I have to admit - when it comes to "shooting" things - the military is usually way ahead in the technology department. In reality it is shocking to think about how many everyday advances in technology are originally developed as tools of war.
I am no stranger to advanced tactical weaponry... tactical target competitions and sports involving target shooting have been a passion of mine most of my life. I'm not so much into assault rifles. That being said I am familiar with reflex optical sights but I have always chosen rifles that are best served with traditional scopes and mounts. I've never really used a "red dot" sight before.
A few years ago I saw - for the first time - the use of "Reflex Optics Tactical Sights" - also known as "Red Dot" sights - used on telescopes. At first it was really odd. But it made perfect sense. The field of view of a large telescope is at best a couple of degrees.
Without spotter scopes it's nearly impossible to find a star or object with your telescope (that is unless you have a computer controlled tripod/mount).
Then two years ago these rifle scopes started showing up on hot-shoe mounts for DSLR cameras - the idea being that with the newest focus motor technology in pro DSLR cameras - you don't have to look into the eyepiece of the camera - you just need to have your finger on the focus button and the shutter button - you could use an off camera sight to better track your target.
ABOVE - Orion Telescopes started offering the "EZ Finder" spotting scope options on its telescopes around 6 years ago. It's basically a modified rifle/assault rifle scope fitted to the spotting scope mount of your telescope.
BELOW - Olympus has developed and offers a dedicated "pop-up" tactical reflex sight designed for mounting on a camera's hot shoe.
At about $125 - this is an interesting new way of thinking about subject acquisition when using a long lens. The Nikon 500mm f/2 has a field of view between 3 and 4 degrees. That's extremely narrow when you consider that our eyes have approximately 50-60 degrees of field of view (per eye) that overlap - creating a total field of view of 110-130 degrees
(often referred to as ANGLE OF VIEW). By allowing the eye to be unrestrained by the confines of the camera's viewfinder this new technology for cameras has the potential of adding accuracy and reducing missed shots.
Think about tracking/following a fast moving object that is a great distance away while focused in on a very tight field/angle of view. It's nearly impossible to do when looking through the viewfinder. Our brains need a few milliseconds to recognize the path of the object we are tracking and then send the impulses to our hands/arms to move the camera in the same direction. With such a tight field of view it's easy to overshoot or miss the target completely. This is the whole reason why reflex sights were developed for combat situations. The soldier doesn't have to limit their wider field of view by sticking their eyes into an eyepiece. They pick up a target moving in their periphery and they can track to it in one fluid motion. Making their target acquisition and firing response quicker and more accurate.
Another unique feature of reflex sights is that they have a screen which allows the shooter (either via gun or camera) to view a wider area in their target range while tracking the exact point their weapon/camera is pointed. Regardless where you move your head, the point that the dot is resting on is the target.
This is VERY helpful when tracking a fast moving animal such as a bird or cheetah, etc... or when following a man-made object... I will be shooting a professional motorcycle race early next year and this is ideal in helping me keep one of my super-telelphoto lenses in the right place to capture shots of the racers on their bikes.
These sights are starting to show up on cameras more often, which is how I came to be familiar with them.
Lastly, Olympus is betting on this tech to be a game changer. They now have models where the reflex sight is built into the camera body - it's now part of the camera same as the eyepiece itself.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK - FAD OR NEW BREAKTHROUGH?
Photography & Cinematography 101 by Jon Patrick Hyde - 2015
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