Sim Cockpit System SCS-F3 Page 3

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The Fresnel Lens

The Fresnel lens is an odd creature. When I first set it up I couldn’t help but think, “What is the big deal?” The screen did not look that much bigger. This was an illusion though. By looking obliquely at the monitor, then moving behind the lens, the enlargement is put into proportion. There is a significant increase in magnification and screen area.

I tested the lens with a 17” flat screen CRT monitor. Adjustments are necessary to get the most out of the lens. These four steps brought a huge improvement to view quality for me:

The lens is adjusted vertically by turning a hex nut on both sides. The lens center should be at the center of the eye point AND the center of the monitor. If this is not done correctly the user will see rings (the lens has ridges that are in a circular pattern) when looking through it.

After height adjustment, and probably more important, is the distance between the lens and the monitor. I cannot give any hard fast advice here. It took me a couple of days to find that sweet spot. This was not very hard to do, but, it was time consuming for me. It’s like a new car; you can’t seem to find the right seat position for a couple of days. Every time I thought I had it exactly where I wanted it, I would see something I didn’t like and I’d have to make another adjustment. Two days of neurotic manipulation and all is well.

The recommended monitor resolution is 1024 x 768. I used both this resolution, and 1152 x 864, with good results.

The final adjustment is the display properties. You will have to get into your video card advanced tab and monkey around. I added a small amount of digital vibrancy, reduced the brightness, and finally blended the display with contrast and gamma.

After much tinkering I am very pleased with the fresnel lens.

Wrap it up?

At the time of this review the unit (SCS F-3) retails for $364.00 USD and the Screen Magnifier (FL-3) for $56.00 USD. Similar wooden or plastic systems can range from below this figure to above it. See the cockpits available at the Sim Cockpit System site.

The unit is built like a Tiger tank. Combine this with the fact that it needs a small amount of floor space, it can be modified fairly easily, it should out live the owner by a couple of centuries, and you have a fairly good argument in favor of buying this. Personally, I would much rather have this than a similar system made from wood or PVC.

On the downside, larger people may find the small stature of the unit uncomfortable. The user may need to raise the unit, or a special chair (perhaps something like the Saitek gaming chair which is known for its low profile) may be necessary. Also, the centrally mounted stick position may be uncomfortable for people who use narrow stance rudder pedals.

Uther out…


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