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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
Posts: 2085
Loc: Blue Ridge, GA, USA
First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new
      #1510570 - 03/28/07 02:21 AM Attachment (179 downloads)

The Miyauchi Pleiades binoculars just arrived today extremely well-wrapped from BigBinoculars.com
- but the weather is (quick switch to the Oracle in the Matrix: "But, you already know that.....").

In spite of ghastly viewing conditions though, I did take them out for a quick peek through the clouds, but it was way too hazy to really see anything. I'm used to binocular viewing under SQM 21.30 skies here, so when the 3 belt stars in Orion are only visible with averted vision, you know the seeing ain't so good!

First reaction was: These are Cute! - like baby Saturns - certainly after being used to Saturn III's, these are small - just 11" long and 4.4lbs! I mounted them on a Manfrotto 728B tripod - this is a very lighweight tripod and mount and it worked just great with these binoculars - more than sturdy enough. Total weight, binoculars, tripod and head was 8lbs 3oz. - a wonderfully-light combo to pick up with one hand. I plan to take these to Australia with me early next year for hopefully some good viewing out at Uluru. I also wanted a wider-field option than my Saturn III's and I have been so happy with them, that the Pleiades looked like a good choice.

The binoculars are 22x60's with a 3 FOV and nice slide-out dew caps. The Eyepieces are removable, but proprietary - there are apparently 15x EP's for this scope, but not available from anywhere I could find. The helical focussers on each eyepiece were smooth and worked well. The 45 EP's are unique in such small binoculars, but they contribute greatly to comfortable viewing, and were a key feature in my purchase decision.

The only objects I looked at were the Trapezium, the Moon and Saturn (not much else was visible!).

M42 itself was not visible against the horribly washed-out, moon-lit background, but I did manage to see 3 stars in the Trapezium with effort and for a short while, I was quite sure I could see all four stars. Of course this is at the borderline of visibility and it took much fiddling to get the focus absolutely perfect. Nearby Nair-al-Saif's companion, some 11 arc-seconds away, was readily split. <<Update: Tonight I looked again at Nair-al-Saif and could not split it - and the seeing seemed better tonight, so I'm concerned about that comment - on the other hand, I could comfortably split Sigma Orionis A/D components which are around 12.8" - and I was even able to correctly identify the orientation of the much tighter double at the center of M47 (not split - but definitely elongated)>>

The moon looked fine - yes, there is CA, but it's not enough to be objectionable. The image was sharp but not what I would describe as tack-sharp ("tack-sharp" - meaning so incredibly sharp that no improvement would be possible or visible). However, I could just catch Rupes Recta (the Great Wall), so I don't want to imply the image was not excellent. The crater Ammonius (the very prominent and contrasty 9km crater in the floor of Ptolemaeus) was readily visible. The moon was also just about perfectly at the Zenith, and yet it was not that awkward to look at it with the 45 EP's - a straight-through binocular would have literally been a pain in the neck!

Switching to Saturn, the ring structure was just visible with the separation from the planet at the borderline of visibility. Titan was seen, but with the huge amount of haze, no other moons were visible (something I intend to look for on a really clear night).

At that point, Saturn disappeared in the clouds and it was obvious that I need to wait for a really clear moonless night to do these binoculars justice. I really got these for some nice, wider field views - things like m46/m47 together and....of course....m45

All in all, my initial reaction is very positive. There is a small, 3x finder scope as an option which I bought - largely because it makes an extremely convenient carrying handle for the binoculars. But with very long eye relief, it actually appears to be useful, so a worthwhile addition.

I'll try and get another post off when I do finally get it under some dark, moonless skies in a fortnight or so...

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Edited by CESDewar (03/28/07 10:19 PM)


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edwincjones
Close Enough


Reged: 04/10/04
Posts: 7980
Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: CESDewar]
      #1510591 - 03/28/07 02:56 AM

Welcome to the Pleiades club-they are cute, fun binoculars.

I got mine mainly for birding, but find myself using them more and more for astronomy and public star parties.

edj

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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: edwincjones]
      #1511020 - 03/28/07 10:38 AM

They do look cute. I'm looking forward to further reports on these. Thanks also for that useful definition of what is "tack sharp".

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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milt
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Reged: 09/13/04
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 [Re: CESDewar]
      #1517520 - 03/31/07 07:42 PM

Hi CES,

Sorry that you did not have better seeing for first light. I'm confident that your baby Miya will just keep getting better as your skies improve. Keep us posted.

Thanks,
Milt


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edwincjones
Close Enough


Reged: 04/10/04
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: milt]
      #1518326 - 04/01/07 09:31 AM

Two recent highlights of my Pleiades were:

taking to an 8th grade star party to show the kids the moon, M44 and 45 in very light poluted skies.

taking to a state park and watching eagles and white pelicans several miles away in the lake

positivies include being large enough to see a lot, small enough to be very portable, cheap enough to risk with public outreach.
negativies include CA (did not bother the kids or birds or me) and center focusing would be easier for me.

edj

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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
Posts: 2085
Loc: Blue Ridge, GA, USA
Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: edwincjones]
      #1519549 - 04/01/07 09:10 PM

Yes, there's certainly CA present, but I agree there's a difference between noticing it and finding it actually interfering with the view. It's only noticeable on an unusually sharp dividing line between light and dark objects.

All things being equal, Center focussing would be nice for terrestial viewing, but I'll be using this mainly for astronomical viewing. I got them to complement my Saturn III's with a wider field as it has almost twice the FOV of my Saturn III's at 39x.

The optics are not quite up to the standards of my Saturn III's (which are superbly sharp at 39x), but I doubt that will interfere with the enjoyment of any views through it. It's raining yet again tonight, but I'm hoping to get some observing in next week on a good clear night before the moon rises. I'll post an updated opinion at that time, when I have a good chance to give them a test drive under dark skies.

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pcad
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/17/05
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: CESDewar]
      #1519591 - 04/01/07 09:32 PM

Hi CES,

I'm glad the Pleaides 22x60 is living up to your expectations. Seems like a great mid sized astro-bino.

I'm a bit curious about the finder. Is it an upright image matching the bino? Just how long is the eye relief? Is it similar to a rifle scope? Could a rifle scope be used as a finder?

Enjoy!

Peter

--------------------
Peter

Telescopes 25 - 318 mm
Binoculars 12 - 100 mm
Microscope 50x - 1000x


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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
Posts: 2085
Loc: Blue Ridge, GA, USA
Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: pcad]
      #1519930 - 04/02/07 01:01 AM

Quote:

I'm a bit curious about the finder. Is it an upright image matching the bino? Just how long is the eye relief? Is it similar to a rifle scope? Could a rifle scope be used as a finder?




It's an upright image and the eye relief is about 55mm - you can see it has to be that long as you have to be able to use it from behind the eyepieces. You could certainly substitute something else, but that finder also functions very nicely as a carrying handle for the binoculars (the alignment is handled with small, inset screws so the finder is very solidly attached to the binoculars themselves). At $100 (purchased with binos) it may seem a bit expensive, but in fact it works quite well and 22x is in the territory where you do need a finder. Of course a straight-through finder on a scope with 45 EP's is not convenient when viewing anywhere near the Zenith, and I'll probably figure out a mount for a laser finder. I've had it out a few times, but only in dreadful skies - I'm waiting for a nice, moonless, dark sky here so I can really put it through its paces for several hours.

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Edited by CESDewar (04/02/07 01:15 AM)


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edwincjones
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Reged: 04/10/04
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: CESDewar]
      #1520441 - 04/02/07 11:33 AM

the finder is great during the day, okay for bright objects at night, but hard to use for faint nighttime objects

edj

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edwincjones
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Reged: 04/10/04
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: edwincjones]
      #1520444 - 04/02/07 11:34 AM

a Rigel finder is much easier to use at night

edj

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milt
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Reged: 09/13/04
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: CESDewar]
      #1522604 - 04/03/07 01:29 PM

I'm waiting for a nice, moonless, dark sky here so I can really put it through its paces for several hours.

CES, I forgot to mention this: Since you also own an 18x50IS, how about having it handy while you do your evaluation of the Pleiades? I never owned both simultaneously, so my previous comments on the superiority of the Miya are based on observing notes and general recollections from the 3 years that I owned my Canon. It would be nice to have some corroboration (or not).

Of course, a 22x60 should be superior to an 18x50 for astronomy, but when that 22x60 is also less expensive and offers a 45 viewing angle it becomes a great deal, which I believe the Miya to be. BTW, you are allowed to mount the Canon to extract its full potential since that was how I always used mine.

Thanks,
Milt


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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: milt]
      #1523569 - 04/03/07 11:05 PM

CES, I forgot to mention this: Since you also own an 18x50IS, how about having it handy while you do your evaluation of the Pleiades?

Well with heavy showers predicted, I was somewhat surprised to see clearish skies at 9pm, so I went out for a quick session before the expected clouds rolled in. RH was 80% and the 1-day-past-full moon was already starting to ignite the Eastern Sky, but something is better than nothing. I guess I'm spoiled by the usual 6+ mag skies here! Anyway, took a moment to compare the Pleiades (on a super lightweight Bogen 728b tripod) with the Canon 18x50's, both tripod mounted (Bogen 475) and handheld with IS enabled.

First stop: Venus. Some CA noticeable in the Pleiades - none noticed in the Canons. Canons focused to a slightly tighter disc. My Pleiades have noticeably better optics in the left optical path. The right path is showing some astigmatism. Unfortunately, it clouded over before I was able to perform the obvious test of swapping the eyepieces to see if this was just a problem in the right EP (which it might be - I'll test this out the next clear night). Not a big deal, but definitely noticeable.

The Trapezium was definitely showing 3 stars (a/c/d) in the Pleiades, and I was getting more than a slight hint at B, Canons were showing it as more than a single star, but it was noticeably tougher to make it out. If I had not known what I was looking at I'm not sure how I would have described it. The difference between 22x and 18x was definitely showing here. With IS enabled on the Canons, I could sort of tell the Trap was not a star, but neither was it entirely clear what it was either.

The double just below Nair Al Saif was sharp to extreme edge of Canons - but was showing distortion at about 70% out on the Pleiades, and was not even really distinguishable at extreme edge. This is not surprising - the Canon's are known for their extremely flat fields and they are indeed impressive. Field flatness: a definite win for the Canons.

M78 and M1 were just barely visible through the soup, but M1 was very difficult in the Canon's - the slightly larger aperture of Pleiades definitely helped here. This was definitely not a night for observing DSO's.

I could see easily Delta Orionis next to Mintaka in the Pleiades; not quite as easy in Canon's mounted; quite difficult with IS enabled. I definitely notice some image degradation with IS enabled, but tripod-mounting the Canon IS binoculars does seem a bit like driving a Ferrari down a suburban street at 30mph . The slight degradation is a small price to pay for the amazing stability that kicks in when enabled.

Mizar (about 14" separation) was nicely separated in the Pleiades and was providing a pretty sight until a huge bolt of lightning flashing the field almost made me fall off my observing chair and reminded me to call it a night!

Finally, let's not forget the "neck" score - Pleiades: B+, Canons: D-. Maybe it's just me, but I find looking through regular binoculars on a tripod unacceptably uncomfortable. One of my main reasons for getting the Pleiades was the 45 EP's and the comfort of sitting down and viewing on a tripod without it being a literal pain in the neck.

Next clear night, I'll do some more testing and also mount a laser finder on it as I know that will work better for finding things at night. This is certainly a nice pair of binoculars for $595 - I'm going to pursue the issue of the astigmatism in the right optical path to see where that is coming from as that is holding back the overall optical performance a bit from where it could be.

--------------------



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milt
professor emeritus


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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: CESDewar]
      #1525322 - 04/04/07 10:20 PM

CES,

Thanks for your nice comparison to the 18x50IS under difficult (again) conditions. Your results parallel my recollections pretty closely so far.

I found your comments about mismatched sides in the Pleiades particularly interesting because I initially thought mine had the same issue. However after experimenting for awhile I realized that the eye alignment is extremely critical and I didn't have the i.p.d. adjusted dead on. If there is any difference in mine, it is so slight as to be virtually undectectable.

Maybe Ed can comment on this too. Kevin must shudder everytime he sees a new post from one of us on his binos.

Milt


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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
Posts: 2085
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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: milt]
      #1525593 - 04/05/07 02:08 AM

...after experimenting for awhile I realized that the eye alignment is extremely critical and I didn't have the i.p.d. adjusted dead on.

It definitely isn't an IPD issue as I can look through the EP with my left eye and see the same issue. Swapped EP's, but had no affect, so it's definitely in the main optics.

BUT I am being very (perhaps unduly) critical here of the optical performance -- needless to say I am comparing it with my Canon 18x50's and Leica Ultravids, both of which are a lot more expensive (and which are by no means perfect). Part of the reason I mention an issue like this even though it's a minor nit is precisely to get feedback from other people. After all if you buy a pair of $50 binos and one side is as good as a Swarovski while the other side is only average, one would be hard-pressed to complain about the quality of the "poorer" side!

I had them out again tonight before the moon rose with skies approaching 6th mag - and the views were wonderful in spite of several hazy clouds occasionally obscuring the view. Being able to see the entire sword in Orion all at once frames M42 wonderfully. I also ran through a dozen or clusters - M46, which was washed out in the soup last night, was displaying a splendid fine texture of stars. M51 showed the two cores clearly with the relative sizes of the two galaxies immediately apparent. I had no difficulty picking up NGC 4449 on the way to M106 - the latter's shape and orientation being very clear. The wider field (than I'm used to with my Saturn III's!) nicely framed Leo's triplet along with the "diamond ring" asterism to the right (SW) of it.

There's no question that finding objects is a lot easier with the wider FOV - one of the main reasons I got these to complement my Saturn III's - and they look like they'll serve that objective with finesse.

--------------------



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milt
professor emeritus


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Re: First Light - Miyauchi Pleiades 22x60 new [Re: CESDewar]
      #1528437 - 04/06/07 03:57 PM

It definitely isn't an IPD issue as I can look through the EP with my left eye and see the same issue. Swapped EP's, but had no affect, so it's definitely in the main optics.

One more thought on this. I am no expert but I do know that these fast Fraunhofer type doublets pick up astigmatism rapidly off-axis. If there was a slight tilt in the right objective (which would have been compensated for in the prism during collimation), then your "sweet spot" would no longer be in the center of the field. You might try moving your test star away from field center to see if you can find a direction in which the astigmatism improves.

Milt


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