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Monthly Archives: August 2006

30 Aug

I’ve been using my Pentax Optio A10 for several months now behind my Kowa 663 spotting scope and could not be happier. The interesting thing about this setup is that I use no adapter to attach the camera to the scope. When I see something I want to shoot, I just pull out the A10, hold it over the scope and fire away. How is this possible?

The A10 is one of the new breed of tiny digitals that incorporate image stabilization. Handholding at 1x to 3x optical is quite effective and as long as I don’t rock the scope …

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29 Aug

I’ve always lusted after the Nikon 7×50 Prostar (tells you where my priorities are). I mean, this is one binocular that is made strictly with astronomy in mind as is Nikon’s “no holds barred” effort at making the very finest bino of its kind. Problem is, it has been in short supply for sometime, so I’ve haven’t been able to get my sweaty little hands on one to take it for a test ride.

Until this morning, that is. I was scanning the inventory on the computer and low and behold, there it was. Next came a trip to the …

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23 Aug

I went birding to a local marsh this weekend and happened to come across another birder who had just setup his spotting scope. We introduced ourselves and chatted about the morning’s activity. As luck would have it, Stan was out doing a breeding bird survey and was about to begin his route, so he invited me along. How could I refuse? To have my own guide on this rather large tract of marsh and prairie would be a treat.

We spent the next couple of hours on the survey and it didn’t take me long to become impressed with Stan’s …

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14 Aug

My friend has been using her Celestron Skyscout regularly and wanted me to pass on the information that this product is a battery eater, so pack along spare batteries. When the batteries start to run low, the Skyscout loses accuracy. For the next version, I hope Celestron beefs up the battery pack for its Celestron Sky Scout. In the meantime, she also reports that she is having a lot of fun.…

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11 Aug

A friend of mine bought and paid for a Celestron Skyscout clear back last spring when we began to orders on it. (We’re still trying to fill these backorders.)It arrived earlier this week, so she’s had it out once for an initial test run.

She called me the other night and was very excited. “It works. This darn thing really works.” She then went on to explain how it identifed several stars for her, quickly and easily. When I asked if a person could attach it to a telescope and use it as a computer assisted mount, she told me, …

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07 Aug

I can remember my first encounter with the fabulous Swarovski 8.5×42 EL. It was at a birding festival in Nebraska and I was on assignment at a local refuge as a tour guide for Sandhill Cranes. After a great morning in one of the blinds, we dropped our guests back at the convention center. As I was ready to leave a friend flagged me down and told me to stop by the Swarovski booth to take a look at a new model of Swarovski binocular. He assured me it quite unlike anything I had seen. I wasn’t really in the …

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01 Aug

I remember a time when all Steiner offered were large, military marine style porro prism binoculars. Since I was working the retail optics counter in those days, I had access to several models and used them for birding. The individual eyepiece focus (autofocus in Steiner lingo) was less than ideal for close in work, but not bad for the longer ranges I encountered on the prairie. In fact, I can still remember a beautiful Le Conte’s Sparrow as seen in the field of view of the Steiner 7×50 Military Marine. Very impressive … also very heavy, so I traded that …

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