View Full Version : Surgical Loupes

George Stewart
27-Jun-2005, 16:16
Has anyone has ever used a pair of surgical loupes to focus a view camera? I have often found that holding a loupe with one hand and making adjustments with the other to be difficult. Some times I find myself using poor technique - foregoing the loupe in exchange for just one more stop. Although very expensive, this device might be the ticket. It appears that a pair would perform like super bifocals - a slight tilt of the head and one would go from full screen view to (for example) a 25mm spot at 4x from a distance 8 or more inches. Thoughts/suggestions?

Jeffrey Sipress
27-Jun-2005, 17:00
I rarely use a loupe for focusing on the GG. I use an Optivisor, which keeps both hands free to work the camera. And, it allows me to keep both eyes open, to deter fatigue. Now I can't imagine trying to work all the movements and focusing mechanisms with one hand. Often, however, I must concentrate on just one eyes vision, as fresnels usually darken half the glass image at close range. My Optivisor lensplate is a #10, which nearly equals a 4x loupe. Yes, it is a bit larger to carry than a loupe, but well worth it.


Eric Woodbury
27-Jun-2005, 17:29
I have a pair of high strength drug story reading glasses that I use. Works fairly well. I thought about getting a jeweler's loupe with one of those flip down magnifiers that attaches to your glasses. Anybody tried that? A loupe on the glass has never worked for me. I see the grain and not the image. Especially with wide angle off axis images.

Richard Wasserman
27-Jun-2005, 19:13
I use a flip down magnifier that clips on my glasses and like it MUCH better than a hand held loupe. I like having both hands free and it is easy to look at the groundglass from various angles which helps focusing with wide angle lenses. It magnifies 3.7 times and is very easy to use.

Steve Clark
27-Jun-2005, 20:15
Recently, I found at a hobby shop, a magnifier that clips on to the brim of a hat. Not sure right now, but it may be called a "Hatvisor". They come in different diopter strengths and are quite adjustable and comfortable to work with. Seems to me it was about $18.00 USD.

27-Jun-2005, 20:36
Jock Sturgess has custom trifocals ... regular old man glasses, plus an 8x loupe at the very bottom for focussing in a hurry.

Alec Jones
27-Jun-2005, 21:52
For those with glasses, I too recommend the flip-down loupe which attaches to the frame.

Here's a good source: http://www.behrloupes.com/

jonathan smith
28-Jun-2005, 03:15
I'm having a separate pair of eyeglasses made for this - stronger than reading glasses.

Bruce Watson
28-Jun-2005, 09:48
I've been wearing glasses for 40 years or more, and therefore have a pretty good understanding of what's available. I got my optometrist to prescribe glasses (that correct my astigmatism) that give me about 2x magnification and let me focus in the 5-7 inches range (this is considerably stronger than the strongest available "drugstore" reading glasses). Using these, I can see the entire 5x4 ground glass, but not much more. Excellent for composition and rough focus.

Then, I got a 3x clip-on jeweler's loupe. This I can flip in and out of my field of vision. Since magnifications add, I get about 5x from the pair, which is excellent for fine focus, even with my 80mm SS-XL.

It all works hands free, and the weight is small as well. So... this works for me. YMMV.

Ben Crane
30-Jun-2005, 00:12
I have a pair of custom made surgical loupes that I use for my day job (yes, I'm a surgeon). I have used them for spotting prints, but I find that they are not very useful for focusing the ground glass. Mine are designed for a working distance of about 18 inches which for me is too far from the ground glass, even though it is the perfect distance for doing most fine work by hand. If you tried to use them at 8 inches for the ground glass everything is out of focus. Each pair is custom made so I suppose you could ask them to make them focus at 8 inches if preferred. I also would find it a hassel to get them out of their protective case and put them on each time I wanted to set up a shot. I would not feel comfortable wearing them all the time because I feel they would interfere with visualizing compositions in addition to being fairly heavy and unfashionable. The cost of surgical loupes is also very high compared with a lot of other more reasonable options suggested here. The lower end 2.5x models cost about $1,500, with costs increasing to the $5,000 range for more magnification depending on the size of the field.

Joseph Dickerson
9-Nov-2011, 19:28
I have been using +6 diopter reading glasses I ordered on line and love them for ground glass focusing. I also have +4 diopter magnifiers, both flip down and reading glasses, but fine the +6 to be superior.


Steve Hamley
9-Nov-2011, 21:01
Does anyone have a reply to the OPs question? :D

Cheers, Steve

Tracy Storer
9-Nov-2011, 21:04
I use +3 diopter reading glasses for focusing my 8x10, but would probably want something stronger for 4x5. Further, i do mostly studio portraiture, landscape detail might require some stronger diopter.

9-Nov-2011, 22:15
I forgot my loupe on a recent trip. Instead I picked up some +2 reading glasses at the national park gift shop. They worked vey well with the 8x10 ground glass. I liked the glasses bett than a loupe.

10-Nov-2011, 06:52
I have fairly strong vari focal/bi-focal glasses, a small advantage of my eye abbaration is that I do not need a loupe for focussing, if I take my glasses off I can reliably focus on the ground glass..



10-Nov-2011, 08:20
For the OP:


I have one kindof like this, but it has a flip down lens for more magification.


John Kasaian
10-Nov-2011, 08:55
A loupe hanging from a cord is way more of a chick magnet than those things! :D

10-Nov-2011, 09:18
A loupe hanging from a cord is way more of a chick magnet than those things! :D

Not from what I've heard. But maybe you are more succesful in that department than am I.

Maris Rusis
26-Dec-2011, 15:58
I used to be a sales engineer for Zeiss and did have an opportunity to try various surgical loupes on my Tachihara view cameras.

The results are not good. Surgical loupes are basically Galilean telescopes which enable modestly magnified views to be obtained from relatively long distances. The long distance feature is the important one. For example a 3x magnifier has a working distance of about 12.5cm; way too close for a surgeon to hang his face and still leave room for forceps, bone saws, etc, etc. A 3x Galilean telescope, alias surgical loupe, can be made to give a working distance of 50cm (say) which leaves plenty of room for the surgeon to actually operate.

High power reading classes are a much cheaper and easier option because it doesn't matter if your face is close to the ground-glass. My 4x glasses cost $2 each at the local bargain store.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2012, 22:34
Gotta question that. My wife just got a set of those surgical magnifying glasses for the operating room and the lenses would fall out. I thought both the optical and mechanical quality was miserable - typical Chinese knock-off stuff. Essentially useless. Trying to find something legit, made elsewhere. But anyway, not the kind
of thing that would be helpful for groundglass viewing. I'd rather have ordinary reading glasses. But I personally use a handheld 7X Horseman loupe.

Drew Bedo
27-Jan-2012, 06:45
I too often use an optivisor under the dark cloth. A nudge and its down, a bump and its up. My corrective glasses can be worn under and it keeps the dark cloth from drooping in to block the view.

However, a watch maker's loup that fits over one eye might work too.