Celestron Cypress 10×25 binoculars. Northern Optics blog 15.2.2018

The Celestron Cypress binoculars were the Optics of choice when a customer came to the Waters` Edge visitor centre Northern Optics weekend display at Barton Upon Humber.

Other sets tried in the similar price range were compact 8×25 , 8×26 and 10×26 roof prism designs. But the porro prism 10×25 Celestron Cypress binoculars, from the customers point of view gave an instantly brighter image.

I find compared to the usual roof prism compacts, the porro prisms like for like in optical quality give you the edge with the slightly larger prisms. Not everyone likes the feel of compact porro prisms. Seems to be a love , hate reaction. But if you can get to grips (excuse the pun) with the shorter, wider body, there are some excellent choices out there.


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Ostara Elinor 8×45 binoculars. Northern Optics blog 11.2.18

Today a customer came to the Northern Optics weekend outlet looking for a set of 8x or 10x binoculars for general use. But just to prove many people still like traditional style porro prisms designs, he was not interested in the choice of roof prisms.

The customer liked the way porro prism binoculars handle, and the wide field of view they can offer. After looking at a few options from 7×35 , 8×40 and 8.5×42, the set they opted for was the Ostara Elinor 8×45. It was very close, with all models impressing him. But when the choice was down to 2 sets, the Ostara Elinor 8×45 won due to handling and weight.

From my point of view the Elinor 8×45 are a great all round choice for general use, bird watching and astronomy. The 45mm lens matches many 50mm porro prism optics from other brands in a more compact body. Extremely well built, yet easy to handle. The large exit pupil makes them usable in most lighting situations.


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Sky-watcher Evoguide 50mm ED glass guidescope

The new Skywatcher Evoguide ED 50 guidescope offers remarkable performance at a very attractive price point.

Features the renowned  Ohara S-FPL53 glass for the ED element for a crisp , bright view with virtually no chromatic aberration. The short focal length of only 242mm gives a very fast ratio of only  f4.8 . Focus is made with a precise helical version.

A built in t-thread is included. This makes it ideal as a fast telephoto lens, as well as a guide scope. Add a 1.25″ diagonal and eyepiece (not included) for a super fast short tube refractor.


    • Highest practical power: x100 (Eyepieces not supplied)
    • Objective lens diameter: 50 mm
    • Telescope focal length: 242 mm (f/4.8)
    • Focuser: fine helical (1.25”)
    • Camera / Eyepiece connection: T2 thread / 1.25” socket
    • Optic: Doublet ED lens with 2 Ohara glass lenses (1 lens S-FPL53)
    • Collimation rings & Bracket
    • Click HERE to purchase from Northern Optics
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Ostara 1.25″ O-III filter

The Ostara O-III filter is a more specialised nebula filter compared to some other types. It is specifically for Planetary nebula such as M57, Dumbell and the Eskimo nebula , plus diffuse nebula such as the Swan and Veil.  From my personal experience I have had my best ever view of the Eskimo nebula where it jumped out at me from the back ground sky.

Be aware, this filter is suitable for good quality telescopes over 4″. You will not be able to get the full potential using a small starter telescope. For small telescopes, the Ostara Moon / Skyglow filter will aid reduce the background glow.

Available in 1.25″ and 2″, the Ostara O-III filter comes in a sturdy foam lined case. Image shows the wavelength chart

Click HERE to purchase from Northern Optics




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Ostara 2″ 30mm SWA (50.8mm) eyepiece review

Often overlooked by the Ostara 26,32 and 38mm 2″ SWA-70 eyepieces, the Ostara 30mm SWA 2 inch eyepiece is a hidden gem in the middle of the pack.

Featuring a very solid 420g body with 5 element fully multi-coated optics, you get a lot of eyepiece for your money. Designed to give an excellent wide field of view, making it perfect for galaxies, nebula and rich field star clusters.

Comes in 2″ barrel size only and threaded for 2″ filters. Complete with twist type bolt case.

Long eye relief for spectacle wearers (fold down eye cup). Other features include a rubber grip and good internal baffling to reduce stray light.

This high spec eyepiece is very rare, and limited stock may be available to purchase HERE from Northern Optics

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How to change 1.25″ spotting scope eyepieces

Many modern day spotting scopes now come with a 1.25″ zoom eyepiece as standard. An advantage of this is that many 1.25″ telescope eyepieces can be used on these scopes.

The video below shows how to remove and attach eyepieces on such spotting scopes to ensure a secure fit and how to take care of the eyepiece. Note that when you remove and replace these eyepieces, the compression ring on the OTA is quite a tight fit, so if you need to turn the eyepiece, do so in a clockwise rotation. The reason for this is explained in the video.


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North Lincs astro meeting 8th January 2018

Peter Rea was the guest speaker for the Jan 2018 meeting at the North Lincs astro society . He gave us an excellent talk on Apollo 15, including the Moon walks and trips in the rover.  As with all Peter,s lectures, it was visually stunning with some incredible 3D images.

Thank you as always to the Lincolnshire wildlife trust for the use of the venue + Malcolm and Glenys, not only for the teas and refreshments, but also boosting the numbers at recent meetings by inviting friends. Around 27 in total were present.

As always Northern Optics was present with a selection of astro accessories

Image of Apollo 15 upper right courtesy of NASA

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Skywatcher StarTravel ST80 telescope eyepieces

Unlike many Skywatcher telescopes including the ST80 OTA (optical tube assembly), the Skywatcher Startravel 80 AZ3 comes with a couple of plossl eyepieces instead of the usual modified achromatic 10mm and 25mm stock eyepieces.

These plossl eyepieces come in 12.5mm and 26mm. Both have a very attractive silver finish, better optics and much more substantial, with you instantly find them a heavier eyepiece compared to the M/As.

The 12.5mm is multi-coated with a grove on the barrel for a more secure fit. However the 26mm is fully coated. But do not let this put you off, as the coatings are excellent and eye relief is long. Only downside with the 26mm is the lack of a fold down eye cup. This makes it a little tricky to use if not wearing spectacles.  But this is a minor gripe, and there is no such issue with the 12.5mm as it has shorter eye relief.

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Hawke Nature-Trek 15x50mm monocular review #35201

The higher magnification of the Hawke Nature-Trek 15×50 monocular makes it ideal for long distance subjects such as Plane , Ship spotting as well as distant terrestrial targets.

With such high power, holding steady will be an issue. But this model comes with a handy hand grip and mini tripod. The case is a standard nylon option with belt loop and room to fit the mini tripod inside. There is a tripod thread on the body if you wish to attach to a full sized tripod, car window mount etc.

Despite the (on paper) narrow view of 66m @ 1000m, it seems very comfortable to look through. Sadly only 10mm eye relief makes it unsuitable for spectacle wearers. The eye cup does not twist out.

The exit pupil of 3.33 is not as wide as many combinations such as 8×42, but is more than adequate to give a bright image with true colours. Contrast is a little down on the 10×50 version, but well within tolerances.

Handling is very easy with a large and smooth focus wheel which can be used with gloves on.

Despite being best for long distance, the close focus of only 2.5m is excellent and an added bonus. Weight is 415g. Other specs include BaK-4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics and nitrogen waterproofing.

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Baader Microstage II camera adapter #2450330

The latest version of the Baader microstage II camera adapter was been widened to 25mm to allow a secure grip of your telescope or spotting scope eyepiece. Just like the older version it allows you to swing the camera to one side while remaining attached to the eyepiece.

Unlike prime focus photography, imaging through the eye piece makes it more suitable for compact cameras and smart phones (may need an extra adapter)

Secure grip! 25mm wide eyepiece clamp, for safely holding heavy cameras without any torsion.
•Much more stiff and rigid construction than all clones
•Sturdy construction made of metal and plastic
•Carries and aligns compact cameras with standard photo-thread
•Foldable, compact construction
•Very light-weight (215 g) and very sturdy
•For cameras with a weight of up to 1.5 kg
•Fits to all eyepieces with diameters between 29 and 63mm
•Dimensions: 17,5x12x2,6 cm / 7 x 5 x 1 ” (folded)
•Incl. soft-leather bag – for scratch-free storage together with your expensive optical equipment
•Clickstop 3D camera support arm – perfect for all kinds of spotting scopes
•Great for birding, target shooting and much more

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