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TNVC Night Vision-Am I crazy or just insane?

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#1 genelew

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 02:45 PM

I've been reading all the great posts about night vision and I'm getting close to pulling the trigger on the Televue TNVC system. But with all the clouds and the cold this winter, I was "forced" to look for more equipment and I dropped a bundle on an AZ8 mount with encoders for dual scope outings, and an APM 120-90 ED bino (because i like my 100-90 so much). The AZ8 still hasn't seen first light and I've only been out twice with the 120-90 for very short sessions. I know I'm an equipment freak but am I nuts to drop another bundle on night vision, all the attachments, filters, etc when I've hardly used my other new gear? My problem (if it is one) is that I started into stargazing very late (4 years ago) and I'm approaching 79. I feel like I want to do everything I can to see as much as I can before I'm too old or feeble to do it. Cash isn't an issue so, as my signature indicates, I've invested in good equipment (without going off the deep end) from the start because I don't feel I have the time to start slow and cheap and build incrementally. I've really enjoyed the big binos but they have their limits in Bortle 5/6 skies, and the posts I've seen raving about how much NV can show are really tempting. So I'm asking permission from all you friends on CN to jump into NV.

Gene


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#2 chemisted

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 03:01 PM

I am really taken with your enthusiasm and think NV will be an excellent choice for you.  With the 9.25 you will see globular clusters in detail that you have never dreamed of.  You have the array of TV eyepieces that will give you many different FOVs on all targets that you choose to investigate.  Your refractors with the long focal length eyepieces and an H-alpha filter will give stunning views of emission nebulae.  Go for it!


Edited by chemisted, 11 February 2020 - 03:02 PM.


#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 03:21 PM

Got the dough, got the time in life, which is finite remaining for all of us! I often remind myself and others... every day, week, month and year that we put off: retirement, enjoyment, exercise, partying, experiences --- is subtracted from what (unknown) leisure time we have left. I've seen too many friends put off wants forever... literally. The prudent trick was amassing play money (through hard work, frugality and savings) for a few decades. Now is well-earned dessert time!    Tom


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#4 JMW

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 04:14 PM

I bought my Televue TNVC PVS-14 night vision monocular plus accessories in January. Very happy with it and the tube has nice specs. I am in my 60's and will be retiring in about 4 years. I wanted the night vision stuff so I could use my 8 inch Dob and refractors and still see dim stuff. We travel with an Artic Fox 22G and don't want to have to bring the Webster D14 14.5 inch Dob to see the dimmer stuff. The 8 inch Dob is much easier to setup and put away for the evening. We also bring a TEC 140 and a smaller refractor for extra wide fields of view.

 

I think the PVS14 will be useful if my vision worsens over the years since the image on the tube is bright than most stuff in a regular eyepiece.

 

I saw the Horsehead and Flame nebula from my light polluted back yard using a SVR90T refractor. Both objects are a first for me. Going to Death Valley soon for some dark sky winter astronomy. I will be able to give it a better workout there.



#5 dr.who

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 05:25 PM

Jump in with both feet! It will revolutionize your observing experience. I am saving up and selling off gear to get the Tele Vue setup myself. Likely 6 more weeks...


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#6 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 06:29 PM

Your equipment sitting idle is merely a function of the weather.

 

The weather will pass. And when it does you will be ready.

 

In 50 years in this hobby, nothing has allowed me to see more or do more astronomy more often than my NV eyepiece.

 

Go for it!



#7 Tyson M

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 07:07 PM

I plan to jump into NV here in Canada once I am finished post secondary (and after I buy a larger solar scope), I just have to find a reputable dealer willing to help me get something decent for astronomy. 

 

Looking forward to your observations!  if you go that route!



#8 Stelios

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 07:10 PM

Moving to EAA for a better fit.


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#9 BravoFoxtrot

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 07:23 PM

Jump in with both feet! It will revolutionize your observing experience. I am saving up and selling off gear to get the Tele Vue setup myself. Likely 6 more weeks...

Yep!  I believe my next big astronomy purchase will be NV.  The more I investigate it, the more it makes sense for me.



#10 Peregrinatum

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 08:40 PM

Do it Gene!  seems like these NVD only go up in price, better than investing in the stock market Lol



#11 outofsight

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 08:54 PM

"TNVC Night Vision-Am I crazy or just insane?"

 

I think you're crazy for locking yourself into an afocal only setup (literally just my opinion and my approach to NV). But, I think you'd be insane not to try it if that's the conclusion you've come to. You might find that it is some of the best money you've ever spent on astronomy equipment, and maybe there's a method to the madness.

 

Honestly, cost v. performance, it may end up being the best money you've ever spent on viewing equipment.


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#12 Eddgie

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 09:07 PM

Hello Gene,

 

Absolutely get an NV setup. You won't regret it. 

 

I too recommend a setup that can do both afocal and prime focus because it is a lot more flexible.  TNVC can put the tube in either a Mod 3 housing with C mount, or a PVS-14 but the PVS-14 can't be used with SLR lenses or at prime focus and can work with filter wheels in a refractor, so you don't have to pull everyting out to change filters and with night vision, you change filters alot. The tube is where the performance is at, not in the housing that it is used in. The eyepeices are the same between the PVS-14 and the Mod 3. The only differnce is that the Mod 3 has a removable objective so you can use it at prime focus or with SLR lenses for hand held observing.  The PVS-14 can only be used afocally (using a telescope with eyepieces or an afocal lens for low power). 

 

But either way you go will give your observing a huge boost.  Both approaches will let you see things that would be impossible to see with conventional equipment.  

 

While I recommend the Mod 3 with C mount, whatever you get will pump up your observing to a level that you probably never realized was possible.  


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#13 GOLGO13

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 09:59 PM

Some pros and cons between the two types. Some negatives of the current mod3c is they don't come with a quality objective for 1x, whereas the pvs14 does. The Tele Vue package also is less daunting to a newbie in this area.

One negative is not knowing the exact specs for the Tele Vue tube, but you do know it's going to be decent for astronomy.

Obviously having to use afocal is a major consideration. But this does mean not having to worry about back focus. Especially with reduction this can be a major factor.

That being said you can do afocal with the mod3c and a decent objective.

I don't think it's crazy to pick either style. Mod3 is more versatile, but still need to find a good objective which is getting a bit harder to find.
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#14 sanbai

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 10:27 PM

79? , Disposable money? You don't need permission. You must put it in order now.

If you don't like it later, just sell it in the classifieds. Don't regret ut except for the time lost (well, it was cloudy, so no regrets at all).

Santiago
Ps: this answer do not apply to everyone, unfortunately.

#15 Eddgie

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 10:50 PM

Turning up a nice used 25mm CCTV lens for a good price on Ebay is not particularly hard. This will not be quite as good as the PVS14 lens, but it still works well.A

 

Here is a great lens that could probably be bought for $30 using Make Offer (this same lens is under a lot of different brands)

 

https://www.ebay.com...3b9c2822738f51d

 

Here is a 25mm Cosmicar. Pretty much the same as the 25mm Computar that NV Devices used to provide on the Micro C mount. $27 asking price with a Make Offer button. $25 would take it home.

 

https://www.ebay.com...BsAAOSwApRd7vip

 

https://www.ebay.com...xwAAOSwQoFWN-nd

 

https://www.ebay.com...XMAAOSwW4Jd1nvQ

 

https://www.ebay.com...-AAAOSwzhVWs00v

 

Again, these will not be quite as good as the PVS-14 objective, but they still work well. If one is content with all afocal use, then the PVS-14 is indeed the best choice, but if one wants the flexibility of C mount, it is pretty easy to find a very nice lens for under $100, and without a lot of patience, finding a nice lens for less than $50 is pretty easy.

 

Now if you want an exotic lens like an f/.95, then yeah, $400.  An ENVIS will be about $400 too.

 

Finding C mount lenses that will work well for a decent price is not hard.

 

Both approaches work fine, but the C mount is a lot more flexible.   

 

(Note.  The Cosmicar, Computar, Pentax, Ampex, and GE are all essentially the same lens.  The Fujinon (not the Fujian which is coming on some of the Mod 3s and is not much of a lens) is also a very nice lens.



#16 Eddgie

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 10:53 PM

Here is a 25mm Ziess Jena f/1.4 for $225 but when I see a Make Offer button, that is an invitation to get it for a little less.  Use it before people start bidding and if the offer is just a slight bit less than asking, my experience is that sellers tend to think a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and will take the offer.

 

https://www.ebay.com...OIAAOSwvmBZy3ZK

Here is another Zeiss Jena f/1.4 for $100, buy it now...

 

https://www.ebay.com...okAAOSwRfNeEJS8

 

Mint Cosmicar for $100 and a Make Offer button.

 

https://www.ebay.com...UoAAOSw9GhYmdcq

 

When I see people say that good C mount lenses are hard to find, I always go out to ebay and in about 20 minutes, I usually find at least half a dozen nice 25mm lenses for $100 or less and sometimes you can find a really exotic 25mm f/.95 lens for a reasonable price. 

 

And for $35, you can get an f/4.5 70mm to 210mm Vivitar zoom that is great for things like sweeping the Milky Way. and large star clouds.  I paid less than $200 for a nice Nikkor 180 f/2.8 lens with ED glass that gives fantastic views of North American Nebula, Andromeda, and many other objects that are much better at 6.5x than at 3x.  Speed is good, but sometimes speed without image scale is not that enjoyable. 

 

Anyway, finding really great and useful lenses for C mount is easy and kind of fun.  I have bought some wonderful lenses for less than the price of a decent Plossl. 


Edited by Eddgie, 11 February 2020 - 11:06 PM.

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#17 GOLGO13

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 11:34 PM

It's good to know there are options, but as a beginner that's not clear. We almost need some sort of a buyers guide with alternatives. There is a lot to digest. I know when I was looking into things the Tele Vue package was the easiest to understand and much more clear. I just happened to come across a used mod3c.

That simplicity and clearness is a consideration in this scenario.

But I also agree the mod3c is the most versatile and could be a good choice.

Ensuring a good tube is another consideration. Finding the right vendor that is upfront with this is another aspect. It's an interesting area for astronomical purchases from my perspective.

#18 Dale Eason

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 01:34 AM

If money is no object.  Then there is no reason what so ever to wait.  It was/is an astounding change for me when I first viewed new objects I never though I would see like.  The summer and winter sky is a much different and wondrous thing with NV.  It actually has me going out on any clear night.  Here in Minnesota that is always below 20F and usually in the single digits.  I never did that before NV.  I'm 72 and have been into astronomy for decades.

 

It will be the one biggest wow thing you will ever have after your first wow  non NV observing experiences.  For me it was a major new wow and I'm in the white zone of light pollution. Can't wait to see the darker site stuff at TSP this year.

 

Dale


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#19 Gavster

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 03:54 AM

To the OP, as cash isn’t an issue, and you are quite clearly enjoying the hobby, I say go for night vision immediately. As well as enhancing the views through your existing scopes, night vision is also wonderful as a super quick grab and go on its own at 1x and 3x - you get wonderful 40 degree views filled with stars and nebulae even from bortle 5/6.

 

Regarding the night vision kit, I use the Televue adapters (with European rather than USA pvs-14 as I’m based in the UK) and I love it. In this thread there has been the often discussed comments about how the mod 3 is more flexible but on the other hand the Televue setup can be just bought ‘off the shelf’ and is ready to go with no faffing. I can only do afocal nv with my scopes (and 1x and 3x with the night vision monocular on its own) and that setup works really well for me. I love the way that using a 55mm plossl and 0.75x reducer can increase the effective speed of my refractors and scts to between f2 and f3 giving lovely bright detailed views of emission nebulae with a narrowband ha filter.

 

I have been considering getting a night vision unit that can do prime (these are now available in Europe new which they weren’t when I purchased my kit a couple of years ago), but I think I’d still want to do predominantly afocal with my scopes to get the increase in effective speed. Using a night vision unit prime at the native speed (f5-7) of my refractors just wouldn’t be as good for me. Looking at previous comments on this forum there seems to be relatively few doing afocal nv regularly which surprises me a bit.

 

Also for afocal use I think it’s critical to get the best nv lens you can which is either the pvs-14 lens or the envis lens which can be used with the mod 3. Unfortunately the envis lens is discontinued and quite hard to get secondhand- If going down the mod 3 route I’d make sure I could an envis lens first!

 

In addition, there has been a few threads recently about some difficulties of getting good nv tubes for astronomy from nv vendors. That’s another advantage of the Televue system in that you know you are going to get a tube that will work very well for astronomy.

 

Dob mirror maker, Mike Lockwood, has a night vision page on his website and if you scroll down to his July 2019 entry you will see his comparison of pvs-14 vs mod 3 night vision setups.

http://www.loptics.c...ightvision.html

 

Whichever option you go for, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it!


Edited by Gavster, 12 February 2020 - 10:03 AM.

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#20 bobhen

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 08:06 AM

Living in PA near a large city I feel your pain.

 

However, night vision can really be a useful tool in combatting our unsettled weather here in the NE. NV also cuts through light pollution. If I can see the Horsehead Nebula from my location, you will too.

 

With a camera lens or 50 mm guide scope or fast grab-and-go, one trip out the door 60 – 80 mm refractor, you will see more objects than you can in your binoculars. On clear but bone-chilling nights or with just an hour of clear sky between the weather fronts, quick sessions with NV can be productive and rewarding.

 

For longer sessions, a twin, alt/az mount (like the AZ-8) with your C9.25 and one of your refractors will cover a lot of objects from small globular clusters to sprawling nebula.

 

NV will open up a new universe of objects.

 

If you haven’t seen this already, HERE is a link with some good info.

 

I use Prime focus and putting a system together is easy. To give you an idea below is how I set up my scopes with the intensifier.

 

From left to right…

 

1. The refractor optical tube, or any OTA
2. A GSO 2” focuser, or any 2” focuser
3. An Astro-Physics 2” diagonal (these have short light paths)
4. Optional: An Antares 2” .7 reducer (the reducer screws onto the bottom of the 2” to 1.25” adapter that comes with most diagonals or can be bought separately)
5. The 2” to 1.25 adapter that comes with most 2” diagonals
6. 1.25” filter (Ha or Pass) 6 or 7nm Ha filters are popular, 685 pass filters are popular in heavy light pollution
7. C-mount to 1.25” adapter (screwed onto the nose of the intensifier)
6. The NVD Micro Intensifier

 

Bob

 

 

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#21 chemisted

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 09:19 AM

I do both afocal and prime focus viewing and enjoy them both.  I do have the ENVIS lens that is preferred for afocal and I already had a large selection of old, fast manual Nikon lenses that made getting a C-mount device wise for me.  Both approaches work great and I don't think you can go wrong with either one.  It all depends on personal preference.



#22 GOLGO13

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 09:28 AM

I do both afocal and prime focus viewing and enjoy them both.  I do have the ENVIS lens that is preferred for afocal and I already had a large selection of old, fast manual Nikon lenses that made getting a C-mount device wise for me.  Both approaches work great and I don't think you can go wrong with either one.  It all depends on personal preference.

I have found that the .7 reducer by Antares works in all of my scopes (using prime focus). But it just barely works in some of them. 

 

Using afocal I've had to pull things out a bit to get it to work with some of my scopes. Even with extensions already in the imaging train (like my 6 inch F4 newt). Of course that newt is meant for imaging. I wouldn't say this is a problem per se. Though I admit the length of stuff coming out of the focuser is a bit crazy.

 

So that's something to consider. What are your telescopes like, and what kind of back focus (inward travel) does it have. Again, the good news on the mod3c is you can do both types. but I personally would be OK with afocal if that is what it had. It limits things a bit, but it's still quite useable.



#23 scooke

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 09:40 AM

Do it.  You will not regret it.



#24 chemisted

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 09:46 AM

I have found that the .7 reducer by Antares works in all of my scopes (using prime focus). But it just barely works in some of them. 

 

Using afocal I've had to pull things out a bit to get it to work with some of my scopes. Even with extensions already in the imaging train (like my 6 inch F4 newt). Of course that newt is meant for imaging. I wouldn't say this is a problem per se. Though I admit the length of stuff coming out of the focuser is a bit crazy.

 

So that's something to consider. What are your telescopes like, and what kind of back focus (inward travel) does it have. Again, the good news on the mod3c is you can do both types. but I personally would be OK with afocal if that is what it had. It limits things a bit, but it's still quite useable.

Actually, the out-focus that long focal length eyepieces (such as the TV 55mm Plossl) require is a benefit rather than a downside.  It enables the use of a reducer ahead of the Plossl which provides additional reduction in f-ratio and increase in FOV.  Gavster mentions this in his post above.  I do this routinely with my GSO reducer and my refractors and the Astro-Physics 0.75X reducer on my RC-10.  Which reducer/eyepiece combination works best with a given scope may take a little trial and error but when it works it is spectacular.  I would guess a good combination could be found for the OP's 9.25" SCT.


Edited by chemisted, 12 February 2020 - 10:07 AM.

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#25 Eddgie

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Posted 12 February 2020 - 10:53 AM

This is how simple it is to convert a C mount device to use prime focus.  You unscrew the objective lens, screw on a 1.25" eyepiece barrel, put on the filter of your choice, and stick it into the focuser.  The 1.25" nose piece costs about $20

 

IMG_20180530_090207.jpg

 

 

 

This is a C mount device configured to use a zoom lens. This particular lens is a Vivitar 70mm to 210mm f/4.5 lens.  I paid about $30 for the adapter and less than that for the lens.. Once again, to use the lens, the objective is unscrewed from the C mount device, and the lens with adapters is screwed on.   This lens gives from about 2.7x to about 8x.  This is a great range for locating bright clusters or small nebula an then zooming in on then for closer study.

 

70-210.jpg

 

There is this persistent talk that C mount is more complex but having used both, I would say that in use, if multiple telescopes are going to be used, C Mount is actually easier to use, especially because it is easier to use filter wheel with prime focus.  Now one can't get as many magnifications as with afocal, but one will find that a great deal of obseving can be done with just prime focus and a barlow, and it is very simple to go back and forth.

 

I don't think buying a PVS-14 is a mistake, but to be put off by what people say is the "complexity" of C mount is also a mistake. In use, the C mount is often less complex to use, an some of the added adapters and things are related to the fact that you can do things with the C mount than you can't do with afocal. 

 

Both will work well for astronomy, but the PVS-14 is not always as simple as it is presented to be, and the C mount is simpler than most non-users realize.  

 

I recommend the Mod 3 because you can still do afocal if you want, but the configuration options are far greater with the C mount interface.

 

But again, both work well, it is just that one has more limits in what it can do.  C mount has far more configuration options and in most of those, it can work with a 1.25" filter and in SCTs and refractors, it is pretty easy to go back and forth..  You can't move your filter slide from the inside of a Newtonian and move it to your refractor.  Again, the talk makes it sound like the C mount is more complicated, but afocal has its own complications.

 

I have no vested interest in selling one solution over the other. I don't work for any of these companies.  

I have used both afocal and prime focus (because I can even though I have a C mount device) and both have their pros and cons, and neither has a great simplicity advantage.  The C mount just has more flexibility and in my opinion, is generally less to fuss with, though I am a major believer in filter wheels and C mount is more conducive to filter wheel use. 

 

(New people might not realize that using a 70mm to 210mm zoom is the same range as going 50x in a telescope to 150x in a telescope.  Imaging the difference that makes on the Orion nebula when using a telescope and apply that to viewing the Andromeda Galaxy in a hand held scope..  The difference between 3x and 8x is often a huge difference when it comes to large nebula or Milky Way structural detail..  Most people using C mount will tell interested people that they use their SLR lenses far more than they would have realized before they entered into image intensified astronomy. Low power observing with an image intensifier is a whole new experience.)

Both work though, and no one is going to miss anything that that the other can see whether they go afocal or C mount (which once again, can do afocal as well as prime). 

 

While I personally recommend C mount, Afocal will have people that feel as strongly about it, so there is no right or wrong, but in applications there are important differences and I urge the perspective buyer to study both solutions before buying. 


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