The official resolution World Cup
Posted 30 January 2009 - 08:26 AM
Nice report. Most seem to do as expected, however, the Baader ortho: cuzimthedad - a "4", Jim - a "1". What's up with that?
Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:03 PM
Same question too; I had expected the UO HD and Baader to be the same (Antares orthos too). Otherwise the findings and winners were about what I'd expected.
I will admit a bit of disappointment that the UO volcano didn't keep up as well as I'd hoped but only because I loyally own them. I sure won't quit looking through them.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:25 PM
Great report...and fun! Glad I have in my possession the #2 man Liked the final pic with the Brandon knocked out on its side. Looking forward to World Cup II
Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:33 PM
Great job, gentlemen. Even with every impulse to veer from your original plan, the loyal, fanatically disciplined members of OFLI stuck to their guns and applied their standards across the board, even when the results seemed rather loopy. I'll toast that kind of resolve any day!
I would be remiss not to note gleefully that the Nagler T6 received a very respectable '8' on its one, tough run through the mill. I am a bit disturbed, however, that the T6 didn't end up in the "very comfortable aesthetically pleasing views of the multiple star system and nebulosity" bunch mentioned especially. Perhaps this was an oversight and it was already assumed to do that? I hate it when I drink but end up crying.
But overall, good job!
Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:15 PM
You either have to chalk these disparities up to obervers (bias, eyesight, etc.) or seeing changes. I favor the latter explanation. I believe that given the aperture of just 4 inches and the disparity in brightness between C and F and A and E, the least disruption of seeing made the difference between 4 and more in terms of visible stars.
Overall our seeing the night of the event was exceptional for our region and our site. Moisture too was minimal so transparency was excellent. That said, I think there were periods of a few minutes where things were unsettled.
As for eyepieces that matriculated to later rounds, notice that these eyepieces scored consistently high with both observers at each stage, representing excellent performance on the target at many different points throughout the night. While it might not be fair to conclude that the eyepieces suffering from anomalous scores observer to observer were "bad" I do think that it is fair to conclude that the eyepieces that made it to later rounds were indeed excellent.
On the flip side eyepieces receiving consistently low score from both observers have more to answer for. Personally I would not favor those eyepieces for high resolution/fine detail targets. That does not mean I wouldn't use those eyepieces. It means that I would use them for what they tend to be better at - jack-of-all-trade observing.
Other things that are worth commenting on include the sadness I feel that we had to resort to random lots to pick a Group A winner. In truth the Meade Research Grade Orthoscopic (our surprise winner) and the two Pentax units (SMC Ortho and XW) were all tremendous eyepieces. I suspect that had the groupings been different, the Pentax twins might have made it further.
Notice too that our ultimate winner is not our highest scoring eyepiece. Rather only one single eyepiece out of the twenty managed a perfect 10 score - the 8mm Brandon.
Other surprises included the strong showings by the Nagler Type 6 and the Orion (Vixen) LVW. The LVW in particular blew me away. Dan and I both scored it equal to its Semi-Final opponent and ultimate winner, the 7mm Meade Research Grade Ortho. Only the Proctor's scoring kept the LVW out of the final.
I was stunned by the poor showing of the Celestron Ultima. The 5mm Ultima I have is one of my best lunar eyepieces. The 7.5mm's showing is not at all what I expected based on the other Ultimas I've owned and used over the years. This one was one of the last ones made and was literally unused prior to our test. It was new-in-box. Funny thing is, the 5mm also is the newest vintage. Perhaps this is evidence of one of the Challenges cited in the report - variance among samples of a given eyepiece.
As for next year's World Cup...I'm thinking bigger refractors, higher magnifications, fewer eyepieces and a tougher target. The Pup.
Last point - a week or so ago my review of the Meade Research Grade line was posted. That review was a tune-up for the World Cup in the sense that I wanted to figure out how to embed images in the report, work through any formatting issues and the like. In that piece I stated that the Meade Research Grades weren't great performers and were equaled by less costly eyepieces like the University "volcano top" Orthos and the GSO Superviews in the case of the Wide Angle (Erfle) units. In making that statement, I was doing what I often criticize in eyepiece posts - I was making relative performance comparisons based on recollection and not real-time A:B comparisons. Boy was I wrong in my conclusion. Both Meade Research Grades did exceptionally well in the test. Especially shocking in the case of the 7.4mm Wide Angle (Erfle). I have new found respect for these old friends.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:26 PM
You asked for some viewing impressions. In retrospect I wish we'd been a little more methodical in collecting other data. The reason we didn't keep detailed notes beyond the "see it or not" Trapezium data was timing. Our goal was to push through a lot of observing with a lot of glass in a single session, trying (hoping?) to minimize seeing changes as an influence on the results.
I can share my general impressions in a couple of particulars. First, I know all the math regarding modern coatings and the like, but certain eyepieces in the test to my eye were clearly less bright than certain other eyepieces. I can't put labels on which ones given that I really didn't know what I was looking through until after we tabulated the results. Second, there were lots of tonal variations between eyepieces. Some were toasty warm and added an almost yellow cast to the nebulosity. Others were in the middle - grey-blue nebulosity and very blue-white stars. Still others were stark white-grey nebulosity and white-white stars. Next, putting aside the results, there were vast differences in ergonomics. There's no question that the longer eye relief units were easier to use for a 2-minute stint. In fact I think the LVW and to a lesser extent the XW illustrate that if you have decent quality in a long eye relief eyepiece, the extra comfort improves concentration and lets you see just as much (or nearly so) as a simpler unit.
I'll leave it up to Dan and Jeff too chime in with their impressions, but those are mine off the top of my head.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:34 PM
Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:39 PM
You make a very good point. The Nagler's cumulative "8" score was impressive. One of the top scores in the test.
The data can be sliced and diced in a number of interesting ways. If you disregard score cumulation, for example, and list eyepieces that received a "5" from either observer, you get this list:
7mm University HD Orhoscopic
7.4mm Meade RG Wide Angle
7mm TMB Supermono
8mm Televue Plossl
7mm Meade RG Orthoscopic
8mm Orion (Vixen) LVW
If look only at highest cumulative score irrespective of round you get this ranking:
7mm University HD Orhoscopic 9
7.4mm Meade RG Wide Angle 9
7mm TMB Supermono 9
8mm Orion (Vixen) LVW 9
7mm Meade RG Orthoscopic 9
7mm Televue Nagler T6 8
8mm Televue Plossl 8
I also think that the data suggests that we had worse seeing during the Group A and Group D rounds than the middle rounds, and that seeing improved for the semi-final rounds and then started to worsen a bit for the final round.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:45 PM
That's why we included Section III(B) on semantics and titled the actual piece "resolution" rather than "Resolution". Literally in the Merriam-Webster sense certain eyepieces "resolved" the target into more components than their peers. In a technical optics sense, however, you're right. Our results could really be attributed to other properties than resolution.
Perhaps "Resolution" was a poor choice of descriptor in the initial title. Unfortunately it stuck and next year's challenge will likely still test (Sirius A-B) properties other than resolution. Of course, we'll still call it the resolution World Cup. We're stubborn and have a deep-seated fondness for "bad" science.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:59 PM
I'm sure Don Yeier would be happy to know how well his eyepiece did in the contest.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:06 PM
I wonder, had the XW been chosen as winner in Group A, if it would have made it to the end of the test still on top?
Ah well, great story and test, and I enjoyed it much.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:09 PM
I know just what you mean with the XW's. They're one fine eyepiece, and this coming from a former (but not reformed) Nagler/Ethos-holic... I've often wondered if I should take the XW plunge one of these days for my aging vision.
Thanks again all.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:56 PM
I'd like to make a suggestion for next year.
1.Have west coast and east coast evaluators, each test half the EPs.
2.Each coast should pick 2 quarter finalists.
3.Find sponsors who will pay our travel expenses(just as long as I'm one, I don't care how many are "us").
4.Pick someplace warm, not cool, but warm to have the quarter finals and the finals.
5. um.............never mind, that would never fly with the spouses.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:12 PM
Many months ago I pointed out how multi-element designs can't possibly compete with simpler ones for on-axis viewing, no matter how perfectly made - there are too many variables - well I got hooted off the stage by the Ethosians. Well, it's nice for once to see the "sense" part of common sense! Good report.
Wide fields are great for what they do - make wide field views. It turns out that this is a very limited part of observing.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:18 PM
I wonder when UO will run out of Orthoscopic stock?
Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:26 PM
Now if only UO would bring back their Mk70 & MK80 Konig's.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:50 PM
Posted 30 January 2009 - 05:03 PM
...Other things that are worth commenting on include the sadness I feel that we had to resort to random lots to pick a Group A winner. In truth the Meade Research Grade Orthoscopic (our surprise winner) and the two Pentax units (SMC Ortho and XW) were all tremendous eyepieces. I suspect that had the groupings been different, the Pentax twins might have made it further. ...
Actually, since these three were in a dead heat an no one, not even the tie breaker, could get them to beat each other, and since one of these three won overall, it really means all three of these are top dogs on the Trap!
Posted 30 January 2009 - 05:14 PM
"4.Pick someplace warm, not cool, but warm to have the quarter finals and the finals."
And of course, Steve, we'll want to scope-match again. You have...let me see...an Intes-Micro M715 and a TEC 140! Coincidentally I too have an M715 and will have a TEC 140 by next year.
Problem is, the Pup is a late winter-early Spring target. Places that are warm (by my thin-blooded West Coast standards) during these months are pretty far away. Getting our gear down to warmer climes might be a logistical nightmare. Of course, Dan's field in the heart of the Sonoma wine country would be quite balmy by your blizzard-braving standards. We could even celebrate by hitting a nice restaurant and popping the cork on a couple of fine old bottles.
The sponsorship part might be tricky. I'm sure we could convince a few of the eyepiece makers to lend samples of their best. Perhaps even a statistically relevant sample, say 4 of each. Getting them to pitch in the airfare, however, might be trickier. It also might cast shadows over our impartiality.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 05:15 PM
I didn't look through the telescopes that night but the numbers don't present a significant difference between the "high end" multi-element designs and the simpler designs on the whole.
If that article confirmed anything to me, it was that the differences reported by two observers on the same night, using the same equipment are often be greater than the differences between the eyepieces.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 05:27 PM
That deSitter guy is a genius in my book. He knows his glass!
I think I will drop Don Yeier a note regarding the review and the fine showing one of his Brandons put up. Thanks for the suggestion.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 05:57 PM
I felt like I were there watching World Cup
After all this, you must be seeing Trapezium A-F when you close your eyes
I would like to check out Brandon.
Posted 30 January 2009 - 06:07 PM
You're right, I guess.
There's always someone with a conscious who ruins my party. Now that the coastal challenge is off, I can admit that my plan was to drink, look through scopes, and make the results up. All that other stuff is too much work.
Nice Job, guys!