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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
Posts: 2085
Loc: Blue Ridge, GA, USA
First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's
      #765323 - 01/07/06 01:48 AM Attachment (206 downloads)

I was looking to upgrade from my Oberwerk 25x100IF because I find them to be my most often used viewing instrument. I thought about the BT-100's. But the weight to me was a downside - 26lbs is a lot of weight to be hoisting on and off a mount and tripod that weighs that much again, so when I heard the Saturn III's were half that weight, that just added to the interest in these newly released binos.

I was also hoping that someone ELSE would buy them and review them quickly, but seeing no reviews yet, I decided to take the plunge and order a pair. I chatted with Kevin at BigBinoculars.com to find out a bit more about them (no finder scope yet, and it's not included in spite of web-site comment, and only 39x EP's available - but the accessories should appear shortly). They shipped out Tuesday, missed delivering on Thursday for reasons best known to UPS, finally arriving Friday afternoon. Of course, the weather was...ok we know the routine.

The Saturn's arrived extremely well packed as usual (fitted case was double-boxed). I knew they would be big based on the long FL but with a nice carrying handle and built-in dewshields they are very easy to handle and plunk onto a mount. There was no documentation with the binos (hopefully that will come), so I have no more information on the technical specs than what you read on any website. These are long 100mm binoculars at F7.5, some 28" long. The lens caps wouldn't budge an inch, so I was mulling over how to pry them off (twist them off?) having visions of being told they were left-hand threads after quasi-demolishing them , but fortunately, a padded screwdriver finally pried them free.

I still haven't decided about the best way to mount them, but I did have a Bogen 475 tripod and a 503 head. The Saturn III's are at the top end weightwise of what the 503 is rated to carry, but it had little difficulty with it. This combination actually worked much better than I thought - damping time was 2s and backlash was pretty minimal. It seems you have to put the scope on the head backwards to get near the Zenith but it doesn't seem to complain about that. The total weight - tripod, mount and Saturns is 25lbs. a very nice managable weight for quick setup. Of course with the much longer tubes, you really have to have a Tripod with an elevator (like the 475) as the viewing height changes a lot as you angle it up and down. I'm a fan of p-mounts, so I was a bit apprehensive of a tripod-mounted bino, but the 45 degree EP's work well even when the binos are almost pointing straight up.

Well, at least it wasn't RAINING or SNOWING, so out it went onto the back deck with crossed fingers and excessive optimism. The skies were still cloudy and at 27F and a brisk breeze it felt a lot colder. But every now and then the quarter moon shone through and gave me at least a tantalizingly brief chance to look through the EP's . The standard EP's are 19.2mm with a 66 degree AFOV which yield 39x and an FOV of 1.7 degrees (which was precisely my guess based on looking at the moon, so it appears accurate). The EP's have good eye relief although the hard rubber eyecups were too long for my taste - I prefer soft rubber eyecups with flaps to block out all extraneous light, so I ordered some from Orion to see how they will work out.

Collimation was fine and the moon snapped into very sharp focus with relatively little CA. Purple and greenish fringes were certainly visible on the moon but by no means objectionable (With an NP-127, I admit I'm a bit spoiled) and the image seemed sharp out to 80% or so with noticeable but relatively minimal fall off beyond that point.

As the skies cleared up a bit more, I started checking to see how small a crater I could capture. Mare Serenitatis was well illuminated and Bessel (16km) was readily found (angular size: 8.8"). When the seeing settled for a moment, Both Bobillier (6.5km) and Deseilligny just popped into view as well (6.6km). That represents an angular size of around 3.5" - superb performance. Using my Rukl Lunar Atlas, I had little difficulty finding several other craters in the 8-10km range. Dropping down into Mare Tranquillitatis, Cauchy was easy to spot (12.4km) as were both rilles.

At that point, a fair portion of the sky started to clear and with Orion clearly visible, it was off to M42. The Trapezium split beautifully. It splits in my 25x100 IF's, but it's a bit murky and B is hard to see. Here all four components were cleanly separated as tight dots. The Nebula itself was amazingly good even with all the clouds lurking around and the quarter moon - I can hardly wait to catch it on a dark moonless night. The contrast in the Miyauchi's is excellent, so the nebulosity stands out really well against a dark background and the varying texture of the nebular itself was appreciated. Nearyby Na'ir al Saif at mag 2.75 has a 7.7 mag companion at around 11" which was clearly visible. Although I've looked at Na'ir al Saif many times with the 25x100's I'd never noticed that companion because it was just drowned out in the glare. Heading towards Alnitak, I stopped off at the small cluster SigmaOri (just 50' from Alnitak) and the pair of 8.5 mag stars there split so easily that I realize I'm going to have to find a whole 'nother set of tighter doubles (never bothered with anything below 8" before!). Then off to m78 which was found instantly (follow the 3 stars in Orion's belt, angle off 90 degrees at Alnitak away from M42 the length of the belt and it's right there). The 10.8 mag star adjacent to M78 was readily visible and M78 itself showed well against the background - again the contrast is remarkable (especially since the viewing was so mediocre).

At that point, the clouds were winning the battle handily and it was clearly time to pack up for the evening, but wait... a small dark hole and a bright light in the middle - well, what better way to close an evening with the Saturn III's than to look at SATURN itself . Saturn in the 25x100 was just barely discernible as a ringed planet, but here, the rings were cleanly separated from the planet and presented a surprisingly satisfying view.

The only thing that would make these binoculars perfect would of course be to use standard 1.25" EP's, but it seems no bino is ever perfect and I can live with the proprietary EP's (hmmmm, I wonder if Siebert could make an OCA + adapter!). I will almost certainly pick up the 75x EP's based on this performance. I don't mind the narrower FOV as I have a pair of 18x50 Canon's when I want to see more. I do like the higher magnification though and am now waiting anxiously for a really clear moon-less night. All in all I am very pleased with these binos - the light weight for me is a huge plus and the longer FL certainly delivers with good optical performance and better controlled CA. These will also be easier and quicker to set up than my 25x100's which I used on a P-mount and surveyor's tripod, so I know they will be getting a lot of use over the coming months. Of course everything comes at a premium. These are six times the cost of the 25x100's so on a value basis, the 25x100 win handily, but when it comes to performance, it appears these Saturn III's really shine. I'll know a lot more when I have an opportunity to take them out under clear dark skies - something that Accuweather says should happen Saturday night (must not have heard about my new equipment yet).

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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's new [Re: CESDewar]
      #765397 - 01/07/06 05:59 AM

Thanks for another invaluable addition to our mini - review section !

Regards , Kenny

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Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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edwincjones
Close Enough


Reged: 04/10/04
Posts: 7980
Re: First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's new [Re: KennyJ]
      #765414 - 01/07/06 06:26 AM

Great and timely review. I am interested in the comparsions between your and my binocs, and wonder if both will stay in the market. Both seem simular, and with the longer focal length, you get highter magification and less color than I do in the f5s. (Color is probably simular with your f7.5 and my f5 florite)

I got my miyauchi 20x100s about 5-6 years ago, and I am still waiting for the instruction manual-I do not think they exist.

Enjoy you magificent binoculars,
edj

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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's new [Re: edwincjones]
      #765459 - 01/07/06 08:06 AM

Thanks for reporting CES. Your new Saturn looks like a sweet bin and I'm sure the views it provides will keep you coming back for more. I'll be curious to know how the Saturn bin performs at the higher magnification.

Enjoy your new bins!


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Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's new [Re: edwincjones]
      #765477 - 01/07/06 08:27 AM

CES,

Thanks very much for that First Light report. I have much interest in this modeld and as far as I know you are the first owner of the Saturn III/F.75 in the USA. ;-))

I purchsed my ProOptics 25X100 in Mar of 2002 and have been searching for an upgrade ever since. Have thought about the BT100/45 time and again but shared your reservation about the SIZE and WT. I use my big binos a LOT more often than my 6in F8 refractor because I can carry the mounted bino and tripod out in one trip. The BT100/45 looks like a VERY nice package but the 50 lb combined WT with the tripod and lack of center column are my primary concerns. To me if I had to hoist a bino/OTA assembly weighing 3 times as much as my 25X100 I should be getting objectives bigger than 100mm and be able to reach much high power.

The fact that Saturn III OTA is only 13 lbs means it's possible to mount them on my Bogen 3246 tripod/501 head right away while I contemplate an ideal mount arrangement: Hercules or Miyauchii fork mount. Very tempting!

I am very interested in reading further comparsions with your 25X100 IF and a report of the 75X EP when you get them.....Thanks againg. Hope the skies do clear up for you tonight.

Erik D

PS. I assume you are using the 3/8-16 mounting screw on the 503 head for the Saturn III instead of 1/4-20. Is that correct? Do the Saturn IIIs have more than one threaded mounting hold at the base?


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Joad
Wordsmith


Reged: 03/22/05
Posts: 18002
Re: First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's new [Re: Erik D]
      #765797 - 01/07/06 12:39 PM

Great, just great. Another beautiful binocular to tempt me. I've seen this beauty on the Oberwerk site already, and now your report only makes the thing more tempting. The longer focal length seems to be a must for a non-APO glass, and this Saturn answers that need.

Meanwhile Meade is coming out with a new line of APO refractors at relatively low prices . . .

What's a guy to do?

Enjoy those bins. Thanks for the report. We'll all be looking forward to more.


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CESDewar
GorillAstronomer


Reged: 01/16/05
Posts: 2085
Loc: Blue Ridge, GA, USA
Re: First Light with the Miyauchi Saturn III's new [Re: Erik D]
      #765990 - 01/07/06 03:05 PM

Quote:

CES,
....as far as I know you are the first owner of the Saturn III/F.75 in the USA. ;-))



No, Kevin said someone in California had beat me to it, but maybe not anyone who posted any report on it.

Quote:

The fact that Saturn III OTA is only 13 lbs means it's possible to mount them on my Bogen 3246 tripod/501 head right away while I comteplate an ideal mount arrangement: Hercules or Miyauchii fork mount.



My thoughts exactly. I may get a fork type mount for better access near the Zenith, but the 475/503 combo works remarkably well. Certainly an elevator is essential with the longer tube.

Quote:

PS. I assume you are using the 3/8-16 mounting screw on the 503 head for the Saturn III instead of 1/4-20. Is that correct? Do the Saturn IIIs have more than one threaded mounting hold at the base?




Just a 3/8-16 thread. But 1/4-20 inserts exist -in fact I ordered one some time ago and they sent me a packet of 10 by mistake, so I'll be happy to mail you one if you want it

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