KENKO Polar Scope Reticle

•September 27, 2016 • 2 Comments

Finally a latest reticle have come in stock. We received only limited number of pieces this time, which are already reserved by long-time waiting customers. The kit comes with a special allen wrench. But a user needs to prepare for a spanner wrench shown in a picture. Usually a caliper can work as spanner wrench. But the reticle location is a bit too deep at least for my caliper to reach a retaining ring. Probably mostly same. So most likely you will need long leg type shown in a picture.


As shown below, a reticle is sandwiched between retaining rings to allow for the alignment. After setting back a new reticle, each user can precisely align the optical axis by push/pull way with a special allen wrench.

reticle3Now we are working on the instruction sheet for replacement/alignment procedure. The price of kit is $45.00


Now a new reticle will work up to 2030.

New Palmtop Controller

•September 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

A compact SS-one Imaging Controller will be available shortly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAScreen size is almost same as my obsolete iPhone 3, which is still active as the internet radio receiver. Controller’s box size is 65mm x 95mm, and just 100g!! It’s very small and lightweight. Large font with touch-screen makes the operation quite easy.

ssoneag1Features are

  • Auto-guiding and imaging control including dithering. It handles up to 2 DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
  • “Polar” allows for the electric polar alignment. It requires a specific electric polar finder, which will be available from Hutech. This function should be very useful for the portable mount without an optical polar scope or for increasing the accuracy of polar alignment. Polar finder built-in EQ set will be available too.
  • “Focus” mode achieves more accurate focusing of imaging camera than camera’s rear screen.
  • At this moment, it is designed to be only used with ZWO cameras as auto-guider.
  • So in short, auto-guider is ZWO and imaging camera is DSLR or mirrorless camera.
  • 5V USB power.

This is developed and produced by “SS-one” in Japan. Hutech will be distributing their products worldwide. No PC required with ZWO as auto-guider any more.

SS-one has their original GO-TO portable mount as well. I will write up more later on. First, I focus on starting up this palmtop controller ASAP.

ZWO mounting bracket is also available too. As shown, this bracket eliminates a mounting ring for c-mount lens. It’s well convenient.


Veil & NGC6940 through BORG 55FL F3.6

•September 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’ve never pointed Veil with 200mm focal length. So this field of view looks fresh to me. It shows dark nebulosity and open cluster (NGC 6940).


BORG 55FL F3.6 + Nikon D810A by Yutaka Numajiri

Nice composing!!

Takahashi Portable Mounts

•September 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

As expected, I’m getting very good feedback from various Takahashi portable mount owners these days. As one of users myself, that’s nothing special.

Yes, they are probably most expensive mounts in the market. But especially portable mount is the one to be generally used in remote site. Driving there, setting up and using. All have to be done as expected. If something doesn’t go normally, all are the waste of time. In my opinion, I’m paying such an extra value for the reliability. The spending time at remote site is priceless.

Anyway, we are now planning some new configurations as add-on features.

  1. New controller for PM-SP and PM-1 – It has ST-4 guide port as standard.
  2. Optional DEC motor unit, which allows for dual-axes guiding.
  3. Standalone(PC-less) guider to be used with ZWO camera(user selectable) as a guider. Controls most of consumer cameras like CANON and SONY, and assists focusing by unique way. (Basically this will work with any other mount).
  4. All are operated at 5V through regular USB port.

Since Takahashi’s polar scope is well aligned at the factory, I don’t think we need DEC correction during imaging in most of cases. But DEC motor is essential for solar guiding. So I decided to carry DEC motor unit as option. Good thing is it is the user-reconfigurable, simply adding DEC motor unit or removing as shown the above. Current owner can simply replace Tak original controller with a new model without any retrofit work.

I will keep updated these items time to time.



Fujifilm Cameras for Astro Photography

•September 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

As mentioned here several times, Fuji’s sensor well captures Ha spectrum as it is. The transmission rate at Ha looks close to Canon 60Da. See the recent result taken by Rob Bishop. Very nice and clean wide-field image. This looks finishing up Fuji’s Provia-like film image for me.

robbishopm42Fuji XT-1, 16 x 2’+some of 10″ @ISO800 – Takahashi FS60C F4 – PM-1 Mount

Rob is enjoying with his new Takahashi portable mount as well. PM-1 mount is not too small and not too big, not too light and not too heavy. In my opinion as one of users like him, the mount is perfect as portable mount in size and weight. For stability, we need some level of weight and solidness in my feeling. I fully agree PM-1 meets those mechanically, and optically as polar scope accuracy.

Now IDAS starts testing body-mounted filters for Fuji X-mount camera. Here is 1st prototype – FX filter.

More similar shape to SONY A7 filter. But unlike A7, unfortunately no magnets work.  IDAS is preparing for slightly different type from current LPS filter. The product concept is the one for the nighttime photography with the stocked camera. As I described, Fuji’s color reproduction is so good and beautiful. So we are considering to maximize Fuji camera in astro performance without modifying the camera body, so that we can continue to enjoy their original color.

Finally Fujifilm announced the medium-format camera – GFX50S. Personally this was greatest news for me in the year.

gfxI heard that before. But I thought this was still at engineering stage. Surprisingly they say they schedule to release early of 2017. Really?? Just a moment, I’m not ready yet…..

6 lenses are planned. I understand Fujinon is fully capable of designing and producing the medium format lenses.

I want to applaud Fujifilm’s serious decision to go up to more professional or industrial markets like they did before in film era. The camera is looking so cool for me. As Fuji’s big fan, I want to try to follow up their way as much as I can.


Filter Quick Release Solution for Solar Eclipse

•September 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

IDAS broadband solar filter is fully secured because of the threaded mount. That’s very good. But not much for total eclipse. So I was looking for good quick release solution. This is it.


XUME Quick Release Adapter

I bought 52mm type for testing first. The adapter consists of 2 pieces – one for lens side and another for a filter, and two rings are simply mated with NdFeB magnet. The magnet strength is very realistic, not too strong and not too loose. I purchased one starter kit including 2 filter holders and an extra lens adapter. I highly recommend this item the customers who own IDAS solar filters and plan to use in next year’s total eclipse. You won’t miss the beginning of the totality with this solution.

My goal for the next year’s eclipse is to entirely observe with 90FL binoscope with 82mm solar filters. So definitely I will get a pair of 82mm adapters. This is exactly what I was seeking for. Thanks, Xume!




BORG Carbon Fiber Tubes

•September 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

BORG continues to be further light. Several carbon fiber tubes will be available from Sep/23.


Tubes are 30% lighter than regular metal ones. Drawtube unit is amazingly almost half weight(220 g). These carbon fiber materials are used for Japanese Formula 1 bodies. So it’s purely Japanese-made. UV-coated outside for more durability.

4%e7%82%b9%e3%82%bb%e3%83%83%e3%83%8802ss3 lengths (70, 120 and 175 mm) & drawtube unit.


Also BORG offers 67FL special sets including new tubes at $1,000.00. Only 12 sets are available. The set comes with 67FL objective and 2 carbon fiber units (70 mm and drawtube). It’s total $1,340.00 value. If someone were considering 67FL before, this should be very good deal.


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