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First light Takahashi 22 x 60

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#1 astrosaur

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 08:53 PM

Short version: Wow, am I ever impressed!

Longer version follows.

I headed home from work at 5 pm last night, hoping that these
Taks would have arrived and that I'd have a little time to
try them out. My premonition was correct, UPS had delivered
them and they were waiting for me.

To digress, some months ago, I had decided to acquire a pair of
Fujinon 16x70s to complement the Fujinon 7x50s I already have.
The 7x50s are very enjoyable, superbly built, wide-angle and easy
to grab for a quick scan of the skies. I also find they cut the
light pollution, allowing me to actually see some of the
dimmer stars that are otherwise visible to the eye at dark
sky locations. While the fujis suit that purpose admirably,
I felt the need for an instrument with more magnification and
a smaller exit pupil. Under not-so dark skies, my eyes may not
be opening to the maximum and would therefore be unable to take
advantage of the image delivered by the fujis. Additionally, the
image of stars that should be pinpoints are very spiky with the
fujis, caused I believe by flaws in my eye exacerbated, again,
by the large stream of light.

Let me make it clear that I am no expert at amateur astronomy
or evaluating optics, just an interested albeit very busy and
distracted amateur, and reading this forum for some time
has been much appreciated and very educational. Some of the
recent threads on the takahashi astronomer binocular had made it
sound pretty enticing, but hearing that production had been
discontinued, I had pretty much assumed the Fujis would be my
best realistic choice. But then there was this little voice
in my mind that would occasionally chirp up with a "what if?"
So one day last week I started calling around. Texas Nautical,
nope. Anacortes, nope. But to my surprise, Hands-On Optics did
have a pair, so I jumped in with both feet. This is the pair
that arrived yesterday.

My first impression is that this is a heirloom-quality
binocular, a piece of glass I'll certainly value for as long
as I can use it. I was able to spend about 30 minutes yesterday
evening, trying it out on the moon, mars and m31. And also
doing some quick comparisons against the Fuji 7x50s. I mounted
the Taki on a manfrotto 3051 tripod with a 401 geared head.

Mars was my first target, being nicely positioned. In spite of
the somewhat restricted FOV, it was immediately easy to position
this binocular on a visible object. Each optical path was
easy to focus with mars taking on a nice bright definitely
circular appearance. I couldn't see any surface detail, not
that I expected to of course.

The moon was altogether different. It was just exactly like
looking at a great big battered rock hanging in the sky, illuminated
at an angle by a very harsh light. But wait, that's actually what
the moon is, isn't it? I just got lost in awe for a few minutes
drinking in this view. One of my goals is definitely to
spend some quality time with this binocular and become more
familiar with selenolography.

Upon returning to Earth, I began a critical evaluation of what
I was seeing. I panned the view so that the moon was just
mostly obscured on the left, and just let it move across the
field of view. Then I centered the view and panned slowly to
the left, then again to the right. I could only begin to see
hints of color on the extreme margins of the FOV. With the
moon positioned to the left, there was a slight ring of
yellowish-orange at the edge of the moon. With the moon on
the right, I did notice a purplish tinting at the edge of the
field of view, not on the moon itself. That may have been due
to eye placement. I probably wouldn't have noticed any of the
CA if I hadn't been purposefully looking for it, what color
was present just wasn't very obtrusive and was clearly marginal.

I was also curious to see at what point the view would begin
to degrade. Some have reported the image beginning to break up
at 50% from the center to the edge. I did not find that to be
the case, I could distinguish no visible difference with one
feature of the moon in the center of the FOV vs. 50% out in
either direction. At the margin, say about 20% in toward the
center, the image does appear to begin to loose some flatness.
As the transition to the edge continues, it more distinctly curves
and then does finally breaks up.

I then did some comparisons against the fujinon 7x50s. Whereas
mars had a clean circular appearance in the takis, mars in
the fujis was a mass of jumbled jagged spikes, with my
right eye being noticeably worse. I'm guessing this is due
to flaws in each eye coming into play due to the larger
exit pupil, 7mm vs. 2.7mm. The same difference can be
observed with stars also; clean crisp pinpoints of light
in the takis, nothing but spikes in the fujis.

The other object I looked at was m31. This was easy to find
in the fuji's wide FOV. Not quite so easy to find with the takis,
and far harder to hold by hand, I could only manage it for
a few seconds. (I had unmounted the takis by the time, about
ready to wrap it up). It does appear that the takis will
provide much more detail for such DSOs.

The other remarkable difference between the two binoculars is
the contrast. The background sky is much darker in the takis.
I cannot but believe the increased contrast will greatly improve
the appearance of DSOs.

Overall, I'm more than pleased with these Takahashi binoculars.
I very much appreciate the wide field of view provided by the Fujinon
7x50s, along with the ability to hand-hold these binoculars and quickly
scan the heavens. This is nice for identifying constellations and
locating objects, or where I can best guess an object is to
be found. The Takis, on the other hand, with their wonderful pinpoint
crisp and deeply contrasty views are clearly going to be superior for
actually looking at an object. These binoculars complement each
other nicely and satisfy the purposes I had mind better than
I had hoped for.

My thanks to all the contributors here in the cloudy nights
forums, you are helping to improve the knowledge and understanding
of optics and astronomy of no doubt thousands of amateurs worldwide.
And my special thanks to the folks at Fujinon and Takahashi, and
everyone associated with these companies, for designing and
producing such outstanding optical masterpieces.

Unfortunately production of these binoculars has ceased. I only
hope that is because they are about to be superseded by an equivalent
binocular, but with 3.5 degree FOV. While I'm dreaming, make it
4.5 degrees!


AS

#2 Glassthrower

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 09:23 PM

Nice review. Makes me wish I had a pair of those Taks. And judging from what I have heard from you and elsewhere, they are the Questar of binoculars. Living in a light-polluted area myself, I am also learning that a large exit pupil is not a benefit under such skies. My 100mm binos have a 4mm exit pupil, and I find myself wishing they were a 30x100 bino with a correspondingly smaller exit.

After you get a chance to do some DSO hunting with them, post us a note and let us know how they perform.

MikeG

#3 astrosaur

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 10:09 PM

Yes, I feel pretty fortunate to have been able to acquire one of these binoculars. I'll provide an update after
I get more experience with them. Now I need a better mount, that camera mount is too restrictive.

Hmmm, just noticed those new binoculars from Burgess are supposed to be 3.5 degrees...

AS

#4 Rich N

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 10:24 PM

Hi astrosaur,

Excellent report!

Since you are in San Jose have a look at the San Jose Astronomical Association site. www.sjaa.net

The SJAA has two in-town star public star parties a month (depending on the moon). These are held at Houge Park in San Jose, near Hwy 85 and Bascom Ave.

This Sunday the SJAA is having an astro stuff swap meet at Houge park.
http://www.sjaa.net/swap05/swap05a.htm

You should also have a look at the TAC observing group website. www.observers.org

When checking for color in your binocular try putting the bright limb of the moon in the center of the field of view. I'm guessing in the center of the field there is virtually no false color. Most eyepieces will cause the color to spread out from a bright object as the object gets closer to the edge of the field.

Clear skies,
Rich

#5 Steve Napier

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 04:06 AM

Happy birthday Mike.
That was fortunate indeed Astrostaur that you managed to buy the last pair.
Its a shame indeed that the Taks are gone still,there are the Miyauchis out there.
Steve.

#6 edwincjones

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 05:56 AM

"you never know what you've got (could get) until it is gone, they have paved Paradise and put up a parking lot"
Joni Mitchell

ed

#7 Erik D

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 07:58 AM

Hmmm, just noticed those new binoculars from Burgess are supposed to be 3.5 degrees...

AS


That's right, have no fear. Burgess Optical is offering 3X higher power, 77 deg APFOV, low dispersion ED glass at 1/4 of the price of the Tak 22X60:

http://highpointscie...?idProduct=3054

Just a year or two longer wait while they build a new factory in China....

Erik D

#8 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 08:11 AM

That's great AS about your latest acquisition. You'll definitely want to mount those! I'm sure you are aware there are tons of info on the topic in the "best of" section. I would be curious to know how the field degrades as you move outward from center when viewing a star. You said you looked at the moon. A point like object would better serve that test.

Have fun with your new Taks!

#9 Steve Napier

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 09:43 AM

Only 3 specs available!
I like the look of those 22x60Miyauchis myself.
Steve.

#10 craig_oz_land

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 06:48 PM

Astrosaur, glad to see you appreciate your new Taks.

There has been a bit of discussion about them on this forum recently. Many complaints, such as small FOV, I hear about these usually come from people that have not looked through them. Conversley I find that most praise comes from people who have looked through them.

I would be interested in your comments on the views between them and the Fujis 16x70.

I always am suprised by their views when I look through them, particularly at the Moon and Jupiter and Saturn.

I have the Fuji FMT-SX 7x50s and a FS-102 as well. But the Tak binocular always suprises me as its optical quality is not stereotypical of binoculars.

Regards, Craig

#11 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 08:32 PM

Are these the same binos that Astronomics advertised as TMB designed? Have they been reviewed somewhere?

#12 Mark9473

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:57 PM

Jeff, usually a 22x60 is not the same binocular as a 22x65.

The 22x60 are made by Takahashi.
The 22x65 are not yet made by some Chinese manufacturer and imported in the US by Burgess.

#13 John F

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 03:41 AM

Congradulations on finding a pair of the 22x60 Taks. I'm a little surprised that the supply of them has dried up so quickly. Anyway, I look forward to reading your future observing reports with them.

I agree with you that the views of the moon that you get with them are spectacular. Between the advantage of being able to use two eyes and the nice dark sky background that you get with them they provide much nicer views of the moon than my NP-127 apo refractor does when I use it at 25x with a 26mm Nagler eyepiece. Keep an eye out for nights when the moon is drifting in and out of the clouds. The way the moon illuminates the clouds it often creates views that are more impressive than when there are no clouds at all.

Recently I read somewhere that cost of producing flourite lenses had gone way up and that was the reason why Takahashi was switching to non-flourite triple lenses for their new line of TOA refractors. If that is true then that may be another reason why they decided to stop making the 22x60 binoculars.

The new (if they ever arrive) Burgess 22x65s look good on paper but I'll be very surprised if they turn out to be as good as the 22x60s. Given that that only about 450 of the Taks were made and that they are unique for a binocular in that they use two telescope OTAs (with built-in contrast enhancing baffling) from one of the world's premier telescope manufacturers, they may indeed become an heirloom item.

On paper their 60mm of aperture and small 2.1 degree field does'nt look very impressive (especially these days when 100mm binoculars can be purchased for as little as $300), but it is the quality of the image that can be seen through the 22x60s that makes them worth their comparitively high price in my opinion.

John Finnan

#14 craig_oz_land

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 05:53 AM

John, I think someone else mentioned to me on this forum that Tak were dropping the FS range of refractors as well. Could be the same fluorite issue at work again?

#15 brocknroller

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 03:55 PM

So Tak is going to make a new version with 3.5* FOV. Mmmm... AND Burgess is making a similar design with 3.5* FOV. Mmmm... Oh, no! Tak is planning on outsourcing the manufacture of its FL bins to China!!! Call the Quality Control Police (and put me on the waiting list :-).

#16 KennyJ

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 04:15 PM

Brock ,

Perhaps I've missed something here .

WHERE have you read that Takahashi are bringing out a NEW wider field 22 x 60 binocular ?

Inrigued , Kenny

#17 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:56 PM

I was referring to the 25x65 binos mentioned in Eric D's post. They are made by Burgess with fpl-53 (as advertised by Astronomics), I was curious if there has a been a review of them yet, or if anyone on this board has tried them.

#18 brocknroller

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 10:08 PM

Kenny,

Oh, just a rumor. :-) With Nikon, Pentax, Celestron, Minolta, etc. leaping over the Great Wall, could Tak be next? NOT LIKELY since their niche is the high end market. But... if the world economy tanks again, who knows?

A question: If Tak can't afford to produce the FLs because of the high cost of FL glass, then HOW could Burgess be offering a similar model for only $295?!

Granted, the labor costs are WAY cheaper in China than in Japan, but the flourite still costs the same. There must be other reasons for their discontinuation, like perhaps there are still 100 out of the 450 still left unsold?

I didn't realize there were only 450 Tak FL bins made! I think I've seen half of them for sale on eBay or A-mart.

Someday, when the Chinese get their QC together the label "made in China" might not throw up a "Red" flag (unless they are still communist :-), but right now (or whenever they are sold), I'd be VERY surprised if the Burgess 22x65 matched the optical performance of the Tak 22x60, I'm sure it won't match the mechanical quality.

But for only $295 (Good Grief, these are cheap), I wouldn't expect it to, and it would make a FL astro bin come within reach of many amateur astronomers including me. So Bravo! Bill.

Can't wait to see the "shoot out" between Japanese and Chinese FL astro bins. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

#19 pedro

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 05:48 AM

I agree with you that the views of the moon that you get with them are spectacular. Between the advantage of being able to use two eyes and the nice dark sky background that you get with them they provide much nicer views of the moon than my NP-127 apo refractor does when I use it at 25x with a 26mm Nagler eyepiece. Keep an eye out for nights when the moon is drifting in and out of the clouds. The way the moon illuminates the clouds it often creates views that are more impressive than when there are no clouds at all.

John Finnan


I agree also with both - the Moon at 22X ''extremely sharp, spectacularly detailed and pure in color'' drifting in andout of the clouds it's something amazing through the Takis - when Moon is raising and full between some very light haze and clouds it's also another great show!
The ''little'' trapezium in M42 very well splited and blinking as blue diamonds between several stars against the black sky background it's another very interesting target.
Congratulations to have bought the yours!.

regards Pedro

#20 craig_oz_land

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:01 AM

Brock,

I believe fluorite or calcium fluoride (CaF2) and FPL53 glass are not the same thing.

Secondly, if there are 100 Takahashi Astronomers out there unsold I would be very interested in where they are. I spoke with the Australian Takahashi dealer today and he told me he hasn't been able to buy them for quite a while. He bought the last two from TNR some time ago.

Craig

#21 EdZ

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 10:16 AM

QUOTES
I was referring to the 25x65 binos mentioned in Eric D's post. They are made by Burgess with fpl-53 (as advertised by Astronomics), I was curious if there has a been a review of them yet, or if anyone on this board has tried them.

A question: If Tak can't afford to produce the FLs because of the high cost of FL glass, then HOW could Burgess be offering a similar model for only $295?

I believe fluorite or calcium fluoride (CaF2) and FPL53 glass are not the same thing.



To answer some questions raised here.

The 22x65 Burgess is preorder only. It is not yet available, so there are no reviews yet.

Ohara FPL53 ED glass is not quite the same thing as Fluorite. It is fluorite glass re-melted with other ingredients to make a more homogeneous glass that is easier to polish and is easier to multi-coat. Fluorite has a crystalline structure that makes it soft, harder to polish and it more difficult to hold multicoatings. Fluorite lenses cost on the order of 2 to 3 times more than FPL53.

Fluorite glass can currently be manufactured in China.

We need to assume the reason for the use of the ED glass is color correction. HOWEVER, even if you use fluorite or in this case FPL53 ED glass, that in itself does not provide better color correction. These materials by themselves cannot correct color. The real key to color correction is the mating element that is used with the ED element. Any mating element can be selected that might result in poor, good, excellent or perfect color correction. It gets more expensive to fabricate a higher performance lens combination. At some point between poor and perfect, each manufacturer decides where the image produced by the doublet ( or sometimes triplet) is good enough. It is more difficult to discern any differences in smaller lenses, therefore a smaller lens can be made just good enough and need not be perfect. Hence you can get an inexpensive binocular with a FPL53 ED lens component.

BTW, none of this addresses the degree of figure of the ED lens. My guess is the Tak has the upper hand because 1, the lens elements are figured more precisely and 2, the mating element is higher on the performance curve, both resulting in a more costly manufacturing process but also resulting in a much higher performing product.


edz

#22 Rich N

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:19 AM

Brock,

I believe fluorite or calcium fluoride (CaF2) and FPL53 glass are not the same thing.

Craig


You're right, however Ohara FPL-53 has virtually the same dispersion index as CaF2. FPL-53 is a fluoro-glass.

FPL-51 = 81.61 Vd
FPL-52 = 90.31 Vd
FPL-53 = 94.97 Vd
CaF-2 = 94.996 Vd
(Numbers thanks to Thomas Back.)

Rich

#23 milt

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 05:45 PM

"you never know what you've got (could get) until it is gone, they have paved Paradise and put up a parking lot"
Joni Mitchell



So true, so true. It is sad to see these fine binoculars go out of production. They had the unique combination of a slowish focal ratio (as binoculars go) and Takahashi quality, which may well have produced the highest Strehl of any binocular made. It will be interesting to see if Tak has another go at the high-end bino market, but at least in their scopes they generally bring out a new model before discontinuing the old. So this may not be a good sign.

The reason Burgess will be able to produce "similar" binoculars for much cheaper will be that they need not have the quality of fluorite crystal, the precise figure, the surface smoothness nor coating transmittivity that you get with Takahashi. This is not a bad thing as long as you realize what you're getting (or not) for the money. Yes, I have looked through a Burgess binocular before - a 25x100 on a night that I happened to have my TV101 set up nearby. Needless to say the Burgess wasn't in the same league, but at 1/10th the price who would expect it to be?

I am amazed that Fujinon's 150 series and Kowa's Highlander have survived this long given that they cannot have had many more sales than the Tak 22x60. I am knocking on wood as I say this....

#24 edwincjones

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 05:54 PM

As light polution increases, air quality deterates, my old eyes deterate, I need the quality optics to compensate.

What I can see today with the fuji/kowa/taks is probably equal to what my great-great-grandfather could have seen 100yrs ago in the Burgess binocs.

Ed

#25 KennyJ

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:04 PM

< What I can see today with the fuji/kowa/taks is probably equal to what my great-great-grandfather could have seen 100yrs ago in the Burgess binocs.>

GREAT point Ed !

But surely all the MORE reason for SOME manufacturer to be looking to raise the bar even higher ?

There will always be " those " who CAN afford such luxury items , and with web sites like this growing daily in membership and interest , more and more people will at least WISH they could afford such instruments .

WISHES sometimes have a happy habit of coming true when the desire is strong enough , sometimes in spite of great adversary .

Kenny






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