Thursday, 9 April 2020

Tim Dinsdale's Binoculars get repaired




A member of my family told me to watch the BBC programme, "The Repair Shop", for a Nessie item and I was not disappointed when I watched the catchup on the BBC's iPlayer. Normally I have my tivo box set up to record anything to do with the Loch Ness Monster, but this one had slipped through the net.

It was series 6 and episode 4 televised on the 8th April 2020 and it had none other than Tim Dinsdale's famous binoculars brought in for repair by one of his sons, Simon (below). Why are they famous? It is because they were the binoculars used by him on that fateful day in April 1960 to check what he was looking at out in the loch before he proceeded to record his famed film which is now a major part of Loch Ness Monster lore.




The pictures in this article are of the actual item which were snapped straight off the screen with my mobile phone camera for your enjoyment and edification. They are a pair of Carl Heinrich 7x18 binoculars and they were a bit the worse for wear. Simon had brought them in as one of the focus wheels had begun to spin and he wanted to take them up to the loch for the 60th anniversary of the taking of his father's film which is now only two weeks away (23rd April).




As you can see from the picture above, the item was in two parts because Tim had unscrewed it to allow Simon to use it as a discreet device during his surveillance operations as a police officer. They were also lacking the usual rubber eyecaps and one of the glass prisms used to invert the image the right way up had a chip in it. 




However, our expert repairer found a new prism and the item was delivered back to a delighted Simon ready for that trip up to the loch sixty years on from that fateful day. Of course, it has to be pointed out that the country is now in a coronavirus lockdown, but I hope Simon can get up there as soon as he can.

So it was a great piece of Nessie history to watch and if you have access to the BBC iPlayer, you can still watch for a number of days before it is removed. The link is here and it is available for one month. Note there are other repair jobs in this episode, but it is a general good watch if you are into antiques.





The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com




17 comments:

  1. I once heard a sceptic describe Tim Dinsdales binoculars as little more than opera glasses. I have a pair of binoculars which are 8x21 and they are quite powerful so Tim's 7x18 glasses would have been adequate for the job I think.

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    1. Quite possible, a 7x magnification compares well to the standard 8 or 10 I see elsewhere. The "opera" comparison is unfair as I see magnifications of 4x more appropriate to that kind of lens.

      However, the diameter of 18mm does mean its light gathering capability will be less resulting in a less bright image. Using the pi x D formula against popular binoculars with twice that diameter means it would have a quarter of the light gathering ability.


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    2. They are adequate in bright light, but would be little use at dawn or dusk. I'm surprised that he didn't take something with more light gathering ability, perhaps an 8 x 30 or a 7 x 50. At that time I owned a Russian 8 x 30 monocular which was optically excellent, quite compact and very cheap.

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    3. Tim watched the creature thru his binoculars at about 9am - over three hours after sunrise.

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    4. I'm not denying that Tim's binoculars were adequate for the conditions he met. My point is that if I were planning a monster-spotting expedition in a car (so that extreme compactness and lightness were not considerations) I would choose binoculars that would actually help me see things in low light. Still, Tim has the last laugh since he actually got the film.

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    5. Yes, I have no idea why he didn't source better binoculars. I am sure that situation changed shortly after.

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  2. Just watched the programme & it was very interesting but thought the binoculars would have been more powerful considering all the ex military ones that must have been about at the time.With my interest sparked i thought i'd have a quick read up about it & it just goes to prove how facts can be made to fit the authors point of view, in steuart campbells book no surprise he says that dinsdale was 'disappointed by the film' but in gareth willians book it says 'the results were everything dinsdale had hoped fo'r..still great little programme .

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    1. I can't see why Tim would be disappointed, he even wanted the Queen to see it!

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  3. Yikes, I don't think i've seen a more unimpressive set of opticals than those, that's quite a shock, and it explains a lot about Tim's controversial description of what he saw through those binocs compared to what we see in the footage.

    The fact that Tim was woefully short of decent hardware for a week long expedition has never been explained, the stars were looking down on him that morning he got a glimpse of something exotic on the surface.

    Even in 1960 a decent pair of proper high mag binocs [ the market must have been flooded with ex-military hardware ] must have been well within the purchasing power of an aeronautical engineer.

    At least we had no tears from Simon, this series has been criticised for excess mawkishness and sentimentality.

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    1. I am minded to get a cheap pair of 7x18s and see how they perform from Foyers.

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  4. I dont know why it is always claimed that th visibility would have been poor as it was 9am in april. I have been at loch ness a few times in april and have always found it clear viewing by 9am.

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  5. I think Tim [ in his book ] was disappointed when he saw the film projected for the first time, like we all do with our photos, the film was a poor representation of what he saw with his own eyes.
    However once it was enlarged and transferred to 35mm it was much more impressive.

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  6. Today is the 60th.anniversary of Tims famous film.
    For years I was on the fence about it.
    But with the 1993 enhancement I'm more convinced it's an unknown animal.
    To my eye it clearly shows a long,black object just below the surface,with the more rounded head above. I think a tubular or elongated body is the correct description....with apologies to the recent article on the blog describing the land sighting by the American man, barely two years after Tim's film.
    Coincidence? I think not.
    Here's to Tim and other diligent researchers who ,at the very least,were sincere and open-minded.

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  7. Must say i've strained my eyeballs to health damaging levels but I can't see anythng below the surface or any sort of head, I see a grainy blob, no amount of enhancing can derive anymore detail from a image on film the area 1x1 millimeter.
    Happy St. George's Day to all our English readers.

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    1. In 1993,Discovery communications did a documentary entitled "Loch Ness discovered".
      This enhanced the Dinsdale film after noticing a shadow which was not obvious in the developed footage. By enhancing and overlaying frames the person who enhanced it found what appeared to be the rear body of a creature underwater :" Before I saw the film I thought the Loch Ness monster was a load of rubbish. Having done the enhancement I'm not so sure".
      I can't reproduce the image here.
      Perhaps Roland could oblige??
      It's a long ,sinewy ,black creature with two frontal "flippers" visible also. The " head" isn't quite as distinct but falls into the "like a football" category,as described by other witnesses in other sightings.

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  8. As a lockdown task, time for a re-read of the blog articles on the Dinsdale film, GB's comprehensive library of discourses on classic sightings is a mine of info.

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