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NV: Experienced vendor selling to astronomers?

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#1 Jim4321

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 07:52 AM

OK, so I'm ready to bite the bullet and 'invest' (ha!) $4000-$4500 in night vision.  Can anyone recommend a preferred vendor who has lots of experience selling to amateur astronomers?  Likewise, any vendors to steer clear of?

 

I plan to use this device at 1X, and as an eyepiece in a small refractor & a C9.25, probably with a focal reducer. This will be used under SE US skies... never really dark & clear.  I'm thinking MOD-3 C-Mount Night Vision Monocular with Gain Control - Filmless White Phosphor, unless someone has a convincing reason to go with something else.

 

I don't suppose it's possible to get the needed filters and adapters from the same vendor?

 

Thanks for any knowledgeable replies!

 

Jim H.


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#2 Eddgie

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:06 AM

The vendors probably won't have the filter adapter but this is available from RAF Camera (Search PVS-14 filter adatper).

 

The NV vendors won't likely have the necessary filters, but these can be purchased from any number of discount shops.

 

A great number of people have bought from Richard at Ultimate Night Vision and I highly recommend him, but there are other reputable vendors.   Richard is an amateur astronomer though, and he knows that for our use, the quality of the phosphor screen is very important.  I have looked though four of the devices he sold and the evenness of the phosphor was excellent, and the devices have all been high quality.

 

Again, other vendors, but most don't know that the Mod 3 comes in C mount so if you ask and they don't know you can tell them that AB Night Vision does make a C mount version.


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#3 bobhen

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:29 AM

If you haven't seen Peter's website, have a look – lots of info. Filters, adapters, devices, and a couple of vendors are listed.

 

HERE is a link.

 

Bob


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#4 charotarguy

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:37 AM

Here are the posts from Von on the astrovideoforum, some of the best about NV for astronomy, 

 

http://astrovideofor...er-night-vision


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#5 snovosel

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:39 AM

Having jumped into the deep waters of the NV pool a mere 4 weeks ago, and building experiences with most if not every NV vendor out there -- multiple calls, texts, and emails, spread out over those four weeks -- I can most strongly recommend Pete Lesbo, President of I2 Night Vision (https://www.isquarednightvision.com/). 

 

Importantly, you have to know what device/tube technology you want to buy.  There are only a few vendors who are Photonis DEP (USA) dealers that have or can get Photonis tubes, and after speaking with them all, evaluating who among them had not only more than a superficial knowledge about the differences between Photonis and L3 (and ITT) tube technologies, field experience with all three, was willing to build a Mod3C housing, and perhaps most importantly who was able to convince me that their post-sale support would be second-to-none, I elected to do my business with I2 Night Vision.   Pete was an early recommendation from jdbastro (Jay thanks for that) as well as from Ed Wilcox.  Some of you may already know Pete and are familiar with his 20+ year U.S. Marine Corps aviation background using NV gear.  Quizzing him was like having direct access to Wikipedia's NV editors.  He was incredibly gracious with his time (and continues to be).  Moreover, he worked with me to find a 4G and L3 tube that had the minimum specs I requested.  He understands the amateur astronomy needs/challenges and has more than a passing interest in developing NV for our hobby.  I also know Rich (not contradicting Ed's comment but Rich would acknowledge that he is not an "amateur astronomer".  Yes, he's aware of using NV for astro work but it's limited to that -- and so he's no more qualified to be responsive to the astro community than any of the other vendors).  For me, I personally like being able to speak directly with the owner of the company instead of a salesperson (who may or may not be there tomorrow, next week, etc.). Four weeks ago when I started this journey, Eddgie made it very clear the importance of post-sale support for these kinds of devices, and I committed to following that advice.  Pete returns my texts within minutes.  Sometimes he will randomly call.  Who does that these days?  He is a consummate professional.  You will find that with some vendors, you actually have to chase them.  Others I have found, while giving lip service to a potential sale clearly dislike dealing with members of the astro community and their so-called high-maintenance requirements.   

 

My recommendation is that you don't rely on my recommendation of Pete Lesbo/I2 Night Vision.  Take your time to really get to know these people, and get a sense of how they will treat you if you elect not to buy from them or if you do buy how they will address post-sale issues or concerns.  That will help govern a more informed purchase decision. 


Edited by snovosel, 12 May 2017 - 08:53 AM.

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#6 pwang99

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 09:38 AM

I don't suppose it's possible to get the needed filters and adapters from the same vendor?

Nope, you will have to order the accessories separately.  You will want to get most of the items listed here:

http://pwang.io/hobb...on/#Accessories

 

The only thing I don't have a direct link to yet are these two items:

http://www.rafcamera...s to astro 1 25

 

You will want to get one or two of the astro filter thread adapters, in case you lose one or whatnot.  (They are small and black and although I don't ever unthread them out of the 1x objective, I just feel better having a backup.)  The 3x afocal adapter is a must-have accessory if you do end up getting a 3x afocal lens.

 

Congrats on taking the plunge, be sure to post your first impressions!


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#7 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:38 PM

I had a great experience with Rich at Ultimate Night Vision. So much so that I will likely go back to him for a thermal scope later in the year. 

 

Keep in mind that a good vendor will also have a good reputation in the firearms community, the overwhelming market for these devices. If you want the comfort of dealing with someone conversant in astronomy there are other vendors who have a toe in the waters. A few pointed questions should enable you to separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

As to the adapters, RAF Camera and ScopeStuff.

 

Filters: Wherever astro filters are sold, take your pick.


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#8 Jim4321

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 08:40 AM

Much thanks, guys!  Y'all pretty much confirmed what I thought, but that's a good sign.  I'll probably digest this for a day or so, then place my order(s). 

 

Jim H.



#9 Starman81

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:17 AM

Very solid customer service/support in my dealings with Rich at Ultimate Night Vision as well.


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#10 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:28 AM

Personal experience with these and all good:

 

Ed Wilcox - Wilcox Engineering and Research (tested tubes with sheeted specs) - http://www.wilcoxeng-res.com

Ken at NAIT - PVS-4 best T2 adapter I have tried, PVS-4's, PVS-7's, c-mount for PVS-7 B/D body. - http://www.nait.com

Mo at AE Optics - PVS-4 parts. - http://www.aeoptics.com

Night Vision Depot - one of the best companies to deal with for tubes, goggles, and the best monocular I have tried for astronomy - The NVD Micro Monocular which has a built-in c-mount and is adapted easily. - https://nvdepot.com/...?v=7516fd43adaa

Glynn at OwnNight - devices, tubes, repairs - http://www.ownnight.com

Bruce at Night Vision Universe - devices, tubes, parts, great pricing. - http://nightvisionuniverse.com

Nightline Inc - devices, parts, had my PVS-7 A/C c-mount adapter, great guys. - http://www.nightline-inc.com

RafCamera - ENVIS adapter for 1.25" filters - http://www.rafcamera.com/en/adapters

Agena Astro - adapters, threaded extensions, filters, etc - http://agenaastro.com

Scopestuff - adapters, nosepieces, reducers, threaded extensions, etc - http://www.scopestuff.com


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#11 JPKellysr

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:30 AM

Does the NVD Micro Monocular have an adjustable gain?

 

JPK



#12 shams42

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 12:12 PM

No it does not.

#13 BWM

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:15 PM

Well, here I go . I might be buying a PVS-7 with 3x magnifier on ebay in 40+ minutes. The person selling used it for hunting and has it mounted on a helmet. Early Gen 3 Now approx 1400 dollars. He states the tube is clear. Has sold over 500 items with 100% rating. I would like anybody thoughts. I am a new member and have tried to learn as much as I could from your website. I hope they do switch to a NV thread in the future. I can pass this up if needed. 


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#14 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:18 PM

I'd say go for it - if it is at least an Omni 3 tube and the seller is reputable.

 

If you don't like it, you should be able to get your money back out of it on eBay.

 

And if you like it, you can consider putting in a new higher spec tube down the road. But you may not even need it.


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 19 May 2017 - 12:19 PM.

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#15 outofsight

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:43 PM

Where is the tube info, pictures of the tube, pictures through the tube, an NSN?



#16 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:30 PM

I agree with Jeff. That is a good price provided no major blems. keep in mind that small black spots in zone 2 and 3 are still usually meeting mil-spec minimums. They don't affect the view detrimentally.

 

Omni 3 enhanced (Omni 3+), Omni 4-8 all acceptable for narrowband work. Omni 7 actually had better minimum spec requirements than Omni 8, but they all can bring out the magic in faint Ha fuzzies with narrowband.

 

I used ebay for almost all NV purchases and as long as the seller has a very high rating, it's a viable option for used gear.



#17 pwang99

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:51 PM

Good luck BWM!



#18 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:17 PM

NAIT has the c-mount adapter for both A/C and B/D type housings. Link in previous posts.



#19 BWM

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:41 PM

Hello, I lost out by fifty dollars. It was less then a hour when I found the listing on eBay. After reading many of the members articles, I came to the conclusion that I am not as dedicated to the hobby as most of you are. Most of my observing has been with my Celestron C-8 nexstar, and I also have a sky window with two binoculars and I made a custom made mount similar to the sky window that has a 25 x 100mm binocular which accepts other eyepieces . My problem is that I like the idea of instant gratification when looking up at the sky. My eyesight is normal, and I like the idea of technology assisting me in seeing objects that my current equipment won't allow me to see. I live in the Tampa fl. area, but also own a house in the Northwest hills in Georgia, approx 100 mile north of Atlanta,  in the Blue Ridge area. No light pollution, and the Milky Way is very bright.I am 63 years old and would like to try this technology while my eyes can appreciate it. I thought the PVS-7 with the 3x magnifier would be a good start. I enjoy just scanning the sky as if it was a binocular. With advice I would probably be able to use it on my Celestron, and on one side of my large binoculars. I don't mind seeing green artifacts while viewing a object that an intensifier has boosted the image to allow me to see it. In the future I will keep a closer look on eBay and get serial numbers and views of the lighted tube. Because of many of you, I am again excited to try my luck at observing again. Any ideas would be appreciated. 



#20 BWM

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 12:48 PM

Hello to all of you. I'm interested in pwang99 and others who have much more experience in this field of obs nv astronomy. I'm planning of buying a PVS-7D on ebay. I also want the 3x lens with it's adapter for the system. It sound like I should buy a 1.25 to 1.20 astro adapter and night visions 3x afocal lens attachment. I'm lucky to have dark sky's in North/West Georgia where I'll be using it the most. There seems to be so many filters listed, I would like advise on which ones to buy for the above system, so I can enjoy it just as it is. I also have a Celestron C-8 Nexstar. It seems that I need to buy a C adapter and a 1.25 adapter to be able to attach the PVS-7D to the telescope. I can also place it in my 100x 25 Binocular which uses 1.25 eyepieces. I want to start buying these items as they become available. I'm following a couple of PVS-7D that are on sell on eBay. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. 



#21 Eddgie

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 02:00 PM

Bad news is that you probably will not be able to reach focus when using this in a binocular telescope.

 

The PVS-7 even when C mounted requires that you have around 15mm of back focus and if your binocular has some kind of barrel stop in the eyepiece holder that prevents an eyepiece barrel from striking the prisms, then this also may limit your ability to mount filters because this would raise the device even further from the top of the eyepiece holder.

 

But as a minimum, you need about 15mm of back focus and as best as I know, most binocular telescopess or big binoculars that accept 1.25" eyepieces don't have this much back focus.  They are usually designed to allow only sufficient back focus for eyepieces that have a field stop that is around the point where the 1.25 barrel meets the lens housing.   

 

If you can't focus a Baader Zoom (as an example) then you won't reach focus with a NV device with C mount when using the binocular.

 

Everything else you mention is fine.

 

If your skies are darker, then you can do with a 610nm long pass or even a cheap red planetary filter.   If you are using achromat refractor, you will need 680nm or 690mm filter.

 

If your skies are very dark, you may want a 12nm H-a filter, but the more light you have, the narrower filter you should use (10nm, 7nm, 5nm, and 2nm are all avialable). 


Edited by Eddgie, 22 May 2017 - 02:01 PM.

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#22 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 03:45 PM

I've attempted both my litton M942 gen 3 monocular and an NVD Micro monocular in both my Garret Optical BT 70/90 and APM 100 Semi-Apo BT and neither comes to focus

 

The TNVC collaboration with Televue for dioptrix style adapters to mate TV eyepieces and NVD's might work for afocal through the BT though.

 

c-mount might need adapter to turn back into pvs-14 type thread to make it work with a mod 3 c-mount housing or any other NVD with c-mount



#23 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 04:18 PM

Might be easier to pick up a 4" achromat than trying to deal with the BT issues.


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#24 BWM

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 09:52 AM

Hello, thank's again for all the wonderful advice. I also felt the draw on the binocular could be a problem. That being said, I will keep them the way they are. I made a decision on skipping eBay for the PVS-7 and contacted Night Vision Systems out of Texas. They were very helpful and for a few hundred more I can get a new system with a warranty and tec support. I liked the idea of the finder scope, which can supplement the 3x lens. I'll have to check out the filters. Would you recommend getting a 12nm H-a filter and maybe a 7nm to cover seeing conditions? I need to understand what the night vision 3x afocal lens attachment, and the 1.25 to 1.20 astro adapter will do when attached to the 3x lens. Is it easier to attach filters? Will it affect focusing, or is it just a pass through devise. For my telescope I was going to get the c-mount for the PVS-7 and a c-mount to 1.25 nose tube adapter. I just want to make sure that I can add the filters to the telescope. I have 2x and 3x barlows in stock. Will they work by themselves with the PVS-7 system. I'm getting a price list from Night Vision Systems on many of the items. I think I'll go ahead and order the PVS system to get started. Thank all of you for your input and support. Thank You, Bruce Manning



#25 pwang99

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 11:42 AM

I liked the idea of the finder scope, which can supplement the 3x lens. I'll have to check out the filters. Would you recommend getting a 12nm H-a filter and maybe a 7nm to cover seeing conditions?


YES! If you only want to get one, I would recommend starting with the narrower one.
 

I need to understand what the night vision 3x afocal lens attachment, and the 1.25 to 1.20 astro adapter will do when attached to the 3x lens.
Is it easier to attach filters? Will it affect focusing, or is it just a pass through devise.


The 3x afocal slides over the front of the PVS-7. The "1.25 to 1.20 adapter" threads into the objective of the PVS-7.  Once threaded in, it offers only 1mm or so of thickness.  You then screw in your standard 1.25" filter, which adds maybe 5-7mm of thickness.  You will still be able to slide the 3x afocal over this combination.

 

You will need to change focus slightly after threading in the filter.  Not sure if I understand your question completely, but the 1.25 to 1.20 adapter is a "pass-through" device, with no optics. 

 

For my telescope I was going to get the c-mount for the PVS-7 and a c-mount to 1.25 nose tube adapter. I just want to make sure that I can add the filters to the telescope.

 

Yes.  The filters will screw in to the 1.25 nose adapter.  If you get the Scopestuff 2" nose adapter, that has a recessed 1.25" thread as well as supporting native 2" threaded filters. I have found this to be very convenient.

 

I have 2x and 3x barlows in stock. Will they work by themselves with the PVS-7 system.

 

The barlows will work with the PVS-7 once you stick the 1.25" nose tube on it.  However, I don't think they're going to work with the PVS-7 with its native 1x objective.

 

I'm getting a price list from Night Vision Systems on many of the items. I think I'll go ahead and order the PVS system to get started. Thank all of you for your input and support. Thank You, Bruce Manning

 

You are most welcome, and congrats on your purchase!  Welcome to the green side!  :D


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