Treat Yourself. You Deserve It!
I have carried (and USED) a magnifier of one description or another daily for nearly forty years. For more than twenty of those years, it has been a particular 2.5x folder available from a national chain of hardware stores that contains a very satisfactory glass lens but has the unfortunate flaw of a plastic rim that tends to break in the pocket. That changed yesterday with the delivery of my Galco hand lens.
The lens is what does the work, so I'll talk about that first. It is listed as 3x and, judging by focal length, that is accurate. It is glass. Plastic will scratch, no matter what it's coated with. I have never had glass get scratched in my pocket (or in use), so there's a big plus. Before looking through my new Galco lens, I looked AT it with a Hastings triplet in 10x and found no flaws. When used correctly (see below), the image is sharp and bright with slight distortion only in the outer 15% or so of the field -- what one would expect with a single biconvex lens. Very satisfactory!
The rim looks and feels substantial. It is white metal (not attracted to/by a magnet) and appears chromed. The leather sleeve is well-finished, as one would expect from a company whose main business is top-shelf gun leather. The action is a bit stiff to get open, but that is not necessarily bad. I would thereby expect it to stay closed in the pocket and to stay open when purposefully opened for use. One might also reasonably expect that with time and use, it will loosen up a bit. The item is made in the USA, which I consider to be a big plus.
If you use a hand lens, you will quickly fall in love with this one!
TECHNIQUE: Most people don't know the best technique for using a hand lens. I'm here to help. First, make sure the center of the lens is aligned with the center of your dominant eye and that the lens is not rotated. Even a few degrees of rotation introduces distortion, as you are then aiming the image away from the center of your eye. Second, hold the lens close to your eye and bring the object you're viewing toward the lens and into focus. You wouldn't use binoculars, a microscope, or even regular eyeglasses at arm's length from your eye, so why do that with a hand lens?