DIY 30 cents Binocular tripod adapter – Collimation Mini Guide
Yesterday i found an old pair of binoculars in the closet. The manufacturer is Soligor, based in Germany. After a small inspection the specs are 10×50 and wide angle field of 7°. Pretty sweet for a pair of binoculars that came from nowhere!
The bad news were that it was badly collimated and that resulted in double images. First steps were buying a photography tripod. I just got the taller and cheaper heavy duty stand i could find. It costs about 40 euro from Media Markt, end height is at 1,85 meters and its really sturdy. Next stop was outside a paint shop where i asked for a shelf holder and a 5mm screw (Full cost 30 cents). Simple as possible and the only prequisite was having enough durability to hold the bino’s weight, so it’ll keep the bumps unnoticeable. The holder can stand about 60 pounds (30 kgs) of cargo. It had the same price with the others and its just a bit more bulky. Next stop home. I connected one edge in the photo tripod (it has an embedded screw for cameras) and the other with the screw in the adapter hole of the binos. Simple enough eh? Just for the sake of cost efficiency i visited an online astronomy supplies store to check that the binocular holder is about at 20 USD…!!
Next step is collimation. Collimation in binoculars is an easy process but requires many trial and error steps. Firstly try to keep the binoculars stable and at a comfortable height so that you can see through them easily. One of the best advices i have ever heard about binoculars is that when looking through them, you must be calm. No tension in the neck, shoulders or face. It will just ruin your focusing. Close your right eye and adjust focus using the main switch. After that close your left eye and open the right correcting the focus via the right ocular switch. Yes, double images or in general foggy images will still be there. Under the plastic cover as shown in the picture below are 2 screws, one for each ocular. As you suspect these are used for lenses collimation. You can try adjusting them by looking through the binos at the same time, but you might end up with a pretty scratched surface. The best way is to adjust and check, adjust, check etc. You can try collimating your binoculars by looking at a faraway mark but i would suggest doing so by looking at something bright.. Its summer.. Jupiter is a nice target. Some patience and voila! This pair of old binoculars still has life! I ever consider taking them with me on holidays.
Finally a small tip.. When you want to clean the lens never breath/spit/hrrrr/hhuuhhuuu on them. Never. It will ruin the coatings and decrease image quality… A piece of cloth used for cleaning glasses is the safest way..