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Choose a binoviewer or a premium eyepiece ?

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#1 Nate1701

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 10:45 PM

I first used telescopes, then i fell in love with binoculars for the ease of use and information that gets to the brain with two eyes. 

So I've since been curious about binoviewers knowing the effect would be similar to Binoculars. 

I just got my Orion Binoviewers - and used them a bit tonight - but I'm realizing a couple things - first for any 'guests' and friends binoviewing will be a struggle since it takes practice to get IPD adjustment, as will as focus just right.

So really the Binoviewer is JUST for me - no sharing - which is ok - but then again - would i be better off with a premium eyepiece if was to get something JUST for Solo viewing? 

Even for myself it feels there is a bit more tinkering with binoviewers than  with binoculars - the main focus adjustment and then individual focus takes more time because of vibration and dampening time at high mags compared to binoculars. 

I know how good two eyes CAN be - but I'm debating returning these a getting a Baader Morpheus instead. Or possibly a Baader zoom.

I kind of want better FOV and the comfort of good eye-relief ( with no kidney beans of course). Also a quality zoom is a simplified setup which appeals to me. I had a BHZ in the past but sold it because i liked fixed better - but now the pendulum is swinging back again... since the simplicity is SOOO convenient. 

Also shopping for eye-relief and FOV  makes viewing easy for me and anyone who uses glasses. I'm starting to appreciate 'comfort' is even more desired that other typical eyepiece qualities. 

Ideally a binoviwer WITH two Morpheus' each of a couple sizes would be ideal, but that setup is beyond me right now.

 

So if i stick with a binoviewer i will be just using Xcel-LX eyepieces and Svbony zooms (on order also). 

 

Any thoughts on pros and cons?  

My target objects at the moment are planetary. I got excited about getting the best out of Mars and pulled the trigger on the Binoviwer. But as above - now im wondering if i would do just as well with a BHZ instead.

 

If you had to Choose: would you get a Premium-ish eyepiece / zoom, or go with a binoviewer with mid-range ( but still decent ) eyepieces? 

 

Thanks in advance for any opinions and perspectives - I realize it's all subjective - but hey! That's what's a forum is for! Sharing perspectives! 


Edited by Nate1701, 26 September 2020 - 10:48 PM.


#2 Baatar

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 11:34 PM

It is really a personal thing.

You seem to like binoviewing but still undecided, which means the better the quality of the BV the better the experience will be.

I had Omegon BV initially, which like many other typical BVs, wasn't comfortable, had many optical and mechanicsl issues. I sold them and got the Baader Maxbright II instead.

Now, the MB2 is a different experience, with bigger prisms, bigger clear aperture, excellent construction and mechanicals. Just a joy to use with a pair of Baader zooms. Perfect combination, which for me nothing will beat it at mid price range. MB2 is almost as good as other premium BVs in optical performance, but at half the price. Thus cost/performance ratio is top.

Because of this, I now mostly binoview 90% of time.

When I monoview from time to time, I have other good EPs. And Morpheus is another top cost/performance EP without shelling out a lot. Everything is right about Morpheus, at least as I see it, comfortable FOV, eye placement and eye relief, larger glass, good optical correction and control etc. You may know this already.

So, the choice is yours really. BVs with cheap eyepieces would beat premium eyepieces used mono, but BVs should be of enough quality to have frustration-less and comfortable experience.

.

Edited by Baatar, 27 September 2020 - 12:55 AM.

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#3 Ohmless

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 12:02 AM

Given that your scope in the sig is a Mak, which have a long focal ratio, I would say there are a few factors to consider.  First of all, long focal ratio scopes don't require expensive eyepieces.  The cheap ones will work just as well(think erfles, konigs and such).  Also observing planetary stuff takes patience, high magnification, and good seeing.  I often have to wait 30-180 seconds between moments of bad seeing to get a window of good seeing.  It can also seem to take longer due to the scope not being cooled.  Maks take a while to do this.  Lowering the magnification can also help the image appear more stable.

 

YMMV, but I'd use more than a couple outings to determine if the binoviewers are for you or not.  Most places give you a month to try out a piece of kit.


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#4 CrazyPanda

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 10:16 AM

I first used telescopes, then i fell in love with binoculars for the ease of use and information that gets to the brain with two eyes. 

So I've since been curious about binoviewers knowing the effect would be similar to Binoculars. 

I just got my Orion Binoviewers - and used them a bit tonight - but I'm realizing a couple things - first for any 'guests' and friends binoviewing will be a struggle since it takes practice to get IPD adjustment, as will as focus just right.

So really the Binoviewer is JUST for me - no sharing - which is ok - but then again - would i be better off with a premium eyepiece if was to get something JUST for Solo viewing? 

Even for myself it feels there is a bit more tinkering with binoviewers than  with binoculars - the main focus adjustment and then individual focus takes more time because of vibration and dampening time at high mags compared to binoculars. 

I know how good two eyes CAN be - but I'm debating returning these a getting a Baader Morpheus instead. Or possibly a Baader zoom.

I kind of want better FOV and the comfort of good eye-relief ( with no kidney beans of course). Also a quality zoom is a simplified setup which appeals to me. I had a BHZ in the past but sold it because i liked fixed better - but now the pendulum is swinging back again... since the simplicity is SOOO convenient. 

Also shopping for eye-relief and FOV  makes viewing easy for me and anyone who uses glasses. I'm starting to appreciate 'comfort' is even more desired that other typical eyepiece qualities. 

Ideally a binoviwer WITH two Morpheus' each of a couple sizes would be ideal, but that setup is beyond me right now.

 

So if i stick with a binoviewer i will be just using Xcel-LX eyepieces and Svbony zooms (on order also). 

 

Any thoughts on pros and cons?  

My target objects at the moment are planetary. I got excited about getting the best out of Mars and pulled the trigger on the Binoviwer. But as above - now im wondering if i would do just as well with a BHZ instead.

 

If you had to Choose: would you get a Premium-ish eyepiece / zoom, or go with a binoviewer with mid-range ( but still decent ) eyepieces? 

 

Thanks in advance for any opinions and perspectives - I realize it's all subjective - but hey! That's what's a forum is for! Sharing perspectives! 

It depends on what you're observing.

 

For DSOs, I've found BVs are worse. They just rob the eye of too much light.

 

For planets and the Moon, there's no question they are a game changer. Much, much, much better contrast. I have the last two nights' of Mars viewing seared into my memory now. I can't get over the subtle textures and colors that the BVers showed that just weren't there monoviewing with DeLites or Delos (two of the best premium widefield eyepieces money can buy).

 

That said, I don't know what BVer you have. If it's the Orion "zero light path" one that split the view into two half-moons, I would consider selling it and upgrading to a Baader Maxbright II. Those zero light path BVers don't give each pupil the same overlapping image, so you don't get the benefit of reinforced contrast.



#5 Eddgie

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 11:03 AM

It sounds like you already know the pros and cons but I don't think I would have recommended a binoviewer for a 127m MCT.

 

It is very likely that your telescope is working at reduced aperture (which makes the image dimmer),  with a bigger secondary obstruction (which makes the image have less contrast), and with a much longer focal length (which makes the image dimmer for a given pair of eyepieces).   

 

I just don't think the BVs are an optimal match for your telescope, and I would think you would do better with monovision in that scope.

 

This is just my opinion, but you asked, and I have taken the time to give it.   Hope you find it helpful.  


Edited by Eddgie, 27 September 2020 - 11:05 AM.

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#6 Nate1701

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 11:43 AM

 I have the last two nights' of Mars viewing seared into my memory now. I can't get over the subtle textures and colors that the BVers showed that just weren't there monoviewing with DeLites or Delos (two of the best premium widefield eyepieces money can buy).

 

That said, I don't know what BVer you have. If it's the Orion "zero light path" one that split the view into two half-moons, I would consider selling it and upgrading to a Baader Maxbright II. Those zero light path BVers don't give each pupil the same overlapping image, so you don't get the benefit of reinforced contrast.

What scope were you using for Mars? 

 

This is the binoviewer i got....

https://www.telescop...word=binoviewer



#7 Nate1701

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 07:55 PM

It sounds like you already know the pros and cons but I don't think I would have recommended a binoviewer for a 127m MCT.

 

It is very likely that your telescope is working at reduced aperture (which makes the image dimmer),  with a bigger secondary obstruction (which makes the image have less contrast), and with a much longer focal length (which makes the image dimmer for a given pair of eyepieces).   

 

I just don't think the BVs are an optimal match for your telescope, and I would think you would do better with monovision in that scope.

 

This is just my opinion, but you asked, and I have taken the time to give it.   Hope you find it helpful.  

Eddgie, I found this previous post by you.

https://www.cloudyni...ksbv/?p=9170506

 

Quick question if i follow you: The con you mention is that without a barlow you lose some aperature, but with a barlow one is forced to high magnifications, is that correct?

 

So then what if the aim is to achieve high magnifications? i.e. I bought these mainly for planetary, so i would plan to use the barlow. If that is the intention then is that con of using the barlow actually now a pro?

 

Am i making sense?



#8 Eddgie

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 08:49 PM

First, it is important to say that I do not have a ray trace for your telescope so I cannot know at what amount of mirror spacing your scope would loose aperture, but it is unlikely that it would allow as much as it would take a binoviewer to be able to reach focus.  So, the question then is how much does the focal lenght increase, and equireif there is aperture loss, how much loss is there.

 

This can be measured and if you really wanted to know what your configuration is, the best way to know the answer is to measure it.  This just requires a laser and a ruler.

 

If there is an aperture loss then to reclaim that aperture, you would have to shorten the light path.  You can do this in several different ways but the question would be if you shortened it mechanically, would you still be loosing aperture or would you be able to shorten it enough to gain full aperture. 

 

Amplifiers offer another way of shortening the light path and in some cases, totally eliminating the light path.  The 2x Barlow that comes with most binoviewers will reduce the light path by about half. If the binoviewer has a light path of 96mm (this is about right for these models) then this would reduce the light path by about 48mm.   Again, without knowing where the aperture cut off point starts, we can't know if this would restore full aperture, but it would at least provide some relief. 

 

An amplifier like the Televue Bino Vue 2x eliminates almost all of the light path but about 30mm.  In a 2" diagonal it will completely eliminate the light path, but in a 1.25" diagonal, it will not seat all the way, so you will have to compensate for the difference with the focuser, but my guess is that with this, since you are only adding about 30mm of light path, you are probably going to be at full aperture.

 

The Televue 2.5x Powermate is telecentric which means that it too will almost totally eliminate the light path, and with the path length of the binoviewer the power will actually be more like 2.15x than 2.5x (Televue has a chart on their web page for this.)

 

As you can see through, this adds considerable magnification.

 

Then there is the expense.   The screw in Barlow that often comes with the BV is already paid for.  The Bino Vue 2x is about $240 and to get the best result, you should use a $25 adapter to convert your binoviewer to T2.

 

The 2.5x Powermate can be shortened with a T2 adapter but this is an optional cost as well.

 

Mechanical solution would be to buy a short T2 connector, a T2 diagonal and a T2 adapter to allow the binoviewer to be connected directly to the top of the diagonal. The problem here is that even in this configuration, the light path is going to be perhaps 165mm and that may be slightly past the point where you would be working at full aperture and since a 2x Barlow would esentially do the same thing (shorten the light path by about the same amount as a T2 prism setup) you are probably better off using the 2x Barlow.

 

So, this was a long answer, to a simple question but yes, for all SCTs and MCTs that use a moving mirror to focus, I always recommend using some form of amplification.  If you have a Barlow, you should always use it for planets in these types of scopes.

 

Again, the missing info here is the behaviour of your particular scope.  We don't know if it is loosing aperture and how much aperture it may be loosing, but I would absolutely recommend using a Barlow, Televue 2x, or 1.25" Powermate, with the last two being the most effective at reducing light path and of those, in this particular case where you are using a 1.25" diagonal the Powermate would bring the light path of the Binoviewer to almost 0mm but all solutions are going to result in 2x or more gain. 

 

I hope this helps.  As I said, this particular telescope model (and similar small scopes like the Celestron C5 and C6) are very prone to aperture loss with BVs and for planets, I really recommend that a good amplifier be used.

 

So yes.. Use the Barlow. It will help. Will it help enough?  Try it and see.  



#9 Eddgie

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 09:09 PM

And how to measure your aperture, which I think you should do if you can, because otherwise, what I am saying is just speculation, though it is highly unlikely that the scope works at full aperture with a BV.

 

To measure, you simply need a laser and a ruler.

 

First, with the configuration you are using (Scope, visual back, diaogonal, and binoviewer) bring the telescope to infinity focus on a star and from this point until the measurement is made, do not touch the focuser.

 

Now, bring the telescope in.  Remove the binoviewer and put an eyepiece into the eyepiece holder. Do not touch the focuser.

 

Place the telescope about a foot from a wall, as level and square as you can get it. (You may want to put a strip of tape on the wall to record your measurement.) Shine the laser down through the eyepiece. It will take a little dexterity and patience, but at some point you will see the laser projected on to the wall.  The pattern on the wall will be the entry pupil to the scope and this is the actual aperture that the scope works at. Mark your tape or measure your pattern and that is the effective aperture of the scope. 

 

Again, the focuser should not be moved from the infinity focus that you made with the binoviewer in place. 

 

 

 

If you see aperture loss, next time, put Barlow in place, refocus the telescope at infinity and repeat the measurement. Now you will have the new aperture which should be larger and if it is not your full aperture, with these numbers, you would be able to calculate how much additional light path you would need to save to restore full aperture. 

 

Is all of this worth doing?  I think it will help others if you do it.  I tend to make notes when others report measurements so that I have a good idea of the behavior but in your case, it will help you determine if this was a major contributor to your disappointing result.  If for example, the aperture was only reduces a couple of millimeters, then a Barlow is not going to make that better. If the aperture was reduced by 25mm though and a Barlow restored 20m of that, then this might change the experience.

 

But if you have a barlow and try it, if there is aperture loss, it will absolutely improve it. 



#10 Nate1701

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 08:58 AM

Thanks, Eddgie for taking the time to explain all that. I will give the measurement a try. 



#11 Nate1701

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 09:09 AM

Ok here are the results of the aperture test:

25mm + binoviewer focused to infinity versus a 25mm focused to inf.

 

I used the binoviewer ( no barlow)  and 25mm Xcel-lx first - shined the laser through and roughly marked the outline - i could have marked it a bit more precise but i was thinking that i will EASILY see the 10mm difference on either side = 20mm diameter loss; so it wont matter. I just wanted to see how much it would reduce and wasn't worried about getting down to the 0.1mm.

The pictures below are then with a 25mm without binoviewer compared to the outline.

Using the laser i could not see a difference. MAYBE it was 1mm each side at most = 2mm reduction. I was very surprised. Did i do something wrong?

From this test I would conclude the reduction is Negligible. But perhaps there is alternate test to confirm?

I realize i could be more precise with the first outline - but really 1mm each side is too insignificant to me to care for "laser precision" measurement.  ( hardy har har har)

 

I had a small VERY bright LED flashlight and used that also at the end just to see how it would light up. It was a bit easier to shine, but i realize that i made the outline with the laser so not really a good comparison.  Seems like the diameter was a bit larger with LED than the laser - I'm thinking reflections / dispersed rays etc. making the edges softer and thus increasing diameter. You can see that the LED diameter is about ~2mm  greater on each side of the outline.

 

(sorry the pictures rotated 90* CCW when i attached them)

 

20201001_213738.jpg 20201001_213752.jpg 20201001_214047.jpg



#12 Nate1701

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 09:30 AM

Ok . Sorry i think i did it wrong. I did two comparisons with the laser.

Now i re-read and i think i misunderstood the initial instructions.

Step 1. Focus binoviewer (with eyepiece installed of course)

Step 2. Don't touch focuser! Bring scope inside. Remove BV and replace with Eyepiece as per typical viewing ( eyepiece and diagonal)

Step 3. Shine laser and mark the aperature.

Step. 4 Measure and compare to the RATED aperture of the scope. This is the reduction.

 

However - what is the normal aperature of a 127mm ? is there some reducion with baffles etc. ? Is it 'truly' 127mm?

 

What i did by misunderstanding was this:

Step 1. Focus BV to infinity.

Step 2. Don't touch focuser, bring inside and set the dovetail on the table and mark it  - i used tape so the dovetail could sit flush with the tape edge.

Step 3. shine the laser and mark the aperture.

Step 4. Remove the BV and install the 25mm. Take it back outside and focus to inf.

Step 5. Bring the scope back in and refocus the 25mm.

Step 6. Bring the scope back in, set it in the same spot, shine the laser and compare to the outline. And note change in diameter.

 

In my head what i imagined was measuring aperture of the mirror when the BV (+ eypiece) was in focus vs. aperture when the eyepiece was in focus.

Does that actually compare anything? There is a big adjustment in focus between the two.



#13 Eddgie

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 09:57 AM

It depends on the model of the MCT.   Until recently (how recently would be a question for the Cats and Casses forum) the 127mm MCTs were actually only working at 118mm.  This has been measured and confirmed many times.  It is my understanding that more recent versions are working at a true 127mm.  If you measured 127mm, then you must have a recent version.

 

If you have the older version and did not show reduction, it could simply be because the aperture is already reduced, and if you did not see a change in the aperture, then the use of the binoviewers isn't going to really do much to change the aperture.

 

 

Yes, the first time you use the binoviewer to set infinity focus.  You could just use the laser to make the reading with the binoviewer but you can remove the binovewer and use an eyepiece, which might be a bit easier. As long as you don't move the focuser, the reading will be the same whether you used the binoviewer or the eyepiece, as long as you did not move the focuser.   

 

To see the true aperture, you infinity focus using a single eyepiece, then take the reading. 

 

Was the aperture 127mm when you used infinity focus using just your eyepiece and diagonal?  Again, if you do not, most of the older 127s were only working at 118mm anyway, so it is possible that a Binoviewer does not change that because you are already working at less than stated aperture.

 

You did not say what you measured though.



#14 Eddgie

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 10:01 AM

And the issue with the MCTs was the the mirror was 127mm but they way the design works is that the heavy curve in the meniscus causes the incoming light rays to diverge and the outer rays would miss the outside of the 127mm mirror.  Later versions have a mirror that is bigger so that it captures the outside rays. 

 

So, depends on your model.  If you measure 127mm at infinity focus using the standard diagonal and eyepiece you have a corrected version.  If you measure 127mm, the mirror is 127mm, but since the outside rays have widened out, the aperture is reduces already. 

 

And good for you to take the time measuring.  In larger scopes a half inch of aperture reduction is not so important because as a percentage of aperture, it is usually rather small and the change in secondary obstruction is likewise small.  In smaller scopes, a half inch is a much bigger percentage of the starting aperture.   So, as scopes get larger, half an inch of loss is not really a big deal.  I mean for planets, you would want to avoid that but a Barlow will usually fix those kinds of issues.  



#15 Nate1701

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 02:13 PM

It depends on the model of the MCT.   Until recently (how recently would be a question for the Cats and Casses forum) the 127mm MCTs were actually only working at 118mm.  This has been measured and confirmed many times.  It is my understanding that more recent versions are working at a true 127mm.  If you measured 127mm, then you must have a recent version.

 

If you have the older version and did not show reduction, it could simply be because the aperture is already reduced, and if you did not see a change in the aperture, then the use of the binoviewers isn't going to really do much to change the aperture.

 

 

Yes, the first time you use the binoviewer to set infinity focus.  You could just use the laser to make the reading with the binoviewer but you can remove the binovewer and use an eyepiece, which might be a bit easier. As long as you don't move the focuser, the reading will be the same whether you used the binoviewer or the eyepiece, as long as you did not move the focuser.   

 

To see the true aperture, you infinity focus using a single eyepiece, then take the reading. 

 

Was the aperture 127mm when you used infinity focus using just your eyepiece and diagonal?  Again, if you do not, most of the older 127s were only working at 118mm anyway, so it is possible that a Binoviewer does not change that because you are already working at less than stated aperture.

 

You did not say what you measured though.

I got 121mm for the binoviewer. Without BV and just the eyepiece it might be more like 123mm, that is the +1mm on each side. 


Edited by Nate1701, 02 October 2020 - 02:14 PM.


#16 Eddgie

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 02:57 PM

I got 121mm for the binoviewer. Without BV and just the eyepiece it might be more like 123mm, that is the +1mm on each side. 

Well, that is not quite consistent with what others have measured on the affected MCTs. Most measured 118mm.

If you are using something unusual like a 2" diagonal or a long visual back, that could be a factor.  If your scope has an oversize mirror, it may only work at full aperture using a short visual back and a prism diagonal.   

 

If you saw a difference though, then at least you know the working aperture.  I would be looking at something else in your configuration though but if it is standard visual back and standard 1.25" diagonal, then the scope is not working at full aperture out of the box, and that would mean that the binoviewer is not doing much harm, but it looks like if the configuration you are using is in fact causing some aperture loss without the binoviewer, then you know that with the binoviewer you are going to loose about 6mm and that is not all that bad.   Between that, the normal binoviewer dimming, and the focal length increse though, I still think that these are all the reasons why you did not enjoy the experience.  It is not a telescope I would recommend binoviewing, but I am sure there are others using the same scope that are happy with the result.  Each of us has our own tolerance/acceptance level.  I did a session with my 10" last night and even in a configuration that was loosing maye 3/4th inch of aperture, I still really enjoyed the view but my focal ratio was f/5.1 so by comparison, I was getting quite a bright image.

 

Anyway, hope your efforts have helped you determine where you want to go next.  



#17 Nate1701

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 01:57 PM

Thanks Eddgie.

I am really on the fence. I really got nice view of Mars last night and the BV really helps.

I liked them best with the Barlow and 25mm Xcel-LX. With the extra light path + barlow it was very obvious i was getting more mag than 1540/12.5.

They looked like they were running closer to 9 or 10mm instead of 12.5. Just guessing.

2 eyes is DEFINITELY more natural.

But a few things take away from the experience for me:

1. A bit of diffiiculty merging. When things line up it's great. But it seems like i'm fiddling with rotating eyepieces, Fussing with setting flush and getting good compression ring grip etc.

2. Zooms. I tried 7-21mm Svbony zooms and the sharpness is pretty good and the FOV is ok - for some strange reason my astigmatism is better with me glassed off lately. ( i am trying a home remedy that might be improving my eyesight. Maybe? ) BUT those cursed undercuts on Svbony zooms are terrible on them there is a tiny 1mm shoulder left in the corner of the nosepiece and glass barrel. It really makes it hard to get these little guys lined up. It's hard enough with the Xcel-LX's. What this means is different / more expensive zoom. I think these would have been a good budget fit. Also rotating the zooms was rotating the focus or rotating the eyepiece - thus changing collimation. Arrrrggg!

3. I think The above challenges would be with other zooms as well. I can only conclude that a zoom would be worth it only if i get legit with BHZ and just do it right. I'm not ready to shell out for that.

4. Thus this BV would be fixed eyepiece only. However i can't help but feel that some of the advantage of BV is lost on fixed EP's. I would need at least 2 or 3 sets for mag options. and then each time i swap out i would have to refocus and re-seat or rotate to get the best collimation - and that fiddling takes away from the experience for me.

I tend to think that BV's shine on planets and the right magnification is what planets are all about. Magnification options are necessary, I don't want to own little coupe and be slowed by speed bumps. But the drawbacks of either getting 2 BHZ's or swapping fixed EP's cause me to back out of using a BV right now.

 

No doubt about it BV is really great. But i think if I'm going to do Binoviewer - then i would do it right and go for a Maxbright 2 BV and BHZ's.

I love observing but i think that for the price of all that gear - I'm not ready for that leap.

This leads me to conclusion of sticking with  mono and put a fraction of those funds toward stacking a nice picture with a DSLR or CCD cam. That way I have a souvenir from the nights observing and i can look at the picture with two eyes - less  cost for that two eye view! And it's available anytime.

Thus i am going to return everything.

 

Here is a pic of setup - i have to admit it looks sweet.

binoMak.jpg


Edited by Nate1701, 03 October 2020 - 01:58 PM.



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