(Written in 2005)
Have you ever looked through a telescope to see very far away places? How about viewing creatures so small that a microscope was required. No doubt you've done both. As an aquarist, have you ever wanted to see the animals or portions of these creatures in your aquarium very close up without removing or stressing them in the slightest fashion? Probably so, and no doubt have viewed some of these things in your aquarium using a hand held magnifying glass. Something I have probably done a thousand times! But I've always wanted something much better and with greater magnification so as to see these creatures or parts of them 'very' close up. That's now possible with the Ogles Mesoscope viewer.
The Ogles Mesoscope can actually be considered a combination telescope and microscope, at least in my opinion! And it easily attaches to the side of the aquarium and has a focus barrel and eyepiece that allows one to look through the aquarium side panels to see the animals or their components extremely close-up. In fact, when I first received the Ogles Mesoscope, I attached it to my aquarium and peered inward. The first thing a saw was a copepod that looked like a Tyrannosaurs Rex! Wow, frightening to say the least. Then I focused on other areas in the aquarium and viewed various coral polyps, tentacles, and tissue of various corals and invertebrate. Fascinating to say the least.
The basic unit consists of five items; Suction Device for holding the unit firmly to the aquarium side panel; Aperture piece for increasing depth of field; Macro Lens; Viewer; and, Replaceable Eyepiece. Also supplied is a brush and rubber bulb/air blower to keep exposed surfaces clean. All provided in a chambered, molded case that fully protects this highly precise and fascinating product.
As for the individual parts, the Suction Device has an opening into which the Viewer barrel can be inserted and secured on one side and a rubber suction plate on its opposite side. This device provides a stable platform for steady viewing of the highly magnified items. To mount the suction device, gently press its rubber suction pad against the side of the aquarium and depress its button. This activates a small internal spring creating a vacuum between the aquarium panel and this side of the device. To release the suction device, simply press its button again. Once the suction device is located where you want to peer into the aquarium, the Aperture piece can be screwed onto the Macro Lens to increase depth of field of any specific object in viewing distance. Or if the Marco Lens is not needed, the Aperture piece can be screwed to the front of the Viewer barrel. Next, simply slide the Viewer barrel, with or without the Macro Lens, into the Suction Device and rotate to lock in place.
With the Macro lens installed, the field of view/focus range is between 2.75 inches (7 cm) to almost 12 inches (30 cm). Without the Macro lens, it's 9 inches (22 cm) to infinity. Both have an approximate 12X-magnification level depending upon the distance viewed, with the viewer barrel providing both course and fine adjustments. Their optics is specifically designed for high quality imaging into water with a 50 degree viewing field. And the lenses are color corrected high quality coated optics providing exceptional resolution at all focus distances.
Yes, it takes a minute or two to set it up, but the results are well worth it, as the view of tiny organisms in one's aquarium are quite interesting, besides educational and fascinating! And as of this writing, there are other lenses and magnification levels in the works, along with a camera attachment so digital photos can be taken of the selected subjects through the Ogles Mesoscope.
And before I close, I must thank a local family friend, Javier Mercado, who married an English lady while in college and moved to London, England, for making me aware of this 'new' product. He was back in the US on business and stopped by our home to visit and actually brought his Ogles Mesoscope with him! In fact, prior to his visit, he called to say he was bringing something from England I had to see and that it would be something aquarists would be highly interested in.
After seeing its viewing possibilities and that many hobbyists are unaware of this new product, thought it necessary to contact the company and find out if a unit could be sent my way so I could spend more time with it, and possibly write a product review. The president and designer of the product, Barry Reynolds, then contacted me and made arrangements for an Ogles Mesoscope to be sent my way. He also explained the newness of the company and product, and that the company's website and distribution network is under construction. Nevertheless, it is available worldwide by visiting their (under construction) website at Ogles.info.
Certainly not for every hobbyist, as the price is about $525 US dollars, but one needs to keep in mind that the quality of the Ogles Mesoscope rivals that of a better SLR macro lens costing far more! In fact, its high quality fully coated optics and precise focusing along with all other parts are covered by a 12 month manufactures warranty. And if you really want a close-up view of those tiny organisms in your aquariums, the Ogles Mesoscope will deliver it. And as mentioned above, in the near future you'll even be able to take digital photos of the viewed items and share them with friends via the Internet.
In closing, I want to thank Barry for sending an exceptionally high quality product that has resulted in many hours of viewing pleasure that would have not been possible with a simple, hand-held magnifying glass.