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Binoculars for waching hoverflies

 
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John O'Sullivan



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 128
Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Binoculars for waching hoverflies Reply with quote

Have other Forum members come across the "Papilio" binoculars made by Pentax? They are compact, light (290g), with a bright, sharp image, and make a good general-purpose instrument. Outstandingly, they focus down to half a metre or less, at which distance they act like a low-power microscope, clearly showing the eye hairs on a perched male Syrphus torvus, for instance. At distances up to a couple of metres, where normal binoculars won't focus, they show identification features and intimate details of hoverfly behaviour. And they are not expensive. In the UK, the 6.5x21 model sells for less than ninety pounds, and they may well be cheaper in other countries. Even if they cost a lot more, I believe they would be a worthwhile part of any dipterist's field kit. (There is also an 8.5x21 model.) What a pity that Pentax didn't call them th "Syphus", though!
Happy hunting.
John
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chris webster



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 12
Location: Reading Berks

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John
On the UK-Leps yahoo news group these bins were thought excellent for butterfly-watching.
I was wandering about in the local cemetery today, hoping to see P. punctulatus [no luck there], with bins in one hand and camera in the other, and ended up just using the camera, as everything I saw could be approached close enough to ID through the eyepiece. That includes torvus hairy eyes, and front legs of lots of P. albimanus.
Not so easy to get close to them when/if the weather warms up a bit, so those bins would be useful. I'm still using 5 bins bought from a Filling Station, modified for close focus. I tried to interest others in this DIY project, but was told life was too short for such things! Info still on the web at
http://www.lepke.free-online.co.uk/bins.html
Chris.
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John O'Sullivan



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 128
Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Chris, I've looked at the piece on the web, and I certainly admire your ingenuity and skill! If it was me, I would certainly manage to glue metal swaff all over the lenses! But the savings are clearly to be made, not to mention the satisfaction gained.

A bit of dull weather has largely put a stop to hoverfly activity round this way just recently. I did see a single torvus today: it seems to have been a very good spring for them here.

John
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