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Monthly Archives: September 2009

30 Sep

I love all seasons of the year, but fall has always been one I anticipate the most. When I see all those fall colors, the photographer in me goes a little nuts. If you’re like me, then, you should carry a digital point and shoot camera with you at all times. Given the plethora of small digital point and shoot cameras on the market and their truly diminutive size, no reason not to have and carry one. Over the years, I have used Canon digital cameras, Pentax digital cameras and Leica digital cameras and have had good luck with them …

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29 Sep

If you’ve ever tried your hand at wildlife photography, you know it is a very camera equipment intensive pursuit. The usual gear is a good SLR camera or DSLR camera, such as the Canon 50D, and a whole array of long telephoto camera lenses, starting with a minimum of 300m, not to mention a top-notch tripod, such as a Bogen. Of course, now and then, wildife just makes it a lot easier for us. This happened, last week, to one of our employee, Alex, who runs our Order Processing department. Alex lives in a high rise apartment building and he …

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28 Sep

When a beginner buys their first telescope, the first object the want to see, of course, is Saturn or, more to the point, the rings of Saturn. I suppose I get several emails every day from very concerned folks that want to be absolutely sure they can see Saturn with this or that telescope model. This is actually one of the easiest questions I get, because you can see Saturn with any telescope, including the rings, with as little as 40x. That’s not much magnification and, in fact, most any spotting scope can do this. Of course, if you want …

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23 Sep

It’s time to get that camera out and get ready for fall colors. For most people, the targets will, of course, be trees, but those in the know also head to the prairie for some more subtle fall colors produced by prairie grasses and forbs. As for the camera, go for it if you already have a DSLR like the Canon Xsi and a short Canon lens, but, unless you need to make high grade prints, you can do just as well with small digital point and shoot cameras, such as the new Canon SX200IS or even the less expensive …

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22 Sep

I will be moving to a new area, first of the year, not too far down the road, and already I have been thinking in terms of birding and, especially, birding for shorebirds. What little I have seen of my new neighborhood looks great, in terms of songbirds, especially warblers, but my new place is still a bit of an unknown for shore birds and wading birds. Given that I will be closer to Lake Michigan than I am, at present, I am hopeful that my spotting scope even more of a workout. Of course, I still don’t know the …

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21 Sep

It’s always nice to walk outside my door in the pre-dawn darkness, as I get set to begin my bike ride to work, and look up at the sky and see those familiar winter constellations in the sky. It reminds me that the seasons are, indeed, changing and that it is time to get out the star charts and make some plans with both my astronomy binocular and telescope for some winter observing. Can’t le the cat out of the bag, yet, but I will be observing from a new location, this winter, and I am excited to see how …

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16 Sep

There times when astronomy is best done with a telescope and there are times when astronomy is best done with an astronomy binocular. This morning, the binocular got the nod. My mouth nearly dropped off when I saw the crescent moon and Venus hanging, together, in the predawn sky. No way could you get that in the field of any telescope eyepiece, but it just fit in the field of view of an 8×42 binocular – the Carson 8×42 XM HD, which has a very typical field of 6.2 degrees for an 8×42. Yes, it is hard to beat a …

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15 Sep

Getting a lot of interest in telescopes to view the upcoming impact in early October of the Centaur spacecraft on the moon, so I went right to the NASA site to see what the experts say. According to the folks at NASA, “mission scientists estimate that the Centaur impact plume may be visible through amateur-class telescopes with apertures as small as 10 to 12 inches.” That’s good news and it is bad news. It is good news if you own, or plan to own, a 10″ or larger telescope. It’s bad news, because most amateurs don’t have that size telescope. …

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14 Sep

With the upcoming holiday season, you may be thinking in terms of a gift for that certain someone who has everything. If that someone is a binocular user, such as myself, you may be thinking in terms of another binocular. Hey, everyone should own a binocular and you can’t have too many binoculars, right? Of course, which binocular and what type of binocular? One option you may wish to explore is not a binocular, at all. A monocular can make a good backup to a binocular and it is easier to carry and keep on your person. I own more …

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10 Sep

Maybe I should entitle this week’s blog “Great Spotting Scopes for the Money“. Here’s another one of my favorites under $1000 and, yes, you can get an excellent spotting scope without mortgaging your house and children. The Brunton Eterna binoculars have been around forever, but the Brunton Eterna spotting scope is, perhaps, a bit less known. That deserves to change because the Brunton Eterna spotting scope is a well made, Japanese produced spotting scope with excellent optics and build quality. The ones I have tested brought a smile to my face and for the asking price, this is another great …

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