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Monthly Archives: July 2005

30 Jul

I sold one of my babies today and I’m pleased to report it went to a good home. My customer and his boy walked out with a Televue 85 with a Telepod mount and 3-6mm Nagler zoom eyepiece. Couldn’t ask for nicer or more appreciative people. Customers like this make me like I have the best job in the world. Maybe I do. Okay, at least on some days.…

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29 Jul

It always amazes me how people tend to ignore spotting scopes when they think astronomy. Seems like people either think binocular when it comes to astronomy or they think telescope, but somehow spotting scopes get bypassed altogether.

Fact is, a high end spotting scope from Swarovski, Kowa, Leica, Zeiss, Pentax or Nikon will provide better image quality within its magnification range than any giant binocular and be more versatile to boot. You don’t get a two-eyed view, but you do get superb image quality and the ability to change magnification – features a lot of giant astronomy binoculars lack. Sure, …

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28 Jul

The last thing the world needs is another type of addiction, but I must report that there is such a thing as an optics addict. Yes, I am an optics addict. By my definition, an optics addict is someone who cannot settle for anything but the best in any type of instrument, be it binocular, telescope, spotting scope and so on, no matter what the consequence to the addict’s budget or bank account. That’s me. I have looked through and used the good stuff for so long now, that I can never be satisfied if I suspect there is something …

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26 Jul

Had a chance to look through the Nikon 18×70 Astroluxe recently. To date, no one has yet found an astronomy bino that is perfect all the way out to the edge, but this one is the closest I have seen yet. In fact, things looked so good at the center of the field that I almost forgot to check the edges and if I didn’t notice, I promise it couldn’t have been too bad. Only when I went searching for distortion did I find any hint at the extreme edge of what I could see. Basically, I’d call this one …

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25 Jul

My friend asked me this weekend if her Meade LX90 would be okay if left in the car with this extreme heat. I told her that for most astronomical scopes, it poses no problem unless the objectives/mirrors are exposed to the direct sunlight, in which case some of the cements in the lenses may gum up or loosen. As long as the scope was covered, should be no problem for a day or so.

On the other hand, I never recommend leaving a binocular or spotting scope in a vehicle for extended periods of time, though I know many customers …

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19 Jul

Thought I would report on the two fixed power, wide-angle eyepieces for the Nikon Fieldscope series. I tried both of them out in Gus, my Nikon 82mm ED. Rather than give my comments, I’ll let Gus tell you what he thought.

“The first eyepiece was the Nikon 7465 and it was delicious. It made me feel like a million bucks. Of all the Nikon eyepieces Joanie has fed me so far, my favorite. It was absolutely tack sharp, edge to edge. Best thing I ever ate.

The second one, the Nikon 7463 30x wide angle, was … ho hum. Hey, …

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18 Jul

After much debate with a formidable opponent (myself), I decided not to carry my Nikon 82mm ED Fieldscope on our Audubon field trip to a local prairie, yesterday. As it turns out, it was a good decision.

By the time we reached the prairie trail, the temp was already in the mid 90′s. We decided to tackle the four mile trail, anyway. Hey, just because we are birders, does not mean we are wimps!

Two hours later, we returned to the vehicles, burned to a crisp and badly wilted. After waiting for the stragglers (me), we all limped into the …

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14 Jul

Thought I would share this bit of data we received from a rep today, recently released by the US F&WS.

“Of the 62.9 million residential wildlife watchers, 46 percent (28.8 million) were males, and 54 percent (34.1 million) were females. Two age groups—the 35- to 44-year-olds (14.1 million) and the 45- to 54-year-olds (13.9 million)—each comprised 22 percent of all residential wildlife watchers. Individuals 55 to 64 years old represented 16 percent of all residential participants (10.1 million). The 65 years old and older group accounted for 12.5 million people—20 percent of all residential participants. The 25- to 34-year-old participants …

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13 Jul

Once upon a time (back in the old days before digital), there was a gal who owned several wonderfully eccentric Contax cameras with fabulous Zeiss lenses. She tried not to play favorites, but the 60mm macro was clsoest to her heart. With it, she spent hours photgraphing plants, rocks, and all the other wonders of earth Mother, both far and near.

Then, as sometimes happens in this, the richest country in the world, financial disater struck and there was no one she could turn to for help. Her dear Contax cameras ended up in a pawn shop along with the …

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11 Jul

Got a summer cold over the weekend, so had to settle for using the Nikon on yard birds. No unusual sightings, but I have to admit that viewing a House Sparrow dusting himself at 75x from a distance of about 20 feet brings new meaning to “up close and personal”. With the Nikon, I could count not just individual feathers, but individual feather parts on each feather. The males beak reminded me of pictures I have seen of the prehistoric giant bird, Gastornis. I could actually see bits of seeds still stuck in the bill. Wow.…

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