The Best Magnifying Lamps For Miniature Work: Some Insights

In this article, I will talk about the best magnifying lamps that you could use a lot for miniatures and dollhouses and all the different ones. I use mine a lot because getting older means sometimes that your eyes can use the support 😉

Especially for miniatures at a very small scale (look here for all the different scales out there) or for 1/24 dollhouse kits like this one, they are very handy indeed!

I am sorry for this ‘technical’, maybe boring article, but it is really important to consider what you are going to use as a magnifying lamp and that you don’t make the mistake that I made bye buying one that isn’t as suitable for crafting miniatures! (not that I haven’t used it !)

best magnifying glass
My magnifying glass of diopter 8

 

Why Would You Buy A Magnifying Lamp?

As we get older, we can’t see as well anymore like young people still can. The normal aging process also causes people to see worse, even when you don’t have eye defects. I am 48 now, and I can tell you for sure: I used to have way better eyesight in my younger days 🙂

Especially when we need to see details, we are often facing the facts. Glasses or contact lenses don’t help enough anymore. And all of this while reading, crafting, reading cards, or other hobbies are usually getting more important later in life.

The right tool can make a world of difference and give you back the joy in your activities. One of the tools that can offer a solution is a magnifying lamp, especially in our miniature world!

There are three advantages of a magnifying lamp: not only does it allow you to see better while the lighting also helps, but the best thing is that your hands are free to craft! The light is built around the magnifying glass so that you have a strong, shadow-free light on your work. Many magnifying lamps have a bendable arm, so you can bend the magnifying glass in the right direction.

Different types of magnifying lamps.

There are different types of magnifying lamps: standing models that you can put on the floor, but also table models, which can also get mounted on the wall. Finally, there are magnifying lamps that can be clipped to a table or other piece of furniture.

These days there are also magnifiers with light in other forms. There are hand magnifiers, book reading magnifiers, magnifiers that can be hung around the neck. You can even get a magnifying glass with lighting that can be tied around your head! So it would be a good thing to consider whether a magnifying lamp is the best tool for you.

A table or standing magnifier with lighting is useful if you:

• need the magnifying glass indoors;

• is often on the same spot;

• want to keep your hands free;

• you need to use it often;

• you want to use it for long-hours crafting on a project, as holding a magnifying glass would be too tiring.

Of course, you are not always exactly in the same place when you are crafting at home. It is more healthy to switch workplaces or seats. So something important to consider is: how heavy can the magnifying lamp be and how do you want to handle it. Can you easily plug a cord into a different outlet? Just imagine how this will work in reality with a magnifying lamp and then make a choice.

 

How much light does a magnifying glass need to give?

As you get older, the lens of the eye will let in less light and your retina becomes less sensitive to light. You will need more and more light to see as much a younger person. And of course, everyone needs more light for precision work like our miniatures.

Therefore it is important that a magnifying lamp has sufficient light intensity. The luminous intensity of a magnifying lamp is usually indicated in the unit ‘lux’.

The following table shows the brightness that an adult with good to average eyes needs for different activities:

– Simple work, clean up, talk to each other – normal: 300 lux, older: 500 lux

– Reading and writing – normal: 500 lux, older: 1500 lux

– Do detailed research, hobbies, crafts – normal: 1000 lux, older: 3000 lux

– Assessing colors (ex laboratory, dentist) – normal: up to 5000 lux, older: up to 6000 lux

So the older people would need about 1500 lux to be able to read and write comfortably. In a lot of homes, the sunlight during the day is only about 100 to 200 lux. If you cannot or just don’t want to sit close to the window, you will soon need extra light. Also, the more magnified your magnifying glass is, the more light you need!

Please note: if the brightness is indicated in lux, the distance also counts! For example, a magnifying lamp can have 1800 lux at 15 cm distance, but at 30 cm distance, it is only 650 lux! If there’s no mentioning of distances, the number of lux usually is 20 cms.

best magnifying glass
Close up of my magnifying glass

 

How Much Magnification Do I need?

The magnification of a magnifying lamp is indicated in the diopter. The following table shows how many diopters magnify how many times:

– 1 diopter magnification 1.25

– 2 diopter magnification 1.50

– 3 diopter magnification 1.75

– 4 diopter magnification 2.00

– 5 diopter magnification 2.25

– 6 diopter magnification 2.50

– 7 diopter magnification 2.75

– 8 diopter magnification 3.00

– 9 diopter magnification 3.25

– 10 diopter magnification 3.50

– 11 diopter magnification 3.75

– 12 diopter magnification 4.00

You might think that a magnifying lamp with the strongest magnification is the best one. But that is not always the case!. Too much magnification has its disadvantages.

The smaller the diameter of the glass, the closer you will have to sit to your piece. My advice is here: choose a magnifying lamp that enlarges just enough for the thing you want to work on. A strength of 8 diopters is chosen by many users for precision work.

If you want to use a magnifying lamp for multiple purposes, you can look at models with:

• a power lens. It’s a small, extra-strong lens that is built into the larger lens or mounted separately on the magnifying lamp.

• multiple, interchangeable lenses for the same magnifying lamp.

 

Costs And Quality

There are magnifying lamps of 10 bucks, but there are also ones costing hundreds of Dollars. How much money should you spend on 1?

Fortunately, good magnifiers don’t always need to be expensive. If you want to use it now and then to just read, a simple model might be enough. The more expensive models are often bought by professionals, such as beauticians or dentists.

However, you should keep in mind that the cheapest magnifying lamps can have quality problems! This may include, for example:

• melting of plastic from the heat of a fluorescent lamp;

• a plastic lens can get easily scratched;

• lack of stability, a magnifying lamp that falls easily;

• light that vibrates, so that the use of the magnifying glass is not so pleasant;

• a cord that is too short.

Final Conclusion

I got myself a magnifier lamp of 8 diopter magnification because it was mentioned for doing precision work, which obviously I thought would be great for miniature making.

Turns out I have to sit really close to my objects to see well. So it probably would be better for things like jewelry or watches, things that are even smaller and finer. I now regret not getting a lamp with diopter 5, I think that would have been better for my specific needs!

So I wrote this article for you, so you can decide better which one you are going to purchase for crafting miniatures. I will soon write an article as well with a few reviews for magnifying lamps, hang on!

And here it is, 5 reviews for you of magnifying lamps!  Reviews.

If you have any questions, ask me in the comments below or join me on my Facebook page or Facebook group and ask me there anytime!

Happy crafting!

Kind regards,

Lizzy

3 thoughts on “The Best Magnifying Lamps For Miniature Work: Some Insights”

  1. This was for me a really useful article. I became a miniature model maker at just about the time my close eyesight started to deteriorate. It was frustrating to have the time and the inclination to do something that had always interested me but which was becoming difficulty because of this.

    I have tried all manner of methods including lighted loupes and they do work for some things but my light desk mounted hands free magnifier has made a huge difference. You have given readers some great alternatives to look at here.

    Hamish

    Reply
  2. Hello dear. am really glad you shared these information with us, and by the way your article isn’t boring its the best I was actually searching online when I saw your post about the Magnifying Lamp. I believe with these information you shared. My doubt has been cleared in purchasing the Magnifying Lamp thanks for the info

    Reply
  3. Dollhouses are really nice to have around your kids room, it helps keep them happy especially when they seems to be pretty lonely…these dollhouses looksuxh beautiful but with the best magnificent lamps being used on them…am sure to get these ones shown here…
    Thanks so much for the review…I look forward to seeing more

    Reply

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