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  1. I'm still waiting for the clouds to move, but mine seem fine at least at twilight looking across the Tay. Glad others managed to get what I think of as a bargain. I wouldn't expect them to be as sharp/little CA etc as the Helios lightquest. Nimrod - I'd love to know how they compare with the stellar II...
  2. Thanks Shimrod. I couldn't find anything about "Arrow Celestron" either. But £140 is an all too appealing price. I'll see what comes...
  3. Woops - forgot my question. They are down as "Arrow Celestron" 72031. The model number is the same, but is there a difference between "Celestron" and "Arrow Celestron"?
  4. Just found skymaster pro 20X80's at £140 on Amazon (£139.58 to be precise), some £25 less than the 15X70's . Thought I'd let you know as I think its a very good price (I couldn't resist it). Of course, what arrives is another matter, but Amazon are supposedly good on returns.
  5. Thanks for the idea Tenor: my tripod weighs in at a hefty 4.5kg by itself and and can easily take another 10kg which would make it absolutely rock solid. I'll lug something heavy out next time .
  6. Hi Corncrake, Thanks for your interest and help. Its a mirror-less camera and not at all suited to AP (slow lens, small sensor...). I just wanted to see if a simple set-up - for which read not getting anything new - could get results that would compare/reflect what I see in my bins. I have to say, it's exceeded expectations with much fainter stars coming out with a bit of post-processing (mag 7 easy to see, mag 8 evident even in the poor conditions for the shots of vega last night with only 49 frames). I save both RAW and JPG (raw - Panasonic call them RW2 - for stacking, jpg to quickly filter out duff frames like the one above). The artefact is also in the RW2 file, so its not jpeg artefacts. The camera has a built in time-lapse option (intervalometer with delay before starting shooting) but I guess I must have somehow knocked the tripod some seconds after setting it going). Just for my peace of mind, I'm going to try and replicate the effect: its does gives a dynamic sense to the frame.
  7. Many thanks for everyone's input: as I say, I'm testing the AP waters (without investing in new equipment). A bit more information: the camera (DMC-TZ100 compact: 1" 20MP sensor) was on a solid tripod (Manfrotto 475B, Benro S6 head: more than capable of holding the camera steady). No tracking let alone guided (I think this is where the trailing comes from). Used the built in time-lapse, so not touching the camera as it shoots. 5 second exposure [10 second exposures produce noticeable trailing]. ISO-400 (twilight conditions). Focal length 27mm (73mm as 35mm equivalent) . Consensus seems to be a movement/vibration artefact. I must say I'm surprised at how much difference the brightness makes - lots of trail/plume on vega but no change to the other stars. I would have wrongly expected them to become less bright if the camera moved as the light would have been 'smeared' to a similar extent. I live and learn.
  8. I though at first it was vibration, but I'm not so sure: I use the camera's timelapse and the next frame shows similar 'trails' in the more peripheral stars but nothing on Vega. And, forgive my ignorance, but wouldn't movement of the size of the 'plume' do at least something to the image of other stars? [when I subtract the two frames all that's left is the plume]
  9. I was playing with a simple compact camera last night, taking shots of Vega. The first of a series of 50 shots shows a weird 'plume' out of Vega (see image). I know there's terrible lighting - it was only 11 at night and it was more twilight than night: in my defence, I was just playing, thinking that if I can't get something out of a 1" compact camera, AP isn't for me. I'm a complete newbie at this but (1) None of the other stars have it, so not vibration? (2) It's not on dark frames, so not a sensor artefact? (3) It's one the .RW2 file as well as the .JPG, so not JPG processing artefact? Anyone got ideas as to what caused it?
  10. That's them ordered (skymaster pros from FLO; Nikon from Park Cameras). Will post an update and my thoughts when they arrive (and the clouds clear enough) Thanks again for all the input (and to my family for agreeing without me having to twist arms)
  11. Dear all, Many thanks for the help. Rather than wondering if a bit more reading and research would find better binos for the money (analysis paralysis), I'm going to go ahead and get the skymaster pro 15X70's and the Nikon Action-Ex 10X50's. What's more, John think he might be able repair my Strathspey's. As I can't get rid of either the Alomo 15X65's or the Strathspeys (too many great things seen through both of them) it seems like I'm going to have some spares, which is never a bad thing. Thanks again and sorry to bring the clouds in over the Dundee area in time to stop me being able to enjoy my new binos
  12. Steve: thanks for the suggested alternative to the NatureSports. Peter: I'm sure the APM 10X50ED's are lovely but they are too expensive and I want to have central focusing for more general use. Things change rapidly: FLO are offering the skymaster pro 15X70 at £125, which has really caught my eye. I've consulted my financial advisers (family) and the current permissions are (1) Get the skymaster pros 15X70's and (2) Get myself an early birthday present of an upgrade to the Strathspeys (the Nikon Action-EX 10X50's or similar). I love my family Even this is a change from earlier today when the 15X70 pros and Naturesports were negotiated (I think seeing me so excited loosened the purse strings a bit more). I've already fired an email to FLO about getting both the pro's+naturesport's but I'm sure they will understand. Thanks for John's email @Skipper Billy: I will contact him and see about repairing the Strathspey's. I love them almost as much as I love my 15X65's and would love to get them repaired if the cost isn't too bad (I can see my nascent collection growing already, but don't tell anybody). So, can anyone advise me on 10X50's similar priced to the Nikon Action-EX's (~£180) with 6.5 degree FoV & central focus. I can't ask for the budget to go up again and expect to live, so no more than £200 but would like to get as good as I can for the money.
  13. Dear knowledgeable ones. I've dropped my Strathspey 10X50 waterproof (they lasted 10 years which is a miracle for me). The bridge is loose and even when I move it to get both eyepieces in focus, the pin-prick view of stars isn't quite as good as it was. So I'm looking for a replacement. I love the 6.5 FoV and central focusing (also used for daytime viewing of birds & nature). I use them tripod mounted for star-gazing (Harma 64 with its height is great for close to zenith viewing) so want a tripod attachment (the Olympus DPS doesn't seem to have one). I've an old Aloma (Tokyo) Comet 15X65 I got way back in the 1970's (not brilliant optics but suffices) so don't need to go bigger and worry that smaller than 50mm objective will result in darker views, even if only slightly. My current thoughts for possible replacements (Strathspey shop seems closed) are Similar quality: Helios NatureSport-Plus (£78). Am I right in thinking that this should be a bit brighter because the Strathspey is stepped down? [I would never have known because I haven't compared with other binoculars] Upgrade (?): Nikon Action-EX (£179). I could stretch to this if it is a better binocular Any thoughts and comments most welcome
  14. But Saturn was easy - the joy is proportional to the effort. And trust me, there's always one that is harder to get (for certain)... You will soon become addicted, always searching for the next one, always wondering if you will be next. Then of course your partner brings you down to earth with a bump.... And your kids stress you out even more..... So out you go again, looking, searching.... God I love it
  15. Just keep going Oily. There's nothing like the satisfaction when you find your target and can say "I did that"
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