And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Opticron GS52 Scope

Birders are sometimes crazy. We just read a report about a birder's visit last week to a remote area of Western Australia in the Great Victoria Desert, where he saw good numbers of Princess and Scarlet-chested Parrots. Now we are quickly packing the 4WD to head out there!

You have to understand why. These parrots are sort of the holy grails of birding in Australia, rare desert parrots that are usually very hard to get. After years of drought the desert at the moment has had good rains and the parrots have bred and are moving. This may not happen again for a long time. So it's pack and drive the 950 km to Laverton, then head out on basically two wheel ruts 250 km into the desert to Neale Junction. We shall see how it goes!

Anyway, this post is to provide a some information about the fantastic little scope I bought at the British Bird Fair, the Opticron GS 52.

The Opticron GS 52 GA ED

For most Australian birding we have our old Leica 77 Televid, which is a fantastic scope, but very heavy by modern standards and often a pain to carry overseas. We were looking for a small travelscope that we could take on overseas birding holiday and leave the Leica purely for Australian Birding.

The Leica 77 Televid

After looking at quite a few scopes at the bird fair and reading some reviews about the GS 52, the GS appeared to be the best scope for us. It doesn't have all the clarity and brightness of the big scopes such as Leica, Swarovski or Ziess, but it excellent within it's limitations. It's light and can fit in you coat pocket! A perfect scope that you just throw in your backpack or big pocket, just in case you want a closer view.

Funny looking, but a great scope

The protective cover for the GS 52 was also quite reasonably priced compared to the big scopes, such as Leica, where I ended up making my own cover for the 77 Televid from some left over canvas.

The GS 52 protective cover

So far we have been very happy with our little 'pocket rocket' as we now call it, but we shall see how it really goes on further overseas holidays. I must admit that I feel very happy when I see other birders loaded with gear and lugging the big scopes, while I have an excellent view still but with almost no major weight!

Here's some Opticron info about the scope, plus a link for further information.

Introduced in response to increasing demand for quality travel scopes, the GS 52 GA ED sets new standards for light transmission, resolution and colour contrast offering today's birdwatcher a practical and versatile alternative to larger heavier telescopes in situations where size and weight are an issue.

Fitted with full-size 24mm prisms from the larger GS, the models deliver optimum light transmission from the 52mm twin-element ED objective lens. Using the HDF T 12-36x eyepiece set between 12x and 18x, the instruments transmit exceptionally bright high contrast images with excellent depth of focus - perfect for hand held or tripod mounted observation between 100m and 200m. Unlike other telescopes of similar size, the GS 52 GA ED retains it’s performance up to 36x, delivering superior colour fidelity for longer range viewing, even in comparatively low light..

Images are not just brighter, they are sharper too. Fitted with the HR2, HDF T or SDL eyepieces, the GS 52 GA ED compares well with the standard GS 665 GA for resolution at magnifications up to 30x. Field of view is also enhanced with certain eyepieces; +30% against the smaller MM2 52 ED with the HDF T 13xWW, and +20% with the HDF T 18xWW.

At just 200mm long, the GS 52 GA ED is designated a Travelscope but features the centrally positioned twin focusing system from the full-size GS models to allow accurate focusing adjustment at higher magnification settings. For garden birdwatching and photography, close focus has been set at just 2.5m.

Fully rubber armoured and nitrogen gas filled for protection against the elements, the models are fitted with a lightweight magnesium tripod sleeve offering -/+ 90° each-way rotation for easier positioning when viewing from the confines of a hide or vehicle.

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