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NV - Complete NV newbie asking some questions

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#1 spereira

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:15 PM

Hello folks,

 

I am a complete newbie to the thought of using (never mind actually acquiring) NV equipment for astronomy.

 

Here's my background:  

 

I've been in the astronomy hobby for quite some time as a visual observer.  Many years ago, when web cam astronomy was blossoming, I gave it a try, but never really got past getting a simple web cam modded and working.  I did attach it to my scope, and then the problems started with getting things to come into focus, etc.  My goal was only to be able to see what the scope was pointed at on a separate screen, so family members could see what I was raving about without the hassle of looking through the eyepiece.  Suffice it to say the web cam stuff did not work out for me, and got set aside in favor of simply doing visual observing.

 

I have acquired a few bits of reasonable quality equipment, and I have enjoyed solar, lunar, and planetary viewing as the weather conditions (and mosquito conditions, and long daylight in the summertime) up here in New England will allow.  And, of course, the light pollution in my area has only increased over time.  I remember (again back in the beginning of electronic imaging) the wonder of watching someone actually get an image coming from their scope while it was still daylight.  With "real time" equipment like that, maybe light pollution won't be such an impediment?

 

Recently, I have been thinking again about how great it might be for others to be able to share what the scope is pointed at, without taking too much time or having the hassle of getting to, and seeing through the eyepiece.  There are some simple inexpensive solutions like the Revolution Imager out there that can accomplish this.  And, I definitely do not want to get into all the image processing needed to produce those superb still images that many folks share here online.  All I want to do is be able to see stuff, and if there's an easy way to share in "real time", that would be great, too.

 

Then, I stumbled across a post or two that mentioned the things one can see with a NV setup...  As the saying goes - HOLY COW!

 

I sent a PM off to a fellow I saw here on CN and got a very enthusiastic and supportive response.  Thanks a million, Eddgie!  I've taken some peeks at the great stuff already posted and pinned here, and I see that it will be quite overwhelming to plow through it all.

 

I have some questions as a result of my initial investigating, so here goes:

 

The things I've read so far lead me to believe that an AB Night Vision Mod 3, along with a C-thread to 1.25" adapter, would be a device that I could use stand-alone, or put into any of my scopes.  When used stand-alone, looking through the NV monocular will show a 1x view of where it is pointing, but amplifying the light gathered.  When used with a scope, the NV device replaces the eyepiece, so what I see looking into the NV device is what my scope is pointing at, but the light gathered by the scope is amplified by the NV device.  I think I have this right.

 

Of course, what I described is good for the individual observer, but does not address sharing the image with anyone else.

 

When I looked on the Internet for the AB Night Vision Mod 3, I got to the TNVC.com website, and a bit of moving around brought me to:

 

TNVC/Mod 3 Bravo Monocular (AB Night Vision), $3412-$4245.

 

There were 3 choices to make prior to getting a final price:

 

1. L-3 filmed green Phosphor / L-3 filminess white phosphor

2. C-mount / Standard

3. Automatic / Manual

 

Taking some guesses, I picked: L-3 filminess white phosphor, C-mount, and Manual.  Of course, as is usually the case for me anyway, that makes the price $4245, the most expensive.  lol.gif

 

I did not see the C-thread to 1.25" adapter, but hopefully someone may be able to provide a pointer.

 

I apologize for this lengthy initial post, but I wanted to give some background of who I am and what I'd like to do, and what I've been able to poke around and find so far.

 

Do I have things about right, so far?  Am I on a good path?  What alternatives should I be looking at?  I'm sure there are alternatives that are more expensive, but is this one of the less expensive alternatives, or are there less expensive alternatives?

 

Thanks for listening, and thanks in advance for all your comments, concerns, thoughts, and questions back to me.

 

smp



#2 Eddgie

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:53 PM

Hello Stephen,

 

First, it is important to get the tube specs before doing the purchase.   The devices themselves will all show the same image if the same tube is moved from device to device, so the heart and soul of the device, and all of the performance of the device is really a factor of the individual tube, and while most of the L3 filmless tubes of the 20M model will be pretty similar, some will be better than others.

 

Next, the Mod 3 will not come with an objective.  It will be telescope ready with the 1.25" to C mount nose and that part is here.  This just screws into the C mount threads.   The device is then inserted into the focuser just like any other eyepiece.  Note.. You can use 2" if you prefer.

 

https://agenaastro.c...ra-adapter.html

 

Now to use the scope as a low power monocular, you are going to need to add a CCTV or SLR lens.  If you use the CCTV lens, it simply screws right on.   A 25mm will give you slightly less than 1x.  Caution.. Do not buy the Fujian or anything that looks like it. These will not work well for astronomy.   (Fujinon or Fuji Optical is fine.)  Cosmicar, Computar, Canon, or similar lenses are going to work better:

 

This one is f/1.8 and while you can find it in f/1.3, this one is cheap enough that it would work until you can find a faster one:

 

https://www.ebay.com...aMAAOSwwz9dVSGU

 

This is an example of the Fujinon.  A nice lens. 

 

https://www.ebay.com...toAAOSwY7lcdCrZ



#3 Eddgie

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:17 PM

If you want to go with SLR lens, I recommend used Nikon lenses.   To do that, you need an adapter like this:

 

https://www.ebay.com...XoAAOSwa~BYOnUG

 

Then you use any Nikon F (or the adapter for the lens of your choice) to C mount.  Now you can use different size lenses.   

 

Power will be the focal length divided by 27mm.  For example, a 135mm lens will give about 5x, which is actually quite useful or large targets like California Nebula.

This is a 180mm f/2.8.. The picture is just included to show you what a configuration would look like...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 180mm Nikkor.jpg


#4 spereira

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:34 PM

Thanks again, Eddgie, for all your assistance and info!

 

I've been poking around - I have an old Canon FTb film camera that lies unused, and it has a f/1.8 lens on it.  I've been looking around and there are c-mount to Canon FD lens adapters available.

 

BUT, before I go off on this tangent, I want to get back to my telescopes.  Both my TV-85 and my Questar 3.5 are excellent scopes, limited only by their aperture.  If I were to purchase the TNVC/Mod 3 NV device and one of the inexpensive c-mount to 1.25" adapters, that would be what I need to use the NV device with either of these scopes, right?

 

Is it really as simple as putting the NV device into the scope instead of an eyepiece?  With the f/7 TV-85, or with the f/13-ish Questar, how would I calculate the FOV that I would then have?  What about back-focus or in-focus?  Would these scopes be able to bring the NV device into focus, or will I then be in the place where I have to start experimenting with extension tubes or worse if I cannot get in far enough with my focus?  Or, is it a good bet that either of these scopes will be useful right from the start?

 

I certainly have not read through enough posts by actual users - can anyone comment on the use of this Mod 3 NV device with either the TV-85 or the Questar 3.5?

 

Thanks again for your patience with my questions!

 

smp



#5 bobhen

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:39 PM

If you haven’t already, have a look at this website for adapter and filter info: HERE is a link.

 

You will, of course, need adapters and filters.

 

It all sounds a little daunting at the start but it really isn’t. Get the best intensifier that you can afford (if you can't afford the best don't worry, you really don’t need the "absolute" best) a couple of filters and an adapter (usually c-mount to 1.25”) that fits your intensifier and start observing.

 

After a few months of observing and experimenting maybe make some filter adjustments or additions and you should be all set.

 

Even inexpensive achromats and fast reflectors deliver great results with NV so adding a mid-size or small inexpensive scope might also be a consideration.

 

Seeing what was previously invisible will be worth it.

 

For a reference, below is the optical train that I use on all my scopes
From left to right...

 

Refractor
GSO focuser
AP 2" Diagonal
2" .7 reducer
1.25" to 2" diagonal adapter
1.25" filter (Pass or Ha)
C-mount to 1.25” adapter
NVD Micro

 

 

Bob

Attached Thumbnails

  • post-10354-0-90921200-1560005312_thumb.jpg
  • post-10354-0-55586300-1527548851.jpg

Edited by bobhen, 18 August 2019 - 01:39 PM.


#6 spereira

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:53 PM

Thanks very much, Bob, for your response!

 

I had seen that web site before...  Must have been when I was going through some of the pinned info at the top of the forum.  Thanks very much for posting it here, too.

 

Your refractor setup looks quite similar to what I have with my TV-85:  

 

TV-85 scope,

TV 2" focuser,

2" UV/IR filter,

TV 2" diagonal,

TV 2"-to-1.25" adapter,

1.25" eyepiece

 

This provides hope that exchanging the eyepiece for the NV device *should* work just fine as is.

 

Oh, to repeat a question that I had in the initial post:  Is the manual gain selection correct?  Would there be any reason to go with the automatic gain selection?

 

Thanks!

 

smp



#7 bobhen

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 02:22 PM

I use NV at prime focus some use the afocal approach that allows for using different eyepieces before the intensifier. TV offers adapters that fit their eyepieces for this approach. They have information on their website. HERE is a link, Take notice of the optical stack. An eyepiece comes before the intensifier. With my optical stack, there is no additional eyepiece.

 

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

 

I happen to like the simplicity of prime focus viewing.

 

You might want to give TV a call and see if you TV 85 has enough in-focus travel. An intensifier can take up more in-focus travel than using a barlow.

 

The filters you want are Ha filters for nebula and Pass filters for non-nebula objects. In my “heavy” light pollution I like 6nm Ha filter for nebula and a 685 Pass filter for clusters etc.

 

Again, the website link in my previous post has more info regarding filters etc.

 

Bob



#8 The Ardent

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 02:41 PM

Manual gain is desirable. Adjusting the gain allows you to dial in the most pleasing image.

With a camera lens or refractor straight-thru, you will get a correct image (up is up, left/right not reversed)

With a Newtonian, you will also get a correct image. The 6" f/4 imaging newt makes a great portable NV scope. I had the AstroTech for a while.

I prefer a correct image whenever possible.

#9 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 03:05 PM

Thanks again, Eddgie, for all your assistance and info!

 

I've been poking around - I have an old Canon FTb film camera that lies unused, and it has a f/1.8 lens on it.  I've been looking around and there are c-mount to Canon FD lens adapters available.

 

BUT, before I go off on this tangent, I want to get back to my telescopes.  Both my TV-85 and my Questar 3.5 are excellent scopes, limited only by their aperture.  If I were to purchase the TNVC/Mod 3 NV device and one of the inexpensive c-mount to 1.25" adapters, that would be what I need to use the NV device with either of these scopes, right?

 

Is it really as simple as putting the NV device into the scope instead of an eyepiece?  With the f/7 TV-85, or with the f/13-ish Questar, how would I calculate the FOV that I would then have?  What about back-focus or in-focus?  Would these scopes be able to bring the NV device into focus, or will I then be in the place where I have to start experimenting with extension tubes or worse if I cannot get in far enough with my focus?  Or, is it a good bet that either of these scopes will be useful right from the start?

 

I certainly have not read through enough posts by actual users - can anyone comment on the use of this Mod 3 NV device with either the TV-85 or the Questar 3.5?

 

Thanks again for your patience with my questions!

 

smp

 

I'm using Canon FD lenses (50, 135, 300) with my Mod 3C, fabulous performers. The cool thing about NV astronomy is the Milky Way offers structures on all scales, magnifications from 1x to telescopic powers are profitably used.

 

In the camera lenses, I would stick with Canon or Nikon. Both of these brands have excellent sharpness, speed, and color correction (some with fluorite lenses) for unfiltered work. Adapters for each are inexpensive and plentiful.

 

IMG_9245.jpg

IMG_1132.jpg
 
With the larger camera lenses holding it steady to realize fine detail becomes the challenge. Same issues (and solutions) that binocular astronomers have.
 
With respect to your telescopes, yes it is that easy. Get the C-mount adapters from ScopeStuff. They are inexpensive and I recommend getting both 2" and 1.25" for flexibility.
 
While your Questar might not seem like a good NV candidate, I have used my Meade ETX 90 (same aperture and design) and it is kind of a fun scope for open clusters. Point sources (stars) suffer slower focal ratios well. And while it is not a good choice for extended objects I could see the HorseHead nebula in it! Better than I have ever seen it my 16" Dob in fact.
 
All that being said, the Questar will certainly not be your primary NV scope. You'll do it "because you can". The TV85 will be better in all respects.

Edited by Jeff Morgan, 18 August 2019 - 03:07 PM.

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#10 Gavster

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 03:50 PM

I enjoy using my tv85 with my night vision monoculars. It works well particularly in afocal mode with a 55mm plossl.

Some details in this link

http://televue.com/n...t/#.XVm5RCTTUlQ



#11 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 10:56 PM

I enjoy using my tv85 with my night vision monoculars. It works well particularly in afocal mode with a 55mm plossl.

Some details in this link

http://televue.com/n...t/#.XVm5RCTTUlQ

 

Yes, afocal definitely has a place even for the Mod 3C owner. Few scopes have the back focus to utilize strong (0.5x) focal reducers. Some are even challenged by a 0.7x reducer.

 

While back focus-challenged is normally synonymous with "Newtonian", even some refractors can't do it. My Lomo SV80 refractor appears to be one of those. Can't even use the "mild" 0.7x! OTOH, I have seen a TEC 140 and a TMB 130SS reach even with the 0.5x reducer. So, refractors can be somewhat of a "wildcard" when it comes to focal reduction.

 

Enter afocal projection. It uses eyepieces that scopes can focus without modifications. In those cases, afocal using a 55 Plossl is roughly equivalent to a 0.5x reducer, and a 40 Plossl roughly equivalent to a 0.7x reducer.


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#12 11769

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 02:31 AM

Try pricing it out through UNV instead


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#13 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:12 AM

I enjoy using my tv85 with my night vision monoculars. It works well particularly in afocal mode with a 55mm plossl.

Some details in this link

http://televue.com/n...t/#.XVm5RCTTUlQ

 

 

Yes, afocal definitely has a place even for the Mod 3C owner. Few scopes have the back focus to utilize strong (0.5x) focal reducers. Some are even challenged by a 0.7x reducer.

 

While back focus-challenged is normally synonymous with "Newtonian", even some refractors can't do it. My Lomo SV80 refractor appears to be one of those. Can't even use the "mild" 0.7x! OTOH, I have seen a TEC 140 and a TMB 130SS reach even with the 0.5x reducer. So, refractors can be somewhat of a "wildcard" when it comes to focal reduction.

 

Enter afocal projection. It uses eyepieces that scopes can focus without modifications. In those cases, afocal using a 55 Plossl is roughly equivalent to a 0.5x reducer, and a 40 Plossl roughly equivalent to a 0.7x reducer.

 

Thanks very much for your responses, guys!

 

Here's my next question:  I thought the TNV/Mod3 Bravo Monocular can be used a-focal along with the eyepiece adapter sold by Tele Vue.  Right?  However, the Tele Vue eyepiece adapter seems to want to connect to the Monocular with the Standard thread.  This seems to limit one to only a-focal use, and only Tele Vue eyepieces.  Is this correct?

 

If one purchases the Monocular with the c-mount thread, I understand that the monocular then simply replaces the eyepiece by using the c-mount to 1.25" adapter already described.  How would one go about using a monocular configured this way to do a-focal viewing?

 

With this particular monocular, would I not be able to do a-focal viewing if I went with the c-mount thread?

 

Thanks very much for your patience with my questions!

 

smp



#14 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:19 AM

Try pricing it out through UNV instead

Thanks for the new pointer!

 

I went to UltimateNightVision.com, and looked around, but I could not find the same Mod 3 Bravo Monocular.  UNV has other monoculars described as PVS-14, rather than Mod 3-B.  There were a couple that were priced quite a bit less than the Mod 3-B, like this one and this one.

 

Is that what you meant for me to see?  If so, what is the major difference between those two?  Just the MIL vs. COM spec?  Which of those two would be the preferred one to buy?  What is the major difference between the PVS-14 device and the Mod 3-B device?

 

Thanks!

 

smp



#15 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:29 AM

In a post above, when talking about adding a lens onto the Mod 3-B Monocular, Eddgie stated that the "Power will be the focal length divided by 27mm."  That would be the focal length of the camera lens being attached divided by 27mm.

 

Does this apply also to what happens when the Mod 3-B is used as an eyepiece on a scope?  My TV-85 has FL of 600mm, so would the magnification in my TV-85 setup be 600 / 27 = 22.222 ?

 

Where does the 27mm spec come from?  What on the Mod 3-B is 27mm?  What spec do I look for on a different NV device to compare between devices?

 

Thanks very much, in advance, for your assistance and advice!

 

smp



#16 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:35 AM

OK, here's something that finally dawning on me:

 

It appears that the Mod 3-B Monocular does not come with an objective lens (yes, I remember being told that above).  It appears that the PVS-14 Monoculars *do* come with an objective lens, and that's why Tele Vue created their adapter to connect onto the objective of the PVS-14 Monocular, and then onto (some) TV eyepieces.

 

So am I correct in thinking that the PVS-14 devices must be used a-focally, and the Mod 3-B device cannot be used a-focally?

 

Hmmm, I think I'm getting a bit confused.

 

smp



#17 Gavster

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:13 PM

OK, here's something that finally dawning on me:

 

It appears that the Mod 3-B Monocular does not come with an objective lens (yes, I remember being told that above).  It appears that the PVS-14 Monoculars *do* come with an objective lens, and that's why Tele Vue created their adapter to connect onto the objective of the PVS-14 Monocular, and then onto (some) TV eyepieces.

 

So am I correct in thinking that the PVS-14 devices must be used a-focally, and the Mod 3-B device cannot be used a-focally?

 

Hmmm, I think I'm getting a bit confused.

 

smp

Pvs-14 (which I have since in Europe these are the available ones) are afocal pnly since the objective lens can’t be removed.

Mod 3 can be used afocally if you have a suitable objective lens such as the envis. They can also be used in prime. The focal length of 27mm is just what the monocular operates at so in prime the tv85 would be 22x mag at a speed of f7 but using a 55mm plossl in the tv85 in afocal mode would be 10.9x at f3.5.



#18 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:22 PM

Pvs-14 (which I have since in Europe these are the available ones) are afocal only since the objective lens can’t be removed.

Mod 3 can be used afocally if you have a suitable objective lens such as the envis. They can also be used in prime. The focal length of 27mm is just what the monocular operates at so in prime the tv85 would be 22x mag at a speed of f7 but using a 55mm plossl in the tv85 in afocal mode would be 10.9x at f3.5.

Thanks a million, Gavster!  You've verified what I thought were the answers to my questions.  Very much appreciated!

 

smp



#19 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:42 PM

 

For a reference, below is the optical train that I use on all my scopes
From left to right...

 

Refractor
GSO focuser
AP 2" Diagonal
2" .7 reducer
1.25" to 2" diagonal adapter
1.25" filter (Pass or Ha)
C-mount to 1.25” adapter
NVD Micro

 

Hi again Bob,

 

Which model of NVD Micro do you have?  I am assuming one of the two with white phosphor.  Do you have the NVD-MICRO-WP or the NVD-MICRO WHP?

 

Thanks!

 

smp



#20 Eddgie

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:43 PM

Yes, the Mod 3 can be used afocally, but unless you buy an ENVIS lens, you would likely have to have to use something like a CCTV Camera lens and have an adapter made (Precise Parts) if you wanted to use the Televue adapter.

 

But, you don't need to use the Televue adapter to do afocal.  You can simply hold the Mod 3 with CCTV lens up to the eyepiece, or you can use an afocal camera mounting platform like this:

 

https://www.baader-p...ra-adapter.html

 

This will clamp to almost any eyepiece.   

 

There are other digiscoping adapters out there, but a couple of people on CN are using the Baader and it gets good recommendations.   Again, the benefit of going this route is that you can use almost any eyepiece whether it has Dioptrix thread or not. 



#21 Eddgie

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:45 PM

Hi again Bob,

 

Which model of NVD Micro do you have?  I am assuming one of the two with white phosphor.  Do you have the NVD-MICRO-WP or the NVD-MICRO WHP?

 

Thanks!

 

smp

The Micro is a wonderful little NVD, but it does not have gain control.  Now I have a Micro and I personally don't mind that it does not have gain, but most here are going to tell you to get gain and I agree that you should.  The cost difference is tiny and if you decide it is not for you, not having gain will be a big issue for re-sale. 



#22 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:56 PM

... But, you don't need to use the Televue adapter to do afocal.  You can simply hold the Mod 3 with CCTV lens up to the eyepiece, or you can use an afocal camera mounting platform like this:

 

https://www.baader-p...ra-adapter.html

 

This will clamp to almost any eyepiece.   ...

Thanks very much (again) Eddgie.  It looks to me like Tele Vue simply picked the PVS-14 devices as the one to make their adapter for, perhaps because of their fixed lenses.  That seems to be one of the many configurations that can be achieved.  Tele Vue and TNVC were probably interested in being able to offer a bundle solution for folks who didn't relish figuring out all the bits for themselves.  I must say it is *very* nice to have the support and advice that you and others are offering me here!

 

smp



#23 spereira

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:27 PM

Folks, I cannot tell you all how much I appreciate all your advice and support.  Thanks very much to you all.

 

My latest question is about the phosphor.  Looking at the options for the Mod 3-B Monocular on the TVNC.com web site, I believe that the C-mount option and the manual gain (brightness) options are correct for me.  That leaves either the L3 filmed green phosphor, or the L3 filminess white phosphor.

 

So far, I've been thinking this one is a no-brainer, of course I want the white phosphor.  However, the difference in price between the two is $4245 (white phosphor) and $3660 (green phosphor).

 

I get it that NV devices produce a monochromatic image.  I did not get it that there was such a difference in price.

 

Does anyone have any opinion or information about why there is a $585 price difference between the two?  That's the largest price driver by far.  The other two options only jiggle the price about $250 together.

 

What's the difference between the filmed phosphor and the filminess phosphor?  Is that what's really driving the price?

 

Thanks!

 

smp



#24 bobhen

bobhen

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:29 PM

Hi again Bob,

 

Which model of NVD Micro do you have?  I am assuming one of the two with white phosphor.  Do you have the NVD-MICRO-WP or the NVD-MICRO WHP?

 

Thanks!

 

smp

I actually have a green tube.

 

Does the green tint bother me – absolutely not. On most objects it’s a monochromatic grayish tint (nothing like what you see in NV videos) with a hint of green cast. The only object that shows the tint as a light, bright, whitish, green is the core of the Orion Nebula (being so bright) but most objects are just too dim to deliver a bright green cast.

 

If the moon is out and the sky is really bright, in some areas of the sky I might pick up some green background tint but if that’s that case the views will be compromised because of the conditions anyway.

 

If it came down to budget and I could either get a green tube with great specs or a white tube with somewhat less specs, I would choose the green tube without question.

 

The Micro does not have gain control and for most having gain control is a strong consideration. However, I shot video for 15-years before NV and because of my light pollution I always preferred the gain set on high. So in "my particular case", gain control was not a big issue. 

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 19 August 2019 - 03:29 PM.


#25 bobhen

bobhen

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:44 PM

One more thought...

 

Most of us have to live within a budget.

 

The bottom line is just get the best intensifier that you can afford, if that is a green tube so be it. It will still show you things you never saw before and really knock you out! You’ll soon forget the green versus white decision and all the agonizing.

 

Don’t forget to budget for filters. Filters are even more important than tube tint color.

 

Bob




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