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Son of Sam "Star and Camera Guy" (Scotland)

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Barr & Stroud Universal Digital Camera Adapter
Barr & Stroud Universal Digital Camera Adapter
Offered by Picsio
Price: £29.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, 13 Jan. 2015
Simple to use and does the job well. Good quality construction and much better than the cheaper ones that I had used before. No instructions supplied with this but easy enough to get your head around. Just clamps on without any fuss.

Celestron Astromaster Tripod for Binos/Spotters
Celestron Astromaster Tripod for Binos/Spotters
Price: £80.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very versatile and easy to use mount., 16 Nov. 2014
Very solid tripod and a very versatile mount head. It has both a standard dovetail bar for astronomical telescopes but it comes with a quarter inch adapter for mounting spotting scope, cameras or binoculars. If it has a downside it is that is maybe a bit low for stargazing with binoculars but it is perfect for telescopes and spotting scopes. The pan handle means you can operate the whole mount with one hand.

Really glad I bought this, pretty light too without the usual compromises on stability.

Seben Big Boss 1400-150 EQ3 Reflector Telescope "Big Pack"
Seben Big Boss 1400-150 EQ3 Reflector Telescope "Big Pack"
Offered by Seben GmbH
Price: £171.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Pack but not Big Performance, 7 Sept. 2014
Just had the first clear nights viewing with the gang this year. One of the newbies had bought one of these, swayed by the comprehensive spec but it is really, really inferior to the viewing experience provided by much smaller aperture scopes from Celestron and Skywatcher. We've found Seben products to be a strange mixture of good, not so good and downright terrible. They actually make some decent plossl eyepieces under the Orbinar name and some of their Maks are good too. Unfortunately this 150/1400 model is a terrible optical design.

You would do better going for a Celestron, Meade, Orion or Skywatcher model.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality Ts, 4 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought three Hot Tuna T-shirts. Very impressed with a the quality, comfort and excellent fit. These also stand up well to washing and are resistant to the dreaded t-shirt stretch! Not the cheapest but very good quality for the money.

Helios Apollo 85mm High Resolution 15x85 Observation Binoculars
Helios Apollo 85mm High Resolution 15x85 Observation Binoculars

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Quality Views, 12 April 2014
I had previously used the Celestron 15x70 Skymaster binos which had impressed me tremendously and still do. For the money they are excellent. However I did want something a bit better and decided to bite the bullet and go for these. I went for the larger 85mm size rather than the 70s to provide a bit more light grab.

At just shy of £400, these are not cheap and are probably only for people who are really keen on astronomy or wildlife watching. The views provided are truly breath taking and are (as you would expect) in a different league from the Celestrons. I've got a couple of telescopes including a 6 inch reflector and even it can't hold a candle to the quality of the views from these, absolutely pin sharp with virtually no distortion. Lunar and planetary views are superb but the deep space objects are where these really excel.

They have individual focus for each eyepiece which is a real boon and are incredibly easy to use. These are heavy though so you will need a serious tripod to mount these. I use the superb Skywatcher AZ4 mount.

So in short they cost a lot but they are amazingly good and worth every bit of the £400.

Celestron 5 piece Lens Upgrade kit - Includes Free Moon Filter - 1.25" Lens Fitting - Great Upgrade To Compliment Your Existing lenses - Comes Complete With Celestron Hard Case
Celestron 5 piece Lens Upgrade kit - Includes Free Moon Filter - 1.25" Lens Fitting - Great Upgrade To Compliment Your Existing lenses - Comes Complete With Celestron Hard Case

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap Lens Set But Should Be Cheaper Still, 27 Sept. 2013
From a distance this kit looks the business. Nice case and snug fitting eyepiece slots with cased eyepieces too as well as a half decent moon filter. That's the end of the good news though. The eyepieces are all Huygens type with the expection of the 4mm high power one which is a Ramsden type. Huygens are the oldest design that you can buy these days and give pretty much inferior viewing to more modern eyepiece set ups. The Ramsden is a better design but again, not great. The EPs that come with your scope are probably at least as good as these. In fairness you are getting 5 EPs for your money and in a very long focal length telescope these would probably be okay but you would be much better off getting a couple (25mm and 10mm) of superior Achromat (or Kellner) eyepieces which would be less money. Skywatcher do a half decent and very cheap set. The moon filter is actually pretty good but again, this can be picked up pretty cheaply.

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM Lens for Pentax
Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM Lens for Pentax
Price: £279.00

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the previous version. What's not to like!!!, 7 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So there I was, thinking that I already had the best all in one lens for my Pentax Kr. This was the predecessor to this lens which was the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM and very good it was too. It did just about everything that you could ask of a zoom...just about. It's only failings were that it could just about cope with macro shots but not very well. The IQ (Image Quality) was also a little soft but very good I thought for a lens of this range of focal lengths.

This new version answers these shortcomings...and how. It's a good bit smaller than the old model and takes 62mm threads rather than the 72mm and it is a good deal lighter too. The real bonus though is the lens' Macro ability, it's now excellent for photographing insects with a much closer and much more tolerant focussing system. The IQ is also sharper than before with a better tolerance for lower light conditions. On the Pentax version the OS (optical stabilisation) switch has gone so you are reliant on the Pentax's own built in OS but that is absolutely fine and the OS on the old lens always felt a bit like doubling up.

So the best just got better. Is it worth trading up from the old version, I'd say go for it. I have no regrets and now hardly ever have to swap lenses. Hard to see how Sigma can improve on this version but never say never.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2013 9:38 PM GMT

Celestron 22050 LCM 60 Computerised Refractor Telescope
Celestron 22050 LCM 60 Computerised Refractor Telescope
Price: £214.97

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use entry level GOTO Telescope, 18 Jun. 2013
I had the use of one of these telescopes for a week whilst on annual leave last December. I had previously owned a couple of GOTO rigs including the Skywatcher Synscan GOTO and my current IOptron MiniTower so was interested in how this low cost Celestron model would compare.

First off, this is the lowest end 60mm model in the LCM range. Apreture is king with telescopes and a 60mm aperture is only going to show you so much detail both in terms of planetary detail or in it's ability to view deep space objects. Having said that, this is a very well made 60mm scope which has good quality glass and comes with a couple of decent achromat eyepieces (a 25mm widefield and a 9mm high power). These aren't on par with more expensive plossl eyepieces but they are much better than the Huygens types that often come with cheaper telescopes. The views are nice and sharp with chromatic aberation reasonably well controlled. The 9mm gives approximately 80x magnification which is nearing the limit of this scope's comfort zone. The eyepieces are the standard 1.25" size which means that adding additional optical accessories is easy to do. The telescope tube has a focal ratio of f12 which means that it is better on the moon and planets. I was easily able to make out Jupiter's 4 largest moons and even a little surface detail. Very nice views of the lunar surface were also easy to spot plus some of the brighter deep space astronomical objects like the Andromeda Galaxy.

The real item of interest is the GOTO mount however. This has a lot of nice design features and has a couple of improvements over the Skywatcher and the older Celestron Mounts. The mount has a standard dovetail bar clamp and so could be used with a number of different telescope tubes. The clamp's position means that the scope tube is kept away from the mount base which prevents snagging. Another neat feature is the internal battery compartment which means that there is no additional battery pack hanging off of the mount. The tripod itself is very lightweight which is a mixed blessing since it makes the entire rig very portable but vulnerable to cross winds. I found that sticking a rock on the accessory tray cured this and made the whole thing much more stable. This isn't a particularly heavy duty mount though and I don't think that it would suitable for use with anything much bigger than an 80mm refractor scope.

The GOTO is very accurate once the scope is properly aligned. I found the alignment process was straighforward and easier than on the Skywatcher.

At this kind of money, it is very hard to beat.

Celestron Travel Scope 70 Telescope
Celestron Travel Scope 70 Telescope
Price: £55.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to beat for the money, 22 May 2013
This is one of my favourite small scopes. It's light and easy to use with a decent sized aperture and a couple of pretty nice eyepieces too which are the better 1.25" size. The tripod could be better but it has to be light from the portability angle. It will fit easily to a larger mount as it has both a standard camera thread and also an astronomy dovetail bar.

I had read in of the reviews that the image was upside down but the person obviously hadn't used the 45 degree star diagonal which provides a correct image and had just stuck the eyepiece straight into the back of the scope.

It also comes with a built in t-thread so could be very cheap way to get a 400mm telephoto lens for DSLR astrophotography.

For £50,it's an absolute steal.

Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC HSM Optical Stabilised Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras
Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC HSM Optical Stabilised Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb General Purpose Lens, 7 April 2013
I've recently bought one of these second hand for my Pentax Kr, also bought a decent quality Hoya UV filter to act a lens protector. I already had the 18-55mm kit lens and also Sigma's excellent 70-300mm APO lens. I am very happy with the performance and quality of these lenses, however it is a real chore changing these when out and about. This is particularly true when out in the country and you are constantly switching between wide field landscape shots and trying to capture more zoomed in pictures of the wildlife.

I've used this over the last couple of weeks and have found it to be an ideal 'do it all' walkabout lens. The image quality is very good, it is not quite as sharp as the 70-300mm but it is very close. This lens also has a number of other features which for me make it an absolute joy to use. The hyper sonic drive is ultra smooth and extremely quiet, I hate going back to the screw drive lenses now. This lens real strength though is the speed of focussing which is very, very fast and means that I should have fewer missed opportunities. I found that surprising at this price point.

Another surprise was the focussing distance. The stated distance is 45cm but I found that the lens focussed at less than 30cm when I tried some macro shots on insects.

The lens also has optical stabilisation which is marginally better than the camera's own system and remember to switch off the Pentax in-built OS if you are using this. Also remember to switch both off if you are using a tripod.

I've no hesitation in recommending this as a great all in one lens.

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