Recently, I visited a friendly, small town in the north east area of North Dakota, to do an exhibit at one of their community events.  A popular topic of discussion was types of magnifiers available for people with low vision. There are so many available options for magnifiers, today I’d like to talk about Electronic Video Magnifiers, also known as CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) Magnifiers, which are the current state-of-the-art magnifiers for people with low vision.  Depending on the model, they can offer a variable magnification range from 2x up to 50x, or greater with sharp, clear images displayed on a high definition monitor.  A video camera with zoom lenses is what provides the variable magnification.  All video magnifiers have options for viewing black letters and a white background or white letters on a black background, and some models offer this feature in different colors. Controls for contrast and brightness is a standard feature.

Desktop Magnifier

Desktop Magnifier

A table top electronic video magnifier has a camera mounted on a fixed stand that requires materials to be placed on a tray, some models allow the tray to be moved up and down and side to side for ease of reading a newspaper, book, or other reading materials.  Stand mounted cameras have room for the user’s hands which allows them to write checks, handwritten notes, etc.  Depending on the model this type of magnifier can be a stationary device, but there are portable video magnifiers that can be folded and taken with the user, available, as well.

An electronic handheld magnifier is designed for bringing the camera to the material to be viewed.  They can magnify almost anything within the user’s reach and can assist in reading food and prescription labels, cooking directions and

Electronic Handheld Magnifier

many other daily tasks where magnification would be helpful. Some handheld electronic magnifiers have a custom fit stand to move across a page or a flat surface.

There are also some great apps to choose from for your smartphone to use as an electronic magnifier. We’ll save those for another day!

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about magnification options available to you or if you have an upcoming event that you would like us to set up an exhibit, please contact us at 1-800-895-4728 or

Written by Roxanne Wells, ND Assistive.

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