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  1. I have the Nikon Action Extreme 10 x 50 and recommend them for both Astro and daylight viewing. They are well made and have great reviews so for the money they are a good choice. I have compared them with with much more expensive roof prism binos (only type on display in the local dealers) and I feel they give an overall better view with a brighter image. They have a wide field of view and are sharp out to about 80 % of the field not bad for the price. Regards, Martin
  2. Thanks for the advice, I will pick up a 12.4 Meade next time I see one for sale. The zoom is great for general viewing but just want a better lens for when there is a more detailed view reqd. Regards, Martin
  3. Can anybody recommend a good affordable eyepiece for a PST (single stack) ? I have a cheap zoom which is good for a quick look but would like to find the best plossl or ortho for more detailed views. I have tried a Meade 4000 9.7 but think it is just too much magnification, has anybody tried the 4000 series 12.4 ? Only looking to spend about £30 and its only needed for the PST. Thanks in advance. Martin
  4. Steve, the point I was trying to get across was that my cheap 10 x 50's with the addition of the 8 x 42's proved a better combination (for £49) than my cheap 10x 50's and the Pentax 12x50's (for £130). The Pentax's were better construction but they were faulty, maybe there is a Quality Control issue. I would go for the Nikon AE 10 x 50's due to the praise given on the Cloudy Nights forum and my experiance with the Pentax. There is obviously a difference between cheap 10x50's and more expensive versions but perhaps a different mag/aperature would prove a better compliment to the cheap 10 x 50's unless they are due for the scrap heap. Regards,
  5. The most consistant good reviews for any 10x50's I have seen are for the Nikon AE (Action Extremes). I have not had chance to try them but based on my poor experiance with the Pentax WP's I would give the Nikons a try before going for the Pentax, though the Nikons are more expensive. I ended up keeping my cheap 10 x 50s and getting the Opticron 8x42 WA which for only £49 gave better value/performance combination for the price than the WP's in my opinion. Regards,
  6. I bought the Pentax WPII 12 x 50's and although well made I had to send them back as there was a large "spike" or "flare" in one of the barrels when viewing the brightest stars and the Moon. This was probably a one off but whatever brand you buy try to buy from a store that will let you return them if they prove unsatisfactory after star testing. The Pentax's were OK in the daylight so just testing them in a shop is not going to prove that they are OK for asto use, also I did not find them that comfortable to hold and they were robust though heavy. Good luck with your purchase. Regards, Martin
  7. Keep the covers on the finder to avoid accidents and buy a sheet of Baader AstroSolar Safety Film ND 5.0 from First Light Optics. You need to use the Dob main tube aperature cap off the scope and just remove the small cover that is offset to the side of centre and from the underside firmly attach a piece of solar film to cover the hole. Replace the large protective cap on the scope and check that no light gets through the solar film or any gaps. If you are 100% sure that all is OK you can point the scope at the Sun and view with a low power eyepiece. NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITH THE NAKED EYE OR IF UNSURE THAT THE ASTRO FILM IS ATTACHED CORRECTLY. CHECK BEFORE EVERY USE !! KEEP THE COVERS ON THE FINDER TO AVOID USING IT. Regards, Martin
  8. Just seen that Jessops have the Nikon action vii 8x40 cf binoculars on offer at half price £49 for a short period (until 1/06 I think). Never tried them myself but I have the very similar spec Opticron 8 x 40 which are well worth the money for their 8.2 degree field. It would be a shame to miss the offer if you want a pair of very wide field Bino's. Regards, Martin
  9. I have just bought the Opticron 8 x 40 WA for £48 delivered from Camera World and they are very good value for grab and go sweeps of the star fields. The 8.2 degree field allows you to take in a lot of sky, though the view is "soft" at the edge , but they will not give detail views of deep sky other than star clusters. These are well built for the money but are not waterproof. I find these easier to hand hold than 10x50's more because of the lesser magnification than weight difference. Have you thought of getting 2 pairs for your money ? Try something like the 8 x 40's and the 15 x 70's giving a total price of around £100. It is very difficult to get hand held and high enough mag for detail views, I tried it but then went back to 8 x 40's and 20 x 80's on a tripod, a decent compromise on limited budget. One of the most recommended bino's on the web for Astro use is the Nikon 10 x 50 Action Extreme, not tried them myself, but they are well reviewed and are waterproof etc. Dealt with telescope House for a returned item before and they were very good, can also recommend FLO. Look on Cloudy Nights forum for reviews (400 + pairs) but many are not available in this country. Good luck. Martin
  10. Steve you are absolutely right that when you look at the price compared to a refractor scope we are lucky to get anything usable for my budget, though there was a definate fault with the Pentax 12 x 50's. I have now got the Opticron 8 x 40 WA's (£40 from Camera World, £8 next day delivery) and though not as well built as the Pentax they are a bargain. The case is much better quality for a start (no eyepiece cover, or rainguard, with them) and they are well built for the money. Inside the barrels are not completely black with some unpainted dull metal on show, slight play in the eyepiece focus bar and the diopter adjustment is quite slack. These do have a tripod mounting thread built in which is not mentioned in the adverts. They are not lightweight but are comfortable to hold, coatings appear good but not a match for the Pentax. Only had time for a brief nightime view between the clouds and they are very sharp in the centre of the field, maybe sharp across 60% but quite a bit of the flaring at the edge which is to be expected. The best thing is the amount of sky you can scan with an 8.2 degree field with the most usable portion being about 5 degrees which is quite impressive. I bought these for dual use, astro and wildlife and they are a bargain for the price I paid. In combination with my 20x80's I reckon I have a good complimentary set up for a bargain price. Thanks for all the advice. Regards, Martin
  11. As stated focus and the tuning ring are a bit awkward to use on the PST and there is definately a sweet spot but the aligning method is simple and brilliant. The supplied eyepiece is poor so expect to get a zoom or maybe a 12mm plossl etc to go with the setup. I have only had mine for 5 months so still getting used to it, the Sun is so quite at present I have yet to view a Sunspot and as usual the views are not near the photo resolution. I wouldn't rush in as the Sun has a way to go before the main Sunspot activity begins and if the Pound gets better against the Dollar the price may come back down. Regards, Martin
  12. Got my refund from Ace Cameras without problem so would use them again. Probably just a QC problem with the 12 x 50 Pentax and they did appear well built but if anybody fancies a pair I would look at them in a dealer before deciding if possible. The 12 x 50 size did go deeper than my 10 x 50's (Lidl Bressers) with better contrast and build but probably not worth the extra money and 12 x obviously more in need of tripod. I have had a change of mind about the size I require as if I am getting the tripod out I might as well use the 20 x 80's or just the cheapo 10 x 50's. I have opted for some Opticron 8 x 42 WA which I can use hand held and also for when out walking etc. I found them for £48 delivered (due Monday) which seems an amazing price, they have an 8.2 degree field so should be OK for sweeping around spotting objects for my 20 x 80s etc. There is a good review of them on this site and for the price I will not be as critical. I must say that Bino's seem to have more inherent problems than scopes so it is a bit of a minefield. I do not have access to any premium Fuji's etc so it is difficult to know how the cheaper Bino's stack up (obviously Edz reviews help alot), will let you know about the 8 x 40,s when they arrive. Cheers, Martin
  13. Which is the best or who would you recommend for delivering Astro goods when selling secondhand equipment or returning items to dealers etc. I have only used Parcelforce as the Post Office is convienient (until they close it) but there must be a better (OK cheaper) option. Next day for a 2.1kg parcel at over £20 or 48 hrs for £10.98 insured up to £150 in value, not exactly a bargain. Obviously dealers must get a discount, thankfully, or we would not be able to afford the carriage costs. Any ideas ? Thanks, Martin
  14. Has anybody used either the Megrez 72 or Zenithstar 70 as a daytime spotting scope ? A new RSPB reserve has just opened near me and the kids enjoyed going there so I might be able to swing a purchase if I can convince the Boss the kids would use it during the day also. Although not waterproof I would imagine it would give the usual Celestron Ultima scopes a run for their money. If used as a dual use scope is there a "stay on" cover that would fit to protect the scope from the weather and bumps and scratches. If I buy the scope I can always take it to a dealers to try covers on it but there are no dealers in my area so if someone has tried it..... I didn't see the review in Sky at Night of the Ultima 80 spotter, it got 93 % !! Was that for Astro use ? I am now a subscriber so will see next months 100mm Spotting scope review but I am sceptical of some of the high marks. Any other recommeded dual use refractors WO 66 etc. Thanks for any advice. Regards, Martin
  15. Further testing of the Pentax 12 x 50 WP II's has shown them to have a problem in the left barrel with the spikes/flares making them uncomfortable and annoying to use, obviously the problem should not be there (its not there in my cheaper Bino's). I tried both eyes on the left barrel and rotating the barrel and the fault is definately just in the one side and not my eyes. Rang the dealer and he immediately agreed to take them back for a refund or exchange, if they keep to that I cannot fault them as I don't expect many dealers star test every item before shipping. I will have to have a rethink when (if) my refund appears. The Bino's were well constructed with a good daytime view, bit heavy to hand hold so a tripod is required for a steady view, decent contrast but quality control may be a little suspect. The lack of focusing bar was very good feature but Diopter adjustment was very stiff. I would try a different size/model next time, possibly Nikon Action Extreme 10x50 or 8x40 etc (for hand hold). Will make do with my cheap Bresser 10x50's and Opticron 20x80's for now. Regards, Martin
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