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#1 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:10 AM

I'm not able to travel to dark sites, and my skies are fairly light polluted (orange). I was thinking I should consider night vision, but cost has always been an issue. I figure I can sell my 8 inch SCT, 6 inch SCT and SE mount, my 4 inch Vixen, and one of my 60mm scopes. That may cover at least half of the NV setup.

 

I was thinking white phosphor of some sort. Is it worth going filmless vice thin filmed?

 

My question is if you were in my situation with the current scopes of a 10 inch F4.7 dob, 60mm F6, etc, what would you purchase? I saw one company has teamed up with Televue and their stuff looks interesting. I figure I could always get a cheap fast newt in the future if need be.



#2 Mazerski

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:32 AM

Start here - look at post #10 as I threw in photos on NV devices and adapters to use hand-held and in scope focuser.

 

https://www.cloudyni...uture-nv-setup/

 

There is another thread on CN on sweeping the Milky Way... I was out Monday night (east coast) and use a Astronomik 642nm IR Filter with a 135mm Nikon lens (hand-held) and the views in The Sagittarius area of sky are amazing with a huge field of view. The MW clouds are visible as well as nebulosity on the 4 summer Nebula. Using a Ha filter allows the Nebula to pop but less stars are visible.

 

Scope - I have a Boren-Simon 8” (f2.8 and f4)... the views are great with NV. My favorite scope.


Edited by Mazerski, 07 June 2019 - 11:34 AM.


#3 Jim Waters

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:33 AM

NV under highly polluted sky's will only amplify the light pollution.  I used to make Gen 2 Plus tubes and scopes.  When I tested them in the Phoenix area I was amplifying the sky glow.


Edited by Jim Waters, 07 June 2019 - 11:34 AM.


#4 Gavster

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:40 AM

NV under highly polluted sky's will only amplify the light pollution.  I used to make Gen 2 Plus tubes and scopes.  When I tested them in the Phoenix area I was amplifying the sky glow.

Not if you use appropriate filters such as a narrowband 3-7nm ha filter (for emission nebulae) and a 685 long pass filter for stars, galaxies and globulars. I use mine in lp London (18.5 Sqm) to great success


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#5 chemisted

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:42 AM

Your one stated requirement, white phosphor, immediately brings to mind a question for me.  Why?  Have you had a chance to look through an image intensified eyepiece in your scopes or any for that matter?  I have been using devices with the green phosphor (P43) for the better part of two decades and always perceive grey scale when using them.  These are less expensive than white.  Also an NVD Micro with the HP+ tube and an EBI of less than 1 I consider a best buy.  It would be a great performer for hundreds less than top-of-the-line and would probably be the way I would enter this end of the hobby if starting new.


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#6 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:47 AM

NV under highly polluted sky's will only amplify the light pollution.  I used to make Gen 2 Plus tubes and scopes.  When I tested them in the Phoenix area I was amplifying the sky glow.

Simply not true with gen 3 or gen 2 and the right filtering. Favorite filters for gen 3 are 640nm and 3nm Ha, 7nm Ha

 

I like the 685nm also but it cuts Ha, if Milky Way sweeping, then still like 656.3 to come through. If the scope I’m using has longer than F/6 like my mak 150 at F/12, I’ll use a 610nm longpass. The 610nm is also good for gen 2

 

Been highly successful in Bortle 7 skies (red/white zone)


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#7 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:50 AM

Your one stated requirement, white phosphor, immediately brings to mind a question for me.  Why?  Have you had a chance to look through an image intensified eyepiece in your scopes or any for that matter?  I have been using devices with the green phosphor (P43) for the better part of two decades and always perceive grey scale when using them.  These are less expensive than white.  Also an NVD Micro with the HP+ tube and an EBI of less than 1 I consider a best buy.  It would be a great performer for hundreds less than top-of-the-line and would probably be the way I would enter this end of the hobby if starting new.

+1 to this. All green phosphor here. A lot of objects too low in surface brightness to show the green much with narrowband filtering. It appears as grey. Some threshold objects even benefit from averted vision in my experience.

 

Even the 685nm longpass will make the background sky dark enough to appear black instead of green. The lighter longpass filters the background sky still appears green. Dark green for 640nm, a bit lighter in fast scopes for the 610nm. Increase focal length and even the 610nm will appear dark green background sky. All narrowband I’ve tried makes for black background skies.


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 07 June 2019 - 11:58 AM.


#8 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:59 AM

On the green vs white, I just got a vibe that White was better for astronomy...however, I'm not experienced at all and less money is more appealing given my monetary situation.


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#9 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:13 PM

On the green vs white, I just got a vibe that White was better for astronomy...however, I'm not experienced at all and less money is more appealing given my monetary situation.

It’s an aesthetic preference only. A good tube is what will make the difference in performance vs white or green phosphor.

 

If you really think you need white phosphor for the look, then go for it, but as far as performance gains go, it won’t make it better than green. High S/N, high system gain, low EBI of < 1, low halo < 1, high resolution in lp/mm (64 lp/mm or greater should be fine. Newer tubes often getting 72 lp/mm or sometimes even better).

 

These are recommended specs but have used tubes with higher EBI than 1, higher halo than 1 and they still work fine. EBI also is affected by heat so try to get as low as possible. An increase in 20 degrees outside can even affect EBI numbers. Summer time temps rise and EBI numbers will increase. Still usable. Summer time nebulae viewing is some of the best despite higher EBI numbers. Even milspec tubes that just meet Omnibus contract minimums can perform very well. Omni VII EBI minimum is 2.5 for example. Go for the best you can get, but don’t get too hung up if one spec doesn’t meet all lowest criteria recommendations.



#10 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:13 PM

Like many things, it's a bit overload of information for me at this point. I have a thyroid issue which gives me a bit of brain fog and fatigue. So it can be hard to concentrate enough to figure out what to purchase. I also don't know which companies would be good to purchase from. Maybe some of that could be considered laziness, but I wish there were more simple solutions. I know the site Televue partnered with did seem simple, but not sure if it's better to attach to eyepieces, or what other options for connecting to the scope are. They had adapters for connecting to Televue eyepieces and another one for putting a filter directly on (I assume 2 inch filters).

 

Kind of reminds me of how I felt when first figuring out how to collimate my dob...information overload...haha.


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#11 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:16 PM

Read at your leisure

 

Introduction to NV links

 

https://www.cloudyni...v-introduction/



#12 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:24 PM

Thanks Vondragonnoggin...that should help.



#13 Jim Waters

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:37 PM

Simply not true with gen 3 or gen 2 and the right filtering. Favorite filters for gen 3 are 640nm and 3nm Ha, 7nm Ha

 

I like the 685nm also but it cuts Ha, if Milky Way sweeping, then still like 656.3 to come through. If the scope I’m using has longer than F/6 like my mak 150 at F/12, I’ll use a 610nm longpass. The 610nm is also good for gen 2

 

Been highly successful in Bortle 7 skies (red/white zone)

True if you use filters.


Edited by Jim Waters, 07 June 2019 - 02:27 PM.


#14 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:40 PM

http://televue.com/n...t/#.XPqfwjrsYi8

 

This site above shows the partnership with Televue...Things looked pretty good on there.


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#15 chemisted

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 12:52 PM

That article was written by our very own Gavster who commented earlier.  In the UK only the PVS-14 afocal arrangement shown is readily available.  Many in the US prefer a device with a C-mount lens on front that can be removed and replaced with a nosepiece so the unit truly looks like and IS a regular eyepiece that fits into the focuser as such.

 

I recommend the Night Vision Devices Micro because it comes with a C-mount objective that can be removed in this way.  Of course, it can also be used stand alone for sweeping or adapted for afocal just as the TV/TNVC collaboration shows.  Because it is C-mount you can easily use with inexpensive manual camera lenses as well.  Thus, there is greater flexibility with this kind of device than with the PVS-14 which has an objective that cannot be removed.


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#16 Eddgie

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 02:39 PM

I own both green and white and in many ways, I prefer green.

 

But that is not what I would recommend.  

 

The reason is that most people that have never used NV look at videos and feel the green looks unnatural.   The reality is that you don't really notice it in practical use but people are turned off by it. People that actually use green will tell you that when viewing, you are barely aware of the color.   As I said, I have come to prefer green in same ways (stars seem to pop out from the background better to me) but many that have not used it just can't accept that it is not black and while

 

And the only reason I don't recommend green is that with the above attitude being prevalent (green is unnatural), if you ever decide to sell it, you may have a hard time re-selling without taking a bigger loss! I don't recommend white becuase I think it is better, I recommed it because if for some reason you don't take to NV astronomy, you will probably loose less money and have an easier time finding a buyer if you have white. I actually prefer green though, but it is hard to find green thin filmed tubes with very high specs. They exist, but they simply are not common and since everyone wants white today, that is what the companies are making. 

 

When WP first came out, it was much more expensive vs green, but now the price differential is small.

 

While filmless has the potential outperform thin filmed tubes, tubes come in many grades, and price being equal, you may be able to get better performance from a thin film tube. 

 

It is all in the specs.  If the thin film tube has better specs, it can perform better than the filmless tube with so-so specs.  

 

The better vendors are usually going to have higher performance filmless tubes, and that is what you want to look at.

 

So, if you just go out and buy a filmless tube off the shelf at a discount vendor, there is no assurance that it will outperform a high grade thin film tube. 

 

The two vendors most people on CN seem to deal with are Ultimate Night Vision (ask for Richard) and TNVC.   Best to call them and tell them that you want a high spec tube for astronomy.


Edited by Eddgie, 07 June 2019 - 02:53 PM.

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#17 Gavster

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 02:49 PM

That article was written by our very own Gavster who commented earlier.  In the UK only the PVS-14 afocal arrangement shown is readily available.  Many in the US prefer a device with a C-mount lens on front that can be removed and replaced with a nosepiece so the unit truly looks like and IS a regular eyepiece that fits into the focuser as such.

 

I recommend the Night Vision Devices Micro because it comes with a C-mount objective that can be removed in this way.  Of course, it can also be used stand alone for sweeping or adapted for afocal just as the TV/TNVC collaboration shows.  Because it is C-mount you can easily use with inexpensive manual camera lenses as well.  Thus, there is greater flexibility with this kind of device than with the PVS-14 which has an objective that cannot be removed.

Ed, I agree the micro/mod 3 approach is more flexible. In particular it allows many different  camera lens to be used.

However, the key detachable lens for this setup is the envis which I understand is very difficult to get hold of secondhand now.

The pvs-14 automatically has this lens so for sweeping the skies a 1x or attaching to a eyepiece for afocal observing, the pvs-14 does have some nice attributes.


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#18 Eddgie

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 02:51 PM

And as a followup the vendor that usually has the best thin filmed tubes in stock is NV Devices.  The best grade of tube they carry is (their classification standard) is the "ULT" grade.  My first device was a NV D Micro with ULT tube, and it was a fantastic performer. To really be sure of getting a better tube, you usually have to buy the top end thin film tubes.  Again, there are many different grades of tubes, and a so-so grade filmless tube is not going to compare well to a top end thin film tube.  It is a numbers game, and you are paying for specs, so get the best you can get for the dollars you are willing to spend, and that might turn out to be a thin film green tube. 

 

NV Devices also has a 10 year warranty (or last time I checked).   If I were buying thin film, I would probably head straight for their website.   They have the most transparent web site of all of the NV vendors.  Each grade has a table that tells you all of the minimum specs so if they say a ULT tube will have a min of 30 S/N, you can bet that it will be this good or better.  My ULT tube would probably be a better tube than a lot of the WP filmless tubes being sold today to hunters and sportsmen.  


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#19 Gavster

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 02:54 PM

I’ve looked through a green gen 3 no manual gain and compared it to my white gen 3 manual gain. I much preferred the white tube and also really like the ability to adjust gain to suit my preference. For me personally white and manual gain are important.


Edited by Gavster, 07 June 2019 - 04:19 PM.


#20 The Ardent

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 03:00 PM

I would look into a used PVS-7. It’s green and lacks manual gain, but it works well and easy to view thru. Plus it’s easier to reach focus due to the nosepiece design.

I also suggest renting a night vision device for a week tryout. I don’t know what vendors offer this, but a lot less $$$ if you decide NV isn’t for you.
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#21 astronomia

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Posted 07 June 2019 - 08:51 PM

Ultimate Night Vision rents PVS-14 NVD’s. I believe about $200 for 3 days. The price is supposed to apply to a NVD purchase.


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#22 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 02:25 AM

I'm not able to travel to dark sites, and my skies are fairly light polluted (orange). I was thinking I should consider night vision, but cost has always been an issue. I figure I can sell my 8 inch SCT, 6 inch SCT and SE mount, my 4 inch Vixen, and one of my 60mm scopes. That may cover at least half of the NV setup.

 

I was thinking white phosphor of some sort. Is it worth going filmless vice thin filmed?

 

My question is if you were in my situation with the current scopes of a 10 inch F4.7 dob, 60mm F6, etc, what would you purchase? I saw one company has teamed up with Televue and their stuff looks interesting. I figure I could always get a cheap fast newt in the future if need be.

 

Good thinking on the scopes. There will always be low-cost dobs and small refractors. And with a C-mount device, telephoto lens options. As long as you have something to use now (even a f/10 SCT) circle back to primary optics later.

 

Determine your budget, then buy the best specs you can: low ebi, high s/n, 64+ line pairs/mm, and low halo. Probably in that order.

 

If a vendor has several tubes that meet your specs, then worry about green/white or filmed/unfilmed. Either way, it is going to revolutionize your viewing.


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#23 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 02:33 AM

NV under highly polluted sky's will only amplify the light pollution.  I used to make Gen 2 Plus tubes and scopes.  When I tested them in the Phoenix area I was amplifying the sky glow.

 

Things have changed since then.

 

Nebula from San Francisco, 4" refractor:

 

https://www.cloudyni... san francisco

 

Galaxies, same author/location, 4" refractor:

 

https://www.cloudyni...kies/?p=8536364



#24 chemisted

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 05:33 AM

As far as specifications go I have a slightly different recommendation.  I agree low EBI (<1) is an absolute must have.  Since 64 lp/mm is a given, my next priority is a Photocathode Response (PR) of >2200.  SN is used by vendors to price their devices and is always listed in linear units.  When converted to dB there really isn't a very big difference when going from SN 25 to SN 30 (in dB it is 28 going to 29.6).  A device with a SN rating of 25 is priced quite a bit lower than the 30 but with good PR and EBI numbers can be a terrific performer.



#25 astronomia

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 09:33 AM

Another factor that enters into tube price is “blems”...how many, size, where are they located.

 

Once the decision is made to get an NVD and budget,  the next decision is typically “form factor”...typically MOD3 vs PVS14 housing then tube. Searching for and locating the perfect astronomy spec tube can be maddening, take a long time and be very pricey! As mentioned, prioritizing specs and determining what specs values are acceptable will typically save both time and money.

 

Some vendors require full payment in advance while they wait for an appropriate tube to come in, sometimes months+ later. Not a good idea from my past experience!


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