I did inquire (some months back, I think) about whether hand lenses were readily available in India?
How many botanists regularly used these “in the field”?   How many plant enthusiasts not holding professional posts used them?
What makes, magnifications were available?   How  much do they cost in India?
There was no response at the time, so I repeat my questions, as this is an important consideration.
Please would members let me know this time? 


Me and my Botanist friends always carry a 10x hand lens with us, local made, readily available, costing about INR 100.  The young generation, however, using it less and they believe in carrying a camera instead.


Thanks for the information … I have further comments to make on this topic but shall wait until, hopefully, others have shared their experience. 


I have been using a 10x hand lens which is actually the lens taken from a dissecting microscope.
But I have hardly seen new researchers using hand lens.
Though research students with me use dissecting microscope to see and draw floral structures invariably in lab and I always use to dissect the flowers of same species to verify their drawings and identifications as a rule.


Useful to know this – and of your improvised hand lens.
I shall comment about all this once have heard from others. 


I have been using the hand lens. I carry the same during nature walks to show the details of minute structures like hairs, venation, stamens, stigma, minute flowers etc to group members especially school children who join for nature TX.trails and tree walks. What I have observed is: most of the persons or none in the group bring the lens. The lens is readily available in shops in Bangalore & Mysore & a good quality glass lens costs around Rs.200


Thanks. This is helpful to know.
PLEASE will others, both professional botanists and amateurs, contribute with their experiences, so a fuller picture can be built up for India as a whole. 
Glad to hear hand-lenses are available in Bangalore & Mysore. Most of my travels have been in North India – though I did visit Hyderabad on one occasion.
Great to hear you are using a hand lens to encourage school children.  Though not a teacher, I have led quite a number of natural history walks for primary aged children – if done the right way, they do take an interest.  I found that FUNGUS FORAYS appealed the most, rather than FLOWERS but provided I mentioned the culinary, medicinal and other uses plus pointed out those which were poisonous, this ENGAGED the children.  By the time TEENAGE years are reach, it became VERY DIFFICULT to get much interest shown.
Once the ‘teen’ years are passed, quite a number of by then adults, taken out on NATURAL HISTORY walks, appreciate the countryside – which is SO important.
IF we are to CARE for our natural environments we need more than just professional biologists and conservationists to take an interest and be concerned.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.   Easy-to-use hand lenses and binocular microscopes open up a NEW WORLD. The more children THE WORLD OVER who become fascinated by nature, the better.
And encouraging the keener ones to take close-up digital images on cameras is another way forward – as today’s cameras allow MUCH more detail to be seen.
INCREASINGLY youngsters have mobile phones which good quality cameras.


I had two lenses while I was doing my PhD, one pocket lens (a very basic one) (supposedly 10x) and three hand lenses kind of attachment for my Zenith camera film roll camera (magnification 2x, 10x, 15x). I didnt have a macro lens, hence I used to keep the hand lens or the attachment in front of the camera lens to take closeups and it worked well although cant be compared with the professional macro lens.
Pocket lens I used to carry in the field and used it very often to see some characters in the flowers while in field.
After coming to HK I bought a pocket lens from Bausch and Lomb with 5x, 10x and 20x magnification and still use it very often in field.
Apart from that I also had a good dissecting microscope in India (Carl Zeiss) as well as here in HK (Nikon).


Please consider my comments among the amateur botanists.


Thanks for your input Dr Kumar.  Informative to know a range of experiences.
Clearly, with Orchidaceae it is ESSENTIAL to be able to examine the flowers in detail beyond what can be seen with the “naked eye” IN THE FIELD and not just for the examination of specimens in a herbarium, office or laboratory. 
I have heard similar “improvisations” with hand lenses in front of cameras.
A dissecting/binocular microscope is most useful to examine specimens.  I managed to obtain one at modest cost after consulting a friend who was a professional mycologist (at what was a Government Pest Infestation Laboratory) who led Fungus Forays for a local society.
Availability and cost are always issues – and the reliability of what is purchased. I understand that a British Botanist who has run an M.Sc. course carries a miniature screw-driver with him when botanizing, as screws can loosen in hand lenses.


Using a lens in field is more than helpful in case of lower plants, and I have seen my PG teacher and Ph.D. supervisor who worked on Bryophytes carrying a very beautiful and really handy lens (may be 10-15x). I always tried to get something like that, but he had bought that from Germany more than 20 years back. I could not locate it anywhere in places I have visited In India, but luckily I got an Indian version, which is foldable and gives 10x magnification. That was available with a person who repairs watches, and he agreed to order one for me. It was quite cheap, and around 120 INR. 

Afterwards, I carried it to field, but should admit that I have rarely used it and the other one, which I had later got as a gift. 
When in field, I usually leave it to macro lens of camera to depict later on the minute details of taxa. 


Thanks …, useful input both in terms of availability and usage of hand lenses. 


I have not been around for a while, so I do not really know you.
But i see you contributing a lot of responses to this site. So … WELCOME .
I do not know where are you going to send your write up or what is the purpose for this exercise.
Can you tell me please? before i send you my response and data.


Thank you for the welcome.   I have been contributing for several months now, so I think most efI members know who I am.
If you read through some of my postings – there have been many, you will rapidly understand who I am.  Furthermore, each time there is a link to my web-site.  If you care to look at this, you will have access to far more information about me than anyone else posting on eFI.   Surely this is more than sufficient background for anyone.
But I have no idea who you are?   Kindly provide a brief introduction and link to a web-site if you have one?
I agree, that it can be difficult knowing what to say when you have no idea who someone is, not that this applies to me, as I share a lot of rather personal detail with members of this google group.
The purpose of my question about hand lenses is no more than the actual question, to informally discover how much they are used by professional botanists and amateur botanists?  The responses received will be added to my experience having met professional botanists and plant enthusiasts in India over a period of more than 30 years.  I could not say if said experience was representative of India as a whole.  I have e.g. only visited South India on one occasion and did not meet any botanists.
I will comment about hand lenses in a posting on efI. I am curious about what data you might have, as I was anticipating only first-hand, personal experience as exemplified by Dr Singh’s response below? Perhaps you have a special interest in the use of hand lenses and have conducted a full survey?

 

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