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/ Miyauchi 22x71 Saturn II First...
Miyauchi 22x71 Saturn II First Light Mini-Review
January 17, 2006 6:02 PM
This is my Miyauchi 22x71 NBA Saturn II first light mini-review. I have been in amateur astronomy about 4 years and have owned 5 telescopes, with this being my first large binoculars. I have no connection with BigBinoculars.com or Miyauchi.
I decided to get large binoculars for those nights where I want to get some quick views. My 5” Takahashi TOA-130 refractor with Denk II binoviewers is a nice setup, but requires enough time to setup to prevent those quick views. It amounts to about 50lbs of equipment and several trips in and out of the house. It also requires some cool down time to get the best views.
After reading many forums, I decided on the Saturn II’s. See
Miyauchi 22x71 NBA - Another Mini-Review?
for how I came to that decision.
Kevin at BigBinoculars.com did a great job helping me with questions and delivered the equipment promptly. It was great to get UPS tracking information too. The equipment arrived well packed and included the Saturn II’s, the custom case, the custom Miyauchi fork mount, and a Bogen 475 tripod. Upon close inspection, I found no flaws or problems with any of the equipment. The optics look good under the forbidden flashlight test.
Dusk was upon me and so I checked the temperature and sky. The temperature was 20 degrees and the sky was clear. Typical for Colorado winters. This is exactly why I wanted something like these binoculars. I know there are you diehards out there, but I only like to be out in this weather no more than 30 minutes. After that, it isn’t much fun for me. So I started putting the system together.
The Saturn II’s attach to the fork mount with a single 3/8” thumb screw. There is a center rail that helps align them straight. They are easy to put on and off. Sliding forward and backward along the rail allows the user to properly balance the load. The fork mount attaches to the Bogen 475 tripod with another 3/8” bolt. Unfortunately, the grub screws on the tripod just barely hit the bottom plate of the Miyauchi fork mount. This is the only way to keep the fork mount from unscrewing from the tripod when turning the Az axis. I set them anyway and they seem to hit enough to hold.
The Bogen 475 tripod is nice and well thought out. It has plenty of adjustments, plenty of height, and is lightweight and sturdy. The adjustable center column is worth it. I can stand straight and still have the Saturn II’s at Zenith. Highly recommended.
The Miyauchi fork mount is also well built and sturdy. The mounting cradle can be quickly removed with two thumb screws if needed. The only thing I question is the inability to adjust the friction on either axis. The mount did hold the binoculars at all positions, but I would prefer a way to adjust that friction. Also, I don’t see a way to adapt this fork mount with DSC’s. So that’s something to consider if the user wants that. Most binocular users don’t see a need for it, but personally, with the optional 40x or 115x eyepieces, I sure wouldn’t mind it. I like the ID function of my Argo Navis.
The optional Miyauchi custom case is also very nice. It fits the binoculars with eyepieces attached in a nice foam lined box with locking latches. Another recommended option.
Now, on to the Saturn II’s. The first thing I will mention is that the included 3x12 finder appears well made but was useless to me. Heck, I played with it for 30 minutes trying to figure out what the heck anyone would do with it. Either I am missing something or it really is useless. You need the Saturn II’s as a finder to this finder –ha. At 22x, I don’t see the need. Miyauchi would be well served to either improve this or forget it. I’ll leave mine in the box.
The Saturn II’s are a nice compact size and weight. They are very easy to carry and use. I can easily carry the entire setup (tripod, mount, and binoculars) fully assembled in one trip in and out of the house, and my back didn’t mind the load. The lens caps are plastic front and rear and work ok. The front caps are somewhat tight, but that’s better than too loose like most eyepiece caps. The eyepiece caps are not tight but seem to hold fine. The front objectives have sliding dew/light shields that work well and are well designed. Looking into the front objectives show good even coatings with what appears to be well blackened tubes. The eyepieces attached by a twist in design. My first impression is that they do twist in, but easily untwist too. I can see them getting “unlocked” without knowing it and hitting the ground if the binoculars where tilted far up. This is something to watch. The included 22x eyepieces look like good quality and have decent eye relief. The IPD adjusters are tight and work well. I prefer them tight so that they don’t move when in use. The focusers are smooth and easy, maybe a bit too easy. I didn’t have a problem with them but would prefer they were a bit tighter. There are no adjustments on either that I see.
Now, on to the views. I don’t have the 40x or 115x eyepieces yet so this is all based on the included 22x eyepieces. My first impression was “Wow”. Although I feel I am spoiled by a 5” Tak, these had that same, or nearly same, contrast. After playing a bit with the IPD and focusers, I was able to get pinpoint stars with no flare. If the IPD setting is off for your eyes, you may experience merging problems and stars with flare. If properly adjusted, the view is just right. I also note that the stars seemed excellent almost to the edge of the view. For sure to 90%.
As my backyard faces East, I headed first for M42. I have a fresh view of M42 in my mind from the star party last week using the Tak. Allowing my eyes to settle in and dark adjust soon showed a beautiful sight. The Nebula was well defined and brighter than I expected. In my rush to see several things before I was frozen, I forgot to note how well the trapezium looked, so can’t report on that. Next, I looked at each bright star in Orion’s belt. All were well defined and pinpoint. I was easily able to see Delta next to Mintaka with good definition between them. Great. On to Pleiades. M45 looked marvelous. Great contrast with pinpoint stars. The Saturn’s 2.27 FOV was nice on this object. Next stop, Castor. I was curious if I could split it 22x. Nope, I didn’t figure I could at that low power. On to M44. The beehive cluster was like Pleiades. Nice FOV with a lot of contrast. This tour had to be quick as 20 degrees gets me fairly fast. The final stop before I was frozen was Saturn. The moon would be coming up soon and Saturn was just clearing the trees. Wow, at 22x I could easily see the rings with separation from the planet. I could also see Saturn’s largest moon Titan and glimpses of Rhea. Rhea is 9.5 magnitude. Not bad for 22x and 71mm aperture. I spent at least 10 minutes viewing Saturn – it was that good.
Time to go in, but here comes the moon. Ok, let’s see what CA exists. The moon looked good and crispy. Compared to the Tak, there was slight color on the edge of the moon. Nothing objectionable though. Clearly the Tak triplet is superior in this regard, but the long focal length of the Saturn II’s is a plus for keeping the CA to a minimum.
Overall I am very pleased with the Saturn II’s. I don’t have the other eyepieces yet, but I understand that the 115x are not very useful and can have problems focusing at infinity. I’ll have to talk to Kevin about that. I would also prefer that Miyauchi offer 60x-80x eyepieces.
Bottom-line, these binoculars are highly recommended. After seeing how nice these are, I might consider the Saturn III’s when the full range of eyepieces are available. I don’t think the extra 5lbs should keep them from being “quick view” binoculars.
Michael in Colorado
January 17, 2006 6:29 PM
A GREAT first review !
Thank you so much .
We are all in danger of being SPOILT for choice of new reviews this week :-)
EdZ -- is there any way this can be RE - SIZED to remove the unfortunate WIDE - SCREEN effect ?
Regards , Kenny
Milton Wilcox R.I.P
January 17, 2006 7:27 PM
Please allow me to add my congratulations to Kenny's on a well written and enjoyable review. You pretty much own the reference standard on color (or lack therof) with the TOA130, so it is impressive that the Miyauchi compared that favorably. And I'll bet that your description of Saturn will sell a few more Saturns! BTW, I also use a Bogen 475 and have been very pleased with it.
Clear skies, Milt
January 17, 2006 8:51 PM
Michael, Nice review. I think you will find that the 1/4 turn lock of the ep's will improve as you use them. When I first got my Saturns i had the same problem and resorted to wrapping a # 64 rubber band around the ep so it couldn't back out. I have found that the more I use them,the more they seem to "seat in". As far as the 115 x ep's,you should definitely try them. If you have good sky conditions where you live I think you will like the 115x eps also.Definitely get the 40x ep's,you won't be without them.Congrats on your purchase !! You will grow even more attached to them as you use them. I have mine on a Hercules mount with the Sky commander and its a hoot to run around the sky chasing stuff ! Wayne
January 18, 2006 11:00 AM
I bought a pair of the Saturn IIs about two months ago. Your recommendations played a big part in my decision. It is a remarkable instrument.
I am now looking for a better mount than the tripod head I am now using. I find your remark about the Hercules cradle with DSCs very interesting. I emailed the gentleman at Helix about three weeks ago about attaching encoders to one of his mounts, but he didn't have much information.
I wonder if you could describe your setup, especially how you attached the encoders, and the hardware you used. I would appreciate any info you could give me. A photo would be terriffic. Thanks.
As far as the general subject of the Saturn IIs: At a little over a thousand dollars they are a bargain. The optical performance is close to perfect. I have used them mostly during daytime. They are SHARP virtually edge to edge and there is very little false color. Their economy of design provides rigid alignment with light weight. The only thing I didn't like were the objective covers which have been replaced by 77mm snap on photographic lens covers. I plan to cut out the centers of the origional covers and fill them with Baader solar filter material.
January 18, 2006 10:37 PM
Sandy, I would be delighted to send you pics of the mounting of the encoders. It is very simple as the Herc. mount is already ready for the encoder shafts. I will get these for you sometime tomorrow. Wayne
January 19, 2006 11:01 AM
Thanks, Wayne, that would be great.
January 22, 2006 10:49 PM
Sandy, I left you a PM and my e-mail address so you could send me yours ,so I can send some pics to you. Wayne
/ Miyauchi 22x71 Saturn II First...
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