• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Spotting scope advice please (1 Viewer)

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

nice to hear that you seem to have gotten good optics - if you find time to do a star test, we'd like to hear that too!

As for the cosmetic challenges - isoprop would be my first attempt at cleaning it too... if that doesn't help, acetone could help... but please be careful with that as it might attack some plastic too.

Later, a stay on case would of course hide things nicely - but might be tricky to get a fitting one. Some people like to wrap their scope in adhesive foam or fabric tape in green, brown or black...

The Leatherette that Binastro recommended is of course a classic choice for optics, but might be tough to source and will need very careful workmanship in order to look proper.

Joachim
 

Bulbul87

Active member
I was given several large rolls of leatherette material.
We had a large old desk.
I chose the maroon somewhat patterned roll and covered the desk top in this. It looks smart.

Perhaps wrap leatherette around the scope barrel to tidy up the looks.

That sounds like a good idea. I will see whether I can find some somewhere.

Dust inside should not be there when new, but can build up over time. If not a thick layer it should be O.K.
If the scope is waterproof, probably best left as it is.
It could be paint residue from inside the barrel.

It looks like very fine particles so I feel that it is unlikely to be paint flecks, but I imagine it is possible as what else would be in there given that its a sealed waterproof unit? This cannot be seen at all when using the scope normally in daylight. It only becomes apparent when the focus is blurred and the eye wanders a bit from the eyepiece and is seen against a dark background. It looks a bit like a faint star field. Might it be simply be light reflecting off the coating on the inside of the barrel?

I have just noticed also that on the ring near the objective lens it is written not only that it is waterproof, but also that it is nitrogen filled. I hadn't noticed that earlier. In any case, I certainly do not propose to go poking around inside it!
 

jring

Well-known member
This cannot be seen at all when using the scope normally in daylight. It only becomes apparent when the focus is blurred and the eye wanders a bit from the eyepiece and is seen against a dark background. It looks a bit like a faint star field. Might it be simply be light reflecting off the coating on the inside of the barrel?

Hi,

that's why you never shine a flashlight into any optical instrument - you will always see a speck of dust or two. They are totally irrelevant for optical performance of course, but will keep nagging you - or the owner to whom you so helpfully showed them...

This is a used instrument - if it's not visible during normal use, ignore the dust.

Joachim
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Camera leatherette material is available.

Perhaps leatherette for a 5x4 or 10x8 camera is large enough.

There used to be a camera bellows company that supplied it, maybe in Birmingham?, but I think that there are other suppliers.

Regards,
B.
 

Bulbul87

Active member
Hi,
nice to hear that you seem to have gotten good optics - if you find time to do a star test, we'd like to hear that too!

I will give that a try in due course when I have thought about how I can set it up.

As for the cosmetic challenges - isoprop would be my first attempt at cleaning it too... if that doesn't help, acetone could help... but please be careful with that as it might attack some plastic too.

I tried with ispopropyl alcohol and am pleased to say that the gunge came off easily enough without causing any problem with the adjacent rubber. I admit I wasn't too keen on using acetone and would probably have tried white spirit first, but as it happens neither were required.

Later, a stay on case would of course hide things nicely - but might be tricky to get a fitting one. Some people like to wrap their scope in adhesive foam or fabric tape in green, brown or black...

Assuming you mean something like the one in the photo, then the good news is that it came with one. It does have to be taken off when the scope is put back in the case for storage as it doesn't fit otherwise, but yes, when put on, it does hide things quite nicely as you say. I'm not sure I understand the thing about adhesive foam or fabric tape, but would be interested to see a photo.

Hi,
that's why you never shine a flashlight into any optical instrument - you will always see a speck of dust or two. They are totally irrelevant for optical performance of course, but will keep nagging you - or the owner to whom you so helpfully showed them...

This is a used instrument - if it's not visible during normal use, ignore the dust.

I know the feeling.... There are not specks or bits visible against the light when the view is focused so I am not going to worry about it, but thanks for the advice. One can get too paranoid about such things.

Anyway, thanks everyone on here for pointing me in the right direction regarding my purchase. I certainly would not have done as well just picking something up at random (well perhaps not quite) on eBay!.
 

Attachments

  • Stay-on-case-1600.jpg
    Stay-on-case-1600.jpg
    629.6 KB · Views: 31
  • Gunge-cleared-with-IPA-1600.jpg
    Gunge-cleared-with-IPA-1600.jpg
    179.2 KB · Views: 38
Last edited:

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

a stay on case is designed in a way so it can stay on the scope all the time, so it has flaps or openings for the objective, eyepiece, focus drive and tripod mount. I can't really see those for focus drive and tripod mount in the black one... which doesn't mean they aren't there.

I keep my scope all the time in the SOC and on the tripod. Only exception is air travel when I take it off the tripod and put it in my carry on backpack (with bins and camera stuff) while the tripod and head go into checked luggage.

Joachim
 

dogbreath

Well-known member
I might be tempted to keep the black SOC on the scope and put the storage box in the loft. That is what I do with my own scope - basically, my scope lives in its SOC (like Joachim's). Far to much faff taking the case of to put the scope in a case if not really required.

The green collar cleaned up nicely. Well done.

It looks like you have a good instrument. Enjoy using it.

DB
 

Bulbul87

Active member
a stay on case is designed in a way so it can stay on the scope all the time, so it has flaps or openings for the objective, eyepiece, focus drive and tripod mount. I can't really see those for focus drive and tripod mount in the black one... which doesn't mean they aren't there.

I keep my scope all the time in the SOC and on the tripod. Only exception is air travel when I take it off the tripod and put it in my carry on backpack (with bins and camera stuff) while the tripod and head go into checked luggage.

I had to check to make sure and the SOC (tempted to call it a sock!) does have the flaps for the focus drive and the tripod mount along with the front lens and eyepiece. I don't see a Hawke logo on it, but it does appear to be designed for the this scope as the fit is spot on.

I might be tempted to keep the black SOC on the scope and put the storage box in the loft. That is what I do with my own scope - basically, my scope lives in its SOC (like Joachim's). Far to much faff taking the case of to put the scope in a case if not really required.

That is a fair point. I will give it some thought.

Incidentally, I just discovered that the rubber eyecup can be removed from the eyepiece exposing a few millimeters of thread and barrel. This just about allows my camara digiscoping attachment to be clamped on and it just about holds the weight of the digital camera, although the arrangement would definitely be inadequate to hold the weight of a full SLR camera. It turns out that photography with the digital camera is not great and only possible with the scope at full zoom.

On the other hand, I have a mobile phone that will fit as well. Positioning is less precise, but the phone will focus throughout the entire zoom range if positioned correctly. The adapter is a bit fiddly though and it is difficult to avoid vignetting entirely.

With either attachment, I seem to get a fair bit of shake. That might possibly be remedied with a better tripod although I was also pointing the scope out of the upstairs window and I believe the floor may be contributing to the disturbance.

Would I be better off getting a fixed focal length eyepiece for digiscoping? This scope takes 1.25in eyepieces so would it take a good quality astronomy eyepiece? I was thinking something like a 10mm which working from the scope specs should give around 40x magnification. Or should I go wider to say, 16mm or 20mm?
 
Last edited:

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

good to hear your bag is actually an SOC and you managed to fit your camera and/or cellphone to the EP.

As for tripod stability, you can of course always get a more stable one, but regardless, there will be some shake when you touch the scope or the phone - the question is, how long it takes for the image to get stable again (called dampening time). So how long is the dampening time of your setup? Below 1s is fairly good. You can improve it by adding same weight... a quick way is to have some stuff in a backpack and put one strap around the spread out tripod legs in a way that the weight is somewhere close to halfway down the legs...

Unless of course you go the astro way - concrete pillar 2 to 3m into the ground and put a 50kg mount on there... mobility is kinda limited though.

You can try to use delayed action shutter release of a second or three to make sure your image has settled when the shutter is opened... but of course forget about the decisive moment then, Mr Cartier-Bresson.

Regarding astro EPs, a word of warning: the fact that your spotting scope has a 1.25" mount does not mean you will come to infinity focus (or sometimes any focus at all) with some astro EP. Unlike most astro refractors, spotting scopes have very limited focus travel. So if you want to get some, try before you buy...

Joachim
 

Bulbul87

Active member
Hi,
As for tripod stability, you can of course always get a more stable one, but regardless, there will be some shake when you touch the scope or the phone - the question is, how long it takes for the image to get stable again (called dampening time). So how long is the dampening time of your setup? Below 1s is fairly good. You can improve it by adding same weight... a quick way is to have some stuff in a backpack and put one strap around the spread out tripod legs in a way that the weight is somewhere close to halfway down the legs...

Indeed I believe that astronomers using the same technique to weigh down a tripod. Yesterday, the settling time upstairs was a good 3-4 seconds. On the solid downstairs floor today it is perhaps about 2 seconds, but pressing the shutter button on the phone does not seem to disturb the image as much as it did upstairs.

Hi,
You can try to use delayed action shutter release of a second or three to make sure your image has settled when the shutter is opened... but of course forget about the decisive moment then, Mr Cartier-Bresson.

I had that idea as well and it turns out that on Android one can set a shutter delay of 3 or 10 seconds. I tried the 3 second setting today and it does seem to work quite well, but as you say, the disadvantage is that an impromptu moment may be missed.

Hi,
Regarding astro EPs, a word of warning: the fact that your spotting scope has a 1.25" mount does not mean you will come to infinity focus (or sometimes any focus at all) with some astro EP. Unlike most astro refractors, spotting scopes have very limited focus travel. So if you want to get some, try before you buy...

Point noted. Astronomy telescopes do indeed have a significant travel of focus and can accommodate a wide range of eyepieces from various manufacturers and I hadn't anticipated that this is likely to be different with spotting scopes. On spotting scopes the position of the eyepiece is usually fixed so the focus travel must be limited to what is possible within the internal workings.

I have attached some "test" photos from the scope. The bird silhouetted against the sky was taken from the upstairs window in the evening at max zoom (48x). The slight blurring is I think due to shake, but there is also significant vignetting of the sky. Eyepiece to camera lens distance is about 5-6mm. Unfortunately the phone mount does not allow any adjustment of this distance. The other two photos of the greenery were taken today on solid ground and with a 3 second delay. Distance in both cases is about 30m (50-60ft). All images were taken through closed windows. The day is overcast and damp. Images have not been processed other then reducing the size to allow upload.

My setup is far from optimal and the images are uninteresting, but give some idea of what I see through the scope and can capture on the mobile phone. In astronomy they often use a webcam but again that do is not very mobile as it has to be connected to a laptop.
 

Attachments

  • Blackbird2.jpg
    Blackbird2.jpg
    41.7 KB · Views: 37
  • Overcast-damp-16x.jpg
    Overcast-damp-16x.jpg
    136.9 KB · Views: 33
  • Overcast-damp-48x.jpg
    Overcast-damp-48x.jpg
    130.4 KB · Views: 37
Last edited:

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

the black shadows in images 1 and 3 are probably not vignetting (which would be right at the edge) but kidneybeaning due to too small distance between eyelens and smartphone objective.

The middle image seems to be taken at lower magnification (visible by the narrower afov) and the dark spot at the edge is probably also kidneybeaning but here at the edge due to the smaller afov.

The smartphone mount was probably designed to fit on to a twist up eyecup which would have brought the camera objective further out. A few mm might do the trick...

PS: you could try to get a cheap bluetooth remote button to trigger your shutter w/o touching the phone. Finally something good comes from selfie sticks...

Joachim
 
Last edited:

mayoayo

Well-known member
That was a good deal.. I know Hawke did a clon of the Celestron Regal.. Not sure if the scope you got is that model, but in any case, as Jring said, if your unit is decent, knowing that Hawke provides quality products, the scope should do you excellent service in reasonably. High powers.. I had a unit of the Regal 65 once, and what a great scope that was!.. Again, you got a good deal, now enjoy it
 

Bulbul87

Active member
Hi,
the black shadows in images 1 and 3 are probably not vignetting (which would be right at the edge) but kidneybeaning due to too small distance between eyelens and smartphone objective.

Thank you and interesting to note. I have heard of the kidneybean effect just didn't realize this may be a manifestation of it.

The middle image seems to be taken at lower magnification (visible by the narrower afov) and the dark spot at the edge is probably also kidneybeaning but here at the edge due to the smaller afov.

Yes, probably should have mentioned that the middle image was taken at 16x, the other two at 48x.

The smartphone mount was probably designed to fit on to a twist up eyecup which would have brought the camera objective further out. A few mm might do the trick...

If the phone could be mounted the same distance as the eye when the eyecup is in its poped up position that might indeed make the difference. There is probably no more than a handful of millimetres in it. I tried another idea yesterday using a combination of parts from both adapters which placed the phone about 1 inch from the eyepiece and it was too far. Perhaps all it would need is a bit of a stand-off between the clamp and the phone cradle. Perhaps I can improvise something.

PS: you could try to get a cheap bluetooth remote button to trigger your shutter w/o touching the phone. Finally something good comes from selfie sticks...

Also a good idea. Might have a look for one.

That was a good deal.. I know Hawke did a clon of the Celestron Regal.. Not sure if the scope you got is that model, but in any case, as Jring said, if your unit is decent, knowing that Hawke provides quality products, the scope should do you excellent service in reasonably. High powers.. I had a unit of the Regal 65 once, and what a great scope that was!.. Again, you got a good deal, now enjoy it

I wasn't aware of that, but having had a look online for the Regal 65, it is indeed near identical in appearance and has the same magnification. Celestron are well known for their astronomy telescopes. If this is a re-badged or cloned Celestron, then it may accept a wide range of Celestron eyepieces.

https://www.celestron.com/blogs/kno...cope-accept-astronomical-eyepiece-and-filters

I intend first to see whether I can improvise a stand-off for the mobile phone mount, although I also came across this today which would probably be better? It seems to have positioning adjustments for all 3 axes.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Celestro...for-Binoculars-Scopes-microscope/202999486612
 
Last edited:

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...my digiscoping adapter which as a 45mm maximum opening, does not fit onto the chunky eyepiece which has a 50mm diameter. Neither does my mobile phone adapter. On the plus side, my mobile phone can be held against the eyecup and will take a reasonable photo at minimum magnification but at higher magnifications camera shake is unavoidable. It really needs to be mounted. Can anyone suggest a suitable mobile phone or camera mount?

Expensive awesome options for any camera type:
https://novagrade.com/

Cheap but quite useful for phone:
https://www.amazon.com/Gosky-Telescope-Adapter-Aligned-Digiscoping/dp/B07CNL85TT

--AP
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top