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Orthos and Kellners Still Rock.

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#76 BillP

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 12:03 PM

That is correct, but let me offer you one exception to the above, I have compared my 25mm ZAO-I to my other favorite planetary eyepiece, the 24mm Brandon, both of these are about equal when it comes to unusually clean and scatter free performance, just how Brandon achieves this level of performance I do not know but seeing is believing. I must also add that single vs multi coating makes no difference when it comes to planets.

The popular "belief" is that the optics that the Brandons use are either surplus from a military contract they did for eyepieces or additional runs done for commercial purposes from an active contract.  So polished to whatever the milspecs were for that contract.  They (Don Yier) of course attribute it single coating which does not have the narrow angle scatter which multicoatings produce.  When critically examining star points I can see that much reduced scatter, especially right next to the star point in the ZAOs and Brandons.  The ZAO IMO still a little better.


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#77 Astrojensen

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 12:42 PM

The lowest scatter eyepiece I've ever seen is my first homemade Dollond, made from an old Kellner of now forgotten focal length. It has around 18mm focal length, if my memory doesn't fool me. I remember comparing it on a distant daylight target with both shadows and highlighted areas and the clarity in the dimly lit shadowed areas in particular was SHOCKING, compared to my UO orthos. It was as if a thin layer of grease was suddenly wiped from the view. 

 

On astronomical objects, the differences aren't anywhere near as dramatic, for some reason. At least not the ones I've been able to observe. Perhaps the magnification is too low. I've not used this eyepiece for some time, but perhaps it's time to dig it out again and give it another run. I've got much better barlows now, for one thing, so I can get it up to much more planetary-friendly magnifications. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark 


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#78 BillP

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 11:46 AM

Last evening I woke at 2am and took a peek out the window and say all the stars and Milky Way so had to go out and try my new Celestron K40, along with the vintage 12, 9, 7 Celestron Volcano Abbes and Dakin 2.4x Barlow I recently acquired for a classic single-coated ocular fest.  So took the little Vixen 81S out for some observing.  Weather was so very nice with a light breeze and so much temperate than the day before where it went up to 90 degrees F here.  So was enjoying the temp and breeze as much as the sky.

 

Saw a great array of objects over the next 2 hours:  The Double Double, M57 (Ring), Albireo, M39 (OC), Lots of scanning around the stars in Cygnus, M16 (Eagle Neb), M17 (Swan Neb), M18 (OC), M21 (Trifid Neb), M8 (Lagoon Neb), M25 (OC), and Sagittarius Star Cloud.  All grandly revealed with a bunch of vintage 1970-1980 Kellners and Orthos and a little 81mm Apo!

 

Swan (always enjoy this one) - https://lh3.googleus...dP2Zdm5yWCE0GPi

 

Lagoon (stole the show last night it was so spectacular) - https://lh3.googleus...T5wftbTt1H-eB2g


On the Double Double could not get a clean split with the 9mm (69x) as they were just a little too close for my taste, but the 7mm Abbe did it beautifully for my eye showing 4 clearly distinct non-touching star points (89x).  Colorful Albireo was grand in the K40 in its normal configuration (40mm and 30+ degree AFOV), or with barrel reversed where it becomes a 25mm Kellner with a nicer 42 degree AFOV.  M57 was stunning in 12 & 9mm Abbe (about 50x and 70x) showing a pronounced donut shape with a nicely dark center.  And even with only a 42 degree AFOV the star field in context around it was beautiful!  The Swan was as always simply impressive showing its shape and dark lane really nicely in the Abbes.  But most impressive was the Lagoon Nebula.  Amazing complex structure of star cluster and nebula and dark lanes and it was lit up like a little neon glow framed end-to-end in the little Abbe's AFOV.  I stared at that one for a long long time it was so beautiful.

 

Then after some sitting time enjoying a little naked eye observing palmed the 4 eyepieces in one hand, picked up the scope and mount in the other hand, and went back to bed.  No doubt about it, Orthos and Kellners very much still rock!!

banjodance.gif  hamsterdance.gif


Edited by BillP, 16 May 2020 - 11:57 AM.

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#79 BillP

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 03:14 PM

As a side note, the off-axis of the K40 was just fine in my 81mm f/7.7 Apo.  Last 20% when reversed in the 25mm orientation was not perfectly sharp, but that was simply field curvature which could have been from the scope and was easy enough to just give a little twist of the fine focus knob to bring the field stop area into perfectly crisp little star points if I wanted to do any critical observing there.


Edited by BillP, 16 May 2020 - 03:14 PM.


#80 RichA

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 05:15 PM

Last night I look a look at the Moon and Venus. The air here in LA was pretty turbulent. At 100x I could see the air boil at the edge of the
Moon’s image. Despite the air my Orthos and Kellners edged out my TV
plossels. When observing I enjoy swapping out eyepieces and adding
filters. I like to try and find the optimum combination for the image and the conditions.

orthos do, but I've yet to see a Kellner that matched an ortho and that includes RKE's.


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#81 Sasa

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 08:44 AM

My ATC Kellner 40mm eyepiece is virtually the same as CZJ O-40 in my f/13-f/20 refractors. It has the same FOV and produces the same sharp images, both on stars and the Moon.

In f/8.8 FOA-60, it has even sharper edges due to better match of field curvatures.

Edited by Sasa, 19 May 2020 - 08:44 AM.

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#82 BillP

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 01:40 PM

Here's my little working collection of single coated classics, most of which are Kellners and Orthos of course laugh.gif  The 8mm is a Carton Plossl where I added a chromed barrel.  The 6mm is a Starbase Ortho, actually a Symmetrical, where I replaced the undercut barrel with a proper smooth one (it is the gem of the line).

 

Single Coats.jpg


Edited by BillP, 19 May 2020 - 01:44 PM.

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#83 SteveC

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 01:48 PM

What does fully coated mean? Does that imply that some eyepieces are 1/2 or 2/3 coated?



#84 BillP

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 02:27 PM

Fully Coated = Single coat of MgF2 on all lens air-glass surfaces

 

Multi Coated = Top of eye lens Multi Coated, remaining lens air-glass surfaces MgF2 Single Coated

 

Fully Multi Coated = Multi Coated on all lens air-glass surfaces


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#85 RLK1

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 10:45 PM

I like Ed Ting's take on the Brandon's on his scopreviews website:

"These are sharp, clear, and contrasty eyepieces.  They are roughly parfocal
with the TeleVue Plossls but have shorter eye relief.  If you have always
wanted a set of these and can spare the money, go ahead - you won't be
disappointed.  However, I was able to obtain slightly better results across
the board with the TeleVue Plossls and the Ultima/Ultrascopics - they had
better light throughput, on-axis and edge sharpness, and contrast."

"These Brandons have a little more difficulty than the TeleVues in coping
with fast optical systems.  On f/10 and f/15 scopes they work just fine,
but was I moved to faster and faster scopes - the f/9 AP180, the f/8 FS152,
the f/7 AP155, and the f/5.8 Traveler - aberrations increased (especially
at the edges) relative to the TeleVue Plossls.  The super-fast f/5.4 Genesis
was not kind to the 24 mm and the 32 mm units.  I do not think it is not a
coincidence that these eyepieces are chosen by Questar for their f/14
Maksutovs."

"There are a few mechanical quibbles.  There are no multi-coatings on the
lenses, surprising for eyepieces at this price level.  Vernonscope's
literature gives some scientific-sounding explanation and makes a case
that the old MgFl2 single-coatings are actually better than modern multi-
coatings, but I'm not sure I buy this.  The views I got through these are
consistent with well-made eyepieces with older-generation coatings."

The above pretty much matches my own perceptions of these but I've only had limited viewing time with them with another amateur's questar under dark sky conditions. I do have to say though, that some of the best views of Saturn I've seen were with the latter scope along with a meade 7" Mak from yesteryear (after a protracted cool down period).



#86 BillP

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 11:16 PM

I used many but not all of my 4mm eyepieces last night on double stars.  The main issue I was looking for and am sensitive to, is scatter around the stars.  On brighter stars I thought there was obviously more or brighter scatter with the 4mm TOE than with the ZAO II, SMC, Ball, Clave and AP SPL.  The TOE has 6 elements in 4 groups so I suppose this makes sense.  Of course, it also has a wider FOV so that may have given me a different impression. 

Do you have the 12 AP-SPL?  If so, and you have a descent 3x Barlow, would be interested if you can detect more scatter with the Barlowed 12mm AP-SPL vs. the 4mm AP-SPL.  Your gut probably is telling you yes given the extra elements in the chain, but things don't always go the way the gut feels.


Edited by BillP, 20 May 2020 - 11:17 PM.


#87 vahe

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 08:26 AM

I like Ed Ting's take on the Brandon's on his scopreviews website:

 

 

A very lengthy commentary on Brandons by our expert Ed Ting, to me if Brandons have any strength that make them worthwhile purchase it is their very low scatter performance that you will not find in most eyepieces and there is no mention of that by Ed Ting which tells you a great deal about his evaluation and generally speaking about Ed Tings qualifications in identifying and sorting out important features in the eyepiece that do matter.

.

Vahe



#88 RLK1

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 12:11 PM

A very lengthy commentary on Brandons by our expert Ed Ting, to me if Brandons have any strength that make them worthwhile purchase it is their very low scatter performance that you will not find in most eyepieces and there is no mention of that by Ed Ting which tells you a great deal about his evaluation and generally speaking about Ed Tings qualifications in identifying and sorting out important features in the eyepiece that do matter.

.

Vahe

That may be your opinion and while you're entitled to it, that's all it is.  As far as claiming the very low scatter performance, even if true, doesn't disqualify his evaluation nor does it speak generally to his qualifications.

Another  experienced reviewer on planetary eyepieces, where scatter performance might make a difference, had this to say:

"Although these eyepieces are highly regarded by many purists, they are one of the less favorable in bringing out the subtle variations in Jupiter cloud bands and Martial surface. These eyepieces are overrated when compared to this pack." "Very good quality for lunar observations."



#89 GOLGO13

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 01:06 PM

https://www.brayebro... vs Brandon.pdf

Lots of mixed reviews on Brandon’s, but I like them personally.
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#90 Kent10

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 01:21 PM

Do you have the 12 AP-SPL?  If so, and you have a descent 3x Barlow, would be interested if you can detect more scatter with the Barlowed 12mm AP-SPL vs. the 4mm AP-SPL.  Your gut probably is telling you yes given the extra elements in the chain, but things don't always go the way the gut feels.

Yes I have the 12 AP-SPL.  I don't believe I have a 3X barlow.  I have the 2.7X APM.  I think that is the closest.  I can pull the eyepiece out a little to try to get 3X.  Or I can use my 8mm AP-SPL and a 2X Zeiss barlow.  The other night I was using my ZAO I set and really enjoying all the focal lengths on M13.  I thought to myself, I wish Zeiss had made an 8mm and then I remembered the barlow and used that with the 16mm.  A beautiful view!  I wondered if the barlow added any scatter but without bright stars in M13 I didn't notice any.



#91 RLK1

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 01:24 PM

https://www.brayebro... vs Brandon.pdf

Lots of mixed reviews on Brandon’s, but I like them personally.

Thanks for posting this review. I certainly appreciated the incorporation of a blinded assessment in the field tests as they lend considerable weight to the rigor and validity of the results. It appears the performance of the eyepiece in question is a mixed bag as well, given the differences observed at different f-ratio scopes. I note those differences are similar to that of Ed Ting in his review...



#92 BillP

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 01:37 PM

Lots of mixed reviews on Brandon’s, but I like them personally.

That is true.  I have a love-hate relationship with them.  On-axis they are excellent and do indeed show a low level of scatter specifically around star points, almost as good as the ZAOs do.  For planetary I found them better than any of the common brands, including slightly better than TV Plossls, but not near the more exotic planetaries like ZAOs, Supermonos, CZJs, SMC Orthos, XOs, AP-SPLs (and now by extension Vixen HRs).  But their off-axis is horrible IMO, even at f/8 they still do not clean up.  When I put them in an f/17 scope they finally were sharp *almost* to the edge lol.gif  Eye Relief on the 8mm and 6mm was annoyingly tight also.  At some point in time, Don moved to a different single coat that has a brown-amber reflex color reflection.  Older ones have the normal blue-ish look.  That amber coating was quite an improvement and really brightened up the views over the previous coatings allowing them to show greater extent on nebula (but as brighter as they were, still they are not up to what a modern multicoated eyepiece can reveal on on DSO, so I view their forte more as lunar/planetary/doubles).  I talked to Don about that, telling him what I saw in performance gains, he indicated he saw that as well and a host of others he gave the new coating to to see what they thought.  So if getting a Brandon definitely look for that generation.  Very easy to see the difference.  IMO, if they would clean up the off-axis by reducing the AFOV to a normal Abbe level, so around 40 degrees, the Brandon I feel would come away with a much more respected view by many.  It is one of those lines that would like to get a set again (I had two sets, first the older coating ones, then a set with the newer coatings), but then I know that after a bit the poor performing off-axis in my f/8 and shorter scopes would just make them lose their charm for me once more.

 

As far as best on-axis (star points and planetary), IME that goes (in order from best to lesser):

  • ZAO/TMB Supermonos/Pentax XO
  • AP-SPL/Pentax SMC Orthos/CZJ Orthos
  • Brandons
  • TV Plossls
  • Rest of the common eyepiece world
6173765-Brandon Coatings.jpg

Edited by BillP, 21 May 2020 - 02:00 PM.

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#93 Kent10

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 01:58 PM

Bill, have you ever talked to the new Brandon owners?  I talked to the wife?, I forget her name now, about the old versus new coatings and I was surprised that she said there was no difference in the view and that no one would see a difference between the 2. This was quite soon after they took over the business.  So maybe with some experience, she has a different opinion now.



#94 BillP

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 02:07 PM

I have not spoken with them in a long while.  Having had both sets, with older coatings and new, and taken them out for many spins together on a broad range of targets for many months, it was actually quite obvious to my eye.  And as Don Yier said quite obvious to him and his testers.  Curious that she said that, but then again do not know how much they observe, if at all, nor what criteria they or others used to judge brighter view -- my criteria is behavior of difficult adverted vision stars that are on the edge of perception in rich open clusters and globular clusters with a nice fall-off gradient (so threshold), then maximum extent of visible nebulous elements on DSO (I usually term this brightness/contrast as it is hard to separate the effects of the two), and finally looking into regions of the lunar surface that are obscured in deep shadow.  So if she meant that some open clusters or planets or the Moon looked the same through either, then could see why she might have said that.  Often I find that for differences to fall out one really needs to spend some months with an eyepiece.  First impressions IME are mostly not quite correct, myself included, and why I try to spend at least one to two months or longer of comparative observing with eyepieces that I don't own, and usually upwards of a year when I do own them.  Did they change back to the older coatings?


Edited by BillP, 21 May 2020 - 02:21 PM.


#95 Kent10

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 02:14 PM

Did they change back to the older coatings?

I don't know but we probably would have heard or seen something if they did.  She didn't say they were going to change back.  The one thing I remember hearing from them was that there could be a new 20mm focal length that people desired.  I wonder if they are still planning this.  It has been a while. 
 



#96 GOLGO13

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 03:39 PM

All mine are newer ones. So can't compare really. But I should look at the coatings just to be sure.

#97 GOLGO13

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 04:04 PM

Just checked and they are all amber colored. I use them primarily for planets and the moon with my refractors and SCT. I have a pair of 16mm I use for binoviewing.

 

I don't have the 8mm or 6mm because my eyelashes are too long for those. I just use barlow lenses instead if needed.



#98 GOLGO13

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 04:10 PM

I don't know but we probably would have heard or seen something if they did.  She didn't say they were going to change back.  The one thing I remember hearing from them was that there could be a new 20mm focal length that people desired.  I wonder if they are still planning this.  It has been a while. 
 

I don't think so. I just got my second 16mm a month ago and they had the same coatings.



#99 vahe

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 04:21 PM

I don't know but we probably would have heard or seen something if they did.  She didn't say they were going to change back.  The one thing I remember hearing from them was that there could be a new 20mm focal length that people desired.  I wonder if they are still planning this.  It has been a while. 
 

 

Shortly after ownership change I called and talked to the new owner, do not remember her name, the purpose of my call was to request a new 20mm similar in design to their semi wide 24mm, as I recall she promised to look into this and indicated that they have received similar requests for the 20mm, who knows there could be a new Brandon, time for another phone call.

.

Vahe



#100 BillP

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 08:19 PM

Yes, 20mm would be a good idea.  Then the 24, 20, 16, 12 with the Dakin 2.4x would get you 10, 8.3, 6.7, 4.8.  ER on the native 8, 6, 4 all uncomfortable IMO.


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