BORG Hand-Held Spotting Scope

The BORG long-time user – Seth Colby is the BORG master. I believe he owns most of BORG optics and parts, and freely build up systems whatever he likes. Now I realize he enjoys his hobby by very unique way. So I wanted to share with you. See what he created. Following is his picture and write up. I agree BORG should be the only scope satisfying his requirement at high quality level both mechanically and optically.

As he cautioned, pay the strongest attention to the circumstances around you if you are interested in trying similar way.


Borgs in the Bush:

As most readers know, wildlife viewing puts its own stringent demands on optics, not only with back-lighted subjects but also with scenes of low contrast. In all too many cases some combination of color-fringing, prism-ghosting or -spiking, diffraction from a central obstruction or scattering from a plane-glass dust seal muddles the view & produces one or another degree of visual annoyance, even headaches. Here mercifully are not one but two Borg-based systems which, after decades of frustration with other optics, I find in both iterations to be soothingly forgettable: You forget you’re looking through optics at all since nothing in them calls untoward attention to itself. On the contrary, ‘though they’re optimized for differing terrains, I’ve found both Borgs to visually equal & usually better the heaps of comparable other systems I’ve tried. In all my experience, moreover, the Borgs excel as arguably the most robust state-of-the-art lightweight field-portable spotters ever marketed.
The beating hearts of each of these Borgs are first, the Borg/Canon fluorite objectives, (71FL & 55FL) & second, the improved Borg porro erecting prism. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of this well-made erector. At the magnifications I find most useful, the Borg porro will widely out-perform any amici ever produced. These Borg components, coupled with two commensurately great wide-field eyepieces* yield 32x w/ 84º AFOV for the 71FL & 25x w/ 74º- for the 55FL
Because these two assemblies are perceptually so similar, it’s reasonable to ask why not use just one or the other? Depends on what one wants to trade. Setting aside the difference in light grasp, the two optics trade portability against reach. By reach I mean the 71FL focuses a lot closer. This is because it’s longer focal length allows the convenient attachment of two focusers, one at the eyepiece & one at the objective. When both are fully extended one can watch insects & other small subjects at an unobtrusive distance of around 15 ft.. There are parts of the bush, however, where the 71FL & its requisite tripod & mount will not travel easily or at all. 
The lighter, shorter 55FL, (250mm f/l vs. 400-), hikes or bikes with me just about anywhere in the wild, (but never in town!), perched on a light but sturdy shoulder mount for discreet use in back-country only, (See caution below.). Don’t let the dinky optical tube fool you. So perched, the 55FL delivers uncompromised daylight visual performance with closest focus for me at about 27 ft. Images on the shoulder mount are remarkably steady up to about 25x. I tried 30x but found I needed to reduce the magnification a touch. If you’re younger, stronger, squatter or just cleverer than I, you might handle the higher power. In any case, the whole rig slips with total comfort ’round the neck. Connection to a monopod is possible, ‘though for mobility’s sake I prefer just bracing myself against a tree, outhouse, rock wall, fence, or what have you.
Complete parts lists:
71FL – 7457 – 7857 – 7488 – 7601(3 of them) – 7517(tube w/ mounting bracket) – 7501 – 7425 – 7522 – 7778(prism) – 7362 – 7757 – 7501 – *eyepiece (Docter UWA 12.5mm)
There are a lot of parts here but they hugely increase versatility & ease of use. Versatility as in safe long-distance macroscopy, (insects). One could increase the close focus by substituting either Borg’s M57 LII or M helical units, (7860 or 7835), in lieu of the shorter, lighter 7857. I opted for the 7857 reverse-mounted. I like it’s low profile & the way it fits my hand. Reverse mounting lets the 7857 be extended or retracted using the same turn directions as its companion here, the normally-mounted 7757. This makes co-ordinating the focusers way less prone to error! Important: The Docter eyepiece has a hybrid 1.25″/2″ barrel. Wherever possible, as here, safety dictates one attach the eyepiece right up at the hilt of it’s 2″ barrel. At this location the Borg 7757 makes a strong, rigid connection to this weighty but exceptional glass.
55FL – 7517 – 7522 – 7778 – 7315 – *eyepiece: Nikon NAV SW 10mm
The parts simplicity & smallness are no accident here. With optics on shoulder mounts it’s best to minimize mass & keep the center of mass close to the eyepiece & body, hence the short system focal length & the single focuser at the rear. Forward-weighted optics can lead quickly to arm fatigue & make the eyepiece want to ride up. The single focuser means quick focus decisions. The clean optical tube with minimal protrusions means little to snag in brush. For maximum portability & penetration into the field, keep it small & keep it basic. You’ll respond more quickly, miss less & see more. 
Author’s caution: The shoulder mount pictured above is designed & marketed purely for photo-visual use & is discussed here solely for that purpose. However, in light of recent events close to the time of this writing, I believe it should be made plain to the reader that the imprudent handling of this & similar mounts may under certain circumstances carry particular risks for the user & public. Unfortunately, photo-visual shoulder mounts may be mistaken for some kind of weapon. So while these devices may be appropriate for use in isolated rural or wilderness settings, & while they are intrinsically harmless, using or even carrying one or a similar looking object in a suburban or urban setting may lead to misunderstanding & alarm by one or more onlookers. Even when there is no malice, the appearance of a shoulder mount may create extreme danger. This danger may even exist when a person or persons may be present who are unfamiliar with such objects or who are otherwise unable accurately to see & identify one due, it should also be said, to limited or adverse experience, mental, emotional or visual impairment, distance, darkness, distraction(s), or obstruction(s) including obscuring atmospheric conditions. Nonetheless, as probably thousands of safe nature-watchers can attest, a shoulder mount, when carried with circumspection & common sense, can be a uniquely & decisively effective photo-visual enabler, the sovereign stabilizer of the outback.

~ by tedishikawa on February 2, 2015.

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