What is a Video Magnifier?

A video magnifier, or closed-circuit television (CCTV), provides a magnified image for use by people with low vision to enable them to maintain an independent lifestyle at work, home, or school. A video magnifier consists of a camera, monitor, lighting, and usually a stand. In addition to providing magnification, video magnifiers usually have enhanced contrast and other features that help you read magazines and letters, view family photos, write checks, perform work activities, do schoolwork, and engage in your favorite hobbies. Video magnifiers are used by people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and many other visual conditions.

Benefits of Video Magnifiers

Video magnifiers have many benefits that other solutions are unable to provide. They have a wide range of magnification, which means you can use them for a variety of tasks. They have a wide field of view, so they display more on the screen at a time, which reduces eye fatigue. Adjustable monitors can move in multiple directions to reduce glare. An auto-focus camera will keep the focus, even on books with a deep spine. You can write using a video magnifier, a task which is often difficult using a hand-held traditional magnifier. Nearly all video magnifiers can freeze the image for close inspection of small objects or to keep your place.

Advanced Features

Some video magnifiers have other advanced features. These include selectable color modes, such as high-contrast full color, inverse color, enhanced black on white, enhanced white on black, yellow on blue, and yellow on black; adjustable vertical and horizontal Reading Lines and Masks to make it easy to keep your place and to cut down on glare; position locator to easily write and place items in the center of the camera view; and split-screen mode, to view a computer screen and camera image simultaneously.

Types of Video Magnifiers

Some video magnifiers are designed with the camera, monitor, lighting, and stand built into one self-contained unit. Others have a separate, detachable monitor or can be connected to a TV or computer. Some are small enough to fit into a pocket. Some video magnifiers can be used with a computer in split-screen mode to display both the camera image and the computer program on the same monitor. Many of today's video magnifiers use a high-definition camera that provides a crisp, clean image with no distortion, even at high magnification levels.

Freedom Scientific offers many types and styles of video magnifiers to meet the varying needs of people with low vision.

  • Desktop video magnifiers usually have all components in one unit. They offer a choice of monitor sizes to accommodate viewing and space requirements. Explore the TOPAZ family of desktop video magnifiers
  • Portable video magnifiers have a separate camera unit that can be focused close-up on materials on a desk or table, or aimed at distance objects such as a whiteboard or bulletin board in a lecture hall or auditorium. Explore the ONYX family of portable video magnifiers
  • Handheld video magnifiers fit into a pocket or purse to provide magnification on the go. Explore the RUBY family of portable video magnifiers and the SAPPHIRE portable video magnifier