My brand new 8x42 Orion Ultraviews
Posted 04 January 2004 - 12:30 AM
I had never been to Austin Astronomy & Science, so I
decided to go there. Turns out they carry Orion equipment,
so I got to try out some of them and some Celestrons as
well. The Celestron Skymaster 15x70 were quite tempting,
but I'm not quite there yet for big ones, as I don't have a
tripod or mount. I've been considering Orion Ultraview
8x42 for a good while, and they had them for essentially
the same price as the Orion catalog, so I got them. It's
cloudy so all I've been able to do is look at city lights
and close focus within my apartment.
As I have significant astigmatism, I always observe with
glasses on. Also, I just prefer it, because it's so easy
to switch back and forth from binocs to no binocs, and I'm
also more likely to see casual meteors.
In relation to close focusing, I find with the new 8x42 as
with various other models I've looked at in-store recently
(and my getting-old 10x50), that when close focusing I seem
to have trouble merging the images. Since it's been
different models and powers, I think it's me. But I don't
see the effect when focusing on celestial objects or
distant terrestrial targets. Maybe this is a very
well-known thing that I haven't read about yet.
A couple of footnotes. In the store, the Celestron 8x56,
weighing 31 ounces, seemed lighter in hand than the Orion
8x42, at 27 ounces.
The Celestron 15x70 seemed to have not quite enough
interpupillary distance. I could not get a full circle
in both eyes at the same time, but it was best when I
had them spread as far as they would go. Otherwise they
seemed very nice, especially for $99.
I like the twist-up eyecups on the 8x42, although I can see
how they might be a problem for non-glasses users. Looking
at a distant TV antenna, I could easily see the difference
in FOV size compared to my 10x50s (8.2° versus 6.5°), and
image scale as well, I think.
Looking forward to a clear night!
Ed Cannon - ecannon @ mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
Posted 04 January 2004 - 02:17 AM
Posted 04 January 2004 - 11:43 AM
Some people have trouble merging images at close focus, particularly with porros since the objectives are set wider than the width of your eyes. However, this can also be a sign of miscollimation. When the clouds finally clear, try them out on the night sky. If you get double images (look at Saturn) or spiky stars (with your glasses on), the bins may be out of collimation. Bad seeing can also cause stars to spike, but Saturn should still look like a football. If you see conjoined twin Saturns, then the Ultraviews are definitely out of collimation.
As far as seeing the "casual meteor" with the Ultraviews, they have a wide FOV, but not THAT wide! Have you actually seen meteors with bins? Maybe if you used them during the Leonid Storm when meteors were falling down like rain, you might have seen some (I viewed a few and some beautiful vapor trails with my bins), but for most meteor showers, the chances of seeing a meteor in a binocular are fairly slim. Meteors are best viewed naked eye or with time lapse photography. I do spot satellites frequently with my bins. Saw the ISS once. Also saw some Iridium flares in my bins (after spotting them naked eye). But never a meteor except during the peak of Leonid Meteor Storm. Then again, the stars are bigger in Texas so maybe the meteors are too.
Let us know how the Ultraviews work out.
Posted 04 January 2004 - 05:51 PM
I'm always pleased to read your comments but I suspect you misunderstood Ed's comments with regard to seeing meteors.
I'm sure what he meant was that that with his GLASSES on he can see them more easily than without , which I can understand very well as I am in the same predicament.
regards -- Kenny . ( PS --glad you got the p.messages ! )
Posted 04 January 2004 - 06:19 PM
By placing very carefully my Swarovski 8 x 20 bino objectives inside the eyecups of my mounted Zeiss 7 x 42s I found to my surprise that I could just about bring to focus a 56x magnified image of the object pre -focussed in the Zeiss.
Obviously a very dark image but see-able all the same.
Taking this several steps further I ended up setting up my 102mm f5 refractor with an ultra -wide 15mm ep ( 33x power ) then boosted this to a ridiculous 330x power by placing the one objective of my Swift 10 x 50s up to the exit -pupil from the scope.
Although this image really was DARK -- the end result --so much power -- was almost frightening when looking at objects several miles away --making them appear just a few yards away.
I wonder has anyone else ever tried -- or better still -- perfected this art ?
I would really interested to know !
Posted 04 January 2004 - 06:39 PM
Even if you do not suffer from astigmatism and can compensate with the diopter, it's still more convenient to be able to keep your glasses on and avoid the tedium of putting them on and taking them off a hundred times a night. I usually push mine up on my forehead when observing with short ER bins or telescope EPs, and recently one eyeglass lens popped out because the frame had become bent from getting squished against my head. I have tried one of those school marm eyeglass chains, but it kept getting tangled so I stopped using it. I may try the new Torus contact lenses that compensate for astigmatism.
Unfortunately, contact lenses aren't for everyone, and there are some very fine bins that lack sufficient ER for eyeglass wearers -- Swift Audubon and Kestrel, Fujinon 16X70, Nikon 10X35 E2, to name but a few, and a whole bunch of cheaper bins without sufficient ER (the Nikon Action series). More often than not, wide FOV = short ER. If you want high ER and good edge performance, then you trade off with narrow FOVs, as with the Pentax PCF and DCF series. However, I think there is new hope for us eyeglass wearers.
Minolta's line of Activa WP FP bins have high ER with relatively wide FOVs. For example, the 7X35 Activa has a 9.3* FOV (Edz measured 9*). That translates to a 63* AFOV (a little more than my 8X32 SEs). Darn good for a bin with 19mm ER (Edz measured actual ER at 16, but still good for most people). The series also features twist up eyecups, click stop diopter, weatherproofing, fogproofing, and aspherical lenses that produce relatively good edges (80%+ on the 9* 7X35 model). According to one reviewer, the centerfield sharpness on the 7X35 is equal to his 10X43 Pentax SP. Best of all, the Activas are very reasonable priced, considering all the roof-like amenities. The 7X35 sells for less than $110 at some stores.
So while we eyeglass wearers have had to settle for the few long-ER bins offered us, thanks to new advances in lens technology and off-shore manufacturing, we may be seeing more long ER, wide field bins at cheap prices in the future.
Posted 04 January 2004 - 07:18 PM
Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:08 PM
Join the club! I'm in the same boat as you with regard to the Swift. Got to the point where I had the wallet out, but found a few comments since regarding the same loss of image quality at around the 50% mark. For astronomy, this is not a great characteristic regardless of the other positives.
The feedback is definitely very mixed with the Swift when it comes to astronomy usage...
I am seriously considering the Pentax DCF SP 10x43 with the only drawback being the narrower 6 degree FOV (significantly less than the 8.2 FOV of the Swift).
Let me know how your hunt goes Tom... because I think we are both on the same track and seeking the same wider FOV bino for handheld use...
Hope you had a great New Year!
Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:11 PM
Looking forward to hearing how they go on the night sky... Like any new purchase, monther nature will no doubt tease you, but hopefully not for too long!
Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:28 PM
Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:36 PM
Some people have complained about the edges on the Swift 10X50 Kestrel too, though they are reportedly better than the Audubon. The Kestrels offer the same exceptional centerfield resolution as the Audubon and cost around the same price ($250).
As far as the Minolta Activa WP FP (billed as their "top of the line"), they offer a 7X35, 8X40, 10X50, and 12X50. The 10X50 can be bought for as low as $129. Check Dealtime or epinions for the best price. Don't get them mixed up with the 10X50 Activa Standard, which was the previous model.
Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:55 PM
I don't want to encroach anymore on Ed's thread here (Sorry Ed) so I'll stop asking questions, but first...Thanks Brock, I'm not looking for really big (I want them to be able to go hiking with me), so I will start looking into the 10x50 Minoltas.
To everyone here in the binoc section, I wish you a safe and happy New Year! Tom
Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:14 AM
the first tests on distant terrestrial targets seemed okay,
even just stuff on the top of a telephone pole just a few
meters/yards away. The effect appears to be just with very
close focus. But I'm hoping that tonight it will be at
least partly clear, allowing some planet and star viewing.
Regarding meteors, I meant seeing them when I'm not looking
through the binoculars, but just casually looking at the
sky deciding where to aim, that kind of thing. Having the
eyeglasses on then makes for increased chances of seeing
meteors. (Especially since I can see only a few very bright
stars, as fuzzy spots, when I'm not wearing my eyeglasses.)
However, I have seen a quite a few casual meteors in
binoculars, most of them sporadics because almost all of my
binocular observing is evenings. A few times, when a friend
with a telescope has been looking through the eyepiece or
finder and I've been using the other one at the same time,
we've seen a meteor simultaneously! One evening when I was
focusing my 10x50s on one spot near the ecliptic, I saw
three short meteors there within about ten minutes. That
was by accident. So, I've definitely seen meteors with my
binoculars, and with the 8.2° FOV, I think there's a chance
of seeing even more of them. There's a telescopic meteor
observer named Malcolm Currie who sends messages to the
Meteorobs mailing list from time to time.
Regarding 8x with long eye relief and wide-angle view (more
than 6.5°), in searching for them mostly under $200 in the
USA, I found the following (approximate prices not compared
Alpen Pro Wide Angle 8x42, FOV=8.2, ER=19, mc, BaK-4, 30oz, $100
Minolta Activa W 8x40 FOV=8.2, ER=18, fmc?, BaK-4, 26oz, $110
Minolta Activa WP FP 8x40, FOV=8.2, ER=18.5, mc, BaK-4, 27oz, $160
Minolta WP Classic Sport 8x42, FOV=8.2, ER=17mm, mc, BaK-4, 27oz, $89
Orion Outsider 8x40, FOV=9.4, ER=17.8, fc, BaK-4, 29oz, $60
Orion Ultraview 8x42, FOV=8.2, ER=22mm, fmc, BaK-4, 27oz, $150
Zhumell Long Eye Relief 8x42WA, FOV=8.2, ER=19, mc, BK-7?, 27oz, $90
It wasn't certain to me if the Minoltas are one, two, or
three different models. The following Bushnells I believe
should go with the above, but it was not as easy because
there are "Natureview Plus" and just plain Natureview (with
too short eye relief), and even on the Plus models I found
contradictory FOV information.
Bushnell Natureview Plus 8x42, FOV=8.4?, ER=19, fmc?, BaK-4?, 26 oz
(not plain Natureview non-Plus 8x40)
I found these three more under $300, but I think there are
still more of them in that price range:
Burris Fullfield 8x40, FOV=8.2, ER=25, fmc, BaK-4, 31oz, under $300
Orion Vista 8x42, FOV=6.5, ER=18, fmc, BaK-4, 22oz, $220
Parks Standard 8x42 Wide Angle, FOV=8.2, ER=18, fmc, BaK-4, 25oz, $200
I'm sure that going to higher prices, even more models with
long eye relief and wide field of view are available.
Ed Cannon - firstname.lastname@example.org - Austin, Texas, USA
Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:52 AM
Having read most of the posts for weeks, I am amazed that nobody has thought of buying Opticron (at least in the UK).
My 10x50 eye relief 19.5, seem fine.
I am very pleased with them. I don't understand all the "stuff" that everyone writes about colour etc. but mine appear to be perfect. They were £190 (C$340) but I suppose you get what you pay for?
I have had a pair of Swift Belmont about 35 years. These are fine, but at my age not so good with glasses. Assume they have short eye relief. Swift could not help as they were only sold in the UK. I can use them without specs no problem, but that is a fiddle.
The Opticron have screw eyecaps, which are a great advance on the twist rubber, for those of us with glasses. The swift have nothing.
To Kenny. I also carry the sign of the fish, so regards.
Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:01 AM
In the past several weeks while conducting extended binocular viewing sessions of the Pleiades, I have observed meteors thru my binoculars twice. On one of those occasions, I was able to quickly look away from the binoc fov and see the meteor just before it disappeared. On many nights over the past two weeks I have seen 3-4 meteors per night. Many of them have been traveling near the same path andd that has been taking them quite close to M45. The more time you spend looking up, the more opportunity you have for such an occurance.
Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:55 AM
I wouldn't be surprised at the inability to merge images at very close focus. Of course, I'll qualify that. I would expect you should at least be able to reach 'near' the close focus stated. For instance my Minolta Activa 7x35 can achieve focus at about 14 feet (4.25m). But my Oberwerk 15x70s need 65 feet (~20m) and my Fujinon 16x70s need 100 feet (~30m). Keep in mind this only refers to close focus distance, NOT the ability to merge the images at close focus.
There is a distinct difference in the terms merged images and collimated binoculars and you can have one without the other. A pair of binoculars that is pefectly alligned is both merged and collimated.
Let me relate a story. I once collimated my Oberwerk 20x80s on a tiny object about 300 feet away. The next time I had them out at night mounted on a tripod, I found they were not collimated. I found thru trial and error with several binoculars that binoculars collimated in daylight on a close (several hundred feet away) object, while they may appear pefectly collimated for close focus, will not appear collimated at infinity.
The images in binoculars are essentially from two nearly parallel light paths. If you collimate on an object that is close, you are toeing in the light path to the maximum potential angle between the two light paths. If you collimate on a star at infinity, the light paths are as close to parallel as you can possible get.
My recommendation, unless these are going to be strictly terrestrial binoculars, do not collimate on a terrestrial object. It is not the same as collimating on a star and it will not produce the same result.
So now back to the problem of not being able to merge the images. Collimation has acceptable tollerances and these tollerances vary for convergence (overlapping of images), divergence (separation of images) and dipvergence ( one image vertically over the other). The greatest allowable acceptable error is in convergence. It is easier for most people's eyes to allow images to overlap and their eyes will correct for a small allowance. Diverging images are the most difficult for the eyes to accomodate. Could very well be not everyone's eyes have the same level of accomodation. Maybe you can't tollerate error to the degree of the normal allowable tollerances. I know I can't.
The above paragrah talks about the merging of point sources or pinpoint objects in the center of the fov even in terrestrial viewing. But there is another issue of merging. That is merging the image in the right barrel to appear as the same image in the left barrel. This is not checked by watching two pinpoints come to appear as one. This is checked by looking at the top and side edges of the field of view to insure the image in one barrel is exactly the same as the image in the other barrel. Binoculars that have misalligned objective lens can be made to have pinpoint images appear collimated in the center of the fov by moving the prisms while the barrel images are considerably out of allignment. If you have either one or the other of these problems you will not be able to comfortably merge the images in your eyes.
This condition is not nearly as noticable on a night sky as it is on a daylight view. If the prisms are collimated you will see perfect pinpoint stars but if the barrels are not merged you may not notice the edges of the field of view do not appear the same. In daylight, the picture at the edges will be very noticable. This will have a significant impact on the ability of your eyes to see the images as merged.
So, before I would assume it is your eyes I would check for these conditions. if none of these conditions exist, it could very well be you limit of accomodation.
Posted 05 January 2004 - 10:16 AM
The Minolta Activa 7x35 has a good image out to about 70% of the fov. On the other hand the Minolta Standard 7x35s and 12x50s have good image out to only about 40% to 50% of the fov and by 70% out the image is so poor you can't tell what you are looking at.
By the way, my Swift Ultralite 8x42, proportedly not the equal of the Audobons, have good image quality out to 70% of the fov and do not get poor until 80-90% out from the center. As a benchmark, (Ed, I believe you already have the Ultraview 10x50), I rate the Orion 10x50s as good image out to 60% and poor by 80% out from center. The only two binoculars ( out of 14 that I've owned) I've ever rated with good image out beyong 70% from center are the Pentax 16x60s and the Fujinon 16x70s.
My test for image quality is whether or not I can still determine that a double star is a double at a given distance out from the center. On larger 15x and 16x binoculars I am testing on doubles of 20" to 30". On smaller binoculars I an testinng on doubles no wider than 60". If rated good I can still easily make it out as a clean double star. A poor rating indicates it can no longer be discerned as even being a double.
Posted 05 January 2004 - 02:09 PM
Specs. - 8 x 42 waterproof Porro -- 8.2 degree TFOV - 19mm eye-relief -- weight 27 ozs - winged rubber fold -down eyecups - complete with wide neoprene lanyard and soft case-
and 10 year guarantee - cost £79 in UK. --but reportedly from as little as $55 in US.
If this US price is correct ,and the product is indeed the same as the one I bought , then I think it probably represents THE best value available anywhere for a pair of all round easy to use binoculars.
I wish to thank also EdZ for his comprehensive explanation of the various aspects of collimation and would add that I suspect barrel misalignment to be a more common problem than is generally recognised , and one , along with unrecognised human eye astigmatism , that often causes what is mistakenly written to be "poor edge performance" of many binoculars , as if it were a fault inherent with ALL specimens of any particular model.
In other words , if one is lucky enough to get a binocular that is PERFECTLY collimated and aligned in every respect, then regardless of glass type ( such as Bk 7 ) then my feeling is that such a specimen could provide hours of enjoyable use ,even if the instrument does not have 55 layers of super -duper coatings on every glass surface or is waterproof down to 60,000 leagues under the sea.
Finally -a question of intrigue to new member Geoff -- !
How did YOU know I was a Piscean ? : -)
Regards to all --Kenny
Posted 05 January 2004 - 02:29 PM
Posted 05 January 2004 - 02:32 PM
you jogged my mind to mention one other important note as pertains to collimation.
If you have astigmatism, make no attempt whatsoever to collimate binoculars without your corrective eyeglasses. It cannot be properly done. It would appear collimated to the incorrect allignment of your astigmatic eye. When then viewing thru your binoculars with corrective eye glasses, you would quickly notice that what you thought as a proper collimation is out of allingment for the proper correction of your eyes.
Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:32 PM
I'm also amazed that both you and Edz have seen meteors through your bins. I guess it's just too light polluted here for that. I'm lucky if I can see them naked eye, I have to travel an hour to a dark site for meteor showers and serious deep sky observing. (Although I say "an hour" away, it's not highway driving, but winding back roads. As the crow flies, it would take half that time.) Ironically, I live in the middle of rural PA, but next to Penn State U. and its sprawling, ever-growing suburbs. During football games, it becomes the third largest city in PA (population-wise).
Edz's comments on collimation were useful and may explain the problems with my Obie 15X70s. I collimated them at "close focus," using the writing on the outside of a Port-o-Pottie in the field across the street (which has since been removed for the winter), and they look okay for terrestrial use, but are way out on the stars.
I've also noticed the other miscollimation problem you mentioned with the fields of each barrel not lining up properly. The field in my right EP is lower than the left, and that' s probably why I'm seeing two Saturn footballs one on top of the other. I checked the barrels to make sure they weren't cross threaded, they weren't, and I also changed barrels to see if that would help, it didn't and actually made focusing the right eyepiece impossible (which just barely reaches focus without glasses). So either I did not tighten them the same or one barrel is a slightly different length than the other. In any case, as soon as it stops raining, I will fiddle with the collimation yet again. But it still bugs me that Obies go out so easily, despite their good value. I like to spend my spare time observing not collimating. I think these may be my last pair of Chinese bins, or at least Obies.
Btw, those H20s Kenny mentioned are on sale as "factory demos" at Optics Planet for only $45!
Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:48 PM
Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:39 PM
My first Obies (circa 1999) were the same as your first pair, they also had terrible color correction. The fact that your new ('03) models stay put even over rough terrain either means that mine are lemons or that once I finally get them right, they might stay collimated. I'm hoping for the latter.
Posted 05 January 2004 - 10:13 PM
Thank you very much for the information about merging and collimation! I haven't seen any over/under problem; all of the non-merged images I've seen are side-by-side. Also, at distance (even as near as the top of the telephone pole 15 meters/yards away), the objects were in good focus and were not double. It was a failure to get the two circles to merge, and that was only when looking very close. These 8x42s have a close focus of 12 feet I think, and I was looking nearly that close. But as I mentioned, on at least two other models I've seen the very same thing when looking at close objects.
BTW, my 10x50 are a no-longer-produced model, Bushnell "GlassesOn". They don't have right-diopter adjustment but have 22mm eye relief and 6.5° true FOV
(and I can see all of it). The exit pupils look like BK-7, diamond-shaped. I haven't been able to find the actual specs anywhere. When I first got them they were very nice, but now there seems to be some undesirable play on the right side of the focusing apparatus, which may be why I can't get both eyes in focus with them anymore.
Earlier it was cloudy, but by the time I get home from the office maybe it will finally be clear.
I had noticed Opticron in my searching but was limiting my main list to USA availability. I think there are even a couple of other brands in the UK that aren't in the USA -- and yet others in continental Europe.
I noticed that I let slip through one 6.5° model, even though I was looking for ones with more than that, especially in 8x (as my 10x50s are 6.5°, and I like the wide-angle view).
A bit more about meteors. My usual site is suburban with LM maybe almost +5 at best. I suspect that seeing meteors in binoculars is mostly just luck. I do tend to do a fair amount of long steady looks near the ecliptic, so maybe that might up one's chances a little.
Only occasionally do I get out to a dark site, and there are so many stars there that it's confusing! So with lower magnification, maybe I won't be so confused when I go there! But I may see even more meteors, with 8.2° true FOV -- 59% more sky than 6.5°, I think.
BTW, I will eventually get bigger binocs plus mount and tripod, because one of my favorite things to see is (relatively bright) comets. I also like to see bright novae and asteroids. Obviously, I like to see things that move or change. I keep checking to see if Rho Cass has gone supernova....
Ed Cannon - email@example.com - Austin, Texas, USA