Magnifiers FAQBinoculars FAQOutdoor Kids FAQMicroscopes FAQReading Lights FAQ

Magnification, also referred to as magnifying power, depends on the focal length of the lenses used in an optical device. At Carson Optical, we calculate the magnification based on measurements of the actual product, not the theoretical properties of the lenses. We use optical measurement equipment, such as a lensometer or lens clock, to measure the power of a lens. This provides the user with much more accurate results of magnification, compared to other methods which are based upon the lens mold or intended design that might not correspond to the real life product.

Our advertised magnifying power (MP) is based upon the standard industry equation (also referred to as "trade magnification") for the maximum magnifying power corresponding to ideal viewing conditions, and depends on the diopters of a lens or lens system. The diopters of a lens is equivalent to the inverse of the focal length in meters.

MP = D/4 + 1

The above  magnifying power is related to the nominal magnifying power as follows: MPnominal=MP-1=D/4. The diopter value (D) used for these calculation are based on empirical measurements from actual samples of the individual lens or lens system, using a lensometer and/or lens meter with a confirmed zero and calibrated to at least two points using known reference standards. The diopter measurement is made according to the back focal length (BFL) specified by the directionality of actual usage of the lens or lens system. The testing is repeated over a sufficiently large sample set to calculate the average actual magnification. The results are converted to magnifying power and rounded to the nearest half power. For example, magnifying powers between 2.25-2.74x are rounded to 2.5x and 2.75-3.24x are founded to 3.0x.

Acrylic magnifiers are extremely lightweight and durable. They are shatterproof and difficult to break. Acrylic material also makes it possible to have a smaller, more powerful magnifier inset in the larger lens. More than 90 percent of Carson's magnifiers are made using acrylic lenses.

A fresnel magnifier (pronounced "fre-nel") is a flat magnifier that is produced by stamping a series of annular optical grooves on to a flat sheet of acrylic or PVC. Fresnel magnifiers use far less material than a typical double-convex magnifier lens, so they are typically very light and thin. The "flat" profile of a fresnel lens makes them ideal for a purse or a wallet. Another added benefit of a fresnel magnifier is the size of the actual lens. There are very few size constraints in producing fresnel magnifiers than with other lens configurations. Hence, fresnel magnifiers can be made in page-size or larger. One disadvantage of fresnel magnifiers is the "sharpness" of the image. Fresnel magnifiers generally cannot produce as sharp an image as a double-convex magnifier lens.

A linen tester, often referred to as a "thread counter" is most commonly know for its association with the garment trade. Historically, linen testers were used to count the number of threads within a fixed area of fabric. Linen testers have a measuring scale on their base, and they typically fold flat for storage. Today, they are used in the printing industry to see how inks lay on a printed surface. Linen testers are sold in varying magnifications or optical configurations.

Not necessarily, the higher the magnification the shorter the focal distance. So in order to use a high-powered magnifier, you would need to put your head very close to the object you are viewing. In addition, a magnifier that is too powerful will distort the image making it difficult to read. Lastly, a high-powered magnifier has a very small viewing area. If you have too high a magnification, it becomes difficult to use the Magnifier as you end up focusing on too small a part in the page. Don’t get too caught up with magnification. Regretfully we are in an industry where some companies exaggerate magnification. Buyer beware!

Carson manufactures a number of hands free magnifiers for crafting and needlepoint. They are often referred to as “around-the-neck” Magnifiers because they are positioned just below the chest of the user and suspended by a cord around the user's neck. These "around-the-neck" magnifiers provide the user with free use of both hands, which is ideal for needlepoint. Caron’s LumiCraft (model LC-15), MagniFree (model HF-25) and MagniShine (model HF-66), are all examples of "Around-the-Neck" Magnifiers. Visit Carson’s Hands Free Magnifier section.

Another type of Magnifier that is designed largely for crafts is the MagniCraft Magnifier (model MC-10). The MagniCraft has magnets that are embedded into this Bar Magnifier. This works very well for needlepoint patterns. The user can place the pattern on a metal stand. The Bar Magnifier’s magnets will hold the pattern in place, and Magnify the appropriate line on the pattern. Visit the Sheet and Bar Magnifier section of this website to see all of our Carson's Bar Magnifiers.

Lighted magnifiers come in a wide variety of styles and shapes. The most important consideration when purchasing a lighted magnifier is the type of lighting. Lighted magnifiers come in LED and incandescent styles. Generally speaking a lighted magnifier with an incandescent bulb will be less expensive than an LED lighted magnifier. However, LED magnifiers are generally brighter and use far less power than an incandescent bulb. When you consider the cost of batteries, LED magnifiers are typically a cost-effective investment.

In recent years, magnifiers have shrunk in size. LED Magnifiers are often powered by button-cell batteries, thus allowing for sleeker and more compact designs. Products that include Carson’s Lighted Rimless Magnifier and our Lighted MagRx could never have been made with out the use of LED Lights.

Glass magnifiers allow very high light transmission, which provides a very clear, precise image. Glass magnifiers are also durable and extremely difficult to scratch. There are many grades of glass available, however the best grade of glass magnifying lenses is better than the best grade of acrylic lenses. Glass magnifiers typically magnify slightly more than acrylic magnifiers as a result of the material density. The most popular glass magnifier from Carson is the SG-10 SureGrip Magnifier.

Glass magnifiers have declined in popularity over the years. Twenty years ago, nearly all the magnifiers sold in the US were made from glass. Today, however, more than 90% of the magnifiers sold in the US are made from acrylic.

Some informal industry surveys suggest that 40% of all binoculars that are sold in the USA are sold to hunters. The most popular style of binoculars sold are 10x42mm. What is so special about 10x42mm binoculars? Deer are most active at dawn or dusk, so brightness is critical. Full-sized 10x42mm binoculars gather more light than their compact counterparts, so 10x42mm Binoculars are an obvious choice. They are ideal for hunting because of their superior light gathering capabilities.

8x42mm binoculars are the most popular optical configuration for bird watching. A 42mm objective lens provides sufficient light gathering capabilities in low light conditions. And an 8x magnification, allows the user to "steady" the binoculars much more readily than with higher powers, making the task of bird-identification a little easier. Look for 8x42mm binoculars with high light transmission capabilities like the 3D/ED’s.

Make sure your lenses are clean at all times and keep them free of fingerprints, dirt and debris. Use a Stuff-it microfiber lens cloth or a C6 Lens Cleaner to clean your lenses quickly and safely. Never use chemical on your lenses, it can harm the optical coating. When not in use, always replace the lens caps and store your binoculars in a case. For more cleaning options, visit the Lens and Screen Care product section.

Eye relief is the distance, in millimeters, a binocular can be held away from the eye and still see the entire field of view. If you wear glasses, a longer eye relief would be advantageous since your eyes cannot get as close to the eyepiece.

There are several steps you should take to focus your binoculars. The first step is to close your right eye and look through the left side of the binocular. Turn the center focusing wheel until you have a sharp image. Then close your left eye and look through the right side. Turn the diopter eyepiece until you have a sharp image in that eye. Lastly, look through both eyepieces and use only the center focusing wheel when looking at objects at different distances. Now you are ready to fully enjoy your Binoculars.

All the optical components of Binoculars (lenses, and prisms) should be coated to minimize light loss and reflection problems inside the Binocular. A poorly coated Binocular can lose up to 50% of the light initially gathered through the objective lens, resulting in a poor quality image. By coating the optical components with a fine film of certain chemicals, light loss can be greatly decreased. The highest quality binoculars have multiple coatings on all the optical components. These are known as "fully multi-coated" binoculars. These Binoculars have the least loss of light and the result is a higher quality image.

There are prisms located inside binoculars that function to flip an inverted image upright. There are two common styles of prisms used in binoculars; the BK-7 and the BAK-4. The BAK-4 prism is made of a higher density glass and can produce sharper images than a BK-7 prism can. If you are unsure as to which prism is being used, hold the binoculars out in front of you and look through the eyepiece. If you see a square shaped beam of light, chances are a BK-7 prism is being used. A round beam of light indicates the use of a BAK-4 prism.

The field of view is the size of the area that can be viewed through the binoculars. Field of view is measured in two ways; angular field of view and linear field of view. The angular field of view of a binocular is measured in degrees. Linear field of view is the width of area, in feet, visible at one thousand yards. Remember that the higher the power of your binocular, the smaller the field of view will be. In most cases, the larger the field of view, the poorer the image clarity becomes, especially around the edges. Bear this in mind when making your choice. Bigger does not always mean better!

The amount of light passing through the different lenses of the binocular depends on the diameter of those lenses. The objective lenses are located at the front of the binocular. The diameter of the objective lenses are measured in millimeters. An 8x21mm Binocular has an objective lens diameter of 21 millimeters. The larger the diameter of the lens, the more light they will gather. More light means a brighter image of greater detail and clarity. The size of the binocular exit pupil also affects the brightness of an image. The exit pupil is the diameter of the beam of light, in millimeters, that passes through the eyepieces (oculars) of the binocular. The larger the exit pupil, the brighter the binocular image becomes. Keep in mind however that larger binocular lenses mean larger binoculars.

There are many factors to consider in choosing the right binocular for an individual's need. For some it might be choosing the lowest price, color, or style. The most important factor in this decision relates to how you intend to use the binoculars. To most people, binoculars are a simple optical device but in reality they are complex, precision optical instruments.

The magnification of a binocular is how many times closer an object appears than when viewed by the naked eye. An 8x21mm binocular magnifies the image to eight times its normal size. Typical binocular magnifications range from powers of 7x to 10x, however they are available in much higher magnifications as well. Keep in mind, that as you increase Binocular power, less light will be gathered, and the viewing field will be reduced as well. It is also very difficult to keep an image steady at very high magnifications using a handheld binocular. A tripod is usually necessary to steady an image at higher magnifications.

This age-old question really comes down to personal preference. Do you want to carry heavy bulky binoculars from your car to the stadium? Do you prefer the added brightness that a full-sized binocular will offer? Or is the convenience of putting the binoculars in your jacket pocket more important to you? The jury is split between full-sized binocular "brightness", and compact binocular "portability." Whether you choose compact binoculars, or full-sized binoculars, there are a few other factors to consider. If you are watching a fast-moving sporting event, do not opt for binoculars that are too powerful (8x magnification is ideal). Higher magnification means a smaller field of view (it will be harder to follow the action). Also, make certain that the optical configuration of the binoculars offers a sufficiently wide field of view. Keep in mind, however, that you may sacrifice binocular edge definition or binocular eye relief with a wide field of view. In conclusion, it important to compare every feature.

A kid's binocular should be durable and lightweight and aid in exploration and outdoor fun. The Hawk fits all these criteria.

It is important to encourage outdoor play in children that are fascinated with bugs. Carson Optical has a variety of products to satisfy your child's fascination. The BugView will allow your child to catch bugs, examine them and release them when done.

It is important to keep a few items in mind when looking for a kid's magnifier. The magnifier should have a large viewing lens yet still be lightweight enough for a child’s use. The BigEye is ideal for kid's because it has an oversized acrylic lens which makes it lightweight and is safer than glass.

The most obvious uses for Pocket Microscopes are for coins, stamps and insect study. But over the years, we have learned of hundreds of other uses for our Pocket Microscopes You can view...lice, ticks, scientific slides, insects, thread or fabric, industrial coatings, plants (buds, leaves and seed) and even skin. View some images of products that we have photographed using our zPix USB Microscopes.

Carson list the magnification as the total effective magnification based upon a 21" monitor. To calculate the effective magnification when the image is displayed on your monitor, multiple the screen size by the factor listed on the product page for that digital microscope.  Please note the effective magnification is a combination of the optical system and a high powered digital zoom.

Please check each product page, but please note there may be two resolution specifications, for picture mode and for video mode.

To achieve the maximum resolution in picture mode, in the software, make sure you go to settings and select the maximum resolution. The software initially defaults to a lower resolution. Also, please note the video resolution may be lower than the picture resolution.

No, those devices are not supported.

LED's are not all created equally. In general, more LED's create more light. However, it is certainly possible that a single well-constructed LED can outshine a group of poor quality LED's. LED's vary considerably in terms of brightness, color and lifespan. Since there is no real industry standard to test LED's, Carson generally tests them ourselves. We compare LED's from many manufacturing facilities before constructing our Reading Lights. We test for brightness, durability and lifespan. We then select the lights that will create the best value for our customers.

There are several features to consider when purchasing an LED reading light. Some of the factors are clearly visible in the package, and others are not. Below you will find details on most of the important considerations when making your reading light purchase. For more information on Carson LED reading lights please visit the Reading Light section.

LED reading lights generally cost a little more than incandescent reading lights but LED reading lights are well worth the investment. LED reading lights last long, on average about fifty times longer than the bulb of an incandescent reading light. LED lights are resistant to shock, where incandescent reading lights can break easily. The most important consideration is energy use, LED reading lights use very little battery power and operate at a low temperature. Incandescent reading lights consume a great deal of battery power, and thus are much more expensive to operate than LED reading lights.