Saturday, October 6, 2007

What has all this got to do with birding?
Well, the Q is also a great spotting scope. My model is a Duplex, which means the barrel with the scope can be removed from the mounting (see below).

The bottom of the barrel assembly has treads for either a 3/8" or 1/4" standard tripod fittings. Actually, Questar makes a model specifically designated for birdwatching -- appropriately called the Questar Birder. The main differences being that the Birder has faster focusing and a finder with greater magnification (8.5x). The standard eyepieces give you 40x and 65x magnification -- but optional eyepieces can carry you beyond 200x.
The Standard and Duplex models have controls which allow you to switch from the finder mode to the eyepiece -- and if the magnification isn't great enough -- to a built-in Barlow lens, which increases magnification by a factor of 1.7x. The neat thing is that you can do all this without moving your eye from the eyepiece.
The center cover can be unscrewed from the back plate above and an eyepiece inserted. This would probably be the most common way the Q would be used as a spotting scope. In addition to the eyepiece, there are various camera adapters that can be used so that one could take pictures while looking through the eyepiece on top. A very versatile (though expensive) scope!
You can read more about the Questar on their web site.