Lightview Pro XL: I can really see clearly now!
A strange thing happened about a year ago: my stitches were getting smaller. Stranger still, neither my technique nor my materials had changed. Not wanting to admit to waning eyesight, I instead decided “lighting” was the problem.
So I scoured the Internet for fellow stitchers’ task lamp reviews, and I ultimately chose the Stella desk lamp. Indeed the brighter light made a huge difference, and I decided problem solved.
But about six months later, my stitches started shrinking again! My day of reckoning had arrived. My ageing eyes needed more support, so I purchased my first pair of reading glasses. Ta-da! Just as chocolate goes with peanut butter, so, too does a good lamp and some type of magnifying lens. I could see everything literally in a whole new light.
I thought I was a genius in discovering my winning combo until the Brightech company recently reached out to Textileartist.org to review their Lightview Pro XL lamp. What? A magnifying lens attached to a lamp? I leapt at the opportunity, and after just one use, there was no looking back (sorry… I had to use that pun somewhere).
Unpacking & assembling
After the order was placed, the lamp arrived promptly and well packaged. It came in a fairly large, and surprisingly heavy, box. I guessed the large lamp head and magnifying glass were the cause, but in fact, the base was the heaviest part. 12.4 pounds (5.6kg)! I quickly realized once I set up the lamp, it was not going to budge easily. And for me, that’s a good thing.
Assembly was easy, as there are only two pieces to connect—three if you’re wanting to use it as a standing lamp. The directions were clear, and the power cord connects easily near the base.
Measuring at 60″ (1.5m), I do think the power cord is a bit short if you don’t have an outlet nearby. My Stella lamp cord is double that length. But this lamp’s plug can go in an outlet in either direction, so that’s a plus if you have other bulky plugs already in your outlet. I also think the lamp looks pretty snazzy. It’s fairly minimal in design and doesn’t call
attention to itself.
Let there be light!
I first used the lamp in the tabletop configuration, as that’s what I’d use most often. My studio is long and narrow, and my work table is fairly large. So standing a lamp to the side wouldn’t work as well for me.
You’ll see from the picture of the lamp head, there are few buttons to operate, so I was able to start using the lamp right away. There’s just an on/off switch, and then up and down arrows to brighten and dim the light.
Oh my gosh—let there be light! When I first turned the lamp on, it was super bright. And it was only at the midpoint of lighting intensity! There are five LED lighting levels, all of which provide plenty of light.
But there is only one style of LED lighting in the lamp. My Stella lamp has a variety of lighting styles… warm, cool, daytime, etc. And each has different levels. I would describe this lamp’s single light source as cooler and more of a white/blue hue. But not having different types of light wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, as I largely use a lamp for lighting. And this lamp’s cooler LED light definitely makes everything visible.
Magnifying every stitch
Speaking of making things visible, the magnifying glass is incredible! I’ve only begun using reading glasses, and I thought they made things look huge. But this lamp puts those glasses to shame. The magnification not only shows you each and every stitch you make, it shows you the fabric’s thread count, the direction of the fabric weave, lint, and whether or not you’re due for a manicure!
There’s a cover over the magnifying glass on top of the lamp that you lift when you want to look through the glass. The viewing area is fairly large measuring about 5.5″ (14cm) horizontally and 4″ (10cm) vertically.
You pull the arm up, down, forward and/or backward to position the light and/or magnifying glass as best suits you for viewing. The arm can also swivel side to side. There are no locks on the arm extensions to lock the lamp into a particular position, but it seems to stay well put once positioned.
There is, however, a crank knob that locks the lamp’s light/glass head once you have the position that suits you best. It, too, moves in all directions, but again you have to tighten the crank knob to keep it in your chosen position.
The arms have quite a large range of extension. As noted below, each section measures 13″ (33cm), so that’s quite a wingspan. And I was impressed at how the lamp was quite steady at full extension due to the square metal stabilizing bar in front of the base that you pull out when assembling.
Table-top & standing configuration
I admit there was a bit of a learning curve for me in figuring out what table-top configuration worked best. And I had to get used to having to lift the lamp head up and out of my way when I would finish stitching or wanted to look at my piece overall. But none of that was overly difficult, and I was able to start stitching pretty quickly.
The standing configuration was no different. It took some tweaking of the arms and lamp head to find what suited me best. And because my studio is so narrow, it was hard to place the lamp to the side of me. I had to instead place it in front of me, which meant when I wanted to get up, I had to wrestle the 12-pound (5.6kg) base out of the way! But for me, that’s a minor point.
I just can’t explain the level of magnification this lamp provides! Once I forgot to take off my readers and it was even more magnified. I scared myself when my huge fingers and needle came into view! Ha!
With that said, though, because of the magnification level, I also realized I had to hold my hands fairly steady once the light was at the right adjustment. If you move your hands and stitching more than a few inches away from your adjusted height, your view will be blurred. But I tend to rest my hands on the table when I work, so the blurring wasn’t a real challenge for me once I started stitching. And I’d imagine anyone holding work steadily on their lap would experience the same consistent view.
Because of the somewhat limited viewing area, I think I would mostly use the magnifying glass when working on a particularly tricky stitching area, and then just use the lamp and my reading glasses for general stitching work. The lighting is just as incredible as the magnification, and after all, it IS a lamp.
Also, despite the heavier base, the lamp is portable, and I can imagine using it while watching TV sitting on your favourite chair or couch. Just know you might need an extension cord.
Here is the skinny on dimensions:
- The base is 12″ x 11″ / 30.5cm x 28cm (with the stabilizer bar extended)
- The lamp head measures about 9.5″ x 7.5″ / 24cm x 17.8cm
- The magnifier viewing area is 5.5″ x 4″ / 14cm x 10cm
- Both the upper and lower portions of the arm are 13″ / 33cm long
Finally, how much does the Lightview Pro XL cost? I have to say it was a big saving over my own combination. My Stella lamp cost $179 US from Amazon, and my reading glasses were about $20 US. The Lightview Pro XL which has the lamp and the magnifying lens combined is about $90 US from Brightech. That’s a big saving!
I would definitely recommend this lamp to my fellow stitching friends. It’s solid, easy to assemble, and both the light and magnifying glass make it so easy to see what you’re doing. And if you don’t necessarily need the magnification or as much magnification, there are other versions and configurations of the lamp as well.
Surely there’s a model that would suit most anyone who stitches.