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DENK "BINOTRON" - FIRST LIGHT

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#1 Mike Harvey

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

I received the new Binotron this past Friday and spent the weekend with it at Chiefland Astronomy Village.
Even though the seeing conditions limited the quality time I was hoping to spend with the new binoviewer, I came away with a number of fully-formed impressions.

In no particular order:

*The Binotron is, essentially, color-free.
I never really paid much attention to the slight red/blue 'fringing' around bright objects (i.e. Jupiter) with my Denk II. If I did notice anything, I attributed it to whatever eyepieces I was using.
In fact, it was so slight that I never even gave it much thought at all until I used the NEW viewer and realized there was NO 'fringing'...NONE.

* This is one gorgeous hunk of astro equipment! Russ has really outdone himself with this design. It just REEKS of class and quality-build. The workmanship is simply first-class. The new case itself is a work of art! The whole package conjures up the comparison of, say, a ROLEX vs. a CITIZEN watch (and I'm not 'knocking' Citizen...I own both).

* The new locking and focusing knobs are terrific. There is no doubt (in the dark) which knurled ring you're adjusting and the Diopter (fine focus) ring is simply a joy to use. It is absolutely solid...no slop or slack at all. And so smooth it's actually a tactile pleasure to use. It's also extremely effective.
This feature makes the Binotron much easier to "share". It just works so much better than the old system that it's no longer annoying to switch back and forth with another observer whose eyes don't match yours.

* The Binotron arrived perfectly collimated. I've owned or used every brand of binoviewer on the market and nearly all of them required some sort of 'tweaking' when using extremely high magnifications. Usually this was very minor...but noticeable.
I should probably note that, for me, "extremely high magnifications" should probably read "LUDICROUS POWER"! :)
Conditions permitting, I consider 500+ to be the minimum magnification for planetary viewing with my 28". If the seeing won't permit at least that much, I rarely even bother with planetary observing at all. There are times when I use 1,000+. That's going to push ANY binoviewer to the limit of precise collimation!

(Here's where we get really ludicrous ): I aimed the scope at a light on top of a cell phone tower and used a set of
3MM NAGLERS AND THE 'POWER X SWITCH" IN THE HIGHEST POSITION...FOR A MAGNIFICATION OF 2400X...AND THE IMAGE REMAINED PERFECTLY COLLIMATED! There was no overlap or any problem with merging whatsoever. NOTE: this has caused me to not yet test the collimation procedure. It's so perfect, I don't want to mess with it!

* The rubberized coating of the body is a really nice touch (especially on cold nights!).

* The Binotron FEELS noticeably lighter than the Denk II.

I'll post more when I've had more time with it...and with other types of scopes. I'll be using it in an SCT next week and I'm actually looking forward to having the moon back in the sky. I want to critically test the sharpness and contrast on the lunar features (although in moments of steady seeing this past weekend, there was a wealth of fine detail on Jupiter).

Mike Harvey

#2 BrianG

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:49 PM

Thanks for the first light Mike. These sound fantastic! Everything I was hoping. I put my order in last week, Russ expects to ship early March. Please let us know how they perform with the SCT.

Brian G

#3 faackanders2

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:20 PM

Sounds great! Pleasse post pics.

#4 Mauikj

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:53 AM

I tried my Binotrons on Jupiter this evening (with a celestron8) and it was awesome! Conditions were not great but it looked really nice. As Mike said it was impressively color free. And I'd second what he said about build quality - really first rate! I got an email from Russ today asking how I liked them (and I REALLY do) and he mentioned he is getting quite a few orders and will be discontinuing the introductory special soon. So if you want a pair you may want to act quickly.

#5 johnnyha

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:30 AM

Great report thanks! OK, went ahead and pulled the trigger. :cool:

#6 denis0007dl

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

Congrats for new binos, you will like it for sure!
Did anyone knows what is optical path of Binotron?

#7 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:17 PM

Mike,
Just to clarify... It's not the magnification itself which imposes a limit to collimation, but rather it's the focal length of the eyepieces used. No matter the scope size, if a pair of eyepieces showed a certain degree of BV mis-collimation, the apparent degree of misalignment (angle on the retina) will be identical on any scope, even though on larger ones the magnification will be higher.

If a BV were to be limited to eyepieces of, say, 15mm before misalignment became an issue, that same limit would apply as much to a 3" as it would a 30", with a concomitant maximum useable magnification differing by a factor of 10.

That you noted good collimation with 3mm eyepieces is impressive!

#8 Mike Harvey

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:30 PM

Hi Glenn,
Yes, you are (as usual) correct!
I was just trying to "keep it simple". In my experience, most amateur observers just don't think in those terms. The words I always hear are "I can't use more than ( pick a number ) power without overlapping or double images".

#9 GHarris

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:09 PM

Congrats for new binos, you will like it for sure!
Did anyone knows what is optical path of Binotron?


Russ said the following to me in a recent email:
"Its approximately 118mm. depends on what height you use the diopter focusers."

Very close to the Denk II lightpath then, as I understand it.

#10 Mike Harvey

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

I didn't think to measure the difference but, I don't recall a noticeable focus difference between the two when I was doing the "A"-"B" comparison. I'm guessing the light path is pretty much the same (or else I was too 'caught up in the moment' to remember).

#11 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

Mike...

I own the Denk IIs. Is there enough difference between them and the Binotrons for me to consider selling mine and replacing them with the Binotrons?

:question:

#12 denis0007dl

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

Mike...

I own the Denk IIs. Is there enough difference between them and the Binotrons for me to consider selling mine and replacing them with the Binotrons?

:question:


In my opinion, upgrade from Denk II would be Mark V or Siebert 2" binos!

Mark V have 30 mm prisms, and Binotron have 27 mm, Siebert 40 or 45....

#13 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:48 PM

With my IPD (67mm) I only use 1 1/4 eps....the largest fieldstop for 1 1/4 is 27mm (24mm Pans) so 30mm and more is not needed.

Besides, I like giving my money to Russ....

:grin:

#14 Mike Harvey

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

Mike...
I own the Denk IIs. Is there enough difference between them and the Binotrons for me to consider selling mine and replacing them with the Binotrons?
:question:


Well...I can't speak for everyone - but that's what I did...and there are no regrets.

Mike

#15 denis0007dl

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:06 PM

With my IPD (67mm) I only use 1 1/4 eps....the largest fieldstop for 1 1/4 is 27mm (24mm Pans) so 30mm and more is not needed.

Besides, I like giving my money to Russ....

:grin:


In Binotron 27 will be some vignetting with 24 Pans, because Binotron have only 26mm CLEAR APERTURE, and MkV have 28mm!!!

#16 Bob S.

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:47 PM

Denis, You don't understand. Mr. Harvey is known for getting the latest and hopefully greatest two days before they are announced.

He and I one day will have a shootout with my Mark V's and his new Binotrons. Trust me. I doubt that the 1mm of difference is of much concern. He uses the bins in a 28" scope under beautiful Florida skies.

However, as you pointed out, one day I will pull out my Siebert 45's with 20mm T5 Naglers and he will be gobsmacked :lol:

Bob Schilling

#17 johnnyha

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:41 AM

I'm putting them head to had when I get mine, B27 v. MkV, and may the best man win. There are several areas where I know the new B27 will win on ergonomics - diopters for instance. I owned a Denk II for a few years and I still miss those beautiful diopters, the MkV is just not the same for me. And the new diopters are supposed to be even better. The PowerSwitch is another bonus simply for being able to achieve 1.3X in a fast dob, the best I can get with my MkVs is 1.7X. Another area with improvement over the MkV is the actual connection, I have never been comfortable with that dovetail/single thumbscrew arrangement of the MkV. Yes the Quick Changer gives me flexibility but it could have been done more securely, i.e. the Baader Maxbright.


#18 Mike Harvey

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:44 AM

Denis, You don't understand. Mr. Harvey is known for getting the latest and hopefully greatest two days before they are announced.

He and I one day will have a shootout with my Mark V's and his new Binotrons. Trust me. I doubt that the 1mm of difference is of much concern. He uses the bins in a 28" scope under beautiful Florida skies.

However, as you pointed out, one day I will pull out my Siebert 45's with 20mm T5 Naglers and he will be gobsmacked :lol:

Bob Schilling


Pay no attention to Mr. Schilling...compared to him I am a mere pauper and 'pretender' when it comes to obtaining the latest and greatest!

Seriously, Bob, I would be most interested in doing the comparo between the Binotrons and the Mark V. I've often wondered how they would stack up. Please bring them with you next time you're at Chiefland.

I remember the insanity of our comparing pairs of 24 Pans and 21 Denks et.al. at the Winter Star Party years ago. We may have set a new standard for "anal retentive evaluation"! :)

I would also LOVE to see the Siebert's. As you know, I hang out with a lot of observers but, despite actively looking for a chance to try them out for several YEARS, I've yet to find anyone who has a pair!

Would I be correct in assuming that, with the sheer size of the 45's, the light-path is so long that those 20mm's might actually be performing as
12mm's (or even 10's!)...or do the Siebert's employ some sort of focal reducer?

I was quite satisfied with my Denk II's. As you know, I got mine as soon as they came out and, over the past few years, I haven't seen any other option that I felt was equal or better (and I'm almost as quick as you are to discard old equipment and get the newest whiz-bang). The Binotron is the first alternative I've found that convinced me to make a change. It's a definite upgrade from the Denk II and, as someone else posted; the combination of features (especially the lower amplification factor, the Power-X-Switch, the eyepiece locking system and the new Diopter) make the Binotron an easy choice for me.

Look forward to seeing you (and participating in more comparo-madness) soon!

Mike

#19 Bob S.

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:11 AM

Mike, The Siebert 45's have a multi-purpose OCA designed specifically for the binoviewers that allow them to work with both reflectors, refractors and SCT's at a minimum of 1.3x mag factor. They actually bring back that 3-D pop we used to get when we were a bit younger on globs.

Mike, Just because we are comfortable spending 5 hours looking at one object (M51) with two pairs of binoviewers and two pair of ep's in a 24" scope for a comparo doesn't totally equate to compulsivity does it :question: Bob

#20 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 07:20 AM

The sheer size of the 45s resulting in a light path so long that the 20s might be performing as 12s...

What on Earth does does this mean?

#21 johnnyha

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:35 AM

I think he might be speaking SCT language...? It's all foreign to me. :lol:

#22 Mike Harvey

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:31 PM

The sheer size of the 45s resulting in a light path so long that the 20s might be performing as 12s...

What on Earth does does this mean?


An assumption that, by virtue of the sheer physical size of this particular binoviewer, it work work like an extension tube...longer light path - higher amplification factor.
Without a reducer, even the TeleVue Binoview acted like a 3X Barlow.
I haven't heard that the Siebert uses a focal reducer (or OCS) to overcome this (TeleVue didn't). What am I missing?

#23 Bob S.

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

The sheer size of the 45s resulting in a light path so long that the 20s might be performing as 12s...

What on Earth does does this mean?


An assumption that, by virtue of the sheer physical size of this particular binoviewer, it work work like an extension tube...longer light path - higher amplification factor.
Without a reducer, even the TeleVue Binoview acted like a 3X Barlow.
I haven't heard that the Siebert uses a focal reducer (or OCS) to overcome this (TeleVue didn't). What am I missing?


Mike, You would be right if Harry Siebert hadn't designed a special set of OCA modules for this Siebert 45. The range of the OCA is 1.3x-2.7x. Bob

#24 Jeff B

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

Spoke to Russ and I'm on the list. I can't wait. :jump:

#25 junomike

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

Glenn, I believe this refers to how Binoviewers increase the Focal Length In an SCT and thus the overall magnification.
So in an SCT, because of the extra Optical Path of the 2" Binoviewer, 20mm eyepieces would yield the same magnification as 12mm would in Mono mode.
Not saying this is correct, but that's what I think was Implied.

Mike






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