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"Best" non-US NVD exportable to the U.S.

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#1 nimitz69

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 05:07 PM

I'm looking to be able to travel outside the US with an NVD to do some handheld astronomy and its becoming clear the State Department has little interest in working something out.  therefore, I'd like to look into purchasing a non-US made NVD which would be free from ITAR.

 

Can someone help start my education into non-US NVDs so I can begin to understand what's possible?

 



#2 Gavster

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 10:14 AM

I'm looking to be able to travel outside the US with an NVD to do some handheld astronomy and its becoming clear the State Department has little interest in working something out.  therefore, I'd like to look into purchasing a non-US made NVD which would be free from ITAR.

 

Can someone help start my education into non-US NVDs so I can begin to understand what's possible?

Unfortunately as soon as you import them into the USA they become subject to ITAR and you are not able to take them out of the States again.



#3 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 10:49 AM

You could get a gen1 cascade tube like this Grade A one from ebay

 

https://www.ebay.com...A-/183698520383

 

and then buy a housing like this one from Starlight NV UK

 

http://www.starlight...ght_scopes.html

 

and a c-mount to Canon EF adapter like this:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y

 

and a canon 50mm lens like this one:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y

 

a step down ring like this:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y

 

To fit a 2” astronomical filter like a Lumicon Night Sky H-Alpha (640nm longpass) - https://www.highpoin...ASAAEgKdsfD_BwE

 

or a 2” narrowband Ha filter like an Astronomik 12nm 2” - https://www.highpoin...ASABEgJ7tvD_BwE

 

Put it all together and you’ll have a very powerful but exportable NVD for handheld use that is capable of longpass or narrowband use. Some fisheye effect around the edges and lower resolution of about 40 lp/mm but the tubes are powerful with gain around 100,000x


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#4 nimitz69

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 02:06 PM

Unfortunately as soon as you import them into the USA they become subject to ITAR and you are not able to take them out of the States again.

not sure I understand this?  are you saying these NVDs are made by US companies?  If they are already being exported to outside the US isn't the genie already out of the bottle so what good to ITAR do at this point?  What am I missing?  Also, are there no non-US made NVDs available for purchase?



#5 nimitz69

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 02:06 PM

You could get a gen1 cascade tube like this Grade A one from ebay

 

https://www.ebay.com...A-/183698520383

 

and then buy a housing like this one from Starlight NV UK

 

http://www.starlight...ght_scopes.html

 

and a c-mount to Canon EF adapter like this:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y

 

and a canon 50mm lens like this one:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y

 

a step down ring like this:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ft=BI:514&smp=Y

 

To fit a 2” astronomical filter like a Lumicon Night Sky H-Alpha (640nm longpass) - https://www.highpoin...ASAAEgKdsfD_BwE

 

or a 2” narrowband Ha filter like an Astronomik 12nm 2” - https://www.highpoin...ASABEgJ7tvD_BwE

 

Put it all together and you’ll have a very powerful but exportable NVD for handheld use that is capable of longpass or narrowband use. Some fisheye effect around the edges and lower resolution of about 40 lp/mm but the tubes are powerful with gain around 100,000x

ok, that is pretty cool.  Have you done this?  Any idea how this compares relative to a Gen 3 type NVD?

Since I already own a MOD 3C & currently do handheld  I have everything needed so all I'd need is the tube & housing.


Edited by nimitz69, 26 April 2019 - 02:12 PM.


#6 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 02:43 PM

ok, that is pretty cool.  Have you done this?  Any idea how this compares relative to a Gen 3 type NVD?

Since I already own a MOD 3C & currently do handheld  I have everything needed so all I'd need is the tube & housing.

1. No, they ran out of the EEV p8079hp tubes at the time a very instructive thread was active on a DIY night Vision eyepiece

2. Comparably as powerful as a gen 3 but less resolution and some fisheye effects on the edges of view

 

 

here is the thread - https://www.cloudyni...nd-200-project/



#7 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 02:54 PM

The reason I’m suggesting something with a cascade tube is because technically it is Gen 1 technology. 

 

Gen 1 and some Gen 2’s are ok to export or import and the EEV gen 1 cascade will not fall under ITAR restrictions, yet is powerful enough for narrowband use. Gen 2’s aren’t powerful enough to get good results with narrowband. They will work with longpass though.

 

Several NVD’s can be bought in various other countries, but the cost is substantially more than US prices and as soon as you bring them into the US, they fall under ITAR law and probably break some laws even getting them into US, so you can’t go in and out of the US with a gen 3 tube device (unless you are active military with an issued device from your military service) without breaking some laws. Gen 1 and Gen 2 are not powerful enough for ITAR to care about it seems.

 

I would not even come close to risking breaking an ITAR law. Could be severe consequences.

 

Some US states even have restrictions for owning a gen 3 device I believe.


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#8 nimitz69

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 05:01 PM

Yeah, as current DoD civilian I’m not too interested in risking my security clearances either ....

 

if I did my math correctly it looks like it would be cheaper to just. Buy. One of their completed units vice the tube on eBay. And all the other parts from them?  Unless there are some of those parts that are not needed ?

 

Since this will strictly be used for Outreach events I’m not looking for my MOD 3, astronomy grade tube performance, just something that will perform reasonably well and not break the bank.  The price point of that looks about right for what I want



#9 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 06:54 PM

Yeah, as current DoD civilian I’m not too interested in risking my security clearances either ....

 

if I did my math correctly it looks like it would be cheaper to just. Buy. One of their completed units vice the tube on eBay. And all the other parts from them?  Unless there are some of those parts that are not needed ?

 

Since this will strictly be used for Outreach events I’m not looking for my MOD 3, astronomy grade tube performance, just something that will perform reasonably well and not break the bank.  The price point of that looks about right for what I want

There were some reports of questionable Grade A tubes straight from Starlight NV is why I linked the eBay tube. Some reports of scratches and not new old stock status. If you can get a tube guarantee from them, maybe they have fixed their issues with QC and complaints. I think the eBay seller had a good rating and I think you can buy with PayPal for better guarantee.

 

I was initially interested at the time of the DIY thread to get my own, but supplies on tubes ran low, and by this time I have quite enough Gen 3 devices and even a couple Gen 2 devices. Can’t justify the cost at this time and I don’t have extra funds really. I kept up on research on the status in case someone really wants to get into NV use but can’t pony up for a pvs-7 or Mod 3 and there aren’t any other devices used available.

 

Some other older gen 3 monoculars can be had for $1000 - $1500 that have built in c-mount lenses and could be capable of narrowband use but they don’t come up as frequently and the EEV setup is exportable which makes it easier if someone in another country than US is looking to get into NV at a fraction of the price of a UK or Canadian Gen 3 NVD.

 

They are big and heavy tubes and the whole device is pretty weighty for an eyepiece use, but so are pvs-4’s and I love using my pvs-4’s. For handheld use with a low power fast lens I think they should perform adequately for seeing large nebulae, sweeping Milky Way HII regions and big star field sweeping, large clusters, etc.


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 26 April 2019 - 07:10 PM.


#10 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 07:17 PM

If you go on YouTube and do a search for “EEV p8079hp”, you’ll see a ton of videos showing performance but mostly on UFO hunting performance rather than just straight astronomy. Might be one or two on astronomy use though, but even the UFO hunters show how many stars pop out with these tubes.

 

This video shows how the tube performs at various f ratios (f/1.4 to f/16) and also compared to a standard gen 1 device at the end of the video. Quite a difference by using a lens that’s really fast

 

https://youtu.be/sd0GIe9Ed0w


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 26 April 2019 - 10:13 PM.

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#11 GeezerGazer

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 10:51 AM

This video shows how the tube performs at various f ratios (f/1.4 to f/16) and also compared to a standard gen 1 device at the end of the video. Quite a difference by using a lens that’s really fast

 

https://youtu.be/sd0GIe9Ed0w

VDN, I noticed that the perimeter stars in that recording are very elongated.  Is that a function of the ocular, the objective, or both, that was used with that particular Gen I NVD?  Is that distortion what you previously referred to as "fisheye" effect for these particular devices? 



#12 nimitz69

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 11:17 AM

I’d like to know that answer as well since I already own both a 25mm & 50mm cctv lens (f/.85 & f/1.4) that I use with my MOD 3 ....

 

that eBay seller had 2 complaints in the last couple of months about tubes going Bad after just a couple of months .... sounds like the same issue.  Definitely would need to get some kind of tube guarantee.

 

if I were to buy just the tube from the eBay guy (89 BP vs 202 from the starlight guy) is it simple to install the tube in the device?  Electronics & me doing get along & I’m willing to pay a little more for a completely assembled unit.



#13 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 11:28 AM

VDN, I noticed that the perimeter stars in that recording are very elongated.  Is that a function of the ocular, the objective, or both, that was used with that particular Gen I NVD?  Is that distortion what you previously referred to as "fisheye" effect for these particular devices? 

Yes. That is expected with this kind of tube. Lower resolution of 40 lp/mm also. For $118 or so, not too bad a trade off.



#14 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 11:46 AM

I’d like to know that answer as well since I already own both a 25mm & 50mm cctv lens (f/.85 & f/1.4) that I use with my MOD 3 ....

 

that eBay seller had 2 complaints in the last couple of months about tubes going Bad after just a couple of months .... sounds like the same issue.  Definitely would need to get some kind of tube guarantee.

 

if I were to buy just the tube from the eBay guy (89 BP vs 202 from the starlight guy) is it simple to install the tube in the device?  Electronics & me doing get along & I’m willing to pay a little more for a completely assembled unit.

They are put together rather simply. Some guys making their own housings in the thread I linked for DIY.

 

You can ask Starlight NV if they will assemble one for you. I don’t know if they do that or not.

 

You can ask the eBay seller if he has a guarantee. PayPal might cover it though.

 

You won’t find a better or less expensive exportable option for performance.

 

Some instructions if you want to save even further:

 

https://www.instruct...t-Vision-Scope/

 

Or you can take a chance on a used an/pvs-2 or tvs-2

 

https://whatacountry...isionscope.aspx

 

https://www.ebay.com...t-/253485998350

 

These both from same seller but one is direct website and one is an eBay listing. tvs-2 also available direct from website.

 

tvs-2 has a larger objective of 125mm. They are heavier than pvs-2. Tvs-2 is about 15lbs.

 

an/pvs-2 is about 6lbs

 

They both use the gen 1 cascade tube (or also referred to as ABC tube) but made by Varo I believe.

 

You don’t have the ease of the filter placement though. The Starlight housing with c mount has option to put a fast 50mm lens and 2” filter over the front of the objective or a 1.25” filter in a filter mount you can buy from RafCamera and epoxy in the c-mount to Canon EF adapter.


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 27 April 2019 - 11:50 AM.

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#15 pwang99

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 03:30 PM

Related to this thread, I have heard a smattering of reports that *very recently* there have been changes to ITAR, which may mean that Gen3+ whole assemblies (monocular, binocular) are now available for export.... Has anyone else heard this?  Any concrete info on dates, what types of devices and FOM limits, etc.?



#16 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 04:45 PM

Related to this thread, I have heard a smattering of reports that *very recently* there have been changes to ITAR, which may mean that Gen3+ whole assemblies (monocular, binocular) are now available for export.... Has anyone else heard this?  Any concrete info on dates, what types of devices and FOM limits, etc.?

Can you elaborate? Where heard? Any articles, etc?

 

One of the NV vendors would probably know more.

 

If they did make changes, it might mean that housings like the Mod 3C could be available in other countries.

 

It would surprise me greatly if they changed it enough where gen 3 technology tubes could be exported.



#17 vincentv

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 09:44 PM

Is the cascade tube really restriction free? On the starlightnv site they list a small number of first world countries. The only vendor I've been able to find with clear export rules is nightvisionguys. They have a number of "exportable" gen2+ variations. I have not dealt with them and am really curious of how those options compare to the cascade or gen3.

 

So far I have a RI2 and my current plan is to wait for cmos to catch up eventually.



#18 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 10:48 PM

Is the cascade tube really restriction free? On the starlightnv site they list a small number of first world countries. The only vendor I've been able to find with clear export rules is nightvisionguys. They have a number of "exportable" gen2+ variations. I have not dealt with them and am really curious of how those options compare to the cascade or gen3.

 

So far I have a RI2 and my current plan is to wait for cmos to catch up eventually.

You would have to check with Starlight NV to see if they ship to your country. That list is probably the countries they ship to. You have to check your own local laws also. The cascade tube is a Gen 1 tube which are ok for export according to ITAR.  Local laws might prohibit Night Vision tech no matter which generation. You’d have to do some research I imagine.

 

I would rather have a cascade tube for narrowband than a gen 2+, personally. Maybe others would prefer gen 2+. I have a couple gen 2 systems but they do not work with narrowband Ha. If narrowband Ha is not a priority, then gen 2+ might work for you. Maybe some others have had better results with a certain spec gen 2+ tube, but it’s generally not recommended because of poor results. Regular Gen 1 and Gen 2 just don’t have the oomph for narrowband with any type of magnification and you need really fast lenses. A cascade tube eyepiece will even work in regular scopes with magnification although for narrowband work, the fastest optic you can get is best with it.

 

RI2 setup will show more with less noise and in color. If you have a tracking mount, then I’d stick with RI2 over a cascade tube and definitely over a gen 2+ device. RI2 with short integration times is definitely NRTV material. An NVD is immediate but at the expense of green or white phosphor only. No blazing color shots of nebula.

 

I like NV because I have no tracking mount and don’t want one and don’t want wires or other stuff with my EAA. I just like NV eyepieces and handheld devices. That’s a subjective and personal choice.



#19 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 10:54 PM

Maybe someone else will come along with a better suggestion for an exportable but capable NVD.

 

Ive just about exhausted all my material I have researched on these and links for builds, alternative devices, etc.

 

Good luck to the OP and anyone else that has a need for an exportable NV device.

 

smile.gif



#20 nimitz69

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 11:36 AM

Thx for all your help!  Starlight sells a fully assembled NVD with the Cascade tube for something like 435 BP plus 12 BP shipping. Assuming I can get some kind of guarantee for the tube that is the perfect solution for me since I’m already doing handhled with my MOD 3 and have everything except a suitable (performance-wise) NVD that I can take out of the country.  I love simple, turn key solutions ...

 

of course if ITAR now allows Gen 3 out of the country .........


Edited by nimitz69, 28 April 2019 - 11:39 AM.


#21 11769

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 07:09 PM

ITAR doesn't make sense for the most part and trying to find reason in the regulations is, at the end of the day, pointless as they will exist no matter what. To make matters worse, NV doesn't fall just under ITAR but also EAR. I've heard the same rumors that there have or will be changes made to NV though these rumors were, separately, mentioned to be in regard to ITAR or EAR.

 

A Gen 1 cascade tube is the best hassle free option. Completely exempt under ITAR. The Gen 2 tubes exempt under ITAR are not very good. Unfortunately, ITAR covers the technology being exported regardless of the country of origin. European and Russian tubes, once they cross into the US, cannot be exported without paperwork. The fact that this is ridiculous is one of the defining characteristics of ITAR. Can get even sillier or counter-intuitive at first glance with other technology "exports" or other "export" scenarios. For example, ITAR does not consider an "export" to require the defense technology ever leaving the US. People can and have been prosecuted under ITAR for "exports" that took place entirely within the US and even entirely between US citizens (but not US "persons" as defined by ITAR).

 

There are some minor details that could make life easier but are usually too nuanced to matter. For example, the PVS-14 is a defense article that is on the USML and cannot be exported under ITAR without licensing from the Department of State. The MUM-14, which is very much a peer-level PVS-14 cousin in form and function, is not on the USML and does not fall under ITAR but still requires an export license since it's a controlled export. Licensing falls under the Department of Commerce though and, from what I have heard, is much easier to obtain. Very possible the MOD-3 does not fall under ITAR and is similarly easier to export with the right paperwork. Doesn't help you since you still need a tube but similar provisions may exist for certain tubes. 

 

I welcome any corrections to the above as my understanding of ITAR is very limited (and I want to keep it that way). Much easier to issue blanket statements saying what isn't allowed than what exemptions may exist. When people talk about ITAR, myself included, it's usually a catch-all statement for all export restrictions. 


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#22 PEterW

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 12:45 PM

I know there have been some changes in the thermal export restrictions as American companies pointed out they were losing sales and this unable to continue to keep innovating their technology. Many countries make NV under license and Photonis seems pretty good now. If anyone does hear about changes to itar it’s be good to know on this forum, might help bring the prices down through market forces.
What country is the OP looking to visit, it might be that someone has a suitable Astro NV system he could look through?

Peter

#23 pwang99

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:28 AM

I don't recall precisely who I heard it from - it's been a hectic couple of months so it could have been any number of people, unfortunately...



#24 nimitz69

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 02:08 PM

s.
What country is the OP looking to visit, it might be that someone has a suitable Astro NV system he could look through?

Peter

well it could just about anywhere .... Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc ...




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