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1988 - 91 Clavé eyepieces

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#1 WRose

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 02:39 AM

I believe I've recently been able to confirm a 6th variant of the Clavé eyepiece. Recently I ran across a 3rd set of Clavé by Kinoptic eyepieces the original owner purchased between 1988 and 1991. The inside of these eyepieces has a black lacquered finish. While the black lacquered Coulant interior eyepieces have been around, most people suspected they were from the early 2nd or 3rd Generation of Clavé. This has always seemed odd since the lens and field stop assembly appear to be from the late or post Est. S.R. Clavé era. This recent find of 4 additional Clavé eyepieces purchased by the original owner from the 1988 to 1991 time frame seems to confirm there is a period which is post Est. S.R. Clavé but pre-Gilded Clavé by Kinoptic which is repeatedly recognizable. The easier characteristic is the black lacquered interior of the Coulant.

#2 WRose

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 02:40 AM

These are 5 of 9 Clavé eyepieces that the original owners purchased between 1988 and 1991. Note the black lacquered interior and post Est. S.R. Clavé style field stop assembly.

#3 MADRID SKY

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 05:40 PM

Oh my gosh, these are trasures!!

Would you lend any for an objetive eyepiece test?

:)

#4 FoxTrot

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:38 AM

Hi Bill (Clave expert), can you settle something for me. I bought my Clave from (then) NW Telescopes (State?) in the USA in May 1987 for about $90 USD, although my credit card record (dated 25/5/1987) says "S & S Optika" Englewood USA. Obviously its pre-1988, here are some pics - my question is 'what generation' Clave is it? An original 1st generation? Thanks, Fox.

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#5 FoxTrot

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:39 AM

Bottom end... Fox.

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#6 astrodon

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 07:26 PM

Now all I need to know is which iterations are the best!

#7 WRose

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:11 AM

Hi Fox,
It is definitely not a 1st Generation Clavé. It appears to be either a late 3rd Generation Clavé or more than likely, early Clavé by Kinoptic (aka Kino) after Kinoptic purchased the Clavé Company in 1985.
It's sometimes hard to tell from just a few pictures like this but the style of Stainless Steel Coulant and powder coating place it definitely after the mid 1970's which means it has to be at least a 3rd Generation Clavé or later.
From the dates you gave it would be an early Clavé by Kinoptic after they bought the Clavé Company.
S&S Optic was a huge Clavé dealer back then. Kathy still has a Clavé telescope in the shop she and her husband built that's a beautiful example. I'd guess NW Telescopes was at least associated with S&S Optika, hence the credit card billing. (I'll ask Kathy next time I stop by the shop)
If I had to guess I'd say you have an early Clavé by Kinoptic made between 1985 and about 1988.
Part of the reason I say that is the reflection from the eye lens appears to be a "Classic Purple" seen on many Clavé and not the tri-color reflection seen on the multi-layer AR coatings version (see picture).

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#8 WRose

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:56 AM

You know that's not as simple a question as it sounds. Some time ago I started writing a white paper covering the qualities of the various Clavé variants. When the rough draft got to be about 10 pages I stopped writing. :crazy:
Some general guidelines: The earlier Generations used premium glass not available later and the lens polishing is some of the best in the world. Later Generations/Variants had better AR Coatings and some of the Kinoptic variants have blackened lens edges, etc.
Kinoptic came out with the Gilded variant which used glass made in America but the local French amateur astronomers immediately declared there was no way American Glass could be as good as the earlier Clavé and pronounced the Gilded Clavé as terrible eyepieces. My comparison tests using scopes like a Tak FC-60E, Zeiss Telementor, TV Genesis & NP-127, AP Traveler, AP 152, and 12.5" Starmaster w/ZOC mirror say otherwise.
The later Clavé by Kinoptic are less consistent with some being quite good and others being very poor. Gene Cross (a degreed & practicing optical engineer and Clavé dealer for several years) shared that a friend of his told him that late in the production of Clavé eyepieces they didn't clean the lenses properly so some came out OK while others came out horrible due to contamination under and in the coatings. I can confirm that I have seen later Clavé by Kinoptic with impurities in the optical coatings.

Having used and inspected well over 200 Clavé eyepieces through the years I can tell you the biggest factor in determining the optical quality of a given Clavé eyepiece is how it's been treated over the last several decades.
I have an 8mm Clavé that was manufactured in either late 1954 or early 1955 that friends and acquaintances are amazed at when they use it in the NP-127 or AP 152. Then I show them a mid 1980's 30mm w/50mm Coulant in the 12.5" StarMaster and it's hard to get them away from the eyepiece.
Sorry I can't give you a better answer in less than a dozen pages.

#9 FoxTrot

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 07:07 AM

Man o' man, you sure know yur Clave's, many thanks for the revelation and history lesson. My Clave seems nice to me, so that all that matters... Cheers, Fox :jump:

#10 MADRID SKY

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 11:56 AM

How much would you ask for that 8mm Clave's 1954?

:)

#11 astrodon

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 04:28 PM

Thanks Bill, that explains alot!

#12 MADRID SKY

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 01:37 AM

Thanks Bill, that explains alot!


He is not selling em', isn't he?

:lol:

#13 WRose

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:19 AM

. . . My Clave seems nice to me, so that all that matters... Cheers, Fox :jump:


I agree. As far as I'm concerned, that's the point with any eyepeiece or astronomy equipment for that matter. If you like it, you'll use it and that's the number one point. I have some of the most expensive and hard to find equipment around but I still like to grab a little 80mm refractor or 7x50 binoculars and just go out and "enjoy".
Clavé may not be the absolute "best" eyepeices but the good ones are a joy to use like any other top end equipment. If you like what you're seeing that's all that matters. :jump:
Feel free to IM if you have any specific quesions you think I can answer. I try and and answer during imaging session while I wait for exposures. Enjoy!

#14 KWB

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:25 AM

I like your mindset,Bill. I also like your approach to eye
piece study. I just wish I had your eyepiece collection!
:bounce:

#15 WRose

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:51 AM

Thanks for the kind words Kenny.
My wife wishes she had the money from my eyepiece collection to redo the house! :foreheadslap:

BTW your C80 now resides in a Pelican case with it's Ultima friends, a Nagler or 2, and a couple Clavé. It's been traveling to Phoenix and Weston Pass regularly along with the FC-60E. Plus it made one trip to the parking lot on top of Mt. Haleakala, Maui (see bottom of page 4 & top of page 5 US Air Force Maui Optical & Supercomputing Site ) Probably has more air miles than you this years! :roflmao: Still works as a great finder on the 6" but I've also found it's a nice small traveling scope on it's own. You did a nice job upgrading it, thank you again!

#16 KWB

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:01 AM

My distinct pleasure,Sir. I'm starting to miss it. No doubt
about the the air mileage! Thank you,Bill and I'm a still
a learnin'. Take care.

#17 WRose

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:07 AM

Thanks Bill, that explains alot!


He is not selling em', isn't he?

:lol:


Correct, they are not for sale. To retain a consistent baseline and comparison data I have retained 99+% of the eyepieces I'm using in the study. That's one reason I have so many Clavé. I have acquired 2 complete sets plus extras (making 3 each in several focal lengths) of most high end eyepieces down through inexpensive Plossl sets. This allows me to continue testing each eyepiece and eyepiece line against the others in additional sessions, conditions, and scopes.
I will occasionally trade an eyepiece to obtain some of the more difficult to find like the Zeiss Monocentr but not often.

#18 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 10:13 AM

Bill,

Just for giggles, have you ever "posed" all of your eyepiece collection in one place for a single photo?

I'd be curious to see your showroom!

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#19 MADRID SKY

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 10:48 AM

I have nothing to offer you... I will have to dream about that Clave 8mm 1955.

Have you published the data conclusion yet? If not, when do you plan to offer that test?

Maybe you are you still collecting for a future comparison study...

#20 ngc6475

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 11:55 AM

I have a good friend who owns quite a few Clave eyepieces, including several I assisted him in purchasing from an individual in New Zealand. I have had the good fortune of looking through them many times and overall they are excellent eyepieces. They lack modern coatings, of course, but the polish and figure of the glass appears to be excellent and the views through the Claves are outstanding. I don't have Bill's background or expertise with these fine eyepieces, therefore I cannot place the date or dates of the eyepieces' manufacture, but my friend swears by them and owns very few other eyepieces other than his precious Claves. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of these fine oculars.

Congratulation to Bill for having the patience and wherewithal to collect such an enviable selection of classic Clave eyepieces! I would be grateful to read more about his experiences and opinions of them. Thanks for sharing, Bill!

#21 Scott99

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 12:19 PM

Interesting photos! I checked my 10mm and 25mm Claves (btw, how do you get accent aigu over the e?). They appear to be like Fox's. They have the raised rim above the 1.25 inch metal barrel, but the 1.25 inch barrel is powder coated. They have the simple mag-fluoride coatings. I found a picture!

The quality is very good, I've compared my 10mm to my 10mm AP SPL and it is very, very difficult to discern any difference in contrast. I think the AP SPL is ever-so-slightly better contrast. The SPL also has much better eye relief, but the AFOV is only 42 degrees, compared to 52 for the Clave. Both are very sharp to the edge at f/8.5.

I've lamented the current lack of high-quality simple Plossls in other threads. The 40mm Clave in the picture has bested all 2-inch comers that I've compared it to for about 15 years now. The Baader/UO HD orthos (KK) have the simple, premium-quality ortho market covered, but where are the premium quality Plossls? Maybe we need to persuade KK to make some.

There are some currently available ep's that come close to Claves though. The 25mm 3-element Zeiss aspheric ortho that Markus Ludes sells is superior in contrast to my 25mm Clave, although the edge of field sharpness is a tiny bit better in the Clave. I recently picked up a set of Olympus GWSH eps (converted from microscope by a guy in Germany). They are 3 and 5 element eps (25mm, 16mm, 12mm, 8mm) that have outstanding contrast like the Claves. The Zeiss and Olympus both appear to have slightly blacker sky background & more neutral color than Tele Vue Plossls or Tak LEs. FYI here's a link to the Olympus eps (the specs for AFOV are wrong, if you're really interested I can give you the correct FOV for each one):

http://www.gerd.neum...us_okulare.html

-Scott

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#22 WRose

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 02:51 PM

Bill,
Just for giggles, have you ever "posed" all of your eyepiece collection in one place for a single photo?



I don't have a decent picture of them all but I took this in Jan. '07 for the insurance company. Not shown are 4 Actual Pic du Midi (40mm through 65mm w/50mm Coulant), at least one Barlow, half a dozen 1.25" I loaned to a local friend who is thinking about finding some to purchase (not mine), and several more I had sent off to a lab to have the coatings tested and analyzed. But this is the bulk of the Clavé equipment I owned in January (doesn't include a couple Clavé Objectives) Recently I purchased the 4 from the original owner who bought them in 1988 that initiated this thread. I've also purchased 3 others including a Clavé by Kinoptic 35mm w/2" Coulant recently. Since this picture was taken I traded a binocular pair of 10mm & a 20mm for 3 Clavé in Generation/Variants & focal lengths I didn't have.
I would like to purchase more of the 'Gilded' as I currently only own 3 (I do have 1st right of refusal for 4 more an acquaintance I know owns if he decides to sell them and 2 more I've had on loan but that owner says he'll be buried with them :bawling:). I'd like to find several more of the 1st Generation made in the 1950's and of course any of the original Clavé made for the Pic du Midi contract. Then there's the Clavé by Astronomix Mr. Vinel made in 2003. I only own one so I'd love to find more. They're a 73° FOV (Top row toward the left of center, tall & thin w/Yellowish printing on the bottom)
Some of the more unusual pieces are the Unity Finder Mr. Vinel kindly sent me (rectangle on the far right next to the 2" & 50mm Barlow lenses) This is the original version of a 'Red Dot' finder from the early 80's. Just above it to the left, the group of chrome barrels & eyepieces are a "quick change" arrangement where the eyepieces sit on extension tube and can be quickly lifted off & replaced.
At the top right sitting in front of the focuser is a unique 65mm that the body is made from a single piece of machined aluminum. Amazing bit of machining to get everything to fit in properly all cut from a single piece of reasonably soft aluminium. From the quality of the work and lenses my guess is this was made as part of another commercial contract as I'm sure it took 2 or 3 times the amount of work to manufacture. Like the Pic du Midi eyepieces it is built with very close tolerances and very ruggedly to ensure the lenses and groups stay put.

#23 KWB

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:01 PM

Bill is being modest,Mike. You don't see anything of his
overwhelming TeleVue eyepiece collection,either.

#24 WRose

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:03 PM

I have nothing to offer you... I will have to dream about that Clave 8mm 1955.

Have you published the data conclusion yet? If not, when do you plan to offer that test?

Maybe you are you still collecting for a future comparison study...


Nothing published and it will probably be several years before I can complete the full comparisons. So far it has taken roughly 2,500 hours of work to run through the initial comparisons and reliably reproduce the results at the two locations I am using. To complete the study and provide 5 to 6 valid comparisons with every eyepiece in each telescope will take at least another 3,000 hours work.
Then I still have to get the lab work done testing coatings, light transmission, etc. on an optical bench. I am having an independent lab do this work but it still takes time and cost a great deal of money.
Meanwhile I still have to find time to work. :tonofbricks:

#25 Serenity Now

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:05 PM

Jeez Bill, I'd be afraid to keep all that in one location (that eggs in one basket thang) :shocked: :foreheadslap:


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