Skip to main content

The best loupes for jewelry, dentists and photographers: see the tiniest details

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A loupe is a magnifying lens, usually set within an eyepiece or frame, that lets you view small details. Which means the best loupes are a must-buy for a wide range of professionals, including jewelers, watchmakers, stamp collectors, instrument repairer, dentists and even for microsurgery. Photographers, too, often use them, to examine prints up close. They might also attach them to the LCD screen of a digital SLR (opens in new tab) to provide a glare-free view outdoors. 

When choosing the best loupe, you need to check the magnification is sufficient for the task you'll be using for. Plus, you'll want to know it's able to let in sufficient natural or artificial light – unless, that is, you’re seeking a LCD loupe that doubles as a shade. With all that in mind, read on to discover the best loupes on sale today, and how they differ from each other.

The best loupe in 2022

(Image credit: Opticron)
(opens in new tab)

1. Opticron 15x 23mm Folding Metal Loupe

The best loupe for jewelers

Specifications

Purpose: Jewelry inspection
Features: Glass lens set in folding metal frame
Magnification: 15x
Dimensions: 44 x 25 x 32mm
Weight: 4.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Traditional design
+
Metal construction
+
15x magnification

Reasons to avoid

-
No light

This traditional folding or flip-out metal loupe from optical specialist Opticron is small, ultra portable and won’t break the bank. Featuring a standard 23mm diameter glass lens, it's available with various choices of magnification, from 6x up to 15x presently, and the 15x magnification model is probably the best choice for those wanting to expect gems and jewelry. The metal frame is also chrome plated, making for a quick, handy and very affordable solution. On the downside, it doesn’t feature an additional LED lamp, but in daylight that shouldn't be an issue.

(Image credit: Fancii)
(opens in new tab)

2. Fancii LED Slide Out Pocket Jewelers’ Loupe

The best loupe for jewelers with a light

Specifications

Purpose: Jewelry inspection
Features: Integral LEDs plus UV blacklight
Magnification: 10x (25mm lens), 20x (12mm), 30x (8mm)
Dimensions: 81 x 46 x 18mm
Weight: 45g

Reasons to buy

+
Pocketable 
+
Choice of three magnifications
+
Built-in LED + UV blacklight

Reasons to avoid

-
Reliant on batteries

Need to examine jewels in dim light or darkness? Then here's our recommendation. As you slide open this loupe/magnifying glass, its built-in LED lights and UV blacklight automatically come on, making for a clear and surprisingly powerful little handheld device.

Just a little bit larger in terms of size and shape than a USB memory stick, this loupe for examining precious gems opens to reveal three magnifying lenses of, variously, 10x, 20x and 30x strengths. While it's small enough to slip into a top pocket, it’s not so small that's it's fiddly to operate. Best of all, the three LR44 batteries required to power its LEDs are included, as is a leather effect ‘travel sleeve’.

(Image credit: Fancii)
(opens in new tab)

3. Fancii Headband LED Illuminated Head Magnifier Visor

The best head-mounted loupe

Specifications

Purpose: Hands-free magnification
Features: Built in LED lamp, head strap, five detachable lenses
Magnification: From 1x to 3.5x
Dimensions: 9 x 3.5 x 5.8 inches
Weight: 141g

Reasons to buy

+
Hands-free use
+
Choice of magnifications
+
Built-in LED lamp

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as pocketable as a jeweler's loupe

Offering a magnification range from 1x to 3.5x, thanks to five detachable goggle-like lenses, this head-worn unit keeps your hands free – very useful whether you’re extracting teeth, building a Spitfire out of matchsticks, or valuing precious stones.  

The lenses are angle adjustable and detachable, as is the headband, plus the integral light can be tilted to enable a better view. Being a headset, the only downside is it’s larger and bulkier than most loupe solutions. But for what it is, it's still lightweight and economically built. A case and cleaning cloth is included.

(Image credit: Carson)
(opens in new tab)

4. Carson Optical Pro Series Magnivisor

The best head-mounted loupe with removable light

Specifications

Purpose: Hands-free magnification
Features: Detachable lamp, headband and four interchangeable lenses
Magnification: From 1.5x to 3x
Dimensions: 9.75 x 3.5 x 7.5 inches
Weight: 181g

Reasons to buy

+
Hands-free use
+
Choice of four magnifications
+
Built-in, detachable LED lamp

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as pocketable as a jeweler's loupe
-
Batteries not supplied

Another hands-free, head-mounted loupe, this doesn’t cost much more than the Fancii option (above), or weigh much more than it either. Like that model, this Carson headset comes with an adjustable fabric headband and LED lamp. Here, though, it's removable, allowing it to act as a free standing light source if necessary. 

The four clip-on goggle-like lenses provided –1.5x, 2x, 2.5x and 3x – can also be adjusted upwards of 85° if they are not needed for magnification. Powered by three LEDs, the lamp can also be adjusted 30 degrees either right or left and about 90 degrees up and down. 

The only fly in the ointment is that you’ll need to provide the three AA batteries required to power the lights yourself as they’re not included in the box.

(Image credit: Hoodman)
(opens in new tab)

5. Hoodman Hoodloupe

The best loupe for viewing your camera’s LCD

Specifications

Purpose: LCD screen shade & viewer
To fit screen size: 3 or 3.2-inches
Magnification: 1:1
Dimensions: 70 x 95 x 95mm
Weight: 227g

Reasons to buy

+
Works well with camera's LCD 
+
Assess focusing and exposure
+
Optional mounting cords

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Single magnification

Do you find your DSLR or mirrorless camera’s LCD is impossible to view in strong sunlight? Then try the Hoodloupe. Designed to be used with a rear plate LCD that’s either 3 or 3.2 inches in size – just make sure you buy the correct option to match your screen – this may not be the cheapest of viewing solutions. But it's well constructed, and clarity comes courtesy of 1:1 German glass optics and diopter adjustment. 

Although the magnification is fixed, you can adjust the magnification of the image using the camera's playback options. So if you’re looking for a way to exclude daylight from the back of your camera to aid composition, this simple yet practical product could make all the difference. The provided neck strap means it’s always close to hand, and a one-year warranty provides added peace of mind.

(Image credit: Carson)
(opens in new tab)

6. Carson 10x LumiLoupe

The best loupe for viewing slides and stamps

Specifications

Purpose: Slide, stamp and picture/print viewer
Features: Glass lens set in folding metal frame
Magnification: 10x
Dimensions: 50 x 50 x 45mm
Weight: 40g

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for slides and negatives
+
Great for stamp collectors
+
Design used by professional printers

Reasons to avoid

-
No light

Wonderfully affordable, this is small and lightweight 10x magnifier is perfect for examining slides, precious coins and stamps, as well as proofing pictures and prints. 

With a construction comprising pre-focused dual lenses, the magnifying loupe is placed over the flat object you want to view, while its transparent acrylic base lets in sufficient ambient light to allow bright and clear viewing. With a construction the width of a 35mm color slide, and weighing just 40g the LumiLupe is nicely portable, and can be easily stashed in a pocket or the corner of a gadget bag.
See also: Best slide viewers (opens in new tab)

Read more:

The best microscopes (opens in new tab) 

• The best monoculars (opens in new tab) 

 The best spotting scopes (opens in new tab)

The best binoculars (opens in new tab)

The best opera glasses (opens in new tab)

• The best night vision goggles and binoculars  (opens in new tab)

 The best telescopes for astrophotography (opens in new tab)

Best borescopes and inspection cameras (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gavin Stoker

Gavin has over 30 year experience of writing about photography and television. He is currently the editor of British Photographic Industry News, and previously served as editor of Which Digital Camera and deputy editor of Total Digital Photography


He has also written for a wide range of publications including T3, BBC Focus, Empire, NME, Radio Times, MacWorld, Computer Active, What Digital Camera and Rough Guide books.


With his wealth of knowledge he is well placed to recognise great camera deals and recommend the best products in Digital Camera World’s buying guides. He also writes on a number of specialist subjects including binoculars and monoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes, trail cameras, action cameras, body cameras, filters, cameras straps and more.