This may sound like an utterly stupid question, but what’s the deal with binoviewers? This is not me questioning the benefits of binos, it’s just that I never had the opportunity to use this kind of device and I really wonder how it feels compared to classical observing.
I mean, I understand that observing with your two eyes must bring some benefits, I read some of you guys reporting how awesome it is when you look at the Moon with a bino, but could someone try to put in words how it feels to use a bino compared to a regular eyepiece?
Are binos only, or mainly, good for lunar and planetary observation?
I've been using a cheap Revelation binoviewer for about ten years now. I used it along with a cheap SW 2X delux barlow in my SW 120ED until 2015, then I upgraded my scope by dropping down in aperture to a Tak FC100DC, and still use the same binoviewer and Barlow. Two years ago almost, my friend Rodger, who wanted to check out the new FC100D scope, spent an evening really putting it through its paces. He brought with him some very nice top end eyepieces, one of which was a TMB 5mm super monocentric. It was early April and the moon was high in a pristine sky. The seeing was as good on this evening as ive ever seen, so it couldn't have worked out better for assessing the new Tak's capabilities.
Looking at the Moon through the FC with the 5mm super mono in the Tak prism, the view was unimaginably sharp. The magnification was only 148X but still highly detailed and very well defined. I, along with my observing buddy Paul who had brought his Tak FC100DL along for comparison, was wowed by the super mono. Then I suggested we try the binoviewer and a couple of cheap 16.8mm Abbe Orthoscopics. The Moon suddenly became three dimensional and the level of detail was in an entirely different league. The super mono was superb, but the binoviewer plus 2X barlow and paired 16.8 Abbe ortho's was, in the words of my friend Paul, "a real game changer)!
It's hard to put into words just how good a binoviewer is when used to observe the Moon and planets, and how intricate detail on the border of detectability in a single eyepiece, becomes very easily observable with the use of a binoviewer.
At the outset I mentioned that the binoviewer and Barlow were cheap, as are the 16.8mm Abbe Ortho's, yet this combination, costing in total less than a single top end eyepiece, not only out performed the top end eyepiece, it did so in a massively impressive way. Stunning, breathtaking and jaw dropping are all under statements to say the least.
When looking at Jupiter using the same FC100DC and binoviewer/barlow arrangement, the equatorial belts give an almost 3D braided appearance, and white ovals, barges, garlands and festoons etc can be seen with great ease. Even the Great Red Spot reveals its vortex nature.
I know we all love our high end eyepieces and dream of acquiring a mouth watering selection, but for lunar and planetary, I have yet to see any mono eyepiece of any make beat the view given through my cheap binoviewer an eyepieces!