More comfortable way using the Polar Alignment Scope
I posted this to the Losmandy group, but since it applies to AP mount
owners as well, here is a copy ...
One thought I have been toying with is putting a photographic accessory,
"right angle viewer" onto the Polar Alignment Scope. This would make polar
alignment so much more comfortable, easier on the back, save neck pains, and
scraped, wet, frozen and muddied knees in the process.
I bought a "Hoodman HRAV" (i.e. Right Angle Viewer) for my DSLR, just for
( http://www.hoodmanusa.com/prodinfo.asp?number=H%2DRAV )
However, I find it can also do double duty, since it would be easy to slide it
off the camera viewer lens and onto a clip (fitted) to the Polar Scope.
I gave it a rough try in the house just now, and it focuses on the reticle
quite nicely with very minimal vignetting. It has a "2.5X slide switch" that
kicks in a lens into the viewer, now the Polaris marking is still in view, but
the FOV is magnified. Of course, it swivels 360 degrees, for easy viewing from
any side, a very smooth viewing focus ring of its own, and a huge rubber
eyecup. So, this has great potential.
The nice thing about the Hoodman camera eyepiece viewer is that at US$130,
it is half the cost of the Nikon, Kodak, or Canon "look alikes" - I can't tell
it apart from a Nikon version which I almost bought, has a 2.5X switchable,
magnifier, and it comes with 5 slide mount brackets to fit over a dozen brands
& models of SLR's. I bought it to fit my Kodak DSLR, which has a Nikon body.
The Canon, Sony, Minolta etc., mount brackets are superfluous for me, for now.
That being the case, I am considering using one of the "least likely to be
used" (Minolta in my case), slide mount bracket as a base, to a short plastic
barrel, that could be slid onto the Polar Scope barrel. This now adapts the
PAS to the right angle viewer, just as though it were yet another model DSLR
The beauty of this setup is that the view is erect and "not reversed" -
obviously, since if you use a right angle viewer attached to your SLR, you
would expect the "framing view" to be unchanged.
So, I see the same reticule view of Polaris whether I do the alignment in
comfort while standing, or wrench my body and look through the PAS (the hard
way). Also, it is made of plastic, so it is a feather weight attached to the
PAS. Being able to switch it to any SLR camera you might own, is a real bonus,
when you are using more than one camera model on your scope - otherwise, you
would have spent over $200 for each brand for individual right angle viewers.
In this case, one RAV fits ALL, even the PAS, with a little bit of trivial
This should be a standard PAS accessory - I will never go back to the
standard way of using it, once I get one of the spare camera slide mount
Barry Carter has tested three right angle viewers on his website.
The Hoodman HRAV, looks identical to the Nikon DR-6 in his article:
"Nikon D70 Manual Focus Aids".