Yesterday, I mentioned that new phase of life, wherein eyesight just isn’t what it used to be! And this can really affect the pleasure we get out of doing our needlework. Having reluctantly entered this phase of life, I recently purchased a Craftlite “Dublin” magnifier-light combination, so I thought I’d give you an in-depth review of it.
Well, here’s a rather weird shot – but it was dark in the room, and I thought I’d see if I could get a photo of the magnifier / light, with my work behind it, to show you the light. You can see that the light is pretty bright, but the photo doesn’t capture the experience very well! Still…. just to show you how these things work, in case you don’t already know: in the head of the apparatus, there’s a circle of LED lights around a magnifying lens. You position the magnifier-light between you and your needlework, with the lights shining down on your work, and you turn it the thing on, and you look through the lens as you work.
The photo above is the manufacturer’s photo. It shows you, pretty much, what the Dublin is all about. The Dublin is both a floor model and a table model. If you remove the straight shaft of the floor lamp (very easy proposition – it is fitted in the base and tightened in with a screw knob), you can take just the goose-neck part of the lamp and fit it into the base, to use as a table-top version. The Dublin doesn’t come with the clamp that you see above, but the clamp attachment can be purchased separately, if you want a table-top model without the “footprint” of the base.
The goose-neck on this thing is super-dee-duper adjustable. I can position the magnifier in any way I want it. I’m sure I probably have tried every possible position, just to see what it would do. I think an easily flexible arm like this is important for a magnifier. Whenever you switch positions, you shouldn’t have to un-tighten things and reposition, and re-tighten things, to get your magnifier where you want it. You also shouldn’t be limited in the positions you can sit, because your magnifier isn’t flexible. So I’m pleased with the function of the goose-neck.
When the lens head is horizontal, you can rotate it so that the lens faces your face, if you want. That’s how flexible the thing is. And the lens head is very light, so it doesn’t ease back down out of position, as heavier models might.
The new version of the Dublin has a battery pack that can be used when a plug isn’t readily available. It takes “C” batteries, and I’m told that they last quite a long time, since the LED lights don’t pull much on them.
The battery pack can be easily positioned on the straight shaft of the floor lamp model, or, if you’re using it as a table lamp without the shaft, it clips right on to the base ring of the goose-neck. I haven’t used the battery pack yet, but I can see how it would be handy. Not that I’d take the thing in the car with me, but travelers who camp and so forth might find the battery pack very useful.
The lighting is provided by this ring of LED lights, which shine a bit “blue” but really brighten up your work. If you’re using white fabric, it looks shockingly white at first. The LED lights are very bright if you are looking directly at them, but since you don’t look directly at them, as they are pointing down from your face or away from your face when you’re working, this shouldn’t be too much of a bother. As with any very bright lights of this nature, you don’t want to spend any time looking directly at them, especially at close range. If you stitch in a room with another person, you might need to adjust the position of the lens head so that the lights don’t bother the other person, either. But in fact, from a distance, they are not as noticeably bright.
The whole thing, when in floor-stand mode, is very light – much lighter than most Ott lights and so forth that come with a base like this. For example, the base on the older Ott lights with the goose-neck arm are Really Heavy – drop it on your toe, and you’re doomed! – but the light itself is heavy, so the weight is needed to balance the light. With the Dublin, the whole thing together is not heavy at all, but there’s enough weight in the base to keep the magnifier stable. And yet it’s still light enough to move it around with ease.
What I like about The Dublin Craftlite:
1. I love the very flexible goose-neck, and the fact that I can easily move the lens head into any position I would want.
2. The quality of lighting from the LED lights is better than I thought it would be, so I’m actually very pleased with the brightness of my work under the magnifier and light.
3. I like the fact that it can be a table-top or a floor model, with a simple adjustment. I’m the type who pretty much will stick with the floor version, but if I ever want a table-top version, it’s just a matter of removing the straight shaft.
4. The battery pack is a great idea, especially for folks who travel or camp. I can see using it in a hotel room, where an electrical outlet isn’t easily accessible. But for at-home use, I don’t really have need of the battery pack, which brings me to the cost of the thing (under cons below).
5. The whole thing is light. It’s stable, though – it doesn’t wobble about, and it isn’t easily knocked over. The base is heavy enough to ensure that, but not too heavy to be inconvenient to move around.
1. The thing is somewhat expensive, clocking in around $110.00. Why isn’t there an option for “just” a table lamp version with the goose-neck, that is less expensive than the table-floor combination? Or, why not make the battery pack optional (as a purchasable side accessory), since most people probably won’t use it that often – and maybe shave off a bit of the price for the thing overall?
2. I wouldn’t mind the lens head being a bit bigger, but I know that this would probably increase the weight of the head, which would limit the staying power of the flexible goose-neck, and increase the weight in the base, so… I won’t complain. The lens is big enough to do what it needs to do, I suppose!
3. If you need very strong magnification, this magnifier might not do it for you. Magnification is 2x, as opposed to the larger, heavier magnifiers, which are generally around 5x magnification. But if you’re just creeping into that area of needing a little magnification, the Dublin will probably do the trick.
So that’s the Dublin by Craftlite – combination magnifier and light. And overall, I really like it! If you’re looking for one, check out your local needlework shop first – they may carry it. If you don’t have a local needlework shop and need to find it online, you can find it through online sources, such as Keepsake Needlearts. (No affiliation… just looks like they carry it regularly…) For anyone out there in Kansas, I bought mine in Topeka at the Sunflower Seed (Huntoon & Gage Blvd). Call first before you make the trip, as they might not be in stock.
And don’t forget to add it to your Christmas List!