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Binoviewer Recommendations Please...

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#1 BullTerrier

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:19 AM

Hi Folks,
Looking into the purchase of a Binoviewer. Kind of looking at middle range with regard to price. I've got a 9.25 Edge, a standard C-8, and a 4" Refractor.
What would you recommend that would work reasonably well with all the scopes listed above ?. I've read some posts regarding aperture loss with some of the models due to extending the light path too much.
Anyhow, would appreciate your recommendations.

Thanks
Martin

#2 Eddgie

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:38 AM

What is your budget?

The EdgeHD 9.25 may be an issue. In the past, the Celestron SCTs would tolerate back focus of up to about 200mm before the system would loose apeture (The C11 was the exception).

The EdgeHD scopes though I think will start to loose apeture before this figure. I know my EdgeHD 8" starts to loose apeture with about 160mm of back focus making it almost impossible to find a binoviwer configuration that will work at full apeture. I don't let it stop me, but my EdgeHD 8" is only working at 7.6" with the Mark V and a T2 diagonal.

Most binoviewers can be configured for less than 200mm of light path by using a 1.25" diagonal and a short 2" visual back (use a 2" to 1.25" compression ring adapter on the diagonal nose so you can clamp int tightly to keep it from rotating).

I would avoid 2" configurations.

As for what to get, there is a lot of value in a supersystem kind of setup (Binotron 27) and hopefully Denkmeier will start producing an adapter to allow the use of the T2 Prism. I consider this diagonal essential for SCTs because in repeated measurments, it will increase apeture by about half an inch all by itself. That does not sound like much but it also reduces the focal lenght by about 150mm.

A short visual back (Televue Short SCT to 2") will save you another .1" and another 30mm of focal length.

Don't be afraid of a supersystem type approach. Remember that for high power observing (high power arm on the Binotron) you are moving the mirror back and opening the apeture so the damage (if any) is the least with this setup.

My recommendation though is to start with an inexpensive binoviewr and some 20mm Plossls just to see if you like it or not.

These used Celestron, Burgess, and WO binoviewers sell used for between $120 and $200.

If you enjoy it, you can almost always flip the entry unit for what you invested in it and carry the funds on to the upgrade.

And that would be my advice.

If you try it and love it a lot, you may find yourself wanting a Binotron or Mark V.

If you find your self likeing it a little, you may find yourself just sticking with what you bought.

If you don't like it, you can just move it along though the universe to the next owner.

As for the best for all the scopes, A Binotron would work with everything most likely, but it is most likely to reduce apeture (supersystem configuration, not just the BV A la carte).

The low middle cost solution would be the Maxbright Binoviewer with T2 standard prism (not the Zeiss.. Too expensive) and a 1.25" GPC.

This will provide the shortest possible light path for your systems and most likely to reach focus with the refractor.

Again, whatever you do on the SCTs, I advise using he shortest possible light path (Televue short visual back with T2 Prism and 2" nose is best, but there are only thre binoviewers that are easy to mate.. Maxbrights, Televue, and Mark V.. Otherwise, you might need a custom adapter, though again, I am hoping Denkmeier will start to produce a compatible adapter soon).

#3 BullTerrier

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 01:16 AM

Thanks Eddgie for the advice. I was originally thinking about the Binotron 27 ala carte but I think the Williams Optics unit might just end up being a good starting point. I plan on using it with 1.25 nosepiece and eyepieces so I might be able to keep the light path as short as possible.
Are the WO units decent ?

Thanks
Martin

#4 Messyone

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 01:58 AM

The WO's sure are decent. Been using mine for nearly two years and occasionally think about an upgrade but can't do it yet....one day. So with a few pairs of eyepieces, and mine are mostly cheap except the NLV's, I'm set for as long as I want. I might never do the upgrade. The WO's are a fine unit.
Matt

#5 Eddgie

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 07:04 AM

I have not owned a pair but most people seem pleased with them from a quality standpoing.

Available used almost all the time, but that is I think because either people don't like binoviewing, or they love it and upgrade. That is just a guess on my part though.

#6 Pingster

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:03 PM

I have a WO binoviewer and a mark V. The WO is so close to the markv is scary and embarrassing. The mark v is better in three areas, 1. Perfect colour split thru each eyepiece, 2. 24panotics dont vignette and 3. They can be pushed to higher mag while maintaining sharp image. But under x200 mag the WO looks more or less identical thru the eyepiece, which is very embarrasing as its like 1/6th the price if the mark V. So my advice is buy a WO, its fantastic. If you like binoviewing, then get a mark v fir the best oossible image, you wont regret it. I love mine. And even tho I have a mark v, I would never sell the WO, its so light its excellent for smaller setups like a grab n go!

#7 BullTerrier

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:08 PM

Thanks guys for the advice. I ended up receiving my WO Binos today and will give them a test run tonite. Was kind of surprised that no instructions were included, but I guess there really is no need. Would have been good if they provided tips. But it really seems to be a no-brainer.
Will try it out tonite on my 30 year old C8 and then later on the larger SCT and Refractor.
Plan on taking Eddgie's advice and keeping the light path as short as possible.

Thanks Again
Martin

#8 REC

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 06:34 AM

Martin, you will get a pleasant surprise out of them! Try and stay up a little later when the Moon comes up or check it in the morning with the BV....the views of it through any BV will amaze you!

FYI...when used in the refractor, you have to insert the 1.6x barlow in front of the diagonal to get it to focus.

Have fun:)

Bob

#9 REC

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 06:39 AM

Yeah, I'm finding that out! I am comparing a Denk2 PS with my WO to see if I want to sell it? I was only able to try it once in the last month because of all the lousy weather we are having. But, the one night I did try out both on the Moon, confused the heck out of me as to which was better???

For a little over $200 and get 2 EP's and a barlow is a heck of a deal and anyone who has an SCT should have one in their EP collection!

#10 Eddgie

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:08 PM

The WO is so close to the markv is scary and embarrassing



This was similar in my experience to the Maxbright Vs the Mark V.

With 19mm Panoptics, the view was pretty much indistinguishable when comparing the two.

The Mark V though is Mark V though can work even with 24mm Hyperions and 35mm Ultimas, which both have 28mm field stops, and show perfect illumination right to the edge.

And as much time as it took me to get used to the eyepiece holder locks moving in opposite directions, I now have to say I prefer it to all other methods. Once you get used to it, it seems so natural!

The Binotron too has good eyepiece holder locks because with the Mark Vs I sometimes turn the diopter adjustment when locking or unlocking.

The Binotron design makes it possible to set the diapoters and never move them and the eyepeices don't rotate when tightening the lock rings.

This does not seem like a big deal, but I you use eyepecies with winged eye guards which work really really well for binoviewing, it is a nice touch because you can put the eyepeices in and lock them down without the eyeguards moving. Sweeet.

But the Maxbright was optically excellent and I did not see any meaningful improvement in the image quality with the Mark V (though in the C14, I never used more than about a 13mm eyepiece pair and here, the scope and bino are loafing).

#11 BullTerrier

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 11:01 AM

Hi Folks,
Spent the last two nights with my new WO Bino-Viewers & included 20mm eyepieces with mixed success. Having the following issues:
1. Unable to get a real sharp focus. Not an issue with focus travel, plenty of that both inside and outside of focus.
2. Seeing some color on Saturn. Bino viewer seems to be adding color to the target.
3. Double vision.

As far as focusing goes, I got the kooky idea of putting a focusing mask on the front of my C8 and focusing each eyepiece, one at a time by turning the respective eyepiece holder on the Bino-viewer, using the correct eye for each side. This still did not seem to do the trick to get sharp stars. Also had an issue getting sharp images of the moon. I'm able to get sharp images without the binos, so they seem to be the issue.

I'm sure it's something I'm doing improperly as I am a newbie with Bino-Viewers. Would appreciate any advice to help remedy these issues.

Thanks
Martin

#12 tim57064

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 12:34 PM

I had the problem with double vision also and was able to correct it by focusing the left eyepiece first then the right side. The collimation being out is the reason for the double vision. I have the Celestron brand and this takes care of the problem I had.

#13 Eddgie

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 01:05 PM

Play some with the IPD. Look into one eyepiece with the other eye closed, then holding your head as still as possible, close that eye and look though open the eye and look into the other eyepiece. if the field stop seems to be in a slightly different position, then move the IPD as needed so that when you blink back and forth, the field is perfectly centered for each eye, Not the target in the field, but the field stop of the eyepiece itself should be in the same position.

Nest, ensure that your eyepieces are fully seated. These binos don't have self centering diopters and even if they do, the eyepecies can still cant a bit, and if one or the other eyepiece is canted, you will not be able to merge the image.

Try holding the eyepiece from the top when you tighten the screws. This ensures that they are fully seated and don't tilt on you.

Last, try rotating each eyepiece and ensure your screws are all at about the same length. The eyepiece holders are a little oversize. Remove each eyepiece and turn the screws so that the ends are all just flush to the inside of the eyepiece holder wall.

When you tighten the screws, tighten them evenly. Maybe 1/3rd turn each. I know it is a pain, but this is one of the key issues that separate an inexpensive binoviewer from an expensive one. The better binoviewes have self centering diopters (though you can still get canting or tilt, especially with the tapered barrels that are in vogue these days).

#14 Sorny

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 04:02 PM

Eddgie,

WO binos have 1 screw and compression ring for eyepiece clamping. Annoyingly, the diopter focus middle point is NOT the same on each side.

That said, IPD is often the issue with merging and your advice on that is spot on.

1. Unable to get a real sharp focus. Not an issue with focus travel, plenty of that both inside and outside of focus.
2. Seeing some color on Saturn. Bino viewer seems to be adding color to the target.
3. Double vision.


Sharp focus: should not be an issue unless your WO binoviewer or eyepieces are damaged.

Color on Saturn: Nature of the beast with cheap binoviewers and eyepieces, I'm afraid. My WO exhibits the same, and also shows a bright halo around any bright object. - This is the primary reason I moved to premium binoviewing gear.

Eddgie pretty much covered the double vision bit. It is likely to be an IPD issue.

#15 BullTerrier

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:02 PM

Thank you very much Eddgie and Sorny. Will take your advice and apply it tonight. I understand you get what you pay for. Just didn't want to lay alot down until I knew I'd like using binoviewers.

In time, once I get used to the WO Bino, if I find myself using them alot, I will probably upgrade.

Thanks again
Martin

#16 Sorny

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:12 PM

Martin,

I may come across as harsh on the WO binos, but I still have my WO binos. I just use them on my C5 instead of my C11. The false color/halo stuff is lessened considerably on a scope that brings in less light (which leads me to conclude it is lack of baffling/edge blacking and anti-reflective coating deficiency that is the main issue with the WO, aside from small clear aperture). I've often said the WO binos are the gateway drug to expensive binoviewers.

I am very curious about the focusing issue though. I've not had any issues focusing the scope with the bino on it. My suggestion is to take the diopter adjusters and move them from one extreme to the other for focus range, then set both in the middle (mine have screws pointing different directions when both are at the neutral position). After this, use 1 eye to set focus on the scope, and fine tune one eye and then the other by closing the other eye and turning the diopters. I was able to get good focus that way, and I do a very similar thing with my Binotron, but the binotron has indexed marks so I have an easy starting position.

That said, even with correct IPD, my WO binos don't merge as well as my binotron. It is instant in the binotron, and just shy of instant in my WO, so that tells me there is an ever so slight miscollimation in the WO (very minor, I've not had anyone that couldn't get a quick merge in the WO after setting the IPD).

#17 BullTerrier

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:54 PM

Maybe what I was doing wrong was this.... I was first adjusting one eye for good focus. Then I closed that eye and used my other eye and got the corresponding eyepiece focused. So, what I was doing was making sure each eye got good focus in it's respective eyepiece. But, it doesn't sound like I was doing what you instructed to do so I'll give your advice a whirl tonight.

Thanks
Martin

#18 Sorny

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:59 PM

Maybe what I was doing wrong was this.... I was first adjusting one eye for good focus. Then I closed that eye and used my other eye and got the corresponding eyepiece focused. So, what I was doing was making sure each eye got good focus in it's respective eyepiece. But, it doesn't sound like I was doing what you instructed to do so I'll give your advice a whirl tonight.

Thanks
Martin


You're doing it right. Set the coarse focus with one eye, then don't touch the telescope focus. From there, use the diopters with one eye at a time to get both sharp. After that, you can be assured that both eyepieces are focused, and you can use the telescope focuser to adjust focus on different targets (should only need very minor tweaks going from DSO's to planets as an example).

#19 BullTerrier

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 11:45 PM

Success... Thanks Sorny and Eddgie... Your advice really helped. Was able to achieve substantially better focus and your advice on IPD did the trick.
Viewed Saturn again tonight with substantial improvement over last night. Also took a look at M22 and M13 and both were quite impressive. So far, have only used my trusty 30 year old C8 with the Binos. Will be interesting to see how thing look thru the 9.25 Edge with them. Maybe next week.

Thanks again guys. Really appreciate your help and expertise.

Martin

#20 Eddgie

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 08:19 AM

I have no hard data to support it, but my gut feeling is that 90% of failure to merge experiences are due to IPD and eyepeices not being seated.

I have owned four different binoviewers and had a Binotron 27 on loan for a month, and I had no difficult merging any of them, including the cheapo Burgess unit.

Just my feeling, but most merge problems I bet are a combination of these two factors.

Enjoy your new binoviewers.

Be careful though.. It is a slippery slope. The more you binoview, the less easy it is to monoview, expecially for planets.

#21 cloud_cover

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 09:43 AM

Something to encourage you with: I just picked up a pair of rather old, somewhat internally dusty WO Binos with the standard 20mm 66deg EPs.
This evening I had a quick look at Saturn (low - about 30deg to the west) Seeing was poor as expected at that low altitude with the image fairly boiling but very brief moments of stillness. Scope used was a 4" APO (NP-101) and with the lens of a 2X GSO achromatic Barlow used as the OCA (original WO 1.6x OCA won't work in the NP-101). I figured the magnification to be about somewhere between a 4.5-5.5mm EP: Saturn was tack sharp, pretty much what I'd expect from my refractor with my usual eyepieces. The view pretty much rivaled... an Ethos 3.7SX (discounting the magnification edge the Ethos has)
So hang in there: The WO Binos are, I think, inherently a competent set of Binos :)

#22 BullTerrier

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 12:12 AM

Thanks folks. Tonite I think I got everything just right. Took a quick look at Saturn (before it turned to mush as Cloud Cover mentioned, and a few globulars and they all looked splendid.

Eddgie, I think you are right... it's a slippery slope with Binos. Think it's gonna be tough going back to looking at the moon, planets, or even Globulars in mono mode !

Thanks again to all for the advice and encouragement.

Martin

#23 REC

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:59 AM

Martin, where you using the BV with your C8? How where the Globs in it? I ask as I'm having a little of a hard time with my BV in my C8 resolving something like M13 in it? Mono I get the stars resolved pretty well on M13.

What other Globs did you view?

Thanks,

Bob

#24 BullTerrier

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 10:10 PM

Hi Bob.... looking thru the light polluted skies of Southern California. M13 looked decent and M22 looked even better. M28 looked decent as well but less resolved than the other two.
I think of all three, M22 looked better thru the Binos vs mono. M13 was about the same, though maybe better mono. I know most of the folks promote the Binos for the Moon and Planets, but I am trying them out on various other targets. Just seeing what they are capable of. I will eventually probably just use them for brighter objects as there is light loss with the Binos.
This CN group has been great in helping me out. I'm learning by trial and error.

Martin

#25 REC

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:14 AM

Hi Martin...yeah, that's what I thought, just the brighter one's as the BV does reduce the light gathering a bunch.

I'll try M22 as that should look better. Did you use the C8 for these?

Yes, the members on CN are fantastic...I learn so much from them, it's like having your own Astronomy professor at your call :)

Bob






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