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Old Tuesday 23rd May 2017, 14:40   #51
Binastro
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The Canon 10x30 MkII IS has stunningly good IS. At least my sample. But the Canon IS binoculars do vary sample to sample.
I wonder how the MM160 IS compares with a good Canon 10x30 MkII IS.

A recent Canon 8x25 IS is a lemon. Very poor sample even though made in Japan.
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Old Wednesday 31st May 2017, 23:22   #52
jring
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Hi,

my MMS 160 arrived today. I had some time for a quick walk along the river in partly cloudy weather plus some views from the balcony over the evening at varying levels of illumination.

The eyepiece used was my SDLv2 for 7-20x, couldn't find the HDF 5mm EP (40861) but 32x with an exit pupil of 0.8mm would not have been a lot fun anyways during daylight... will try it when I find it.

The image with the SDLv2 is quite sharp to the edge for my eyes at all magnifications - this might be partly caused by the not very wide true field at low magnification in the zoom (field curvature is seen most at the edge of the maximum true field).

Close focus at 10 feet seems real.

Image brightness at max magnification is fine in bright sunlight and ok when the sun is behind clouds. If it gets too dark, zooming out a bit to 16x or even 12x will make the image bright enough most of the times.
At dusk mother nature is unforgiving and even an 8x30 is fabulously bright in comparison.

IS is certainly Canon style in that it only fixes small tremors and still works when panning, unlike Fuji. It is a distinct improvement to non stabilised and hand-held and is usable up to 20x.
When activated the image freezes instantly and on the spot, when switching off some offset could be seen at times, which is not a big problem since one usually doesn't switch off IS while still looking through the instrument.
I don't have a direct comparison to the Canons since I don't own one, but got to test the 15x50 last weekend on a telescope convention - from memory it seemed a bit more stable - not sure if this was due to better IS or higher weight though.

I also found that my 16mm ES 68 deg astro EP without the 1.25" barrel can be mounted - the threads do not quite fit but after some careful trying back and forth it went in without force, held tightly and could be easily unscrewed. Very nice and fairly wide view (as with my telescopes) - some field curvature could be seen here which is expected, the true field is quite a bit wider than the zoom at 7x.
Not sure if I find this useful - my SE 10x42 show a flat field which is not a lot smaller and I can hold them well w/o IS. Something around 10 or 11mm would be ideal, unfortunately 16mm is the shortest focal length in that EP series - and most other short focal length wide field EPs have elements in the 1.25" barrel which thus cannot be removed.

Star testing must wait due to no bright star visible between the clouds...

Joachim
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Old Thursday 1st June 2017, 22:21   #53
ailevin
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Got back from a week in DC late last night, and my Opticron MS 160 was waiting for me. I was very thankful that Opticron included two CR2 batteries so that I could start playing with it immediately. My immediate impression was that the ergonomics were good and balance was decent with the HDF zoom eyepiece. Close focus of 10 feet seems about right. The focus is very quick, and unlike any other instrument I've tried, but it was not difficult to get used to it. Setting the eye-relief and getting the right eye position was more tricky than I expected even at low power.

The build quality seems good except that the neck strap attachment point concerns me. It appears to be nothing but a tab in the rubber housing material. I did not intend to use the neck strap anyway, and will look for some other sort of suspension.

The IS reminds me of the Canon, but I don't think it works as well. The image just does not seem as "locked in," and there is definitely vibration (judder?) as it adjusts to any motion, whether panning or just trying to hold it steady enough. I'm sure this is very much a personal equation, but I find it difficult to hold the MMS 160 steady enough to let the IS do an optimal job. Perhaps I have to get used to holding a monocular vs. binocular.

I know it really isn't fair, but I hate to have that eyepiece removed from my MM3 60mm scope. The view through a tripod mounted scope is superior in every way. My scope/tripod setup is only 5 lb., and it is fine for easy paths not far from the car, but I'm thinking the MMS 160 would be a go anywhere option.

I've learned to not judge too quickly, especially before having some field experience. I will probably have the MMS 160 out over the weekend to see how it plays with my binoculars and other gear. I'll report back later.

Alan
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Old Friday 2nd June 2017, 10:21   #54
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Hi Alan - the neckstrap attachment hole is actually part of the metal chassis underneath the rubber covering. If you pull the rubber back slightly, you'll see the metal underneath.

HTH

Cheers, Pete
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Old Friday 2nd June 2017, 14:32   #55
ailevin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete_gamby View Post
Hi Alan - the neckstrap attachment hole is actually part of the metal chassis underneath the rubber covering. If you pull the rubber back slightly, you'll see the metal underneath.

HTH

Cheers, Pete
Pete,

Thanks for the clarification and correction.

I do want a connection point to point the MMS 160 on a harness or bandolier strap of some sort so it is readily available in addition to binoculars.

Alan
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Old Tuesday 6th June 2017, 03:22   #56
ailevin
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I had the MMS 160 with HDF T zoom eyepiece out a couple times this weekend. I found it most convenient to just keep it in hand using a wrist strap as a safety. Surprisingly, field of view was not much of a problem since low power is <7x. The little image stabilized scope felt good and was in no way burdensome to carry. I am used to older style Canon IS binoculars where you hold a button down for IS. I found myself leaving the IS switched on longer than I intended and I fear I will have to adjust my habits or run through a lot of batteries.

In actual use I found the scope somewhat fiddly at higher magnifications. From low power (7x) to about 10-12x it was easy to get on target and focus either with or without the IS. Turning on the IS added to the visible detail especially in the 10-12x range. From 13-20x I found it more difficult to get a good focus, either without the IS or with the IS turned on. Unless the scope is held quite steady, there is a vibration to the IS mechanism that makes sharp focus difficult. This is most noticeable at higher magnification, so some of the advantage of the IS is lost where you want it most. If one is panning at all, it seems that the vibration and loss of detail will be present. Also, as the magnification increases there are issues with losing contrast unless it is quite bright, and I have been using it in both bright and overcast conditions. Getting the eye cup adjustment just right with changing magnification is also a small challenge. This is a bit more critical for a hand held scope. OTH, to me having a range of magnification is part of the appeal of the MMS 160. The sweet spot size is good although the edge rolls off and quickly goes out of focus once it starts to go. I haven't noticed any serious optical aberrations other than field curvature. I don't find the edge performance a problem at all in the field.

Perhaps I need more experience, but I'm still finding the monocular harder to hold steady even compared to a relatively light binocular. I'm also trying to figure just how it would fit into my kit. It's neither a binocular nor a spotting scope replacement, but it does a little of both. It's not much more compact than my 8x30 binocular, which is a much better performers at low magnification and/or low light. It is much more compact/lighter than my scope+tripod combination (1 lb vs. 5 lb), but the MMS 160 is just not the right tool for viewing seabirds at a distance.

I had thought it would be a "spotting scope light" to bring along to supplement my 9x45 binocular. Now I'm thinking I would like to use it as a compact all purpose instrument. The question is whether the range of magnification and IS is enough displace the excellent performance of my 8x30 binoculars.

More Later,

Alan
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Old Saturday 1st July 2017, 06:26   #57
ailevin
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I returned the MMS 160 after about two weeks. After several outings I decided that while it is nifty technology, it just didn't work for me. It was most effective for me at a magnification of around 10-12x. But at that magnification I could use my 10x30 IS with only a small penalty in weight/compactness and with better performance. And I rarely bring along the 10x30 IS either.

For now I'll stick with my MM3 GA 60 and lightweight tripod when I want more magnification than 8x-9x.

Alan
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