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A good monocular marred by internal reflections
Aug 13, 2007 (Updated Dec 2, 2007)
Review by old-and-tired
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Sharp image. Usable with glasses.
Cons:Image contrast is marred by strong internal reflections. Touchy focus.
The Bottom Line: Too much of the time, viewing is too much less satisfactory than with a good small binocular.
Recommend this product?
The Macroscope's image definition is very high in the center of the field. Definition is very good out to about 50% of the field width, and is less beyond that. Much of this is because of field curvature, and so is probably more apparent to me than to someone younger whose eyes would automatically accommodate more.
The image is approximately as good at the nearest focusing point (about 12 inches) as at infinity.
Contrast is less than expected in many lighting conditions.
At night, when there are bright lights outside the field of view, internal reflections are very bad. The worst of these is from the shiny flat prism housing that intrudes slightly into the light path along one side. A bright web of reflections from its smooth plastic surface lights up the outer sector of the field opposite it. This greatly degrades viewing, while smaller bright streaky reflections elsewhere in the field also intrude. I can partially mitigate the reflections of nearby street lights by rotating the body of the monocular so that the prism housing is on the side near the strongest light source instead of opposite it.
When pointed near strong light sources in dim light, the monocular exhibits such glaring reflections that in such conditions my old pair of inexpensive 7x35 binoculars gives a much better view simply by showing much less glare, even though its image definition is noticeably less. If it weren't for this, the Macroscope's usefulness would extend further because a good high-contrast 8x25 optic, while far from a night glass, actually can be fairly usable in dimmer conditions.
In normal daylight viewing with even lighting, these artefacts are not nearly as apparent but produce somewhat washed out areas of lower contrast in portions of the image. The central area of the image is relatively free of this, and the high definition of the central image provides a satisfying view.
The eyepiece sometimes exhibits a noticeable kidney bean effect.
Focusing is by turning the knurled front ring. It is easy to grip and easy to turn. The eyepiece is fixed in place, so there is never any question of mechanical problems with it. But sometimes I still find myself unthinkingly trying to turn the eyepiece.
The fast focusing thread (from 300mm to beyond infinity in three quarters of a turn) makes it more difficult than usual to focus exactly on objects at medium distances to infinity, and for this (normal) kind of use the touchy focus is a continual hindrance to observation. But it's fine when viewing things at or near the closest distance.
The Macroscope focuses far enough past infinity to let me use it without glasses. This is very welcome as I have 10 diopter nearsightedness in my better eye, and the image is much better without my glasses. There is enough extra focus range to use my 12 diopter nearsighted eye, and more is available beyond that, possibly enough for 15 diopters.
Eye relief is good with my glasses.
Turning the thin rubber ring around the eyepiece 1/6 of a turn smoothly moves it 8mm in and out.
The eyepiece housing is of smaller diameter than on many scopes and has no eyecup to help prevent extraneous light from reaching the viewing eye. This is enough of a detriment to viewing in strong sunlight that I plan to fit an eyecup.
The rubber surface that covers part of the body is easy to grip.
It's not slim but is pocketable. I'm looking for some lens caps to fit it.
Mechanically very good. Optically very good except that measures to control internal reflections are surprisingly poor.
The Macroscope has a steel tripod socket. There are no protective caps for the lenses. The thin neckstrap is okay, though it feels hard and scratchy if it rubs against my skin. The soft pouch's drawstring came apart at one end where it was sewn inside the seams after a couple of minutes of use, making the pouch pretty much unusable.
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