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Considering this for optics


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I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do links yet, but I'll try. I need something that will fit over glasses I think, and not give me brain damage if I'm looking through it for hours.

I also have a combination light with a circular magnification lens in the middle of it but so far my experience with that one in particular has been less than ideal. And the desk mount for it just plan sucks and doesn't hold down.

Anyway, glad for any feedback y'all can provide. 

Cheers,

- ZJ

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Some people learned their skills under a stereo microscope with a swing-arm. Obviously a lot more expensive than what you are considering now. It also depends on what your aims are with this hobby? If your aim is to go "full-in", eventually you will end up with a microscope.

You can try one of these Head Mount Magnifiers. I started with one, but quickly found out that the magnification quality was (severely) lacking for my needs. Decent lighting on your desk is a must, the brighter the better.

Next to my microscope, I've been using (and still do) high quality (Steinkreuz) eye loups (2x, 3.3x, 5x & 10x), but I don't wear glasses. Perhaps somebody who does wears glasses has some other / better tips and/or experiences with eyeglass loups 🤔

Often, not always, you get what you pay for ....

In this hobby decent high quality screwdrivers, tweezers, magnification and lighting are a must.

There is a Dutch saying: "Goed gereedschap is het halve werk", which translates to something like: " Good tools are half the battle" 🙂

 

 

Edited by Endeavor
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Agree completely with the above

I started with a loupe, then discovered that stereo optics made life much easier as they offered depth  perception so I graduated to a head visor type of optics which I still use today for 80% of my work. I do wear reading glasses and find that I can use the visor with or without my glasses, so most times I use without. I do have a boom type stereo microscope which I use for any fine work like making sure the pivots are in the jewel holes and installing the pallet fork etc., which was a game changer.

I tried one of those desk magnifying glasses with the built in light which quite a few people use, however, I have difficulty with it as my eyes have to sit too far away (maybe I need longer arms?) but the thing I am looking at is too close to the lens and I keep crashing into it with my tweezers. I am sure that I am the problem and just haven't taken the time I should have to get used to it... maybe one day?

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I also like to add, that we are not talking about a microscope up to 1000x (or more) magnification.

A stereo zoom microscope 7x - 45x magnification will be all you need. With the addition of a 0.5x Barlow-lens, you can bring the magnification down to 3.5x - 22.5x, which will be more than sufficient for nearly all your "daily" needs. If you, later on, need more magnification, you just remove the screw-on Barlow lens. With the zoom function you will have the full magnification-range seamlessly. A ring-light can be mounted on the lens, which will give you ample light with no hindering shades.

There are many brands, selling seemingly the same good (Chinese) microscope. It's certainly worth to shop around for the best price, as they vary a lot for seemingly the same scope. If you need to, ask the forum for advice before you buy.

Edited by Endeavor
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I'm at a very early point with this hobby, and for the moment I'm looking for a cheap entry point into the hobby before I start really spending a lot. I realize this is a limiting factor, and it may mean re-purchase of better kit later on, but I've quite a long history of getting really involved with something, spending a fair bit, and then getting frustrated or bored a few months later. My wife will appreciate a bit of caution in this regard until I really find myself involved to the point there I know I'm in it for the long haul 🙂

I've read a few of the microscope threads on here and yeah... it looks like I could spend a bunch of time even just researching the options and figuring out what would work for my setup. I'm going to hold off on that bit of kit for the moment, as mentioned above, but if I stick with this... I can easily see this becoming an essential element.

Thanks for the tips!

- ZJ

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43 minutes ago, Zhinjio said:

for the moment I'm looking for a cheap entry point

Completely understand, but I would recommend a visor over a loupe and they can be picked up quite cheaply and you get the full 3D experience, here is what I still use 80% of the time:

 

image.png.d762b65f67dc874cc6275cbb76156457.png

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1 hour ago, Zhinjio said:

I've quite a long history of getting really involved with something, spending a fair bit, and then getting frustrated or bored a few months later. My wife will appreciate a bit of caution in this regard

Do I hear our in house echo ?

My wife keeps complaining that if I would ever pass away, she has no idea what to do with my mountain of all sorts of tools. Because of all my previous (but still revisiting) hobbies & associated tools, I've also started watch-repair "du el-cheapo", but the problem with watch-repair is that it sucks!

I'm 8-years in and it has been only a few months back that I bought my stereo microscope. I nearly tried everything in between and if I were to add up all the cost of the cheap stuff, which eventually ended up on the scrap-heap, I could have bought some really nice stuff.

But that's how it goes and I do fully understand your concerns, AND your wife's 😁

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1 hour ago, Endeavor said:

I'm 8-years in and it has been only a few months back that I bought my stereo microscope. I nearly tried everything in between and if I were to add up all the cost of the cheap stuff, which eventually ended up on the scrap-heap, I could have bought some really nice stuff.

I agree absolutely 😃. I have a draw full of loupes and visors and magnifying glasses which no longer get used. 

Loupes are tiring to wear, and with good magnification you have to get so close it's hard to get the light and tool right.

I'm short sighted, so I can work really closely when I take my glasses off. About the only benefit of being short sighted!

If you don't want to buy a stereo microscope (and if/when you do, it's not a difficult choice, see @Endeavor specs above) a visor is much more comfortable to wear.

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6 hours ago, Zhinjio said:

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do links yet, but I'll try. I need something that will fit over glasses I think, and not give me brain damage if I'm looking through it for hours.

I wear glasses but they aren't needed when using magnification. I remove my glasses and then wear magnification glasses like these from CousinsUK. I bought two sets and then combine 3.5X magnifier glasses. You can see the setup in this post on WUS (written almost six years ago).

The magnifiers you link to I would expect to be too heavy and clunky, and get in the way if you get close enough to the movement.

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You can get a surprisingly good clip on loupe at Harbor Freight for under $6. It's worth grabbing one just to try it out at that cost (if you don't like it, HF is used to getting returns). I inherited some HF jack stands with some car or another that were recalled, and used the refund for whatever they had that looked like it might be useful. One of those finds was that loupe. I had previously purchased a Bausch & Lomb loupe for much more money as well. The clip on the B&L set is nicer and more secure, but the HF clip is plenty serviceable. Optics were equally fine both ways, and I actually like the lens powers better on the HF for general work.

The problem with visors is that they super get in the way. They're huge and bulky, and I just ended up tapping the side of my head over and over. The clip on loupes can definitely get in the way as well, but there's much less to be in the way and it's easier to work around. Between the two, I'd take the clip on loupe every time even with the loss of stereo vision. 

1000% though, the best answer is a stereo microscope. From our PM exchange, you may or may not be aware that CU has surplus auctions somewhat regularly that are open to the public, and I'm sure if you keep your eye out, you'll come across a serviceable scope for super cheap. Definitely need to know what you're looking at/for though, and there's plenty here on the forum to get read up on. I haven't been to one in a while, but if you have a friend on staff (or maybe it has to be faculty?), you can get first crack at things. Lots of fun stuff there! AmScope is the amateur horologists' choice, but there are cheaper options than that once you figure out who's actually making what. I think the cost for a solid setup is on the order of ~$400 currently. Cheaper if you cut out this function or that.

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