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FIELD TEST OF THE BAADER MAXBRIGHT® II BINOVIEWER

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#1 BillP

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 12:34 PM

Overall, using the MaxBright II Binovewer has been a transformative experience for me. I have been binoviewing with my telescopes for well over a decade, but the experience has never been what I would call a pleasant one due to the myriad of quirks I find when using the William Optics Binoviewers. However, with the MaxBright II Binoviewer all the issues I previously encountered are now fully resolved, making my experience binoviewing for the first time entirely enjoyable.

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#2 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 01:42 PM

Great article Bill. Unfortunately I really want one now lol. I'm so tempted to swap my WO's for a Maxbright II. 



#3 BillP

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 02:01 PM

Great article Bill. Unfortunately I really want one now lol. I'm so tempted to swap my WO's for a Maxbright II. 

My WOs are going into permanent storage now for me.  Can't imagine using those again.  I will configure them with the Celestron 100 ED I have as an outfit the grandchild can call his own should he become interested in astronomy or want to observe with me.



#4 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 02:15 PM

My WOs are going into permanent storage now for me.  Can't imagine using those again.  I will configure them with the Celestron 100 ED I have as an outfit the grandchild can call his own should he become interested in astronomy or want to observe with me.

The Maxbright is well priced here (UK) as well.

 

med_gallery_249298_10580_101666.jpg

 

I'd just got the WO bino case the way I finally wanted it as well lol. 



#5 desertlens

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 05:24 PM

Another great article, thanks Bill. I confess that the WO unit put me off binoviewing. One question, were you able to reach focus in your refractors without the GPC? I have some Fujiyama orthos in pairs (18mm, 12.5mm) I'd love to work with.



#6 BillP

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 06:58 PM

Another great article, thanks Bill. I confess that the WO unit put me off binoviewing. One question, were you able to reach focus in your refractors without the GPC? I have some Fujiyama orthos in pairs (18mm, 12.5mm) I'd love to work with.

Yes.  I mentioned that in the article.  Both my TSA-102 and Lunt-152 would reach focus without GPC -- was very nice using the 24 ES68s for widest TFOV viewing with no GPC and no vignetting of the FOV!!


Edited by BillP, 09 May 2020 - 06:58 PM.

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#7 desertlens

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 08:29 PM

Thanks, I missed the implications of your statement about the 24mm/68° eyepieces.



#8 RichA

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 04:25 PM

Very nice review, thank you.  Are all these binoviewers derived from core German/Chinese microscopes or are some fabricated specifically for astronomy?


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#9 careysub

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 09:25 PM

Outside the scope of this review, sure, but could you offer any guidance on whether or why I should consider those higher-end binos you mention? You have me sold on the Max Bright II, and I prefer to be frugal, but what should I expect from those more expensive models that this one does not deliver?



#10 BillP

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Posted 12 May 2020 - 08:12 PM

Outside the scope of this review, sure, but could you offer any guidance on whether or why I should consider those higher-end binos you mention?
 

 

They will all tout their coatings are far superior, but let's face it, if the unit is from a high quality maker, like Baader is, then the transmissions will all be very close if not the same.  So the differences as I see it are in just a few areas (will use the Binotron-27 as the example):

 

1. Clear Aperture.  The premiums usually use larger prisms and therefore can have larger clear apertures.  So the Binotron-27 has 27mm aperture prisms and a clear aperture on the unit of 26mm.  The MBII has 27mm prisms as well but a clear aperture of 25.5mm.  So slightly smaller (1/2mm) clear aperture.  Not a big deal but perhaps enough to make that 35mm Ultrascopic not vignette.  Overall not a big gain.  The Mark V binoviewers though have an even larger 30mm prism so these should have no issue even with the 35 Ultrascopic.  They all though provide a view without vignetting using a 24 Pan/32 Plossl, which is what most of us use.

 

2. Collimation.  Some folks have physical need for wanting user collimation, or are rough with their equipment so want that as a safety factor in case they bump it out of collimation.  The MBII has no way for the user to collimate as they made it permanently collimated and shock absorbed it for that.  The Binotron-27 allows user collimation.  On the Mark V the collimation is tested at 1000x which is impressive.

 

3. Wavefront.  While I am sure the MBII has an excellent wavefront, premiums will often state a minimum wavefront.  Binotron-27 as example state they have 1/8th wave on the polished surfaces of the prisms.  Of course this is the polish level and not the post coating wavefront which is a more important stat.

 

Basically it comes down to just a few things and mostly just the prism sizes and collimation.  Each vendor also has unique things they might bundle like the Binotron comes with the Powerswitch, Mark V comes with the QuickChanger and Bayonet so removal from diagonal is ultra fast, etc.  The premiums are typically larger, heavier, and "probably" slightly stronger build but not sure of that as have not handled either the Mark V or Binotron-27.


Edited by BillP, 12 May 2020 - 08:12 PM.


#11 grif 678

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 02:15 PM

Hi

I enjoyed your column, but for me, my WO binoviewers have done me well, MUCH better than the Orion ones I had first. I guess budget figures into that a lot, and how much you view. But or my viewing, I can not find anything wrong with my WO binos that would want me to upgrade.


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#12 N2KEN

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 11:22 AM

Bill,

Excellent comprehensive review. It is very detailed, clear and easy to understand. Thanks for taking the time to document your experiences with the new Maxbright II. It's nice to see that some companies like Baader are still producing quality products with refinements rather than cost cutting.  I still enjoy using my Televue Bino Vue on an occasional basis. They have served me very well, but the advancements, features and refinements you highlighted may motivate me to upgrade. For those with low-end binos, the Maxbright II should be on your short list for an upgrade  / replacement. 



#13 Astrojensen

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 06:23 AM

On the Mark V the collimation is tested at 1000x which is impressive.

A sentence like that is completely meaningless and only good for luring in prospective buyers with little knowledge of optics, because Baader doesn't mention at all how that magnification is achieved. The binoviewer doesn't see the image magnified 1000x, when you use it on a telescope, it's a combination of the magnification of the telescope AND the eyepiece in the binoviewer. If you're using a 25mm eyepiece in a binoviewer, it magnifies the optical alignment errors in the binoviewer 10x, a figure every binoviewer should be able to handle. If you're using a 4mm eyepiece, the errors are magnified 62.5x, which only the better ones can manage. The binoviewer is under the same "optical stress" when using a pair of 25mm eyepieces on a 1000mm focal length telescope giving 40x, as it is on a 25,000mm focal length observatory giant, where they give 1000x. To the binoviewer, the final magnification is unimportant in itself, what's important is how you get there.

 

But other than that (and I know you just quoted Baader), an extremely nice report! 


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#14 BillP

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 09:55 AM

A sentence like that is completely meaningless and only good for luring in prospective buyers with little knowledge of optics, because Baader doesn't mention at all how that magnification is achieved.

I understand where you are coming from, and maybe I am missing your point, but think I disagree because I think the concept they are trying to convey is intuitive, especially for those having experience with Newtonians, more magnification allows more precision.  If the test bench scope is shown to be collimated at 1000x, then when the binoviewer is added into the train it is collimated to match.  And the magnification does indeed matter because the collimation procedure is visual and things can and do look lined up well at lower magnifications, but when you see them at higher then not so hot.  Why I use the Takahashi collimating telescope tool as it is amazing how much more precise one can get the collimation with that tool.  And with Newtonians of course the more magnification you pump to check collimation the better as well.


Edited by BillP, 17 May 2020 - 11:28 AM.


#15 Colin exraaf

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 04:06 AM

Good Read Bill .... now to save up for these Binoviewers....great review and very promising Add-on to my Gear.



#16 25585

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 04:17 AM

The review I have been waiting for. 

 

My TS bino viewer has been humbled. 



#17 RAKing

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 10:55 AM

Nice review, Bill.

 

It looks like some of the "Really Nice" features of the Baader Mark V binos (eyepiece holders, diopter adjusters, and the carrying case) have finally trickled down to the more affordable Maxbrights.

 

These units look good and I hope everyone enjoys them! waytogo.gif

 

Cheers,

 

Ron



#18 Hesiod

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 11:31 AM

I have still somewhere the old Maxbright, but have used it less and less because it shows very obvious issues with stray light, scattering and ghost images.

I was therefore rather wary about the purchase of another low-end model (and, to be honest, am hesitant even about higher-end ones) given the fact that the Maxbright was regarded as a good unit in its category; but from your review seems it may be worth to give the binoviewer a try again.

 

I have however a question, if you do not mind: the original Maxbright was very uneven in the way the beam was split, so I am curious whether this happens even with the Maxbright2



#19 BillP

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 07:10 PM

I have however a question, if you do not mind: the original Maxbright was very uneven in the way the beam was split, so I am curious whether this happens even with the Maxbright2

Do you mean is the view brighter through one side vs the other?  If so then no, I found the views through either side to be well matched and could not discern if one side was brighter or not.  With my WO Binoviewers however, easy to see that one side is brighter than the other so the split was not near 50-50 on those.  The MaxBright-IIs appear to to be better with both sides looking equal.



#20 Hesiod

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 09:50 AM

Yes, exactly that!

Many thanks for the answer, maybe it is time to dip the toe again in the binoviewers' pondgrin.gif



#21 treelo

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 04:24 AM

amazing!



#22 Avgvstvs

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 06:51 AM

Nice review. But all that stuffing around reminded me why I abandoned the binoviewer a decade ago.



#23 Jethro7

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 10:07 AM

Thank you Bill,

I hate these reviews (not really LOL...) I'm a fan of Baader products. Now that I have have a grab and go AZALT mount that will support the weight and will be stable for vibration I need a set of binoviewers. More Astro Toys "YIPPY YI KI YAY" you gotta love it.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro



#24 BillP

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:03 AM

Nice review. But all that stuffing around reminded me why I abandoned the binoviewer a decade ago.

Binoviewing can indeed be a complicating experience.  I started binoviewing a long long time ago, and like you did not do it much because was just a pain.  The trick is if you can find a process and procedure for binoviewing that is less complicated.  If you do that, then it becomes something incredible.  Took me many years until I got the process down so it is as easy as monoviewing.  For me I found that if I focus my binoviewing with just one scope and one target for a while, then I can streamline the process.  So for instance, using my 4" and observing the Moon.  I've got that down so it is a really easy process using just 3 pairs of eyepieces either with an GPC for medium-high magnification, or without for low-medium.  Was out last night for several hours just observing the Moon.  Brought out the case of mono eyepieces because I thought I would transition to that, but never did because the views were just too stunning with both eyes.  With my 6" Apo I have a similar process just for it, but I only use it when DSO viewing and pretty much just use two pairs of eyepieces for two magnification levels and will rarely use a third pair if having problems splitting a double.  So with that scope the process is to use one magnification for probably 75% of the viewing for the evening, then when really need to get closer in for some objects use the second magnification.  So hardly any fiddling with equipment and just observing, which is most relaxing.  But for me to get to that point I needed a binviewer that did not present me with any other difficulties, so ergonomically its function was not getting in the way.  These MaxBright-IIs did that for me compared to my experiences with the WO binoviewer.  So gone were all the little frustrating nuances of binoviewer function so I couldd just concentrate on the process to get that to be effortless as well.  Only after all of that did binoviewing really become something I looked forward too!


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#25 Jethro7

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:28 AM

Overall, using the MaxBright II Binovewer has been a transformative experience for me. I have been binoviewing with my telescopes for well over a decade, but the experience has never been what I would call a pleasant one due to the myriad of quirks I find when using the William Optics Binoviewers. However, with the MaxBright II Binoviewer all the issues I previously encountered are now fully resolved, making my experience binoviewing for the first time entirely enjoyable.

Click here to view the article

Thank you Bill,

Nice review. I have never been disappointed with any of the Baader products I've bought.

I need a binoviewer, and this looks like the one to buy.That also means  I will need one more Baader 8X24 Hyperion Zoom eyepiece. Cool more Astro Toys.

 

HAAPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 04 July 2020 - 09:29 AM.



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