Visionary V1 8.5×42 binoculars review

After not seeing any reviews on the Visionary V1 8x5x42 binoculars, thought I would give my own honest opinion. So lets have a look at the price and spec. With an RRP of £279.99 , the price suggests these should be premium binoculars. BaK-4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics and nitrogen gas filled.

So opening the box, we find a soft but glossy finish case. The 2nd thing you notice is the weight. At just under 1 kg, these are heavier than the average 42mm porro prism binoculars. But anyone that knows me will know I never say heavy. I say well built.

So providing the weight is not an issue, they fit nicely in the hands. Maybe not for those with small hands. But saying that if you come to see us you can try a set. The large focus wheel moves a little stiff but freely (if that makes sense) with no tight / slack points. The right eye dioptre adjustment moves very smoothly, even with the eye cups down. With some you need to twist the eye cups out to make the adjustment.

The eye cups are twist type. On the subject of these I will point out a minor quibble. But believe me, these are so good, I am really being picky here. In my opinion they twist out a little to far. For me with glasses off they need to be twisted out about 80%. Any more and you will not get the full field of view.

So lets talk about the field of view. WOW its wide. An amazing picture window wide angle greats you when you correctly adjust the eye cups. It is quoted as 7.1 degrees, but to me its more like 8.2. Brightness , colours and contrast are stunning, and well on par with many similar priced 42mm ED roof prisms. There is a touch of purple fringing, but is hardly noticeable unless you spend your day looking at tops of lamp posts and chimneys (this is how I test for CA).

The low light performance is exceptional. Minute detail can be picked out in the shadows. The 8.5x magnification is a nice compromise and will suit most needs from general use to bird watching.

There is a little fall off right on the edge of view. But the flat field and the WOW factor will the field of view will more than make up. Also a little internal reflection is evident, but only if you have the twist eye cups set wrong.

Other accessories include lens covers than fit well, a basic strap and cleaning cloth.

The Visionary range of binoculars can be purchased from Northern Optics

 

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Minox DTC 550 digital stealth camera February 2017

The MINOX DTC 550 is fitted with a new 5 megapixel sensor which provides outstanding imaging quality and pin-sharp definition in both day-light and night use; the camera captures single images and video recordings in full HD resolution and also features a new variable time lapse mode designed for speeding up the long-term recording of motion sequences.  An infrared flash helps capture images in poor light or darkness at distances of up to 15 meters; the flash is invisible to people and most animals. The DTC 550 has a remarkably fast shutter release of 0.4 seconds and a dormant ‘stand-by’ battery life of up to 6 months.

All data are stored on a SD card and images can be reviewed directly from the integrated 2.4‘‘ monitor or transferred to a computer via USB port. The DTC 550 can also be password protected against unauthorised access.

A robust and weatherproof plastic body protects the inside of the camera and keeps out moisture, dust excess of cold and heat.
The new MINOX DTC 550 is available in a camouflage design and comes with fixing strap, wall mounting fixture and USB cable.

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Lincoln astronomy society meeting 4th April 2017

Paul Cotton shall be giving a talk “Finding colour in the night sky” at the Lincoln astronomy society on 4th April 2017. Paul has already give this talk at the North Lincs astro society, so I can confirm it will be worth going. For more details visit the Lincoln astronomy website

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How to get auto exposure with a camera on manual setting

Sounds daft or impossible. That,s what I thought when I heard you can get auto exposure on a DSLR with it set on manual.

So how does it work. So lets say you need to use a specific shutter speed and f-ratio. 250th sec at f5.6 for example. Adjust the camera to manual and enter these settings. But this still will not get you auto exposure….or will it. To do this, set the ISO to auto if your camera allows this. The auto ISO will now adjust to give you the correct exposure. So that`s how to get auto exposure with the camera on manual.

OK, this is not for everyone and not something that may suit me. Saying that I may experiment one day to see the results. One major drawback is that you can not use exposure compensation. Why not give it a try and see how you get on

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Helios Nitrosport 10×25 WP monocular. Customer purchase March 2017

After trying a couple of monoculars at the Northern Optics weekend display at Barton Upon Humber, our customer chose the Helios Nitrosport 10×25 monocular. With regards optics, they were very similar to the Helios Rapide monocular, but had the benefit of better rubber armour and being water proof. They were chose to compliment their current 8×42 binoculars when out and about, as they are suitable for car glove boxes

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Illusion 7×50 WP binoculars. Customer purchase March 2017

The illusion 7×50 WP binoculars were the preferred choice when a visitor came to the Northern Optics weekend display at the Waters` Edge visitor centre. They needed a good set of 7×50 binoculars for use on the boat, due to them being easy to hand hold and focus. The main factor in the choice was the quality of the optics, that gave excellent views in low light conditions. Contrary to belief, we always recommend testing binoculars in low light conditions as this is a great test of light grasp and contrast in testing conditions.

The customer was not put off by the weight. These are rubber armoured . nitrogen gas filled  and come with a comfy flotation strap. Just the job when out at sea. Highly recommended

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KLM 747 airplane photo. 15th March 2017

Delighted with this wide field image of a KLM 747 at 32,000ft heading to Chicago. Used my trusty Canon EOS 1100D + Tamron 70-300mm lens at 300mm. ISO 100, f6.3 at 400th second. RAW file edited in DPP where I darkened the blues and brought out the whites to increase the effect. Hand held with image stabilisation on. Though many would tell me its best left off with moving targets.

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Airbus A340 photograph 15th March 2017

Took this image of an Airbus A340 on a bright clear day with lovely dark background sky. It was at 34,000ft heading to San Jose. Equipment used Canon EOS 1100D Tamron 70-300mm at 300mm f6.3 , 400th second.

RAW file sharpened in DPP, where I also darkened the blue and increased the brightness of the whites for a more dramatic effect. Sometimes it is best to look at the bigger picture rather than over crop

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Celestron binoculars and spotting scope purchase March 2017

A customer came to Northern Optics looking for two products. A spotting scope for looking at birds in the garden and occasional astronomy + a set of binoculars for when out and about at the Nature reserves.

The spotting scope they chose was the Celestron Travel scope 70 due to simple set up, lightweight body and tripod and clear optics. Another plus was the handy back pack that come with it.

The binoculars they opted for were the Celestron Nature DX 8×42 . After trying a set of high quality 8×26 and 10×32 binoculars, the Nature DX 8×42 gave a noticeably brighter view and sharper image. The customer commented on how they would have never have known how good they were by looking on line. This proves that to see the full potential of binoculars you really need to look through them first . And as the local dealer of binoculars for North Lincolnshire and East Riding of Yorkshire we offer this service

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Tal Klevsov Lunar image 7th March 2017

Used a Tal Klevsov 8″ (200mm) with a Canon EOS 1100D to take this photo of the Moon. One thing about this telescope is the narrow field of view, so you can not get the full disc in. But an advantage is that less cropping is needed for close ups.

To get prime focus with this telescope, a short extension tube is needed due to not enough inward focus travel. But I was able to do this by simply using a 2x barlow with the lens element removed.

Focus is critical. So as always with my astro images I used magnified live view. This was a single RAW file 160th sec at 100 ISO. Processing was done in DPP (digital photo professional). I found compared to my Tal 4″ refractor contrast was lower. This was improved in editing. If taking single Lunar images, we always recommend using RAW files. This is because you can bring out so much more detail that would be lost in a JPEG

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