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The world without Televue

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#26 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 09:54 AM

I hate to say this, but there were Nagler-like eyepieces (large 80 degree plus FOV eyepieces with complex high performance designs) around before Tele Vue. They were exceptionally expensive and produced in low numbers, but they were there. 

 

Probably for specialized applications, like submarine periscopes and the like. So, the hobby would have adapted products meant to be used for another application, much like the Night Vision technology today.

 

What Tele Vue did was take the idea of UWA eyepieces and make it an astronomy-specific product.

 

Amateur astronomy is an incredibly small niche, and (as a group) we are notoriously cheap. I doubt one of the big optical companies with small astronomy units (Nikon, Pentax, Zeiss for example) would have risked capital to make a hobbyist-targeted product. That would be left to an inspired optical expert to form his own company.

 

However, I think the premise of the thread that without Tele Vue we would still be using Erfle performance level eyepieces for wide field viewing is a bit of a stretch. For example, Pentax developed their eyepieces for their telescopes, a business that pre-dates Tele Vue. They would have done it quite independent of Tele Vue.

 

Someone had mentioned Asimov's Foundation trilogy earlier. I think that is appropriate in that in time someone would have came along to fill that role of "inspired optical expert forming his own company".

 

And who is to say if such a person might have developed earlier or better designs than the way things unfolded?

 

All speculation. I would have to say things turned out pretty well as is.


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#27 25585

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:32 AM

I've certainly taken notice of new innovators on the scene in recent years, which is really refreshing to see, I believe TV played a big role in motivating the whole industry to go on this trajectory.

 

This thread probably gives the impression that I'm some sort of huge TV fanboy... Now I do like their products, but truth is out of the 11 eyepieces I currently own, only 2 are TV (31 Nagler and 17.3 Delos), the rest are a very eclectic mix including Pentax XW, LVW, Baader Morpheus, 12.5mm Docter and a few other brands. My favourite by far is the Docter, if they ever come out with more focal lengths it's likely I'll replace some of my set with them. So I certainly have a big apparition for premium eyepiece from other makers.

Your ecletic mix seems like mine.



#28 25585

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:36 AM

I see derivative designs based on different mixes of the TeleVue innovations. I'm not seeing truly innovative designs.

 

Have you found an eyepiece equal to the 31 mm Nagler? I know of none.. 

 

Jon

 

YMMV

I consider the ES92s innovative.

 

The reviews I have read so far favourably compare my 31mm Celestron Axiom LX to the 31T5 optically. 



#29 csrlice12

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:44 AM

Without Al Nagler's simulator work, Neil Armstrong might still be on the moon....


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#30 25585

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:57 AM

I don't think Televue has rested on their laurels at all.

 

They reverse-engineered their own Ethos and came up with eyepieces with better eye relief that are super sharp across a smaller FOV - Delos and DeLites.

 

I had my sets of Pentax XW and Delos outside last night and was amazed at how crisp and clean the view was through the Delos.  The companies match focal lengths at 14 and 10mm, but the total mix of these eyepieces gives me plenty of wonderful eyepieces to use.  My only wish is that TV would extend the range of the Delos into the 2-inch market.

 

My Pentaxes have always been wonderful, but I now run closer to a 50-50 mix of Delos and Pentax in my scopes.

 

Cheers,

 

Ron

Reverse-engineering is not, as a concept, new or innovative.

 

Delos came long after Pentax XLs and XWs, also long eye relief. 70° AFoV is close enough to Panoptics' 68° AFoV. Delites moved into low 60s degrees, a very well saturated area for that AFoV. I would argue Delites were more needed for in-brand as the Delites offer quality short focal length and great comfort, that their plossls do not. Innovation would be a new design, with larger AFoV, with the same greater comfort Delite has over Delos. If the Apollo is a reverse engineered Ethos, again not really innovative then.

 

A lot of inspiration in and from TV though. 



#31 BillP

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 11:58 AM

My belief is Televue's drive in research & development of well corrected wide-field eyepieces has been crucial to where we are today in visual/optical amateur astronomy. My estimation is we would be about 20 years behind in eyepiece innovation from where we are today without Televue.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Hard to say really.  True that TV grabbed the opportunity in seeing an unfulfilled area of the market that would be very profitable.  Also true that others then jumped on the bandwagon making similar wares.  But the latter is the standard practice in the consumer space - many try to innovate but more often unsuccessful than successful.  Once the successful product is found then others rush in to do similar since the consumers like it.  So this pattern is common and happens across all product areas.  It is always a risky profit venture to innovate and it is often a low-risk venture to emulate an already successful product.

 

Hard to say that if TV did not grab the idea and opportunity if another entrepreneur would not have though.  It is always a very lucky thing to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea, and having the right marketing savvy and resources to exploit it all.  Certainly glad someone was there back then to usher in the next revolution after the Dobsonian era.  So kudos to TV seeing that the Dobsonian market really drove the need for a new breed of eyepiece (Nagler & Paracorr) to exploit the larger and ever evolving faster Newtonian Dob that was gaining so much popularity.  More important though IMO to give accolades not to individuals or corporations, but to the embracing of the entrepreneurial spirit that they followed -- that is what is truly deserves the attention and fostering so that process continues on.


Edited by BillP, 07 September 2019 - 12:15 PM.

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#32 punk35

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 12:14 PM

This thread makes me think back to buying my first scope from Orion. It came with two Explorer II eyepieces. I was very happy with the views they provided. If I had never found CN I may still not know TV eyepieces even existed.  Imagine how many people are in that exact position, and are happily using what came with their scope.

 Sometimes I wish that was still me. I blame all of you lol.gif

 

Now, I don’t have any TV’s but I have a few Pentax, and consider them in the top tier right along with TV from what I’ve learned here over the years.

 

*Edit to add:  My whole point was that probably for many there IS a world without Televue

 popcorn.gif


Edited by punk35, 07 September 2019 - 02:27 PM.

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#33 Starman1

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 01:35 PM

There was the Leitz 30mm/88°. I've never tried one, so I don't know how well it stacks up against the 31mmT5, but it's at least an example of an eyepiece with similar numbers. Articles I've read state that it wasn't as well corrected at f/5 as the 31mmT5, but cleaned up well at f/8-ish and longer. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Pretty bad in an f/5 scope compared to the Nagler.


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#34 Mike W

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:10 PM

Without Al Nagler's simulator work, Neil Armstrong might still be on the moon....

Finally, someone hit the nail on the head! Al N. Apollo program simulator started it all!



#35 howardcano

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:11 PM

I don't know if "innovation" is the right word (though it works for me), but I really appreciate that TeleVue isn't forgetting a significant portion of the market:  the Delite line puts perfection within financial reach of guys like me.  Almost all companies that set the standard in their industry tend to move up in the market, because margins become greater.  But TeleVue hasn't forgotten that some people want small, light, and cost-effective, rather than big, Bigger, and BIGGEST.

 

I would have expected another company would do this first, but I'm pleasantly surprised that it was TeleVue.


Edited by howardcano, 07 September 2019 - 02:15 PM.

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#36 Mr. Mike

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:44 PM

No question that TV eyepieces started the "well-corrected, wide view" phenomenon.  Or they at least brought it somewhat to the masses.  I say that because while they werent obscenely expensive they were somewhat expensive and new ones werent relly in reach for everyone.  Its impossible to say where we'd be without them but my guess is that the hobby would have figured it out eventually and we'd have great stuff anyways.  Maybe not, but I think we'd be fine for the most part.  The major contribution TV has made is that they sort of forced the competition to get better, to keep pushing designs, etc, etc. 

 

Of course, its fair to say that TV is NOT the only game in town these days for high-quality oculars or scopes for that matter.  I think there are some products out there that flat out beat them or easily match them.  Thats a GOOD thing though, IMO.  That being said, Ive owned, do own and will probably always own some of their eyepieces.  They are almost always a top choice at any given AFOV or focal length range. 


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#37 nicoledoula

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:50 PM

Pretty bad in an f/5 scope compared to the Nagler.       

Leitz is pretty bad in an f/5 scope compared to the ES 30mm 82* or Axiom as well.   Is TV going out of business or something?   



#38 Joku_

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:50 PM

Btw, is that new Nikon 100 degree eyepiece in any way related to Ethos or Nagler?



#39 fcathell

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:53 PM

<"Have you found an eyepiece equal to the 31 mm Nagler? I know of none..">

 

No, it certainly is the heaviest eyepiece I have ever seen/felt!

 

Frank


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#40 Miranda2525

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 03:41 PM

Let's put it this way. An astronomy world without Televue would be a musical world without Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker...


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#41 punk35

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 04:15 PM

Let's put it this way. An astronomy world without Televue would be a musical world without Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker...

Ultimately, still enjoyable, especially since we wouldn’t know any better. 


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#42 bridgman

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 05:00 PM

Ultimately, still enjoyable, especially since we wouldn’t know any better. 

I used to think that until I had a chance to look through some really good eyepieces (12 Delos, 22T4 Nagler). For me it was a complete game changer and revitalized my enjoyment of star-gazing. 

 

That probably just means I was not sufficiently obsessed in the first place, but there are probably a lot of people like that. 


Edited by bridgman, 07 September 2019 - 05:01 PM.

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#43 Starman1

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 05:07 PM

<"Have you found an eyepiece equal to the 31 mm Nagler? I know of none..">

 

No, it certainly is the heaviest eyepiece I have ever seen/felt!

 

Frank

Though lighter than the 12mm and 17mm ES 92s, Axiom LX 31, Meade UWA 30, ES 9mm 120°, ES 30mm 100°, 4mm Rodenstock, etc.


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#44 Starman1

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 05:10 PM

Btw, is that new Nikon 100 degree eyepiece in any way related to Ethos or Nagler?

Other than that they are a similar idea, with a similar apparent field, and a similar way of handling the rays entering the field lens, their solution is somewhat different, and required 10 lenses and in a somewhat different configuration than the Ethos.

There is more than one way to skin the cat, so to speak.


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#45 SandyHouTex

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 07:45 PM

Probably for specialized applications, like submarine periscopes and the like. So, the hobby would have adapted products meant to be used for another application, much like the Night Vision technology today.

 

What Tele Vue did was take the idea of UWA eyepieces and make it an astronomy-specific product.

 

Amateur astronomy is an incredibly small niche, and (as a group) we are notoriously cheap. I doubt one of the big optical companies with small astronomy units (Nikon, Pentax, Zeiss for example) would have risked capital to make a hobbyist-targeted product. That would be left to an inspired optical expert to form his own company.

 

However, I think the premise of the thread that without Tele Vue we would still be using Erfle performance level eyepieces for wide field viewing is a bit of a stretch. For example, Pentax developed their eyepieces for their telescopes, a business that pre-dates Tele Vue. They would have done it quite independent of Tele Vue.

 

Someone had mentioned Asimov's Foundation trilogy earlier. I think that is appropriate in that in time someone would have came along to fill that role of "inspired optical expert forming his own company".

 

And who is to say if such a person might have developed earlier or better designs than the way things unfolded?

 

All speculation. I would have to say things turned out pretty well as is.

I have to agree.  Al had experience working with wide field optics at NASA during the Apollo era, and decided to start a business that was similar.  That’s all he did.  The big advance that has made all this possible, is the computer.  Back in the 60s, the only organization that had the ability and money to design optics with a computer was NASA.  Then as computers became readily available at a reasonable cost (in the 80s), people started creating computer programs that could do 100 or a thousand rays at one time through an optical design.  Before that, if you were designing an eyepiece you did it by hand using a principal ray and a peripheral ray.  If they came together you called it good.  Now we have programs that, given some basic parameters, will completely optimize the design for you.  Eyepiece design has become easy.

 

No, Al didn’t do anything special, and he even did a few things that were unethical.  Like making symmetrical eyepieces and the selling them at a premium, while using the Plossl moniker to make people think that they were similar to the popular Claves he was competing against.  He has done some good things, like create the Dioptrix system which helps correct astigmatism for folks like me, and the Paracorr system.  Paracors have allowed much shorter focal length Newtonians with coma correction.  Without a Parracor, the corrected field of view of a f/4 Newt is miniscule.  About the size of Jupiter.

 

When it comes to widefields, which already existed when Televue started, I don’t think Televue was responsible for the eyepieces we have today.  Someone would have come along, looked at an Erfle, and with the new optical design computer programs, created a better widefield eyepiece and marketed it.


Edited by SandyHouTex, 07 September 2019 - 09:24 PM.

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#46 JoeBlow

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:31 PM

I have to agree.  Al had experience working with wide field optics at NASA during the Apollo era, and decided to start a business that was similar.  That’s all he did.  The big advance that has made all this possible, is the computer.  Back in the 60s, the only organization that had the ability and money to design optics with a computer was NASA.  Then as computers became readily available at a reasonable cost (in the 89s), people started creating computer programs that could do 100 or a thousand rays at one time through an optical design.  Before that, if you were designing an eyepiece you did it by hand using a principal ray and a peripheral ray.  If they came together you called it good.  Now we have programs that, given some basic parameters, will completely optimize the design for you.  Eyepiece design has become easy.

 

No, Al didn’t do anything special, and he even did a few things that were unethical.  Like making symmetrical eyepieces and the selling them at a premium, while using the Plossl moniker to make people think that they were similar to the popular Claves he was competing against.  He has done some good things, like create the Dioptrix system which helps correct astigmatism for folks like me, and the Paracorr system.  Paracors have allowed much shorter focal length Newtonians with coma correction.  Without a Parracor, the corrected field of view of a f/4 Newt is miniscule.  About the size of Jupiter.

 

When it comes to widefields, which already existed when Televue started, I don’t think Televue was responsible for the eyepieces we have today.  Someone would have come along, looked at an Erfle, and with the new optical design computer programs, created a better widefield eyepiece and marketed it.

What Al did was to introduce a well corrected ultra-wide eyepiece to the market years before computer aided design became mainstream. This was very impressive and way ahead of the competition at the time.

 

As Jon Isaacs pointed out in this thread, apart from Meade's one off copying of the early Nagler design, no other company in the market provided an UWA till the UWAN in the early 2000's. Computer aided eyepiece design has certainly caused an explosion of new designs since that time.


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#47 Mike W

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:21 PM

I have to agree.  Al had experience working with wide field optics at NASA during the Apollo era, and decided to start a business that was similar.  That’s all he did.  The big advance that has made all this possible, is the computer.  Back in the 60s, the only organization that had the ability and money to design optics with a computer was NASA.  Then as computers became readily available at a reasonable cost (in the 80s), people started creating computer programs that could do 100 or a thousand rays at one time through an optical design.  Before that, if you were designing an eyepiece you did it by hand using a principal ray and a peripheral ray.  If they came together you called it good.  Now we have programs that, given some basic parameters, will completely optimize the design for you.  Eyepiece design has become easy.

 

No, Al didn’t do anything special, and he even did a few things that were unethical.  Like making symmetrical eyepieces and the selling them at a premium, while using the Plossl moniker to make people think that they were similar to the popular Claves he was competing against.  He has done some good things, like create the Dioptrix system which helps correct astigmatism for folks like me, and the Paracorr system.  Paracors have allowed much shorter focal length Newtonians with coma correction.  Without a Parracor, the corrected field of view of a f/4 Newt is miniscule.  About the size of Jupiter.

 

When it comes to widefields, which already existed when Televue started, I don’t think Televue was responsible for the eyepieces we have today.  Someone would have come along, looked at an Erfle, and with the new optical design computer programs, created a better widefield eyepiece and marketed it.

Wow, you should work for CNN fake news!tongue2.gif 



#48 BillP

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 11:33 PM

However, I think the premise of the thread that without Tele Vue we would still be using Erfle performance level eyepieces for wide field viewing is a bit of a stretch. For example, Pentax developed their eyepieces for their telescopes, a business that pre-dates Tele Vue. They would have done it quite independent of Tele Vue.

...

And who is to say if such a person might have developed earlier or better designs than the way things unfolded?

 

Agree. waytogo.gif  The one thing I've always seen in the world of business is that no one company or person is ever invaluable.   In their absence things always manage to turn out just as well.


Edited by BillP, 07 September 2019 - 11:33 PM.

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#49 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 11:43 PM

Without Al Nagler's simulator work, Neil Armstrong might still be on the moon....

 

 

I don't think they would have held the program back for lack of cleaner optics on the sims.

 

The spatial skills of the pilots were certainly not lacking.

 

They were going regardless, for politics if no other reason.


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#50 lylver

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 11:54 PM

What is the most popular (quantity sold) eyepiece model today ?

What is the most wide angle and well corrected eyepiece today ?

What is the most contrasty and sharp eyepiece today ?




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