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Old Thursday 13th April 2017, 22:18   #1
FrankD
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Opticron MMS 160 - Image stabilized handheld scope

Just saw the demo video on Facebook/YouTube.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...&v=5JI-mvRPgyI
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Old Saturday 22nd April 2017, 18:16   #2
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Is there any word on specs and price or when it will be on the market?

The video mentions stabilization to 20x which would imply a focal length around 160mm, as in MMS 160? So zoom would be 7x-20x, and this seems consistent with the video demo at 15x--no need to go to the limit of the zoom for a good looking demonstration.

I'm looking forward to see one of these "in the wild."

Alan
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Old Sunday 23rd April 2017, 03:07   #3
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I didn't hear final confirmation on price but I got the impressive it was going to be affordable for most. Part of the total cost is of course going to be determined by which eyepiece you use on it and, of course, if you already have an Opticron one. ��
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Old Sunday 23rd April 2017, 04:32   #4
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Oddly enough I do already have an Opticron Zoom eyepiece. BTW, what is the aperture? Judging from the video I would guess maybe 25mm? This also seems in the ballpark based on f-ratio of my MM3.

I am happy with my MM3 and tripod combo, and it is quite light weight. Yet hesitate to bring it unless the walk is over fairly level with good footing. If the ground is uneven or there is much of a climb, I really require a walking stick or cane to keep up and stay upright. In those situations I rely on the kindness other birders who tend to bring their scopes.

A pocketable stabilized monocular would be most useful to me.
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Old Sunday 23rd April 2017, 16:04   #5
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I saw this coming. Great idea. I already had it (the idea, not the scope) Sorry for bragging.
Unfortunately, I'm not comfortable with the 20x limitation. This is merely my opinion, but to make a real difference vs. a handheld 10x or even 8x binocular, 25x is a minimum.
When both eyes contribute to the perceived image, binocularity beats magnification up to around 2.5x.

Having said that, this VR scope is a wonderful asset for one-eyed people, especially considering the zoom range from 7x which means there is no use for another monocular.
Despite my complaints, I could see myself buy one for certain occasions like kayaking and my brief lunch break birding sessions.

//L
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Old Tuesday 25th April 2017, 14:47   #6
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Just a heads up. Price for the MMS 160 body is going to be right around $400 US. If you have an Opticron eyepiece then no further cost is necessary. If not then tag on the additional cost of one of their zoom or fixed magnification eyepieces to the total amount. So basically you are looking at anywhere from $594-$814 US total depending on eyepiece.
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Old Sunday 30th April 2017, 23:08   #7
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Here is a link to an Opticron products guide that lists the specifications of the MMS 160. Peter Gamby provided the link and also pointed out that while it says 160mm lens, that is the focal length, the aperture is 26mm. The weight of the unit is 9.9 oz, so with eyepiece it would be a little over 1 lb. Also, I'm guessing length would be 7"-8" with eyepiece attached. Seems pocketable.

I am looking forward to getting my hands on one.
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Old Monday 1st May 2017, 13:56   #8
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Mine is due in today. Have to run out and get some batteries and then will give it a go and report back.

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Old Monday 1st May 2017, 17:15   #9
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I'd have thought that to make a significant difference, compared to the details visible through & ease of use found in a good quality pair of x10 binoculars, a magnification of at least x15 and preferably x20+ would be required. Isn't this entirely inimical with an OG of 26mm which, except on the brightest of days, would mean the dimmest of images? I've not seen a scope yet that has a OG much under 50mm that hasn't been pretty useless image-wise. Seeing slightly larger unshakable grey dots won't make much difference. Neither does it look very ergonomically designed. Although heavier, a 50-60mm 'scope with some sort of stock to tuck into your shoulder would be far more interesting.
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Old Monday 1st May 2017, 19:19   #10
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Will let you know on that John shortly. 20x on a 26 mm objective...quite the small exit pupil. I am gonna try the fixed mag, wide angle HDF eyepiece on it first. It will produce 11x...and then will try the zooms.
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Old Monday 1st May 2017, 19:41   #11
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Quote:
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Will let you know on that John shortly. 20x on a 26 mm objective...quite the small exit pupil. I am gonna try the fixed mag, wide angle HDF eyepiece on it first. It will produce 11x...and then will try the zooms.
I look forward to it, Frank. I always value your views even if it does take me 2 or 3 years to act on them ;-)!
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Old Monday 1st May 2017, 23:16   #12
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I will wait to see if "ooohhhhhhhh we didn't really mean it was waterproof, but the next model we release a year later will be....Sorry about the wasted cash, our bad, but stay loyal customers..."

Enjoying my Nikon ED50 very much.
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2017, 00:56   #13
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Had a bit of time to tinker with the MMS 160 this evening. Of course I had to try phonescoping with it because it is what I do.

Light levels were crappy as we have storm system blowing through but I was impressed with the sharpness and ease of use....these are handheld with my iPhone 6S. First try.
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2017, 00:58   #14
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Exposure blown out a bit.
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2017, 01:03   #15
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Last one.
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Old Thursday 4th May 2017, 21:14   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
I'd have thought that to make a significant difference, compared to the details visible through & ease of use found in a good quality pair of x10 binoculars, a magnification of at least x15 and preferably x20+ would be required. Isn't this entirely inimical with an OG of 26mm which, except on the brightest of days, would mean the dimmest of images? I've not seen a scope yet that has a OG much under 50mm that hasn't been pretty useless image-wise. Seeing slightly larger unshakable grey dots won't make much difference. Neither does it look very ergonomically designed. Although heavier, a 50-60mm 'scope with some sort of stock to tuck into your shoulder would be far more interesting.
Your points are well taken, yet I think that as is often the case there are a set of compromises in an optical instrument that are difficult to prejudge. Hence, like others I look to Frank for an initial report and want to see how it works myself.

Based on some astro experience I'd speculate that 2mm is a good compromise exit pupil for intermediate magnification that balances visual acuity with brightness. Also, under daytime conditions I expect my entrance pupil is in the 2mm-3mm range anyway. 15x with a 26mm objective would give a 1.73mm exit pupil. I also find that stabilization yields a great deal of improvement at 15x.

Last but certainly not least, I think the convenience/portability factor is very important, but I'm not sure how to judge it. I find I don't use my scope in the field very much unless I am going to plant myself in one or two spots for a while. OTH, I am happy to take a look through someone else's scope now and then. I also find having more optical instruments with me can be more of a distraction than an opportunity.

So I remain fascinated by this product, and my techno-geekiness makes it likely I will purchase one as long as there is a reasonable return policy. BTW, except for searching around for the right Maven binocular, my record of returning optical products is pitiful.

Alan
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 04:25   #17
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Frank,

Any more comments or thoughts on MMS 160?

Alan
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 12:13   #18
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Hi,

count me in as looking forward to more info on this. If optics and stabilisation work well it would be a very light and welcome addition to my optics park between the 8 and 10x bins and the 77mm scope.
I have always pondered either a 50mm spotter or stabilised bins at 15x or so but with the spotter I didn't like the need for a tripod (and if I carry a tripod, it doesn't really matter what scope is on there) and 15x Canons are not exactly light around your neck and the field of view is narrow.

With this I could continue to use my favorite bins E2 8x30 and carry this stabilised monocular in the coat pocket for a quick peek at 15 or 20x - sounds perfect. All the more since I already own an SDLv2 EP ;-)

So please Frank, share your thoughts...

Joachim
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 13:39   #19
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Alan, Joachim,

I used the stabilized monocular (as that is how I have come to think of it) quite often over last weekend when visiting a birding hotspot in Northwestern Ohio.

Here is my breakdown of it. Keep in mind I was using the HDF wide angle fixed mag (11x in this case) eyepiece all of the time. I briefly tinkered with the zoom but personally always prefer the wider field of view of the fixed mag eyepiece.

Thoughts/impressions:

At 11x with image stabilization I was pulling in way more detail than my 8x handheld binoculars. It made tricky IDs relatively easy. The field of view was wide enough at 11x for me to even use the device for warblers in relatively close, thick foliage. The focusing mechanism works by twisting a ring around the objective. I found it relatively easy to master with some practice.

Related to that I did think, at times, that having the focusing mechanism between the eyepiece and body would be more ergonomic and intuitive.

Optically I found the sweetspot size respectable. Off axis performance was noticeable and less than ideal but not distracting. I am assuming this is the result of using such a "fast" (f ratio) device. In the MM3 and MM4 scopes the same eyepiece produces edge to edge sharpness.

Apparent sharpness and contrast are both very good. I did not detect any color fringing within the sweetspot. I did occasionally pick up on the "judder" (I think that is the right term) occasionally when using the device. It was noticed for a second and then dissipated.

Apparent brightness is better than you would expect for (in this case) an 11x26.

Ergonomics were certainly to my liking and I wasn't even using it with the little hand-carrying case that it comes with. Weight was not an issue at all.

All I can think of for now. Let me know if you have questions on anything.
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 14:55   #20
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how close does this thing focus?...one problem i find with the papilio is narrow depth of focus in conjuction with shake(at close range 6.5x shakes too!) and smallish sweet spot makes a tad harder to enjoy detail...if a close up adapter could be attached between eyepiece and scope(at the price of brightness),you would get an stabilized hand microscope!
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 15:13   #21
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A 26mm aperture and 160mm focal length, if that is what it is, is not fast.
In fact it comes within even Conrady standards maybe.

I was using my 2016 Canon 8x25 IS last night and unfortunately it is a lemon. Made in Japan.
I was looking at Jupiter.
The IS is jittery. There is bad and strange false colour, lots of it, and maybe astigmatism or the IS part is not properly aligned. Jupiter is cross shaped with blue and red ends at 90 degrees to each other. Most peculiar. I don't think it is my eyes.

The 2014 sample is brilliant.

So one really has to try any optics one buys, as bad examples turn up.
Generally I have had very good Canon IS results over almost 20 years. But it is only fair to report this very poor example.
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 15:44   #22
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Why not a bigger aperture?
Seen similar units around here, MagniPro 10x25, fixed mag though.
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 16:43   #23
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I will check on the close focus distance.

No factual idea on why the small aperture except to suggest that Opticron was trying to keep it smaller and lighter. Size and weight seem to be concerns, from what I have read, with some of the Canon models. I have only ever tried the 8x25.

Binastro,

Thank you. Would you have another explanation for the change in edge performance with the same eyepiece?
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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 19:34   #24
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Hi,

thanks for the review - sounds interesting. The question is what is the reason for the not so hot edge performance. Can you get the edge sharp by refocussing or not.

In the former case it's field curvature and a lot of that is expected in an instrument with such a short focal length - field curvature is governed by focal length rather than focal ratio. The only way around it is additional corrector lenses aka field flatteners.

The focal ratio is just shy of f6 which is actually quite typical for spotters. Keeping the focal ratio sane and the focal length and thus physical length small is probably the reason for the tiny aperture. But since the focal ratio is similar to bigger spotters, so is the exit pupil for a given EP (EP fl/body fr).

If you cannot focus the edge, it's not only FC but might also be coma, astigmatism or a combination of both.

Can you give a ballpark percentage for the sweet spot?

Joachim

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Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 20:46   #25
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Frank: Thanks for the update and information. More detail on the nature of the edge degradation would also be appreciated.

mayoayo: The brochure lists close focus as 9.8 feet.

I agree that focal ratio seems typical and similar to MM3/4 spotting scopes. I wonder if edge performance is related to prism design and coatings. I noticed that while it is listed as fully multi-coated, there is no mention of prism material, type of coatings, and whether or not it is phase corrected.

Alan
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