lights is.  It's a little heavy but the band helps.  I prefer that to the kind with the ear rests.  And the quasar lights - very flat light, no shadows while you're working. the kind with the light cluster above the lenses does cause some shadows, nothing terrible though,.

As for magnification, that's kind of a personal preference. You can frequently get a kit with multiple factors to play with.  The 1.9x lens is my most commonly used, I'll flip to the 3.8x for small fiddly bits.  Rarely I'll use the 8x for inspecting things that aren't miniatures, (like fountain pen nibs or my airbrush nozzle) but that's a huge amount of magnification in front of your face for painting

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