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Maxbright II first impression + new to binoviewing have questions

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#1 swsantos

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 02:48 PM

I wanted to try binoviewing after lurking here for many years so I thought the new Maxbright II would be a great place to start.

 

Got a Maxbright II, Baader T2 1.25" Zeiss prism diagonal, 1.25 GPC, and 2" nosepiece and starting with a pair of 24mm Panoptics. 

To be used with an 8" Edge HD that has a Baader click lock visual back. I have the Alan Gee universal telecompressor on order to see how large a field I can get with this setup.

I also have a Televue NP127 and 85 and will likely use it on the NP127 at some point, not sure about the TV85. I also have a 50mm Lunt but I have read conflicting reports as to whether or not there is enough back focus even with a GPC for it to work.

 

First light was an amazing better than expected experience and my onesie eyepieces have reason to be afraid. This is definitely the best most fun astronomy thing I have bought in a very long time! The first view, of the moon of course, was jaw dropping and I now have seen what all the fuss is about, I have seen the light to put it mildly. It was a transformative experience. Spent all session swapping back and forth on each object between the binoviewer and a 17mm Ethos attached to a 2" Baader diagonal as the 17mm Ethos seems to approximate the mag of the binoviewer. The click lock visual back on the Edge makes it very easy to switch back and forth between the two configurations, as easy as swapping an eyepiece.

 

The Maxbright never failed to show the same stars, even dim ones, as the Ethos and if the view was ever so slightly dimmer the difference was barely detectable if there at all. And if there was a difference it was more than made up for by binocular summation.

Moon details perceived with both eyes and its 3 dimensionality is alone enough to justify having gotten it. Stars were equally sharp and colorful when appropriate even to the edge of the field of view. Double double split cleanly, Hercules Cluster, Ring nebula and the Dumbell were bright and more "there", a couple of dozen other double stars, clusters, and planetary nebulae all compared between the two configurations. Did not observe any planets. In most ways the binoviewer was better or the same as the Ethos monoview regarding the focus, details, color, and the ability to perceive dim objects. The only aspect of the Ethos clearly better is obviously the field of view and it is that that will keep me from selling them all in favor of just binoviewing but I don't rule out the possibility that binoviewing becomes so much fun and because is so easy on the eyes and less visually stressful that there may be a day in the future where I might be all in on binoviewing exclusively.

 

Some questions I have:

 

I probably do not need the 1.25 GPC for the Edge SCT for it to focus but I have read that the GPC does more than facilitate focus and the dealer recommended I use it for the SCT to operate more within its normal range. Opinions on GPC use for an SCT even if not needed for focus, increased field of view by removing it not withstanding?

 

I would rather not buy two sets of eyepieces one each for the Edge and the NP127, would prefer using a different GPC for each telescope as it simplifies things. Or should I just build this setup for use with the Edge and not use the NP127 or TV85 with it? Anyone use a binoviewer with different telescopes routinely and can changing the GPC take the place of multiple eyepiece sets? Interested is seeing if the Alan Gee telecompressor increases field of view enough for me not to want to use the NP127.

 

Regarding the NP127, is a fast telescope like that really an issue with a prism diagonal, will I need to use a mirrored diagonal with it?

 

Thinking I would use the 24mm Pans as the lowest power as I don't think I would like the even narrower AFOV of 32mm plossls. Thinking two more pairs, a planetary pair and then something in between that and the 24mm. I already have one Delos 12 and 17.3 and could get another of each for the pair or could get a pair of Morpheus 17.5 and 12.5. The Morpheus seem smaller and they come with winged eyecups, I believe, and that is useful because stray light seems more of an issue with a binoviewer. I could also use Nagler T6s but their shallow eyecups might make them an issue with that stray light. So Delos or Morpheus or something else, Hyperion Zooms perhaps? Do I even need three pairs maybe just one more pair for planets? 

 

Anyone using a binoviewer with a Lunt 50mm and if so what configuration and what GPC? Mine has the Feathertouch focuser upgraded from the stock helical one.

 

Happy to be a member, and more than just a lurker, in the binoviewer world.

 

 


Edited by swsantos, 28 June 2020 - 11:19 PM.

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#2 erin

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 04:49 PM

Thanks so much for your review! I am expecting mine to arrive tomorrow and am very excited. I am hoping to abandon mono viewing.



#3 apostolou

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 09:21 PM

I use the Baader zooms on the Maxbright II and 8" Edge HD. It is a little tight, a little bulky, and my nose bumps a little unless I hover slightly above the eyepiece, but the views are truly spectacular and the convenience is unmatched. When you really get it dialed in on the just the right magnification for conditions, it is really tough to beat. I still enjoy some simple, light eyepieces just for fun on occasion. Glad I have both.

 

Like to hear how the Allen Gee II works as I have interest in the set too. Good Luck. You generally know if Binos are for you after the first night and sounds like you be getting hooked!



#4 Eddgie

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 10:00 PM

I use the Baader zooms on the Maxbright II and 8" Edge HD. It is a little tight, a little bulky, and my nose bumps a little unless I hover slightly above the eyepiece

Have you removed the top shroud on the Hyperion zoom?  This will give you considerably more IPD clearance.



#5 swsantos

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 10:55 PM

I am trying to keep the AFOV as wide as possible at the low magnifications trying to make it work with the Panoptics and their 68 degree fields. Next time out I will try them without the GPC with and without the Alan Gee hoping that I get it soon.

 

The convenience of the Hyperion Zoom is awesome, I have one Mk III, and the shorter focal lengths are nicely wide but the 40 degree AFOV at 24mm might be too narrow for me.



#6 BillP

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Posted Yesterday, 11:25 AM

Some questions I have:

 

I probably do not need the 1.25 GPC for the Edge SCT for it to focus but I have read that the GPC does more than facilitate focus and the dealer recommended I use it for the SCT to operate more within its normal range. Opinions on GPC use for an SCT even if not needed for focus, increased field of view by removing it not withstanding?

 

IMO it depends.  The long glasspath of a binoviewer adds spherical aberration (SA), however I find that it is not an important amount for low and medium magnification viewing.  However, for planetary observing at high magnifications I have found it noticeable.  The GPC, in addition to providing magnification factor, also corrects for things generated by the long glasspath of the bino prisms.

 

I would rather not buy two sets of eyepieces one each for the Edge and the NP127, would prefer using a different GPC for each telescope as it simplifies things. Or should I just build this setup for use with the Edge and not use the NP127 or TV85 with it? Anyone use a binoviewer with different telescopes routinely and can changing the GPC take the place of multiple eyepiece sets? Interested is seeing if the Alan Gee telecompressor increases field of view enough for me not to want to use the NP127.

 

It can be a pain having all different eyepieces for different scopes.  I've taken a pragmatic view and decided to not go premium for binoviewing since the extra detail one sees from using both eyes is plenty better for me.  So I use a pair of 24mm ES68s for lowest magnification wide-field viewing, and for all the rest use the AT Paradigm or BST Starguider 60 degree long eye relief eyepieces.  These are only $60 each new and usually $40 each used so don't break the bank for pairs.  They are also small and light and perform quite well so keeps binoviewing convenient.  So I pair the 24 ES68, then pair the 12, 8, 5 Paradigm or BSTs (same EP so can mix brands) and those focal length choices with or without GPC work for all my scopes. When I need more magnification, like for lunar viewing with my Apos, I just add a GPC for use with all of them.  Given you are using an SCT you might opt for the 15 or 18 focal lengths instead of the 5.

 

Thinking I would use the 24mm Pans as the lowest power as I don't think I would like the even narrower AFOV of 32mm plossls. Thinking two more pairs, a planetary pair and then something in between that and the 24mm. I already have one Delos 12 and 17.3 and could get another of each for the pair or could get a pair of Morpheus 17.5 and 12.5. The Morpheus seem smaller and they come with winged eyecups, I believe, and that is useful because stray light seems more of an issue with a binoviewer. I could also use Nagler T6s but their shallow eyecups might make them an issue with that stray light. So Delos or Morpheus or something else, Hyperion Zooms perhaps? Do I even need three pairs maybe just one more pair for plane

 

I got eyepiece pairs so that without GPC they give me good magnifications for most of my DSO viewing, then when I am out for doubles or planetary or lunar I just forgo the lower magnifications and use them all with a GPC installed.  Makes life easier than having too many eyepiece pairs.


Edited by BillP, Yesterday, 11:25 AM.

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#7 swsantos

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Posted Today, 04:29 PM

Thanks Bill for taking the time to answer. I have a 2” Baader Prism BBHS diagonal that I like very much bought after reading your great diagonal article and review, but I digress.

 

Normally I will get a telescope and acquire the eyepieces I think I might want with it then sell the ones I end up not using. With a binoviewer and two or three potential telescopes to use it on I will take the more sane and less expensive route that is adding one piece at a time and have the setup grow by acquiring pieces I am missing after figuring out I need them.  Right now its the Maxbright II, 1.25 GPC, 24mm Pans, and the Alan Gee universal telecompressor because I want to just use this on the 8” SCT at first. I will figure out the other eyepieces as I go along, by Mars opposition hopefully. At some point I will try it in the NP127 and will deal with that then.

 

Wanting to pick your brain for a minute regarding the diagonal. I bought the Baader T2 Zeiss prism diagonal for the binoviewer because of its shorter light path relative to the Maxbright mirror and because of how much I like the 2” version of it. The T2 prism works great in the 8” Edge SCT on the binoviewer wondering if it will work well on the NP 127. Is the fast telescope with prism diagonal an issue with a binoviewer, the diagonal will have a GPC installed. Besides allowing it to focus they’re supposed to help with prism induced aberrations.

 

 Thanks,




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