Old 03-17-2014, 08:39 PM #1
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Default Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

***Extra content added 11-04-2014 - pertains to battery recommendation, a further performance review, an odd cold start and failed warmup, and a mention of the laser's IR output - scroll to the bottom of this post!

Hi all,

First off, please don’t be put off by the amount of videos in this review – most are short snippets less than a minute long. Please note that I’ve also tried to make this review as scientific and as usefully accurate as possible despite not owning an LPM or spectrometer. It is for this reason that I stay away from giving specific numbers and instead focus on what I can say about the product from first hand experience.

Introduction


Today's test subject is the gold coloured laser in the middle.

So I’ve had this for a few days now and I figured it was about time I gathered the information I had on it and put it into a review. This particular 593.5 is an older model which is fairly well travelled; owned by at least two LPF members (also sent to Lazereer for polishing), then finally on to me after I bought it from ZRaffleticket. This was a very rewarding purchase as rather than just buying it on a whim, I had been saving money manually for a while and had just banked it when Raffle's thread came up. it was perfect timing and well spent savings.

The paint is totally worn off exposing the brass underneath, making it somewhat unique and very retro looking; the untrained eye would probably see it as a gold plated pen from the 1970s.




battery polarity is important and is shown correctly in the above image.


The laser is average sized for a pointer, almost identical in size to the NewWish form factor. It’s reasonably well weighted, with the majority of that weight balanced towards the front. It takes two AAA batteries oriented positive-to-the-tailcap as seen in the photo. I have had fine results using 1.2V Lloytron NiMHs and this review is based on usage with them. There is some kind of blue-green coloured filter just behind the aperture of the laser, I am assuming the IR filter. The pocket clip is quite stiff and requires a bit of fiddling to go onto a jeans pocket, but it holds on tight once clipped. The power button is very satisfying to click, and is firm but not hard to press. For its intended purpose, pointing, it’s nothing short of perfect. It’s too stiff to be triggered in a pocket (I’ve tried) and the pocket clip is oriented so that when it’s in a pocket the button is not sticking out. Attention to detail is a high point of this unit.


Certainly looks the part clipped into a breast pocket.




The story:

This 593.5nm pointer began its life as a CNI GLP-593.5 and then went on to be marketed as a Rigel by Laserglow Technologies. I believe this is a Rigel 5 or 6, and with a bit of warmth, good batteries and some luck, it is possible to eke out a fair bit of power from this unit. However, it doesn’t surprise me that CNI sells these as 0.6-2mW across the board – this unit is exceptionally picky about temperature, and won’t produce anything more than a dim dot until it’s warmed up, and will fade quickly as it starts to overheat. Disregarding peaks, 0.6-2mW is probably about right on the money, which is fine for boardroom pointing purposes, but as laserists it’s in our blood to squeeze out as many photons as we can, of course (besides, who’d actually buy one of these for pointing?!).

Warming up is best done by keeping it in a pocket for >30 minutes, then running it on duty cycles of ~45 seconds on, ~15-30 seconds off repeatedly until the output is stable and the dot bright enough to cast shadows in a completely dark room. The idea is to gently and gradually saturate the heatsink and get the module nice and toasty without running it for so long in one go that something goes pop – establishing an equilibrium, if you will. The results vary wildly depending on ambient room temperature and getting it to give out its maximum power is something of an artform; but I am reliably informed from the previous owner that this laser likes to run HOT, and as far as I can see he wasn’t wrong. I get by far the best and most stable performance out of it when the front of the host is very warm to the touch. It does however cool very quickly, so even if I take a short break from laser time I sometimes have to spend another few minutes (and batteries…) nurturing it back up to temperature.

When the laser is properly warmed up there is a visible beam in a dark room. It’s not exactly “prominent”, but with a bit of incense smoke and at the right angles it is unmistakably a narrow golden-yellow beam. Unfortunately my phone camera finds it funny to just deny the existence of 593.5nm, so I have to get smart just to pick it up on camera. What you see in the photos is only around half the brightness of what my eyes actually see, whereas other lasers, like 405nm, appear much brighter than they really are.


It's so dim compared to other lasers that I have to get quite creative when photographing it.




Cold start versus hot start:

I’ll begin by saying that cold starting this laser is a rather comical affair. And by “cold start” I mean unheated room, probably between 8 and 12 degrees C, fresh but cold batteries, no pre-warming. Most of the time the laser follows a very predictable pattern – a flash of 532 and then a gentle transition to yellow – dim, probably <1mW. After about 10 seconds the output will again drop to almost nothing for a few seconds and some green will fade in and out. It then resumes as before. The interesting thing about this is it happens reliably every time I cold start the laser. If the room is particularly cold, it doesn’t matter how many times I try to warm it up, like a diesel engine with no heat it’ll run like a dog – the thing simply cools too much in between cycles and so won’t brighten up much or stabilize at all.


This laser is worse than I am at getting up on a cold morning.

Of course in a practical sense none of this really matters as your average trouser/chest pocket and boardroom are much warmer

Warm starts are a much nicer affair – there’s rarely any visible 532, instead the yellow comes straight on and gracefully fades in to full power no more than a second or two from a click of the button. I have come to realise that this “fade in” behaviour of the yellow is telling me it is optimally heated. I find if it’s not warm enough it will quickly flash brightly and then dim down, not brightening until it is suitably warm.


When warm this laser is really very elegant in its operation

In a room warmed to what we generally refer to as “room temperature”, duty cycling the laser will keep it warm enough for optimal output, which on a good day with good batteries is enough to gently light a room when pointed at the ceiling and to cast dim, fuzzy shadows. My camera doesn’t show it well enough but in all the following images the room was filled with a gentle orange light solely from the dot splash and at a push I would be able to navigate my way around.



The beam becomes much easier to see with some smoke in the air once the laser is nice and warm, and the dot splash is very warming indeed.


Divergence and dot characteristics:

On a cold start the dot is something resembling a distorted TEM20, but then fairly quickly morphs into TEM10. Interestingly, when the 532 line is making an appearance, it sometimes combines with the yellow but only fills one quadrant of the TEM10 beam; the left half being yellow, the right half being green. This is pretty cool to see but only happens sometimes and for a split second. Once warm, the dot is mostly TEM00 but isn’t perfectly round and sometimes appears to move or “tumble” slightly.


Tem10 dot image

Divergence over 7 metres is roughly the same in TEM10 and TEM00 – the dot size being around 2cm in size (more than my 445). The beam at aperture is THIN – I estimate a shave less than 1mm, which probably slightly betters my 532 pen with a very thin beam also. While the divergence at 7 metres for this 593.5 is oddly very high, over a longer distance it doesn’t seem quite as bad. I did a test by pointing it from my window to the back of the garden – the same test I did on my 445 review – and found that although very dim and almost impossible to measure, the blurry dot of the 593.5 was slightly smaller than both the 532 and 445:


although very dim, the dot of the Rigel (top) was indeed slightly smaller than the other two lasers.

The beam and dot itself is very similar to the yellow colour of low pressure sodium street lighting, the slightly longer wavelength leading to a more golden colour with tinges of orange.


the much brighter Tem00 dot image


Knowing that these lasers often emit 532nm and even small amounts of 671nm alongside the main 593.5 emission, I decided to split the beam and see if I could see the green. Using just a CD I managed to find the green, which appears to always be there in varying quantities whether hot or cold. I have not yet seen any 671, possibly because it's much harder to see. From all the reviews I've seen of 593.5s, when put up to a spectrometer they always have small quantities of both green and red in the beam, presumably due to doubling of the residual 1064nm & 1342nm lines.






Anyway, I’ve said quite enough for now; so I’ll leave you with a short video review and general chat summing up what I’ve said here, and a few more photos.






I would like to thank ultimatekaiser for his support via PM, in particular the suggestion of warming the laser up in my pocket; and Zraffleticket for selling me the laser.

Please allow 1 hour after posting for edits to be made as this is quite a big post and I may not have spotted errors during review.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Update 11-04-2014

I'll start off by re-iterating how much I like this laser. there's not a single day goes by that I don't fire it up... that's more that I can say for any of my others. I take it to bed with me every evening and shine it around until the batteries die. The gentle golden glow that it fills the room with when it peaks is soothing and still, after all these days, amazing to see from a laser. I will NEVER tire of this beautiful wavelength, nor the laser.

IR Output

Somewhat surprisingly, this laser does pump out a bit of IR, despite very obviously having an IR filter just behind the front cap. I suspect this is because the IR pump diode is mahoosive, but nevertheless it's useful to know. It can sometimes be seen with the naked eye if I shine it at red fabric, but this is only brief and while the main line is lasing weak or if I'm just getting 532.



It obviously doesn't look like this to the naked eye, but it's very easy to pick up on camera. When taking beamshots you can sometimes see a hint of purple on the photos but mostly the IR is outdone by the yellow. This must just be a little residual leak past the filter.

Fun fact: While preparing to take this photo I noticed a tiny bit of red coming out of the laser as well as a more prominent amount of 593.5 and 532. It's said these lasers can emit 671, but it's rare compared to the more common flashes of 532.


bizarre modes and performance under less than optimal conditions

In the main part of the review I touched on how sensitive this laser is and how it only runs properly under very warm conditions. Over the last few weeks, I've learned more about its performance and what it likes best.

In a cold room, colder than what most humans would consider comfortable, the laser won't warm up at all by simply duty cycling it. All will happen is it will run the batteries down by lasing weak 593.5 and some 532, in what I can only describe as "horrible beam spec mode". For some reason, it prefers to be warmed up manually, say, in a pocket, then run once it's warm. If you do that, it will lase much better, and in a cold room it will have much extended duty cycles when warm. this helps a lot with photography.

The following video shows the bizarre beamspec as taken with a Macro lens, from about 2.5-3 metres away. The actual size of the "dot" being no more than 5mm in size, appears to the naked eye mostly as a yellow smudge. In this "mode" it truly has horrible divergence, off the scale to be honest.



As you can see it's not uncommon for the yellow to drop and only lase 532. I've learned that when the Rigel does this it's generally not happy. The above was a result of lack of warmup, poorly prepared batteries (I've been having problems with my NiMHs not remaining "charged") and a cool room. Generally in my experience, if the Rigel lases 532 for more than a split second, it's too cold, too hot or wants fresher batteries!

You will notice, I did run it past the recommended duty cycle in the video, as the room was cooler than is generally comfortable. This makes a big difference as despite having not much in the way of heatsinking, the Rigel's outer case certainly cools very rapidly. I have done this before without ill effect, but I rarely push it much more than a minute and 30.


batteries

I mentioned above that I'd been running NiMHs, but recently I've been having problems with my NiMHs staying charged and trialled Duracell AAA Alkalines. They were no better, if only worse, and I still get better results with NiMHs. I have found that if I have them off the charger for more than a day, they appear to be losing most of their charge. Initially this threw me and I briefly wondered if I had a dying laser or our warming weather was annoying it. Thankfully not, straight off the charger the batteries are making it a stellar performer once more, and the issue I will either deal with or take up with the relevant supplier.


So I'm pleased to say that the laser is happy as ever, as am I. It's incredibly gutsy, and I feel these aren't very well suited to AAAs as it seems hard to find some that will drive it well. It's a stellar laser though and I'll post any more updates if and when I find out about more of it's quirks.


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Last edited by trencheel303; 04-11-2014 at 09:47 PM. Reason: adding info
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:15 PM #2
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Man that is just one freakin cool laser! And your review was awesome as well, but that laser is just too freakin cool ! I think you guys are making me a photonic freak!


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Old 03-17-2014, 09:18 PM #3
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Finally the review is up!

Very impressive laser you got trench, 593.5nm is by far one of my favorite color. Nothing beats that yellow beam! +1
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:34 PM #4
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Very nice laser. Glad it's behaving now. Mine hates the cold too, but ironically not as much as my green or blue. Usually though if I don't need it for pointing I defer to my yellow HeNe.

Also nice review and some good thorough stuff in there.
+rep
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:42 PM #5
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ru124t View Post
Man that is just one freakin cool laser! And your review was awesome as well, but that laser is just too freakin cool ! I think you guys are making me a photonic freak!

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Thanks. I actually typed up the review during the weekend, while the words were hot on my memory. Often when I try to do impromptu writing I get writers block, so this worked quite well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha Greenlander View Post
Finally the review is up!

Very impressive laser you got trench, 593.5nm is by far one of my favorite color. Nothing beats that yellow beam! +1
Thanks. "Sodium yellow" is probably one of my favourite colours although regardless, this colour in a pocket sized laser is nothing short of a marvel. When you consider what goes on inside the cavity it really is a wonder it works at all.


I've just made some small edits to the thread and added in a picture I forgot to do.

EDIT: ultimatekaiser, posted while I was posting! thanks for the reply, none of my DPSS greens are anywhere near this picky, which is why I think at first I was taken aback by just how much nurturing this one needed. The upshot of it is when warm this is such a rewarding laser to use. My laserbtb 532 works in any temperature and the 532 pens work just with reduced output. I knew 593.5s were fussy but I had no idea they would pretty much refuse to lase unless the temp was right. If this review helps at least one other person realise they don't have a faulty product then my job is done.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:06 PM #6
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Yeah. The 589s aren't as bad in the temperature area. 593.5 and 671 are both really fussy as the 1347nm line is crazy picky about its input.
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457.9nm: Argon Ion Line

472nm Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
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476.5nm: Argon Ion Line

483nm Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
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496.5nm: Argon Ion Line
501.7: Argon Ion Line
514.5nm: Argon Ion Line
520nm: Trustfire A8 Custom

532nm: Coherent Genesis MX Taipan OPSL, LG Hercules-325
543.5nm: 05-LGR-193 Melles Griot HeNe 3.8mW
Melles Griot LGB-563 HeNe

561nm: Melles Griot 85-YCA-015, Coherent Sapphire 561-100
568nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line

577nm: Coherent Genesis MX Taipan OPSL
583.8nm: DPSS line
586.2nm: DPSS line
588.6nm: CNI PGL-M-80

591nm: DPSS line
593.5nm CNI MGL-H-50 Lab Laser
594.1nm: Coherent 31-2230-000 (4.5mW)

604.6nm: LOR-150 HeNe line
609nm: Raman HeNe line
611.8nm: Melles Griot LOR-150 HeNe (5mW), LOR-006 HeNe (0.5mW)

632.8nm: Spectra Physics Model-127 (>35mW), Model-124B, Model-120, Model-117, others
Melles Griot LHB-580, LHB-190, WHR-570

641nm: Melles Griot RCS
647nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
659.6nm: Laser Quantum IGNIS DPSS laser 0.5W

671nm: CNI PGL-III-C-100
676nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
690nm: custom diode laser
694nm: Portable Q-switched Ruby Laser

1152.6nm: SP-120 HeNe alt. mirrors
1523.5nm: Melles Griot LIR-151 HeNe
3391nm: SP-124 alt. mirrors
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:10 PM #7
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

I thought it was 1342? 1342/2=671
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:12 PM #8
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by trencheel303 View Post
I thought it was 1342? 1342/2=671
No yeah you're right. My fault, I just pulled it from memory.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:19 PM #9
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Nice review trencheel!
Great pics and videos. I know what you mean about your phone camera not being friendly to the lower power beams.
That Rigel makes a super addition to your collection! The "yellows" are definitely some amazing wavelengths to view! One of these days, I'd like to have one in my collection.

Good job +1
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:47 AM #10
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

just wondering, what's the cheapest yellow laser you can buy. No im not stupid and asking for <50 I mean in the 300-400 range or something like that. What's the cheapest?
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:09 AM #11
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

yellow pointers can be ordered directly from CNI, thats prolly the cheapest way to go. or you can go to any of the CNI re-sellers. (LG, dragonlasers, etc) generally they're around 200-300 though the price fluctuates with cost of parts, and the power output you want.
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457.9nm: Argon Ion Line

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476.5nm: Argon Ion Line

483nm Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
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496.5nm: Argon Ion Line
501.7: Argon Ion Line
514.5nm: Argon Ion Line
520nm: Trustfire A8 Custom

532nm: Coherent Genesis MX Taipan OPSL, LG Hercules-325
543.5nm: 05-LGR-193 Melles Griot HeNe 3.8mW
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568nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line

577nm: Coherent Genesis MX Taipan OPSL
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591nm: DPSS line
593.5nm CNI MGL-H-50 Lab Laser
594.1nm: Coherent 31-2230-000 (4.5mW)

604.6nm: LOR-150 HeNe line
609nm: Raman HeNe line
611.8nm: Melles Griot LOR-150 HeNe (5mW), LOR-006 HeNe (0.5mW)

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641nm: Melles Griot RCS
647nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
659.6nm: Laser Quantum IGNIS DPSS laser 0.5W

671nm: CNI PGL-III-C-100
676nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
690nm: custom diode laser
694nm: Portable Q-switched Ruby Laser

1152.6nm: SP-120 HeNe alt. mirrors
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Last edited by ultimatekaiser; 03-18-2014 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:15 AM #12
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kilter View Post
just wondering, what's the cheapest yellow laser you can buy. No im not stupid and asking for <50 I mean in the 300-400 range or something like that. What's the cheapest?
Well the one I've got cost me $200 from ZRaffleticket. When it was new it would have cost double or more I believe as I think it might be a Rigel 6. These come up in b/s/t more often than you'd think as they're a quick way to make cash - these sell very quick. In my short time here I think I've seen three or four sales threads and all the yellows go almost as soon as they're listed.

I believe dpss 589s are also a bit cheaper than 593s, and a bit more stable.

Of course another way to make yellow is to mix green and red.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:29 AM #13
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Thanks for this Trencheel, tis a wonderful little laser. I just purchased one from Bobhaha here in OZ and although it is the weakest by far in mW of all the lasers I have in my growing collection it is THE ONE that I just have to keep by my bedside at night. (For them quick "Fix" moments!) Mine is the Rigel 5 and is still in top condition. Bobhaha treated it well. One of these @ 100mW would be just Awesome and one @ 1W I would even consider giving my dog for it!
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:09 PM #14
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Hey Trencheel303,
Congrats on getting your Rigel 593.5nm! I was lucky enough to get one (Rigel 6) about a year ago thru the BST section too. Also, a very good review you provided. Best of luck with the laser. I know all about getting it warmed up and stable. It has been difficult to use for me since the past few months when I photograph in my garage it has been freezing. With Springtime and warmer weather approaching it should be more stable to use for me.
Did you get the Laserglow aluminum case with your?
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:00 PM #15
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by busman2 View Post
Thanks for this Trencheel, tis a wonderful little laser. I just purchased one from Bobhaha here in OZ and although it is the weakest by far in mW of all the lasers I have in my growing collection it is THE ONE that I just have to keep by my bedside at night. (For them quick "Fix" moments
I hear you on that, I've been doing the same thing myself. I even have an electric blanket so I can get the laser all toasty before using it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucemir View Post
Hey Trencheel303,
Congrats on getting your Rigel 593.5nm! I was lucky enough to get one (Rigel 6) about a year ago thru the BST section too. Also, a very good review you provided. Best of luck with the laser. I know all about getting it warmed up and stable. It has been difficult to use for me since the past few months when I photograph in my garage it has been freezing. With Springtime and warmer weather approaching it should be more stable to use for me.
Did you get the Laserglow aluminum case with your?
Hi Bruce thanks for your comment, no I did not get the case with it, not surprising really as this is somewhat of a pensioner Rigel, been through a few owners and travelled hundreds of miles, it's not even got any paint left never mind a case.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:23 AM #16
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Default Re: Review Rigel 593.5nm pointer (CNI GLP-593.5)

The sentiment of the discussion, that spans over 2 days, is neutral. The discussion is very engaging but isn't controversial. The user lazeerer, was very engaged. It got people interested in the discussion. We think the discussion is interesting.
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