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Posts Made By: Jay Gamble

May 22, 2006 08:58 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos


Posted By Jay Gamble

male Red Phalarope in breeding plummage on left.

2 female Red-Necked Phalaropes in breeding plummage on right.

Taken at ~300' with a Takahashi FC-76 and Canon 350D in light rain and poor light while the birds were spinning like tops stirring up food.

Perhaps they were blown inland while migrating to the Arctic Circle during the sustained nor' easter we've had in New England. Stayed 2 days and then moved on.

May 22, 2006 09:13 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Phalaropes - 2nd image

Posted By Jay Gamble

male Red Phalarope on left

2 female Red-necked Phalaropes center and right.

Takahashi FC-76 & Canon 350D.

December 5, 2009 09:36 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Amici 45* diagonal opinions

Posted By Jay Gamble

Does anyone know of any high quality 45* amici prism diagonals for birding use?

The Vernonscope 2" amici is one of the few options that I have found at $295.00.

Most of the few 45* amici prisms that I've located on the web are very inexpensive, and I suspect price equals quality - especially on prisms.

I'm using the TeleVue 60* Everbright now on a TV-85. I haven't tried TeleVue's 1.25" 45* amici or the Vernonscope 2" 45* amici.

Any suggestions or experiences with amici diagonals for birding would be appreciated.


December 13, 2002 01:51 PM Forum: Refractors

Best refractor for under $2000.00

Posted By Jay Gamble

With my C9.25, I found myself wanting wider angle views, and an alternative to long cool down times, and so-so seeing conditions.

A 3" Takahashi FS-78 apo answered the above concerns and provides pin-point sharp, high contrast viewing. It does both wide angle and high power with ease.

It can piggyback on the C9.25 on a G-11, or it goes alone on a TeeGul for a quick looks, or as grab & go travel scope.

If you are looking to complement the C-11, the 3" Tak is a great choice since you already have a big 11" of aperature.

If you are looking to replace the C-11, then the 4" of aperature in the FS-102 may be a better choice.

You're probably gonna get a lot of strong opinions on this question!

July 30, 2003 12:58 PM Forum: Takahashi

Mewlon 210

Posted By Jay Gamble

I consider these both of these statements to be "myths" that are perpetually forwarded about the M210.

My M210 holds collimation very well. It is, however, more sensitive to precise collimation than my C9.25 was. So-so collimation in the C925 yielded only a softer image; in the M210, so-so accuracy yields a distinctly poor image and you can actually see the misalignment of the sight tube to the secondary.

I regularly use a Pentax XL 40mm with a 2" AP MaxBright, and my eyes don't find the coma in visual usage from the scope. The ep might have slight off-axis astigmatism at the edges, but the center of the axis is where my eye is looking. Others may be more critical observers, however...

Overall, the M210 is a very easy to use scope for its aperture that yields outstanding images.

On the Tak Uncensored Group you will find additional discussion on these exact same questions.

September 1, 2003 07:56 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

smallest scope & least mag. for Mars detail?

Posted By Jay Gamble

Perhaps "consistently see" is the crux of your question. And when... this year, last year or next year?

For the past month, with a Tak FS78 using an Pentax O-7mm at only 90x, I have usually seen defined dark areas unless the seeing was totally boiling.

With a Tak LE 5mm (126x) in the 3" scope, I have consistently seen defined dark areas.

September 9, 2003 12:27 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Loose nut in Celestron 9.25

Posted By Jay Gamble


The small nuts that usually come loose inside the C925 are one of the six small nuts ( 3 on each end ) that hold the tube to the ends. 3 of these little screws and nuts hold the rear assembly to the tube, and 3 hold the tube to the front ring that holds the corrector plate. You will probably want to re-install the nut in its original location.

If a front nut is loose, its very easy to make the repair, but you have to decide if you are ready to open your OTA assembly and do the job. Since I opened mine completely and flocked the inside of the tube, I know these 6 nuts well.

To fix it, carefully remove the ring that holds the corrector plate in place, but do not remove the corrector plate yet. With paper and pen, make notation of the orientation of the corrector to the housing. You might find that in the 3 o'clock position is a black mark that is an alignment index from the factory. There are also some small paper shims. Note their location.

Then remove the corrector plate, and gently tip the OTA forward and the little nut will come sliding out. There is NO need to stick anything in the OTA to retrieve the nut. It will definitely slide out along the bottom of the tube. Do not risk scratching your primary mirror.

Re-install it on the small screw on which it belongs, and put the corrector plate back in its original location. Do not over tighten the screws on the ring that hold the corrector in place.

A final caveat: you are on your own if you elect to make this fix. I take no responsibility for your mechanical skills in executing what is a very simple task.

October 14, 2004 05:25 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Why Bother With Super Planetary EP's ??

Posted By Jay Gamble


I used Pentax XLs for many years and now the Pentax XWs along with a set of Pentax SMC .965 orthos for most of my observing.

On Mars last summer and on Saturn last week, to my eyes, the improvement in contrast and surface detail is definitely superior with the orthos. They are my standard planetary eps. I would even say that on Mars the improvement was significantly better and readily apparent with the orthos over the XLs.

My .02 worth,

October 28, 2004 10:38 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Pentax 40 XW?

Posted By Jay Gamble

Hi Ed,

I used a Pentax XL40 for several years, and was never satisfied with either its off-axis performance or its contrast. I sold it a few months ago, and got the Pentax XW40. The XW40 is a huge improvement in both contrast and off-axis astigmatism and a definite keeper. Its an outstanding eyepiece in my opinion.


November 2, 2004 02:08 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

C14 and binoviewer?

Posted By Jay Gamble

"Best" is oftentimes quite subjective, but I can tell you that I use a Televue BinoVue with my C14 with very pleasing results. Whether its "best" or not, I can't say, but I can say that it works very, very well. I typically use orthos in the BinoVue, but there are many good ep choices to choose from according to your own preferences.

For accessories, I use 2" filters (when necessary) on the front end of a high quality 2" diagonal which is mandatory with the C14, IMHO.

In early October, we had a few nights of unbelievably steady seeing, 8-9/10, the few-times-a-year dead calm skies which are very rare where I live in NH. The views of Saturn were beyond words (and many other objects.) I did single ep and binoviewer comparisions, and generally preferred the binoviewer mode.