OPTICRON MM2 Mighty Midget teleskop
Test i Birdwatch Magazine May 2002:
Opticron MM2 52 Mighty Midget Travel Scope
Sick of lugging your weighty scope to the four corners of the Earth only to find you barely use it on arrival? If so you’ll be interested in a new offering from Opticron, reports DAVID MAIRS.
Opticron has filled an important birding niche on the field of birding optics for many years: for those on a low budget or who are just starting out, the company’s relatively cheap telescopes and binoculars are an obvious draw. You might not expect a company specialising in the lower to middle range of the market to be at the forefront of optical innovation, but with release of this new piece of kit, Opticron’s enterprising approach has been impressive.
The idea is that those who already own an Opticron telescope with HDF or HRMT eyepieces need only buy the Mighty Midget MM2 body to have a ‘second’ scope for what is a very small financial outlay. Eschewing the opportunity to take more cash from for pocket than you can really afford, Opticron has ensured that the MM2 body is compatible with all HDF and HRMT eyepieces – for those already of the faith, it seems too good a deal to miss. And even those who already have a scope of another make might be wise to consider adding a Mighty Midget to their arsenal.
‘Small is beautiful’ is the ethos behind the MM2: it takes the name of the established Mighty Midget range but is not a direct replacement for the 50mm and 60mm spotting scopes that are a relatively frequent sight at birding venues around the country. Whereas the older models had fixed eyepieces, the joy of this new creation is the ability to use whichever eyepiece you feel necessary for a particular situation. There are two models – the 52A (angled body) and 52S (straight-through) – and the body length is just over 17cm when retracted. Weight is also an absolute minimum, with the 52A version adding just 450g to your load and the 52S a mere 10g on top of that.
The Mighty Midget is trumpeted as the ‘ultimate travel scope’ – a bold claim but that is perhaps not so far fetched as it sounds. Like many other birders, I suspect, I’ve tired of lugging my monstrously large scope/tripod round the world (an especially miserable experience when you’re confined to public transport) and have decided it is no longer an essential item for such ventures. Certainly when – as so often – an itinerary is largely forest based, it is difficult to justify such a burden. However this Opticron offering puts a new complexion on things, particularly when its price means that even if it is lost, stolen or damaged, the ensuing misery should not be too great. Pair the angled model – helpful if you’re over six feet – with a lightweight tripod and you’re back in business.
No tall talk
The manufacturer doesn’t claim that the Mighty Midget MM2 will set the world alight, and indeed it sets no new optical benchmarks, but I found it performed perfectly adequately. The image was sharp and colour rendition was accurate enough, with no sign of fringing or false tints. With only a 52mm objective lens, brightness was never going to be compete with that of more expensive swankier models, but in good light I experienced no real problems. In gloomier conditions however, there was a distinct falling away in this department, and this is where the choice of eyepieces is especially important.
I tried both the 40809 eyepiece that will already be familiar to some Opticron users and the 40903M 15–40x zoom that is intended solely for use with the MM2. The 40809 equates to an 18xWW lens when used with the MM2 and is of a size that reduces the impact of deteriorating performance in fading light, but if we’re talking about gaining an advantage in magnification when you also have a pair of binoculars to hand, I would suggest that it really isn’t worth the trouble. Instead, the 15–40x zoom provides the viable option: if you’re struggling to nail and identification clincher, or if something is simply too far away to identify properly, then this is where the Mighty Midget really scores. Certainly light performance at the higher levels of magnification is not outstanding, but at this price you can’t have it all. And in any case, isn’t this a feature of so many zooms?
An eyepiece that I didn’t get to test is 40902M 25x – this again is intended just for use with the Mighty Midget and should satisfy those who don’t favour zoom lenses, while at the same time giving a more useful magnification than the 40809. Throw in a photo-adapter option, partial rubber covering and a retractable lens hood, and the package is ever more alluring.
All in all, Opticron has done itself a power of good with the MM2 52 Mighty Midget. I’m convinced that many birders who before now might not have considered the company’s products will find themselves heading across the globe with a new small friend tucked under their arm.
Test i Birdwatching Magazine June 2002:
Opticron MM2 52 Mighty Midget Travel Scope
When the first Mighty Midget was launched in 1996 it elicted comments as "sets new standards for the term spottingscope" and "innovative". Six years on the Midget"s revamped successor, complete with draw tube and 52mm dia. objective lens has a lot to live up to. With a trend for smaller scopes and binoculars, this product has emerged into a receptive market. It looks ideal for anyone who doesn"t want to carry a heavy scope all day, but is it any good?
Design & build quality
This is a very compact telescope – the unextended body without eyepiece is just more than 17cm long. Finished in black and dark grey plastic, with a grey, rubbery lens hood, it seems slightly ungainly and not pretty, but it"s designed for practicability.
This scope was so light I barely noticed it I was carrying it on my tripod. It"s lighter than nearly all non-compact binoculars, let alone the majority of scopes. To use this scope, you pull out the draw tube of the body, just in front of the focus wheel, marked "Pull to use" and then the lens hood if you wish. Extending the body is not for wimps – it takes quite a bit of effort, and the area you grip is rather smooth.
Two female members of our editorial team found it quite difficult to pull-out at all. The MM2 is compatible with existing Opticron HRMT and HDF eyepieces, making it a good choice for Opticron owners who want an alternative scope to keep in the car or pack in a suitcase for example. There is a recess at the rear of the scope to store an extra eyepiece. [MM2 eyepiece]
I tested the scope with its own MM2 25x and MM2 15–40x zoom eyepieces as well as the 30x eyepiece from my Opticron HR60 and the HDF zoom.
You would expect that the optical performance of a 52mm objective scope would be inferior to larger objective scopes, but I used the MM2 alongside an Opticron HR60SR and found it compared very favourably.
The MM2 is capable of close focusing at just 3m – comparable with many modern binoculars. This could prove useful for those wishing to observe insects or plants in enormous detail. The image had a very slight yellow cast, but nothing which would be detrimental to birding in the field. For such a little scope, it performed surprisingly well when I was searching for Arctic Terns – the image was more punchy and crisp than I expected. Less surprisingly, it also performed well in bright light, with a good field of view and only a slight drop off in clarity at the edge of the image.
The smallish, grey, ribbed, rubber coated focus wheel turned smoothly. It is located on the right-hand side and some left handers may find it awkward to reach. The rubber lens hood slides out easily.
The MM2 can be converted into a telephoto lens for SLR photography using accessories available from Opticron. [and other Opticron stockists]
For this price, this is great little scope. It"s light, small and has very good optical performance even in less than perfect light. However the draw tube is far from ideal. For someone who doesn"t wish to carry a heavy scope, this could be the solution.