Archive for April 2010

Final answer?

Posted by on April 29th 2010 in Camera kit

I was in the market for an A.C. adapter for my D50. The Nikon website stated that the required item was the EH-5, as per the table in the following screenshot:



Now, it doesn't take a genius to realise that if the EH-5 also fits the D80, D100, the D70, the D70s, the D300, the D700, the D90 and the D300s, then any other adapter that fits any of these should also fit the D50. According to the blurb, the EH-5a should be OK.


Or so it seemed, until I checked with Nikon Europe Support...


Me: (26/04/2010, 07:08 PM)
Hi. Please can you tell me the differences between the EH-5 and EH-5a adapters? Thank you.

NES: (27/04/2010, 11:02 AM)
Thank you for contacting Nikon regarding AC adapters. The EH-5 is for the European market, while the EH-5a is for the American market. There are slight differences in the components of the EH-5 which means it can't be sold in America, but apart from that, they should be essentially the same.

Me: (27/04/2010, 03:56 PM)
Thanks for that. Can I assume that either adapter can be used on the D50, the only relevant difference being the mains plug?

NES: (28/04/2010, 11:51 AM)
Thank you for your reply. Only the EH-5 can be used with the D50. More information can be found by clicking on the link below:
Answer Title: D-SLR camera battery, charger and AC adapter compatibility
Answer Link:

Me: (28/04/2010, 05:25 PM)
Yes, I've seen that info before. It doesn't tell me WHY the EH-5a can't be used on the D50. You yourself stated that "There are slight differences in the components of the EH-5 which means it can't be sold in America, but apart from that, they should be essentially the same."
Maybe we should start with the basics:
1: Are the supplied voltages the same?
2. Are the camera-end connectors the same?

NES: (29/04/2010, 02:30 PM)
Thank you for your reply. It has come to our attention that the FAQ on our website is incorrect. It transpires that the D50 can be powered with either the EH-5 or the EH-5a. They both feature identical power input and output and plug shape at the end that goes into the camera. The plug that connects to the mains may differ depending on the region of purchase but as they are made to be used anywhere world-wide, you only need an applicable plug adaptor to ensure it fits the wall sockets of the region it's intended to be used in - no need for power adaptors. We apologise for this misinformation and thank you for bringing this mistake to our attention.

Just goes to show that you can't always rely on information that somebody else posted on the Web. Over two years ago.

Oh, and top marks to the man at NES who had the gumption to get this matter sorted out.

Observing Report 22nd April 2010 (More Moon bits)

Posted by on April 25th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

The skies on Thursday evening weren't the clearest I'd ever seen, there being a light haze obscuring the stars. The Moon, however, was reasonably clear, and with the seeing being fairly good I decided to do a bit of crater-spotting. In order to get a good look before the target went out of the field of view of the scope, I had to start before the sun went down, but that didn't seem to be an issue.

During the unusually short session I managed to see and image quite a few features, following is a small selection of what was on offer (mouseover for the occasional annotated versions).

Rupes Recta (Straight Wall) (67 miles long)
FOV approx 256 x 196 miles

 Rima Hyginus (133 miles long)
FOV approx 275 x 185 miles

Timocharis (21 miles dia.)
FOV approx 113 x 82 miles

Eratosthenes (35 miles dia.)
FOV approx 90 x 76 miles


Hadley Rille and Apollo 15 landing site
FOV approx 181 x 156 miles

Apollo 16 landing site
FOV approx 146 x 133 miles

Just in case you don't know your way around up there, here's some help:

… there’s some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England

Posted by on April 23rd 2010 in Celebrations

Happy St. George's Day!

The St. George crater overlooks the Apollo 15 landing site.
Needless to say, the Rover wasn't built at Longbridge 🙂


Posted by on April 20th 2010 in In the News, Maps, Weather

It's interesting watching the plane icons looping-the-loop over at - there are only two in the air in our airspace right now, and they've been going around and around for ages. It reminds me of Die Hard 2...

Here's BAW84 at 19:26. After a few more loops above the IOM, it went to Dublin but got turned away. After a wander across the mainland UK it eventually went off the screen at London:

And here's BAW284 at 19:26, spending nearly two hours circling above the west coast of Ireland...

and again, over 1.5 hours later, eventually reaching London after six loops above Ireland:

All this was happening before the UK airports were allowed to open. It's taking a big chance, crossing the Atlantic when there's no assurance of being allowed to land. Maybe they were confident that Bruce Willis would turn up and save the day 🙄

World Cup Fever

Posted by on April 20th 2010 in LMAO!

Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 19:47:06 +0100
Subject: Investment:World Cup 2010
To: my email address deleted
From: World Cup Committee <nomfanemag>

Dear Sir,

Having seen and gone through your profile, I am contacting you believing that with your capabilities, expertise and professional acumen, we can work together as partners, in this mutually beneficial transaction. Although in a world as ours full of suspicions and distrust, this transaction might sound strange to you especially since we have not met personally. I am presently a member of the South African Ah Hoc Committee for World 2010 which my country is hosting. Our committee was incharge of all arrangement in preparatory for our hosting the 2010 World cup.

In this light, i headed a committee given the responsibility of the Maintenance and upgrading of obsolete equipment in all training Statdia in Johannesburg, South Africa. For this a huge sum of money was allocated and was approved for in carrying out this project. A lot of foreign firms was involved in these project which has been completed ahead of the championship billed for June, 20101.

In this course of this committee duty, we made some money which we would wish to invest with your expertise in your country. Please note that this is just an investment proposal and we will discuss the partnership terms and what will be accruing to each party in further correspondence after you respond to this message. Note, that all modalities have been put in place to effect this fund transfer following all required international monetary policies and procedures.

I must apologize for this unsolicited mail to you. I am aware that this is certainly an unconventional approach to starting a relationship but as time goes on you will realize the need for my action.

Thanks and God bless.

Nomfanelo Magwentshu
Operating Committee

Observing Report 17th-18th April 2010 (A night with a Wild Thing)

Posted by on April 19th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports
Tags: ,

With the absence of air-traffic Saturday night was looking good for observing. There was no wind, stable air, clear skies and hardly any sign of the dreaded Icelandic dust. The plan was to have a look for comets, and to see if I could bag one with the camera. A quick look on the CalSky site indicated that Comet 81P/Wild (pronounced Vilt) might be worth a shot. It's a tiny target - currently in the constellation of Virgo, it's low down, quite dim and well beyond the capability of my binoculars - so it was a scope-job. 81P/Wild is quite a significant comet - NASA targeted it for one of their missions - see here and here.

It took me ages to find the target with the 8" Newt even with the GOTO, primarily because the software's datafile for comets is wrong, leading to a huge positional error. Undeterred, I opted for Plan B - I got the comet's true coordinates from CalSky and plugged them into the software, and soon found the required bit of sky. A thorough look through the eyepiece revealed hardly anything, so I ditched that idea and slapped on the D50 at prime-focus with the intent of taking a series of long exposures. I wanted to be taking frames with exposures in the 5-10 minutes range, so I needed to use the other scope and the webcam as an autoguider, but there was no suitably bright and well-positioned guide-star anywhere near the target. Typical. No matter, I'd just have to make do with shorter exposures, but more of them. It wasn't an ideal situation, but it was better than nothing.

After a few hours I'd got what I needed, having taken a series of light and dark frames for the stacking-software to mull over. By that time a haze had started to develop which meant that the session was over. I packed up and started to process the data before heading in for some shut-eye.

So, here are the results:

(Mouseover for the annotated version, click for the biggie)

Comet 81P/Wild (the bluish smudge) in the centre, NGC5493 (a galaxy) to the left of centre, the other labelled items are stars.
53 light and 45 dark frames restricted to 60 second exposure times due to the lack of guiding.
Stacked in DSS and post-processed with PSCS3.


Here's a cropped and enhanced version. This is about the best I can get it, no doubt others could do much better with the data:



I'm quite pleased with that. I don't usually have the patience to deal with the slow pace of imaging the faint fuzzy things up there, but I'm glad that I persisted. If I get another chance, I'll try to get some longer, guided exposures to see how much improvement can be achieved.

Bagging some ZZZZZZZZs

Posted by on April 13th 2010 in In the News

600 notes a week just to stay asleep?

Sounds like a job for a gear-testing blogger.

Who's up for it?


Observing Report 11th April 2010 (Venus and Mercury)

Posted by on April 12th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports
Tags: ,

The two innermost planets have been prominent in the post-sunset western skies for a few weeks, during which time I've had a few good looks at them with binoculars but dodgy weather had prevented me from getting any pics. This evening I took the opportunity to get out with the camera and tripod to bag a few shots. I've not gone through the whole batch yet, but this one's looking favourite:

(Mouseover for the annotated version, click for the biggie)

Venus, Mercury and a few stars. Nikon D50 with 35mm prime, 5s @ F/1.8, ISO 200, taken at 21:13 on 11/04/2010

If the others are any better I'll let you know.

A long weekend around Windermere – Part 3 – The post-match analysis

Posted by on April 7th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

General stats:

  • Items we forgot to take = 1 (my Rab VR Climb jacket)
  • Items we forgot to bring back = 45 (Assam tea-bags, left at the hostel)
  • Items we gained = 4 (AKU Croda GTXs for me, AKU Croda GTXs for Ella, 2 sledges for next winter)
  • Happy kids = 4
  • Injuries = 1 minor, 0 major

Friday's stats:

  • Distance = 7.33 miles
  • Ascent/descent = 1822 feet
  • Wainwrights = 2

Saturday's stats:

  • Distance = 3.43 miles
  • Ascent = 561 feet, descent = 554 feet (which is rather odd, as we started where we finished, plotting the route in MemoryMap as a completed loop)
  • Waterfalls = 2

A long weekend around Windermere – Part 2 – Two waterfalls

Posted by on April 6th 2010 in Bargains, Great Escapes, Shiny new kit, YHA

Compared to the previous day of constantly overcast but dry weather, Saturday started out as a mixed bag of interspersed drizzle and dry sunny spells. We decided that we were going to have an easier day, and a visit to some waterfalls seemed to fit the bill nicely. A study of the map and a recommendation from a fellow hosteller resulted in us deciding to go to Skelwith Force, followed by a gentle walk along part of the Cumbria Way to Colwith Force.

I won't bore you with a step-by-step text analysis, you can just have the pics instead. Suffice to say that it was a fine morning walk enjoyed by all.

On the flat rocks at Skelwith Force

Skelwith Force

Near Park House

Near Park Farm

Colwith Force

Staying away from the edge

Colwith Force again

Above Colwith Force

A tributary of Colwith Beck


After returning to the cars we spent the rest of the afternoon in Ambleside, as it was necessary to buy gifts for folk back home. We scoured The Mountain Factor, The Climber's Shop, Cunninghams, Gaynors and the like, looking for some good-quality bargain three-season boots for Ella, but to no avail. Needless to say we steered well clear of F***d and T**k. They may well have actually had what we wanted at 99% discount, but we wouldn't have given them the time of day, let alone the cash. We ended up buying a couple of cheap sledges instead, and the others bought Buffs.

Back at the hostel we did the quick wash/change routine and soon were back outside, this time heading for Windermere, searching for somewhere to eat. Most places were either closed or full, but we found The Elleray to be practically empty so getting a table for eight wasn't a problem. The place was brilliant - there was a good choice, servings were vast and the prices were seriously low, to the point where we thought that they'd made a mistake with the bill. The staff were very kid-friendly, supplying our youngest three with crayons and huge colouring-books to use and take home. The place was packed out within an hour, with folk waiting for tables, so I guess that we'd just dropped lucky.

Back at the hostel again and it was time for the kids to chill before they went to bed:

The Hostel

DS time

Story time

We adults managed some beers and chinwagging for a few hours before retiring to our micro-rooms.

On Sunday our friends had to leave straight away to visit relatives, but we had another morning to enjoy before heading home. The intent was to park up near Hird Wood on the Kirkstone Road and to walk the short distance up Troutbeck Tongue, but heavy rain in the night had made the route a complete mudbath and had made the stream too dangerous for the kids to cross safely. A quick change of plan saw us spend a few minutes in the car-park at the top of the pass, and then detour to Ambleside via The Struggle. The scenery was awesome, according to the kids, but the camera had been packed away so I took no pictures of the snowy landscapes. We carried on to Windermere where I pulled into the small car-park outside The Outdoor Warehouse - by strange coincidence our friends' car was already there. The shop wasn't open yet, so we decided to wait, just in case they had any suitable boots for Ella.

Well, I needn't have doubted. Charlie and Jon opened up the shop for us and we headed for the boots. I saw their AKU display and then saw the sale prices on their clearance lines, and I knew that we'd struck gold. Ella tried on some discontinued Croda GTXs (half-price at £87.50) and fell for them instantly. Despite her enthusiasm, Jon insisted that she wandered the shop in them for a decent amount of time, just to be sure that they really did fit properly and feel comfy.

Ella's Croda GTXs


While this went on, I had a good mooch around the other wonderful stuff on display, refraining from investing in another Rab VapourRise jacket, and discussing Podcast Bob's Honey Stove, of which a fair few were on prominent display in the shop-windows. When Ella was sorted, I was asked why I was looking so envious. I had to explain that I'd been after a pair of AKUs for ages but could never justify the expense. I was led back into the boot-room where I was "persuaded" to try on some discontinued Edge GTXs, (again at half-price, this time at £80) but they really didn't suit my feet, and besides that I don't really need another pair of B2- or B3-rated boots - the Scarpa Freney Pros that I have will outlast me at the current wear-rate. They (my family) then cajoled me into trying the mens version of the Croda GTX, and I just had to buy them in order to stop them all nagging at me...


My Croda GTXs (bought under extreme duress)

So, if you're after some discounted AKUs, have a look at what the guys at The Outdoor Warehouse have to offer. When we were there they still had a good range of sizes (and half-sizes) and colours for quite a few discontinued models in the range. If you're into Marmot kit, they have some good 60%-off deals on "sample" garments too. Go see - online if you have to, but preferably in person, as Charlie and Jon are great guys to talk to.

There, I'll bet that wasn't the ending that you were expecting, eh? BG! buys something hi-tech and lightweight, but not "Jessiehiker". Ooda thunkit!

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