From the moment we arrived, as soon as I realised what a gorgeous panoramic view we actually had ( which was not really emphasized as much as a selling-point for the property as one would have imagined ) I was so annoyed at leaving my TeleVue scope and tripod behind, so much so that at one point I seriously considered driving all the way back home and back again, which would only have taken around 4 hours or so.
Alas, I settled for using the opportunity to test the capabilities of the 30x80 binoculars and 60mm spotter.
How on earth anyone is expected to hand-hold 30x80 binoculars and derive any kind of pleasure from the effort is beyond my comprehension, yet they come with that thin lanyard to hang around the neck, which frankly I wouldn't trust to take the weight of a 20mm compact pocket binocular worth £10.
I remember many years ago, the Binoculars and Telescope historian Peter Abrahams describing this 30x80 model as "a disaster", which after testing it without any other way of supporting it apart from wedging it on the balcony rail or on top of a portable food serving trolley, I consider to be a most appropriate description.
Also many years ago I remember trying out the 11x version of this model on two separate occasions, in locations 2000 miles apart, and aside from the sheer weight and slightly narrow true field of view ( 4.5 degrees ) being quite impressed with them.
There were also 20x versions and possibly even a 16x model if I remember correctly.
These are Japanese made instruments of quite solid build quality and in fact I still own a 15x70 version, which was known in the USA as Orion Little Giant.
Unfortunately, like the 15x70 ( with around 8mm effective ) the eye-relief of this 30x80 is no longer than the gap between the eye-lens and outer lip of the ocular -- probably no more than 5mm -- which means the ONLY way to see the full ( and quite immersive ) 2.2 degree TFOV is by literally squashing the eyeballs up against the lens.
The only reference to this particular model I can recall is when CN binocular forum regular S.Mark mentioned owning one, which he virtually dismissed as being "an also ran" compared with his 30x80 Megaview, in a brief review about 5 years ago.
In fact, Mark claimed his specimen only stated a 2.0 degree TFOV, which he pointed out seemed noticably narrow compared with the 2.3 degree of the Megaview -- especially given the much longer eye-relief of the latter.
Anyway, this one had 2.2 degrees etched onto the prism cover, and after comparing it with a line of chimney pots alongside my Nikon 10x42 SE ( which as a genuine 6.0 degree TFOV ) I found the 2.2 degrees to be accurate.
To be fair, and hardly surprisingly given it being left hanging around a house for all and sundry to play around with, "The Disaster" was hardly in showroom condition, with signs of some moisture intake fogging the optical trains. It had also probably been bumped or dropped at some stage, as the alignment was clearly out, with the right side slightly to the upper right ( 10 O'clock position ) compared with the left, which was the cleaner of the two sides.
Also to be fair, not even discernible in the photo above, there is a distinctive lighthouse located on the tip of the Anglesey Island, about half a mile from Puffin island ( Ynis Seriol in Welsh ), on which there was some detail only the 30x80 binocular could resolve.
It is called Penman Point Lighthouse ( in English -- Trwyn Du in Welsh ) and is painted white with broad black bands around it, and also contains what could only be resolved through either the 60mm scope at any magnification as some sort of written notice. Even through the 10x42 I could easily tell it was a notice of some sort, but only through the left side of the 80mm binoculars, used as a 30x spotting scope, in the most clear viewing conditions, could I JUST about make out the bold black words: NO PASSAGE LANDWARD -- and that was without wearing my glasses!
It's a shame really about the appallingly short eye-relief of so many higher magnification binoculars like this.
It was times like this that I really miss the 85mm Zeiss Diascope with the 20-60x zoom lens.
I used to enjoy carefully testing the minimum magnifications required to resolve all sorts of details.
Bad as the binoculars were, they were definitely preferable to the Auriol scope, which really did live down to it's £25 price tag ( and that £25 apparently included the tripod, mounting adaptor and carry case ).
Whilst it's wonderful in a way that even such "toy scopes" can be purchased for so little, and perhaps even looking through one as poor as this could just spark an interest in the wonderful world of magnification to a youngster who happens to be on holiday in that cottage, as such experiences did for myself when young, if only the owner had just spent a little bit more and took a chance on it being treated with respect, there would certainly be more chance of visiting adults being sufficiently impressed to take up the hobby.
During the bleaker periods of weather we endured during the break, I spent quite a bit of time on my ipad, following the Cloudy Nights Binoculars forum, a link from which led to a superb multi- model review article by Tobias Menle entitled "The Magnificent Six" at www.greatestbinoculars.com", featuring the current market leading 42mm roof prism models available from Leica, Nikon, Swarovski and Zeiss.
Reading it almost made me wish I could go out and buy one of each!
In reality, I'll settle for my trusty old Nikon 10x42 Superior Es.
Apart from their failure to resolve the lettering on that lighthouse, in all other aspects, looking through them was so much more satisfying than struggling with the higher magnifications on offer!
Thanks for reading,
Edited by KennyJ, 12 June 2017 - 11:06 AM.