Tactical is the New Black (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 22 Apr 2024

Tactical is the New Black

[a so-called 'Tactical Pen'] My new binocular came! And something curious came with them: a "tactical pen".

It seems to be quite a nice gel pen, with an aluminum body and a locking retractor. But the "tactical" part is less clear.

Me What makes it tactical?
Dave Maybe that it's black?
Me Tactical is the new black?

And of course, my mind couldn't help wandering off to explore what might make the difference between a tactical pen and a strategic pen. Maybe something about how long the ink reserve lasts? Or how long it takes to click the clicky retractor thing?

Oh, well, it was free when buying the binocular from B&H, and it really is a pretty nice pen.

On the binocular:

(Note: I'm using the singular "binocular" to refer to one instrument with two optical paths, as Jay Reynolds Freeman always used to teach — he'd say that a pair of binoculars" is what I have if I hold up the new Vortex in one hand and the old Ultraview in the other — though he doesn't include that in the online version of his binocular talk, and not all dictionaries seem to agree: probably the word is changing to follow common usage.)

[Vortex Diamondback 8x32 binocular] My well loved, several decades old Orion Ultraview 8x42 had an unfortunate encounter with pavement during the eclipse trip (which fortunately happened after the eclipse, while re-packing the car) and my attempts to figure out how to re-collimate came to nought. (I had dropped it once before, several years ago; that time, banging the skewed side a couple times on a block of wood miraculously fixed the collimation problem. Alas, not this time.)

I've liked the UltraView so much that I was going to order the same thing — it disappeared from Orion's catalog for a while, but now it's back — but Dave (whose matching 8x42 Ultraview has always been a little out of collimation, even after sending it back to Orion for repair) had a Vortex Diamondback 8x32 on order, so I decided I'd hold off and see how those were.

Turns out it's amazing. At 2/3 the weight and about half the size, and at a slightly lower price, it gives an image that seems just as bright as the 8x42, has an even wider field, and an astonishing close-focus distance of under two feet. The focus knob feels good and is a lot less stiff than the UltraView, so it's easier to focus rapidly, the eyecups adjust easily and the end caps attach so they won't get lost. I guess maybe there have been technical advances in binoculars in the two or three decades since I bought my UltraView.

I did my own research, paying particular attention to the excellent 8x32 Binocular Mega Review Grouptest and being tempted by the high-end binoculars discussed therein. But in the end I ordered the same model Dave chose, and have been happily bino-viewing a couple of black-chinned hummingbirds that arrived in the yard today.

Besides, Vortex' warranty is second to none. They have a lifetime warranty, and you don't need to register, or even keep the receipt: apparently if you have a Vortex binocular that needs repair, you just send it to them and they fix it. How amazing is that? I hope I enjoy the Vortex as long as I did the UltraView without needing any repairs, but it's nice to know I'm covered if something unfortunate happens.

[ 16:06 Apr 22, 2024    More humor | permalink to this entry | ]

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