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Siebert Optics to produce ball lens eyepieces

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#1 orveko

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:35 PM

Harry Siebert apparently reads Cloudy Nights. He's got a page up on his website advertising his new line of "Planesphere" eyepieces which will utilize a single sapphire ball lens. It seems there will also be a version available in BK-7. The design looks good, but the price ... ouch! $249? The ad also mentions that another line of eyepieces called "Marsglobe" is on the way. By the name I'd guess it's a line of ruby sphericals. Interesting to say the least ...

#2 jrbarnett

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:45 PM

Harry will receiving a letter from Mr. Couture's attorney on the morrow.

:lol:

On a serious note, hopefully Harry is sourcing better-spec spheres than the usual Edmunds fare. I'd love to see near perfect sphericity and a superb 20-10 scratch-dig.

- Jim

#3 cheapersleeper

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:17 PM

I'd love to see them for 99.99.

#4 Arizona-Ken

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:55 PM

This should cut down on the Brandon threads for a little while ... :gotpopcorn:

If you do look at Harry's page, he is using brass barrels. This is usually an option on most all of his eyepieces, and does add some additional expense.

I mean if you're gonna have ball lens eyepieces, you might as well have ... well, never mind ...


Arizona Ken

#5 Dr Morbius

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 11:26 PM

:lol: :funny: :lol:

#6 cheapersleeper

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:16 AM

Elegantly done, Ken.

#7 Djarum

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:23 AM

LOL!

#8 Scott99

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 08:14 AM

wow, exciting development - does anyone know what the specs will be in terms of AFOV and eye relief?

It looks like an aluminum version will be available for $150? (is that what "T6" means?).

#9 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:43 AM

If you do look at Harry's page, he is using brass barrels. This is usually an option on most all of his eyepieces, and does add some additional expense.

I mean if you're gonna have ball lens eyepieces, you might as well have ... well, never mind ...


Perhaps, instead of "Planesphere", he should name this eyepiece the "Brass Monkey"....

....but it would have limited utility in cold weather, I suspect...

:cool:

#10 timwetherell

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 09:52 PM

Well from my own experimentation with ball lenses, I'd say the eye relief will be close to zero and the usable field of view about 5°! Harry does make good stuff though, so I'm sure they'll be as good as a ball lenses get!

In the long, long ago, there used to be an eyepiece called a Tolles that was essentially a Huygens made of a single solid piece of glass. Not strictly a ball as the two radi were different and apparently performed rather better than a simple sphere (as there were a few more degrees of freedom for the designer to play with).

all the best

Tim

#11 izar187

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 11:19 PM

Harry does make good stuff though...



Yes, he do!

#12 SteveC

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 11:42 PM

Harry will receiving a letter from Mr. Couture's attorney on the morrow.

- Jim


Oh well, it was fun while it lasted and I made a few bucks for the school.

Three things to note:

1. It will be interesting to see if an EP with my name on it will be banned from the classifieds on that other website.
2. I do have 4 ball EPs to sell since I ordered a few extra from Edmunds.
3. I know the rotten scoundrel who helped put me out of business? :bawling: ;)

#13 Sarkikos

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:09 AM

A Ball Eyepiece for $249? And I thought Brandons were overpriced. I made a Ball Eyepiece for about $8 plus some old eyepiece parts.

Now we can wait for the silver-sided anniverary set in velvet-lined wooden case for only $1000. P.T. Barnum would be proud!

Too Frugal to be Fooled,
Mike

#14 Levine

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:14 AM

A Ball Eyepiece for $249? And I thought Brandons were overpriced. I made a Ball Eyepiece for about $8 plus some old eyepiece parts.

Now we can wait for the silver-sided anniverary set in velvet-lined wooden case for only $1000. P.T. Barnum would be proud!

Too Frugal to be Fooled,
Mike


A Ball EP for $8 plus spare parts?
Interesting...
What size ball? Substrate? Sphericity? Homogeneity? How does it perform?

At first blush, $249 may seem like a lot of money...and it is...but look at the folks that these EP's are intended for.
Planetary enthusiasts demand the best performance from their equipment. They/we will spend large sums for ZAO's and Supermonos, and their triplet Apos, to get the best possible views of their targets.
Ball lenses are designed to complement, not replace, Orthos and Monos. They are intended to provide, on axis, the highest fidelity images of planetary detail possible.
Some substrates are better at this than others, as our own Mike Hosea has demonstrated earlier in this thread.
Sapphire/Ruby has the best performance characteristics of the available substrates, in terms of hardness/durability, sphericity, S/D, homogeneity, and transmission.
This performance is not without cost. A look on the Edmund website reveals that a stone producing an effective focal length of ~5.4mm costs $65. To produce longer EFL's will require even larger stones, and even higher cost.
Once you add up the price of the stone, shipping, brass, delrin, machining, design, labelling, and a little margin, all of a sudden, you are up there.
For those who can do this by themselves and have a product they are happy with, that's great. We need more innovators doing things at home. Good things can come of this-just ask John Dobson.
For those of us who do not have the time (ok, the skill) to do such things, we rely on the commercial producers to identify the need, and address it.
I have some great stuff made by Siebert Optics: a 2" BV kit, 36mm Observatory EP's, and a wonderful set of custom Starsplitters. They all perform just as billed, and I couldn't be happier.
It appears that Harry has done his homework here. It also looks like he will be offering a variety of products within this line, to serve different budgets and needs.
I think he should be commended for offering this option to our community.
I have a decent "planetary" toolbox, which includes not only the terrific Starsplitters, but also some well-known performers from yesterday and today.
I will be placing my order for Planespheres and a Marsglobe shortly. I view this as an opportunity to add another dimension to my viewing experience. I also see it as supporting one of our own. For years, Harry has made stuff that is hard to find anywhere else. And he stands behind his products.
Speaking for myself only, I don't mind paying a premium for a well-executed piece of equipment.


:cool:

#15 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:18 AM

"And I thought Brandons were overpriced."

I dunno where this sentiment comes from, honestly. Brandons can be had, new, from the manufacturer, for $165 each currently, if purchased as a set (set of six for $995). That's $100 less than a used TMB Supermono, with a much more flexible range of focal lengths for the Brandons, and not a heck of a lot more than Televue Plossls, particularly the longer focal length models (a 32mm Televue Plossl, on sale, runs $111.

They are about the same price new as an excellent condition CZJ (0.965") Ortho is used, and they measure up very well in performance to the CZJs.

Now the kind of dough being considered for a ball, particularly if it turns out to be standard Edmund fare optically (in sphericity and surface quality), turns me off. For $99 with a normal barrel and the higher grade BK-7 spec, I might be tempted. At 2.5 times that price? Nope.

Regards,

Jim

#16 Sarkikos

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:20 AM

$249 for a ball eyepiece? Whatever. Knock yourself out. Only in America. Just not in my house. :cool:

Mike

#17 Sarkikos

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:29 AM

Jim,

"And I thought Brandons were overpriced."

I dunno where this sentiment comes from, honestly. Brandons can be had, new, from the manufacturer, for $165 each currently, if purchased as a set (set of six for $995).


Here's where that sentiment comes from: if I only want one, they're $235. But can you have only one Brandon? ;)

Now the kind of dough being considered for a ball, particularly if it turns out to be standard Edmund fare optically (in sphericity and surface quality), turns me off. For $99 with a normal barrel and the higher grade BK-7 spec, I might be tempted. At 2.5 times that price? Nope.


Ditto. I would rather have a root canal. At least that's still covered under my dental plan. :grin:

But I suppose you get what you pay for. Always ... unless somebody gives it to you, you steal it, it never comes in the mail, or it's covered under your insurance.

Mike

#18 Levine

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:59 AM

I have spoken to Harry.
He will be producing three separate options for Ball lenses: Sapphire, fused silica, and BK7. A fourth option is Marsglobe (ruby).
The most economical line will be the BK7 with the Aluminum barrel. Not sure if the stone size will dictate the price of these, but the biggest BK7 EP will be about $149.
This seems not too far from what people are talking about.
For the higher end-and higher performing-Sapphire/Ruby, there is an aluminum barrel option, which drops the price accordingly.
From my conversation with him, his margin for making these is pretty
Modest. Any less, and there would be little point in offering it in the first place. Recall, he works by himself, and he is Busy with other lines.
:smirk:

#19 SteveC

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:04 AM

$249 for a ball eyepiece? Whatever. Knock yourself out. Only in America. Just not in my house. :cool:

Mike


As someone who has put a lot of effort into producing a homemade version of the ball EPs, I can appreciate what Seibert is doing. The only reason why I decided to make these EPs is because people were asking me to make them. If they only knew how much time and effort was involved in making them. I felt badly for initially turning them down. If I actually charged those CN members for the time I've invested in making those EPs the price would have been a lot more. Seiberts prices, aspecially for the aluminum barrells($149) would seem like a bargain. My wife, who has witnessed my work, has expressed her displeasure with my selling them so cheaply. I didn't mind because it turned out to be fun, I helped a few CN members, and I made a few bucks for a school for children with learning disabilities.

I'm sure Seibert won't have as much fun as I did, but he deserves to make a living and a decent wage, just like everybody else in America.

I think Seibert's prices are very fair.

#20 Levine

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:25 AM

:applause: :waytogo:

#21 leonard

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 12:39 PM

Hi Levine,

Did Harry say he was using field stops ?????
And if so , what is the AFOV going to be ?????

Thanks , Leonard

#22 Mike Hosea

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 01:07 PM

He should charge what he can get, and BTW, if I were him, I'd expect to make more than minimum wage doing it, too. The casings will take time to machine, and each unit will require cleaning and testing. People who want something like 20% over the DIY price are wanting something for nothing. If you want a DIY price, DIY.

OTOH, I'm so far no big fan of this type of eyepiece, and consequently, I'd have a hard time paying very much for one. It's a"rustic" experience, IMO. Going back to my orthos after using a ball lens eyepiece feels like going from sleeping on the ground to a soft bed.

A fourth option is Marsglobe (ruby).


Yeah, I still wonder about the ruby option. I tried some cheap ruby balls, and in addition to some surface issues, their doping was not homogeneous. I'm not sure if this will be an issue with Edmund's ruby balls. Hopefully not.

#23 Sarkikos

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 01:19 PM

Like I said, whoever wants to buy them let them buy them. I have no problem with that. But I won't buy them. No one should have a problem with that, either, or with my expressing that opinion. They are just too easy to make yourself, unless you basically want something that doesn't look like you made it yourself. That doesn't matter to me.

On the other hand, those $149 aluminum barrel models might not be bad ... But I'll wait to see how my own DIY job turns out first.

Mike

#24 Sarkikos

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 01:33 PM

Mike H,

OTOH, I'm so far no big fan of this type of eyepiece, and consequently, I'd have a hard time paying very much for one. It's a"rustic" experience, IMO. Going back to my orthos after using a ball lens eyepiece feels like going from sleeping on the ground to a soft bed.


I haven't had a chance to try out my ball eyepiece in my 10" Newt Dob, yet. Jupiter will be the primary target. I have a feeling that the minimalist FOV will not be a very pleasurable experience in a scope that won't track. It'd probably make more sense to restrict the ball eyepieces to scopes with tracking, like my 150mm Mak, though that would also restrict the resolving power in my case.

Mike

#25 Scott99

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 01:48 PM

>>>I think Seibert's prices are very fair.

They're fair but if you're paying him $150 you can get one of his ep's with 5 or 6 lenses!

5 degree FOV? I never appreciated my orthos so much - now I know what the extra 3 lenses are doing in there - extra glass can be good!






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