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Can I create a lens that will function as a magnifying glass or spyglass with Minor Illusion by using the illusion as a focus to warp or bend light as a lens might.

Alternatively, can Prestidigitation create a spyglass or magnifying glass?

You create a nonmagical trinket or an illusory image that can fit in your hand and that lasts until the end of your next turn.

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Minor illusion says:

If you create an image of an object--such as a chair, muddy footprints, or a small chest--it must be no larger than a 5-foot cube. The image can't create sound, light, smell, or any other sensory effect. Physical interaction with the image reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it.

I'd rule that magnification is an "other sensory effect", so this doesn't work. See this great answer for further details.

Prestidigitation says:

You create a nonmagical trinket or an illusory image that can fit in your hand and that lasts until the end of your next turn.

A spyglass is not a trinket. It's worth 1000gp. Examples of trinkets can be found on this table in the basic rules. None of these come even close to the value of a spyglass (their values aren't even listed - they aren't worth much at all).

This ruling is further supported by the Sage Advice Compendium when it says:

What kinds of things count as “nonmagical trinkets” for prestidigitation?

Prestidigitation can create a little bauble, the nature of which is up to the spellcaster and the DM. See the Trinkets table in the Player’s Handbook for examples.

That's the closest thing to a RAW answer we have here, and I think it's pretty clear, especially with the explanation from Sage Advice. Further, there's a pretty clear (to me at least) sense in which these spells are not meant to create things of significant value, and magnifying glass and a spyglass are valued at 100 gp and 1000 gp, respectively. Why does this value matter? A cantrip than can be cast at will with no cost serves as a functional permanent replacement for these items if they are allowed to create them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't feel the value of the item mattered since the items disapeared quite quickly and were mainly for roll playing. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Jul 25 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ The issue is that an at will cantrip that can produce these item is a functional permanent replacement for having them. I’ll make that clearer in the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jul 25 at 23:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer upvoted for the detail in response to what a "trinket" means. However, magnification should not fail because it is a "sensory effect" - how does one sense magnification? Rather, it should fail because "Physical interaction with the image reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it." That is, the real light would pass through the illusory lens unmodified rather than being bent (magnified). This reasoning is used in several of the answers given to the question you link as a "great answer". \$\endgroup\$ – Kirt Jul 26 at 8:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, one senses magnification with the eyes. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jul 26 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov One senses anything visual with the eyes-- by this reasoning, Minor Illusion can't create anything visible (or perceptible in any way). I think that the answer overall is correct, but that reasoning seems thin. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Jul 26 at 23:42

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