Please help me find a magnifying lens

shelley_r(7b NC)August 6, 2004

I'm learning that counting pistils and determining ovary position and all that stuff required to identify plants really isn't so bad. The problem I have, though, is that I can't see this stuff on really small flowers. I read about hand lens and spent 2 hours finding a good value on a quality lens (10x 18mm). But I can't use it at all. It's not just that I'm extremely nearsighted, but I've also had a detached retina in my right eye so I don't have much central vision. I think I'm too uncoordinated to use my left eye. So, what kind of magnifying lens can I use in the field? I'd like something better than taking off my glasses and putting the object an inch from my eye. Thanks for any suggestions.


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I'm not sure what else you can use in the field that is small simple and inexpensive ... perhaps a standard magnifying lens ... the detective type lens ??

What lens do you currently have ? Let me check some catologs.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 9:53AM
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Shelley, If you can find a display of Bausch & Lomb products at one of your local eyeglass places, you can try them out. Take along a few samples flowers and maybe a reference like Griffith's Index of Gdn Plants (which I use a lot and has really small print).

I bought two handheld (yeah, like Holmes!) with different lenses -I don't remember the magnification of either-but one is great for pistils, etc. while the other is a larger frame good for reading. I keep my reading glasses on while using both.
I too have a blank spot in middle of right eye...but these work great. I don't think I could have selected well unless I actually tried them out, though.

Bought mine probably 20 years ago and no doubt there have been improvements...while my eyesight is worse. In fact I've decided to ask my doctor next appt. about it...but in the meantime I've found these two gadgets useful. josh

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 1:08PM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

i found mine at the UW bookstore.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 8:23PM
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shelley_r(7b NC)

I never would have thought to look at an eyeglass place. Too obvious I guess :-) Anyway, Josh, sounds like you really understand my problem. I will try to find a Bausch & Lomb lens.

Mohave, the lens I bought was a 10x 18mm loupe. It was $15.00 and I think it was a good value, but just not usable for me. At least my son now has a lens. The $25.00 limit is not absolute, but I don't want to spend a fortune.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 9:54PM
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Ofcourse you can always bring materials home and use one of those desk top magnifiers they sell in office supply store ... sometimes there is a light built in a good feature ... that would be very useful since you would have both hands free to dissect plant materials ... a must really and not costly ...

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 10:51PM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

They make large mag. glases for doing needlepoint crafts, they have a lariat to wear them around the neck. They rest against your chest so you have your hands free.
I am not sure how much magnification they give, but my MIL swore by them for doing her cross stitch =)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 3:08PM
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dave_worden(z9,San Jose, CA)

Another great source of supplies and tools for this kind of work: Your local (different names in different cities)Impaired Vision Help Center. As our population ages with a commensurate increase in visually impaired folks, so do the competitively priced products to help visually impaired folks do things hands free. Some great new stuff available. And, if some of these tools are used earlier in life, then perhaps we will ultimately have a lower percentage of visually impaired folks. Great for flower and plant examination. Certainly worth checking.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 5:40PM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

Go to the toy section and buy a cheap one - or a couple of them in case you break one in the field. Sometimes the toys are better than the "horticulture" ones - and a LOT less $$$

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 1:36PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

How close can one get with a digital camera? I've an old 35mm that will photograph tiny stuff and I can have the film developed an put on a floppy. This is all clumsy and expensive but if you can find a digital camera that will zoom in close enough you can magnify your flowers up to any size screen you can afford.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 5:02PM
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A handlens is different (to this botanizer at least) than a standard magnifying glass. In bryology we use the same type of hand lenses that you can find in geology kits at any university.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 11:20PM
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shelley_r(7b NC)

Catalina, you are right about a hand lens being different than a regular magnifying glass. But I can't use a hand lens. As noted in my original message, I have almost no central vision in my right eye.

Albert, I do have a digital camera, so maybe I need to use it more for identifying purposes. It's frustrating to be out in the field, though, and not be able to see distinguishing characteristics there. I've also found that when I'm home, a scanner is wonderful; probably better than the camera.

I appreciate everyone's ideas, but maybe there just isn't a magic answer for me. Thank God I can still see the normal view.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 7:18AM
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Ahhh sorry I didn't notice that! Can you use your left?

I also have vision problems and finding magnifying lens solutions that work is very trying. :(

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 2:51PM
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Ironically, I just yesterday ordered a replacement for the one I had that was stolen along with other stuff in my vehicle. Take a look at the Forestry Suppliers website. They put out a great catalog but you can find more selections from the website. I think I put "magnification lens" or "hand lens" in their search engine and found the one I wanted (again). They carry a variety of products including the Bausch & Lomb mentioned previously.

Here is a link that might be useful: Forestry Suppliers

    Bookmark   October 24, 2004 at 12:04PM
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