If I Had A Dime For Every Time I Heard Tuat

I was able to revisit the area.

When I first encountered Jimmy during the '80s he was using a Russian Cosmic Symbol camera. Some years later I saw him in Newcastle Grainger Market using a battered old Lubitel TLR. But Jimmy's choice of camera never phased him Although many of his images are technically a little awry, their content - that of a now long-gone, close-knit community - stand up as a fascinating archive of enormous value to historians. His images beautifully capture the rather stark and, as my late mum often said, occasionally grim era in which they were taken.

We've recently lost a local hero in the lovely Sir Bobby Robson, but many of us will mourn the passing of Jimmy Forsyth. His epitaph should be that of a man who simply took time to look around him and record what was there before - like the Scotswood community - it vanished forever Mick Bidewell, Tyne and Wear

Go astro

I liked the article on digiscoping by Barney Britton (AP 1 August), but I'd like to offer some alternative suggestions, if I may. Here are six reasons why terrestrial spotting scopes are not the best choice for digiscoping, and why small astronomical telescopes are:

1. Focal ratios are too high. Typical digiscoping focal ratios are f/13 or higher because you must use an eyepiece to obtain focus. This gives a long focal length (1,000mm or more) but a very slow photographic tool, which means they are susceptible to distortion-inducing heatwaves over distances and camera shake because a big tripod is needed to hold a 1,000mm lens with any stability. A small astronomical telescope will typically offer focal ratios of f/5.6-f/8 and focal lengths of 350-700mm without an eyepiece, or longer ones if an eyepiece if needed.

2. Contrived attachment devices. Those Mechano-set attachments look like a brace for someone who has broken their neck, and can be avoided. Attachment to astronomical scopes is via regular bayonet lens adapters, either for DSLRs or point-and-shoot models.

3 Focusing is crude. Almost no spotting scopes have fine focus control, which is a requirement for long focal length work. All decent astronomical scopes now feature ultra-smooth Crayford focusers with fine focus control.

4 Vignetting. This is very difficult to avoid when digiscoping because spotting scopes are not designed for photography; astro scopes (ED


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