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Carson MagniScreen

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Carson MagniScreen

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Carson MagniScreen
A Fully Positionable, Fresnel Lens, Standing Magnifier
Model Number: TM-66
From: Carson Optical

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - February 2, 2009

The Carson MagniScreen is a free-standing Fresnel lens magnifier with a stretch arm. The magnifier can be used with a weighted base or it can be attached to a table, shelf, or similar surface by means of a clamp. Both the weighted base and the clamp are included with the magnifier. The magnifier itself, measures just shy of 7" x 10". By comparison, a standard piece of typing paper measures about 8" x 11", making this an extremely large magnifier.

Let me say a few words about the Fresnel lens magnifier. If you've never seen or used on before, it may not be what you expect. Unlike most acrylic or glass magnifiers which provide for crystal clear viewing, Fresnel lens magnifiers, by their very nature, do have a bit of distortion inherent in their design. This is because they are made by taking a piece of thin plastic and grinding rings in it to create the magnification phenomena. With a regular 'crystal clear' type magnifier, the magnification effect is created by making a convex lens that is thicker in the middle, and thinner at the edges. If you feel the Fresnel lens, you will notice that it is smooth on the top, and it has a slight rough feeling on the bottom - the roughness is caused by the grooves made during the grinding process. The grinding groves do remain slightly visible, but once you get use to using a Fresnel lense magnifier, you will find that you don't notice them very much, if at all. One of the biggest advantages of a Fresnel lens magnifier is that they are very lightweight, and very thin, making them ideal for use in extra-large magnifiers. In comparison, a typical acrylic or glass magnifier the size of this one would be inches thick in the middle and extremely unwieldy! Fresnel lenses also tend to be very scratch resistance, and break resistance. The Fresnel lens in the Carson MagniScreen will magnify 2x - 4x depending upon how it is positioned and your visual focal point.

One of the nicest features of the Carson MagniScreen is that not only is the stretch arm adjustable, but so is the lense itself. The lense attaches to the stretch arm by means of a small turnbuckle screw, and if you loosen the turnbuckle, the lens can be easily rotated to the desired position and then kept in place by retightening the turnbuckle. In addition, the stretch-arm can be moved up and down, and it can be rotated 360 degrees. The Carson MagniScreen does require some minor assembly, and instructions are included. No tools are needed and even the most mechanically inept individual out there will have no trouble assembling this magnifier.

I found the Carson MagniScreen to be very handy when it comes to tasks like balancing my check book, reading papers, filling out forms, or just reading the newspaper. The magnifier is so large that I do not need to be constantly repositioning the item I'm trying to look at, or moving the magnifier. Best of all, it is hands-free. This feature comes in most handily when I need both hands for what I'm working on! The only drawback to this magnifier, is that you really have to tighten down the turnbuckles once you get the magnifier in the position you want. If you don't, the magnifier will slip out of position. Having to tighten the turnbuckle so much makes it a little harder for me to unloosen, mostly because I have arthritis in my hands. For most people, I don't think that this will be an issue. Otherwise, as long as you are not expecting a crystal clear lens, the Carson MagniScreen will prove extremely useful to not only those with low vision, but also crafters, and anyone who could use an extra-large, hands-free, positionable, Fresnel lens magnifier.


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