Help me learn about the lens like device used by photographers.
April 9, 2006 8:40 AM   Subscribe

What is the lens like device that photographers use to view photographs at very close range (almost next to their faces) and why do they use it?
posted by sk381 to Society & Culture (11 answers total)
It's called a loupe. It's for magnifying small detail.

It's often used for viewing contact sheets, which is where each printed shot is the same size as the original film (very small).
posted by cillit bang at 8:44 AM on April 9, 2006

I think it's called a loupe, and they use it for magnification - to check for fine detail, signs of manipulation, etc.
posted by chudmonkey at 8:45 AM on April 9, 2006

do you mean a loupe? it's a magnifying device to help see details.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:45 AM on April 9, 2006

posted by andrew cooke at 8:45 AM on April 9, 2006

They are normally used in conjunction with a light table, especially for inspecting negatives or slides. The magnification is typically around 4X but you can find them in sizes up to 10X and higher. You can get a cheap loupe for like $5 but the optics will be shit.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:27 AM on April 9, 2006

They are quite useful for checking grain and contrast, even on bigger enlargments. A used 10X (+) loupe is actually pretty inexpensive; I got a nice heavy glass Agfa for $12 on craigslist recently. Try ebay too.
posted by luriete at 9:47 AM on April 9, 2006

Then there is also a magnifier called a Linen Tester. This performs the same function, but it folds up so you can put it in your pocket.
posted by lemhuxley at 11:03 AM on April 9, 2006

Loupes are also used by gemologists and geologists to see fine details in gems & rocks.
posted by nprigoda at 3:29 PM on April 9, 2006

Graphic Designers swear by linen testers too. You can't do a press check without one...
posted by ninthart at 3:50 PM on April 9, 2006

Thanks for the prompt replies!
posted by sk381 at 5:28 PM on April 9, 2006

There are loupes and then there are loupes. Back when professional photographers were shooting film, most of them used the Schneider 4X Loupe, which was very sharp and easy on the eyes when editing a lot of film. I've had one for 20 years and still use it regularly. They are also used for focusing large-format cameras. Schneider makes them in various other magnifications as well.
posted by philmas at 10:22 AM on April 12, 2006

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