The 5 Best Aplanatic Achromatic Pocket Magnifiers

Aplanatic Achromatic Pocket Magnifiers

Aplanatic-achromatic Loupes are indispensably valuable vision aids that perform a variety of high-precision tasks in clinical research settings, medical practices, in industry environments, as well as other skilled trades when precise vision is required.

They are incredibly small, frequently no larger than a packet of breath mints, but provide extremely powerful, distortion-free, anti-reflective magnification without chromatic aberration.

Zeiss makes the best-rated pocket loupes on the market today, according to the online feedback we've seen.

With raving fans including everyone from antiques collectors to dentists.

Our Top Pick: The Zeiss D40 Loupe

Let's take a look at 5 of the best-selling Aplanatic-achromatic Loupes on the market today.

Comparing The Options

Our Top Pick

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The Belarussian-made Zeiss D40 Z00006 10x is our favorite aplanatic-achromatic Loupe. It has a Lens diameter of 22 mm and a field of view of 3252127 mm. It features anti-reflective coating, distortion-free images, and is suitable for gemologists, watchmakers, dentist, biologists, electricians, tattoo artists even stamp collectors.

Users say while it is pretty expensive, it is incredibly small and durable. Some users say that when they put it in their pocket they aren't even aware that it is there throughout the day. It doesn't ship with a carrying case-but you can attach a lanyard to it. Glass and optics are exceptional quality. Another user comments that he is seeing this device employed ubiquitously inside of hospital research laboratories that only use the best of the best.

While this is certainly an expensive device, users write that they have gotten a lot of use out of it, appreciate its design and exceptional optical clarity but also caution to clean it up gently. Napkins and paper towels would be too abrasive and harsh chemicals can likely damage the glass surface. 

Pros

  • Exceptional optical clarity
  • Great design
  • Small size

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No carrying case

What are jewelry loupes?

A jewelry loupe is a precision instrument that consists of a small magnifying glass with two or more lenses used by a variety of people from rock collectors to weapon smiths.

As the name suggests jewelers use them the most. 

The loupe has several advantages over a traditional, Sherlock Holmes style magnifying glass, also called a singlet. The traditional magnifying glass magnifies different colors differently so different colors can be slightly different sized.

The loupe has a second lens, called a doublet, which makes them achromatic.

Zeiss Loupes on Pawn Stars

They correct most of the chromatic aberrations that distort the image. In addition, the surfaces of the lenses are aplanatic meaning they aren’t perfectly round or flat, but complexly contoured.

This keeps the edge of the image from becoming blurry, which occurs on a single lens magnifying lens. The trade-off is the viewable area is smaller on a jeweler’s loupe than a regular, single lensed magnifying glass.

Loupes are often made by optics manufacturers who usually make a wide variety of magnifiers.There are many companies that make jeweler’s loupes and their quality and price varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The quality of the lens is affected by things such as the design of the surface and how the lenses interact with each other.

There are many different ways to make the loupes, especially the lenses.

Within a single level of magnification the quality of the loupe can range from cheaply made all the way to precision laboratory equipment. The higher quality loupes are meant to be distortion free.

Why would anyone need such a powerful tool?

Scientists, numismatic coin collectors, diamond appraisers, and micro-engineers all need the level of detail provided by the loupe. Imagine you are a jeweler.

You want to assess the clarity, color, and cut of the diamond. With your naked eye you can see the color. 

What about the details of the cut or any blemishes? For that you want something that is much stronger than your eye. Any coin collector, jewelry appraiser, or rock cataloger should have one.

 Loupe users say that they need to be able to see enhanced views of images with clear details. With that in mind, the aspect of the loupe that was the most important overall to customers was the quality of the lens.

While not universal, customers of higher quality lenses were often unwilling to consider lower quality lenses with many saying that they gladly bought the more expensive loupe over lower priced competitors.

What are customers saying?

Some reviewers commented on the frame and cases of the loupes but even most of those reviewers noted that the quality of the lens far overshadowed the other features.

Many users said that they would have liked to have a sturdier metal frame instead of the plastic frames most of them had. The loupes aren’t all identical and have different features such as multiple lenses or a lanyard hole to attach a chain to. Customers who buy pocket loupes also overwhelmingly value their portability.

A lot of the customers say they carry the loupe with them everywhere they go.Users of the Zeiss Optics Pocket 9x magnifier write about how functional the loupe is. The magnifier has 3 achromatic, aplanatic lenses that can slide into place giving the user up to 9x magnification.

Many users talked about the quality of Zeis lenses and one power user said the image is sharper with less chromatic issues than other loupes.

The sliding lenses help another user out by allowing him to quickly change the magnification for when he wants to scan something vs. when he wants to zoom in. The quality of the casing has a mixed review from the users. Many said the casing was well made but a few reviewers found fault with the plastic housing and glue that held the lenses.

Still, many customers who own the Zeis Optics Pocket 9x magnifier thought it was the best loupe they ever owned. One customer even claimed he won’t buy a diamond without it. Zeis Optics Pocket 10X magnifier buyers overwhelmingly thought it was of exceptional quality. Many of those buyers note the quality comes at a premium however.

A number of reviewers noted that there are a lot of cheaper options for a loupe, but as one reviewer writes “You get what you pay for.” It is the standard by which all 10X optics should be measured according to another customer.

The customer also notes that if you go into any diamond district it’s the loupe that everyone will be using. Another customer who uses the loupe for geology work says that the Zeis Optics Pocket 10X loupe has a brighter view than lower quality loupes like Belomo or B&L. Some users had an issue with the loupe because it didn’t come with a case.

Another thing users didn’t like was that there was no easy way to hang the loupe. A tip one Zeis Opticks Pocket 10X loupe buyer gave was to get a mount or keyring made for it so it could easily be attached to a chain.

One customer who bought the Eschenbach 20X Loupe Magnifier cited his admiration for the brand as motivating him to make the purchase. He wrote about his love of the quality that goes into the optics and how it leads him to repurchase them and advocate them.

Other users bought the Eschenbach 20X Achromatic Loupe because it’s priced very reasonably for a lens of such great craftsmanship. The loupe is very durable with one user writing that he had his first one for 20 years until he lost it.

That user also loved the wide field of view that the loupe had. A customer also said that the loupe was very durable and could survive getting wet and dirty.

Still, there were some issues with the Eschenbach 20X Loupe. While the achromatic lens itself was flawless, some users found flaws in the frame that held the lenses. One user said that the paint started to peel within a year while another said the case felt like cheaper material for the price of the loupe.

Final thoughts

If you are looking to purchase a Aplanatic-achromatic Loupe, read our reviews above and examine the comparison table as a smart first step.

These small magnification devices enable you to see the smallest detail largely magnified. Dissimilar from magnifying glasses, these loupes do not actually have a handle and the lens for focusing is encircled inside of an opaque cylinder that acts as a protective housing.

The three general and most basic types of loupes on the available on the market today are prismatic multiple lenses, regular multiple lenses, and simple lenses that have the highest amount of optical aberration.

Do your homework prior to purchase!


The Top 5 Team
 

We are a team of product researchers that specializes in assembling comprehensive buying guides. Our team has a variety of backgrounds, with a mixture of soft and hard sciences represented. Check out our About page to read more about our reviews and editorial process.

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