What Is Total Magnification?

Magnification is the ratio between an object’s apparent size, usually seen through some sort of lens apparatus, and the object’s actual size. Total magnification refers to the amount of magnification an apparatus has when taking all of the optics involved in the apparatus into account.

Sometimes, only one lens is involved in the magnifying apparatus, such as with a magnifying glass or lenses; with these, the total magnification is simply the magnifying power of the single lens. Other instruments, such as telescopes and microscopes, utilize multiple elements to achieve a specific magnification; with such arrangements, the magnification power of each element is multiplied to get the total magnification.