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"Do you use a magnifier to paint?" Topic

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06 Jul 2019 8:56 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Do you use an magnifier to paint?" to "Do you use a magnifier to paint?"

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952 hits since 6 Jul 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Old Contemptible06 Jul 2019 4:23 a.m. PST

I tried but it somehow throws off my painting. Hard to explain but looking at a 15mm under magnifier is a little overwhelming. The first time I looked at a figure that I thought was painted well was actually awful. A magnifier throws off my hand/eye coordination. There is a real disconnect between my eye, brain and hand. Throws off my perspective. How about the rest of you?

Durban Gamer06 Jul 2019 4:37 a.m. PST

I always use +400 mag reading glasses worn over my ordinary glasses. Clipped the plastic noseguards off the former so it fits over more snugly. Can take a few minutes for eyes to get used to this setup, and you must work out the correct distance to hold a figure, but it is magic for my sculpting conversions and high detail painting. I am 65 with astigmatism in my left eye, but can comfortably work even on 1/300 to produce excellent detail. So maybe persist a bit?

Dynaman878906 Jul 2019 4:49 a.m. PST

Yes. I cant see otherwise. Even my prescription glasses aren't good enough.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 4:49 a.m. PST

Same with the OC .. can't get a sight on where the brush tip meets the metal.

Jason O Mahony06 Jul 2019 4:56 a.m. PST

I mainly use a angle poise lamp with magnifier. I wouldn't be without it. For really fine detail I do break out the head mounted optivisor.

Stick with it, after a while it becomes second nature.

Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 5:10 a.m. PST

No, for all of OC's reasons…

Londonplod Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 5:25 a.m. PST

I use a magnifying angle poise too, l also have magnifying glasses with various clip on lenses and adjustable LED light.

Stosstruppen06 Jul 2019 5:27 a.m. PST

I have a magnifying lamp. Works great but took a bit of getting used to. Once you adapt to it no big deal

Tony S06 Jul 2019 5:37 a.m. PST

Had to start using magnifying glasses a year or so ago. It was truly horrifying when I used them to look at my most recently painted figures. I had to go back and repaint them!

I discovered that the figures – 10mm – actually did have bread bags and bayonet scabbards. I just couldn't make them out with my naked eyes anymore.

I'll hazard a depressing guess that sooner or later all of us will need some sort of magnifier to paint. Either age or medical condition (in my case both) will force us to get used to a magnifier or switch to 54mm.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 5:49 a.m. PST

I use a rolson magnifier visor. It works for me a desk magnifier doesn't seem to for me.


Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 5:57 a.m. PST

I used to. May have to try it again.

mindenbrush06 Jul 2019 5:58 a.m. PST

Optivisor 3X over my regular glasses combined with good lighting over the painting table.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 6:14 a.m. PST

Optivisor – Optisight – lightweight model.

ScoutJock06 Jul 2019 6:29 a.m. PST

Optivisor over prescription readers works for me.

NOLA Chris Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 6:34 a.m. PST

reading glasses,
had the same probs as OC with Magnifiers

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 6:37 a.m. PST

nope ,near sighted..

14Bore06 Jul 2019 6:43 a.m. PST

Yeah, getting old isn't fun.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 6:51 a.m. PST

I use an Optivisor over my regular no-line bifocals and good light. Agree, getting old does not make painting easier.

Cerdic06 Jul 2019 7:08 a.m. PST

I tried a desktop magnifier and gave up for the same reasons the OP outlines.

Then I tried an Optivisor which is much better and doesn't cause the same issues.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 7:34 a.m. PST

Used to use reading glasses, then added a magnifier, now the Optivisor does both and is easier to use.

Timmo uk06 Jul 2019 7:36 a.m. PST

No my close vision very good as I'm short sighted.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 7:40 a.m. PST

6.0 reading glasses since the cataracts surgery. I used to use magnifiers sometimes just to sort out that the detail was, but not actually to paint it.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 8:04 a.m. PST

2X – 3.5X glasses from the Dollar Store are the cheapest option.

Though, if you think about it, why worry too much if you aren't going to see the detailing your adding during normal game play anyway, without wearing magnifiers, or glasses?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 8:17 a.m. PST

+1 Thresher01

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 8:32 a.m. PST

I put magnifying glasses (probably 2.5-3.5x) glasses on in front of my bifocals. Works great.

There was absolutely no adjustment period necessary.


Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 8:35 a.m. PST

I wear both a magnifying visor and cheep 1.5 reading glasses at the same time while painting. Aside from having to get used to my wife rolling her eyes and saying "you're such a nerd" every time she sees me wearing these items, they work just fine.


Dadster Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 8:55 a.m. PST

I use a jewelers loup

Korvessa Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 9:01 a.m. PST

Yes – its a mag glass light combo thing.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 9:18 a.m. PST

I've got a magnifier with a light on an arm around here someplace. I couldn't get used to it. I usually just take off my classes to paint. Sometimes, I will use the optivisor; often, once I've looked at the figures through the optivisor, I can make out the detail, and go ahead and paint it without any artificial aids.


ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 9:27 a.m. PST

Tried to once or twice, didn't care for it. Don't use one now for 30+ years.

Oberlindes Sol LIC06 Jul 2019 10:15 a.m. PST

I use an Optivisor. I think it's 3x, and it came with some lenses with higher magnification, but I haven't tried them. I sometimes use my magnifying lamp instead.

It's really all about practice. Your eyes and brain and hand will get used to using magnification the more you use it. We humans are very good at adapting.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 10:28 a.m. PST

Sometimes …


… I use this guy to build electronics, and sometimes he is extra arms for painting or holding conversions. I'm used to using the magnifier for small scale soldering, so it doesn't cause a problem.

Mostly for getting paint smoothly into tiny crevices, but on a rare occasion for painting fiddly details.

rmaker06 Jul 2019 11:01 a.m. PST

No. Another myopic who takes his glasses off to paint.

IronMike06 Jul 2019 11:39 a.m. PST

I do. After using them for a while I wonder how I painted anything without them…

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 11:51 a.m. PST

I'd rather have something fit over my eyes like glasses than have to look through something. The back of the brush always interferes with stuff in between.

I also don't expect a consensus here – some of us are near-sighted, some far-sighted or have astigmatism or macular degeneration (MD) so it's going to vary considerably depending on your particular condition.

I'm a special snowflake because I'm near sighted and have MD in my left eye – a blind spot in the center of my retina. I have to not wear anything and then close that left eye. I can see crazy amounts of detail with the right up close – enough to see contours of eyes on 15mm. Blessed me.

Zephyr106 Jul 2019 2:41 p.m. PST

I need reading glasses, because anything within 6" is a blur. (Didn't use to be that way, used to be able to see hairline details within a foot.) And I definitely need them for sculpting (along with a desperate need for concentration… ;-)

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 3:34 p.m. PST

some of us are

… 20/15, down from 20/10 in 2005.

Pat Ripley Fezian06 Jul 2019 4:50 p.m. PST

i have a pair of prescription reading glasses then another pair with some extra zoom in the same prescription for the fiddly bits. im not a huge fan of the magnifiers as i tend to move around.

stecal06 Jul 2019 7:11 p.m. PST

Near sighted. I take off my glasses to paint, real close up.

Oberlindes Sol LIC06 Jul 2019 7:41 p.m. PST

I have one of those devices that Etotheipi pictured for us. It is indeed something that is sometimes exactly what you need.

Legion 407 Jul 2019 7:56 a.m. PST

Yes … old fart All I do is 6mm … I use an optivisor with some very powerful over the counter cheap high powered glasses from the drug store.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2019 11:46 a.m. PST

I probably should do, but i manage with a magnifying prescription on my glasses.
My bugbear is working in insufficient light, I can see a lot more on a bright day!

SultanSevy07 Jul 2019 2:45 p.m. PST

YES. Ott Light with a magnifier in it.

Uncle Goblin09 Jul 2019 1:52 a.m. PST

No, but I use a lot of light.

Yesthatphil09 Jul 2019 9:22 a.m. PST

I got given a 'stand' magnifier a while back but never used it. My close vision is quite good and my skills are well tuned-in after so many years. Just lately I'd been having issues zeroing in as the brush touches the figure so had to try the magnifier for these 15mm Thebans (which I finished and shared recently)

Although it is annoying, it really did help. What I found, though, is I don't need to use it much … once it gets everything sorted out I can carry on without (so I think the ageing process, for me, has just made the transition into painting mode slow down … once my eyes are readjusted to the task, they seem to be just as good as ever *fingers crossed*)

Lots of good quality light? Yes so important.


von Schwartz09 Jul 2019 5:58 p.m. PST

Getting older ain't fer sissies!!

But it sure as hell beats the alternative.

At about 40 my eyesight began to go south, I used simple readers for years, used one of those circular lamps with a magnifier in the middle, worked great, dummy that I am I left it behind. I just use a stronger non-prescription reader type specs, (i.e. from 2.50 to 3.00). I am looking for a replacement for my old magnifier.

DHautpol11 Jul 2019 4:42 a.m. PST

I couldn't get used to a magnifier and so I use a set of "ramped-up" reading glasses.

I described to my optician what I wanted them for and he beefed up my standard prescription by about +3 or so. They work a treat, unless I drop something on the floor when I can't focus that far away :(.

The Beast Rampant11 Jul 2019 2:09 p.m. PST

Never. Though I should give it a try.

TonicNH13 Jul 2019 1:48 a.m. PST

Tried a mmagnifier lens on a flexible arm but found that it messed up my depth perception and consequently had difficulty in getting the paint where I wanted it to go!

Being myopic and astigmatic my glasses/contact lens prescription precludes the reading glasses option

Eventuallly found the Rolson 60390 LED Head Loupe Magnifier Visor 2.5 x lens link combined with an anglepoise type lamp and daylight LED bulb work a treat for me. Can paint anything from 1/600 upwards comfortably with better results and use bigger brushes than I did previously

as ever YMMV

Albus Malum19 Sep 2019 9:06 p.m. PST

I paint mostly 15mm minis. Started using some 1.25 reading glasses I got when my eyes are tired for reading or for small print. THen I ought some 2.75 diopter the most mag I could find at walmart, they help a lot, but quickly afterwords bought some 6.0 diopter reading glasses. they help a lot. reading glasses seem the way to go for me. the 2/75 may be OK for 28mm but for 15 get at least 6.

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