Tech Talk and Birding

The Club will feature news and information on Technology, Apps, Software, Optics, Binoculars, Spotting Scopes, and related gadgets that aid birding from time to time.

Following are thoughts and ideas from Charles Studholme, Owner,  One Good Tern about the Celestron Hummingbird Micro-Scopes:

Members are welcome to send in their own thoughts and ideas.

The promise of a sub-compact ‘scope has always been better reach than a hand-held binocular, but less encumbrance than a large spotter. The little guys are a bridge between those two primary tools that do not compromise your mobility, and add ‘another club to your golf bag’.
In my experience, the maximum useful magnification of an instrument for birding is at an exit pupil of around 1.8 mm, or when the objective lens diameter in mm divided by the magnification reaches 1.8. In a ‘scope with an 80 mm lens, you can take it to about 45 power and still have “birding-worthy” brightness; beyond 45X, you loose so much light that the details you seek actually go away. Birding is not just about the horsepower.
Big ‘scopes need big tripods (no one can hand-hold more than about 10 power without hand shake eating up those important details), and big tripods are more encumbering than ‘scopes. The beauty of a little scope is than they can be used on a monopod (up to about 30X), and monopods are much easier to tote around and deploy quickly than even a light weight tripod. They can double as a walking stick, too!
Celestron’s new Hummingbird ‘scopes are lighter than binoculars (19.28 oz and 21.07 oz), and astonishingly compact. The 50mm model has a 7 X – 22 X zoom eyepiece, and the 56mm model sports a 9 X – 27 X range. Big (for ‘scopes’) fields of view at the low end make it easy to find your quarry, and the full range of available zoom remains bright and contrasty. Aiding the contrast by controlling chromatic aberration are the high refractive index ED objectives, and the large diameter oculars are easy on your eyes (more “picture window” than “peephole”). At $300 and $336, they are a bargain; pop one on a monopod with a tilt head (like the $50 Velbon UP-400DX), and expand your birding horizons!
Charles Studholme
One Good Tern
Alexandria, VA


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