Science Method

Belomo 10x Triplet Loupe

Handy 10x magnifier

A few months ago I picked up a Belomo 10x Triplet Loupe ($31) to help out with mushroom identification in the field. As someone who has more experience with camera lenses than loupes, I didn’t know what to expect. What arrived was an immaculately crafted magnifying device that I now carry on a daily basis.

Built by the Belarus Optical and Mechanical Enterprise Company (they once made high quality optics for the Soviet Union during the Cold War), the minuscule 10x loupe radiates a quality of craft and “thingness” that I’ve previously only seen in Leica glass. This comparison is in part owed to the superb optics, but also to the textured black enamel that coats the folding steel case coupled with its solid build quality.

The loupe itself is compact, quick to fold out, and easy to use. Between using it to identify mushrooms, to seeing the destruction I wreak on my fingernails, or the dulled edge of my kitchen knives, I have found the ability to easily magnify anything 10x (or more) has given me a renewed appreciation for the smaller things in life.

My decision to pick up the 10x magnification instead of the 15x or 20x was driven by cost and usability. Everyone I spoke to seemed to agree that 10x had the best balance between field of view, depth of field, and cost. Unlike other loupes where you can change magnification through opening up additional lenses, the Belomo relies on a single lens system that reduces the chance of breaking, while providing greater optical quality and increased light. The image quality is really fantastic.

One of the best features of the Belomo Loupe is the ability to incorporate it as an external macro lens with my iPhone camera. The small sensor size coupled with the Loupe means that it has enough depth of field to create photos I can use to identify when I get home. I’ve been blown away with the results.

The Belomo loupe is a fantastic EDC tool that provides a new way to look at the world. I can’t recommend it enough.

-- Oliver Hulland 06/20/19

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2011 — editors)

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