Books about binoculars that have helped me learn more about them

 

I used to hate everything related to science. I wasn’t particularly good with physics or chemistry in school, but the only thing that seemed to captivate me was the optics part that our physics teacher explained to us one day. I somehow got the basic principles through which light travels through lenses.

This aspect eventually helped to understand some things regarding biology, such as the way that the image is formed in the eye. As you can probably tell from the other two articles I have written, I am passionate about optics, in general. I like using small devices to explore the world around me. Binoculars are just an example.

Because at first, I was a bit confused as to which type of binoculars I was supposed to buy, I started looking into books about them. I came across several. Two very basic ones I can recommend are Binoculars (How It Works), by Robin Koontz and Choosing Binoculars for Bird Watching and Wildlife: 12 essential tips to help you pick the perfect wildlife and birding binocular, by Calvin Jones. As the name of both of these books suggests, they are designed for complete beginners. Plus, they don’t cost a lot of money, so they’re great if you’re just starting out.

If you aren’t into birdwatching like myself, perhaps you aren’t interested in some types of binoculars. In that case, I recommend considering reading Binocular Highlights: 99 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users, by Gary Seronik. This Canadian author is said to be an expert in various fields such as telescope making and binocular astronomy, so you should check out his book if you have some time for reading and would enjoy building your own telescope, for example.

From what I noticed, this particular book has managed to gather quite a bit of enthusiasm on the part of those who have read it. Most describe it as clear and to the point, and that’s something that every reader should appreciate. I myself find it hard to read nonfiction because many authors choose to say what they have to say in 200 pages instead of 50.

Another book I can suggest is 50 Things to See with A Small Telescope by John Read. There are several alternatives to this book, which is to say that some can tell you what you can see in the Southern Hemisphere, others in the Northern Hemisphere and so on. The only downside to this book is that it tends to cost a pretty penny. However, if you are lucky enough, you could get it from a used book store or even get in touch with the publisher and ask for a free electronic copy in exchange for a review.

 

Types of microscopes you ought to consider for students

 

There isn’t a universal rule as to which microscope works for students who are planning to get their degree in biology and those who are studying for their degree in, say, veterinary medicine. Often times, they have to get the best of both worlds. What this means is that they should use both a stereo microscope and a compound one.

In fact, some areas require even three types of microscopes. For example, if your job requires you to go on a field, you probably don’t want a model that weighs a lot as transporting it can become cumbersome. By contrary, students are likely to use the microscopes in school labs and one that’s placed on their desk, in their rooms. In other words, they’re less likely to carry the microscope from one spot to the next as they have to tend to their studying while they are in the same place.

With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see that the domain that the student is currently getting his or her degree in is what matters most. While stereo microscopes are made to satisfy the needs of those interested in looking at leaves, insects, and rather large things such as jewelry pieces and electronics components, the best compound microscopes are a different business altogether.

Another thing that makes the difference between one kind and the other is the magnification power. While compound alternatives can magnify the size of the specimen by up to 1000x and more, few stereo microscopes can do the same. In fact, I’ve never come across one that is capable of doing so, and I’ve been prospecting the market for quite a while. Most of the units you are likely to come across have magnification powers that go up to 90x. If you’re lucky, they might be able to magnify the sample by up to 200x, but that’s very rare.

So, should the student be interested in looking at smears and biological specimens, he or she should consider getting a compound unit. Depending on the working distance made available by the design of the product, the user might be able to look at other items, as well.

The last type of microscope I was mentioning in the beginning was the USB magnifier. Of all the types available for sale these days, this particular one isn’t the one I would recommend for a student. Such models are usually made with poor optical components, they can’t withstand the test of time, they don’t even have eyepieces, and they usually offer a somewhat poorer resolution compared to their stereo and compound counterparts. But they are cheap, I’ll give them that.