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My OVNI Saga and Review

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#1 bobo99

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 09:12 PM

The following will be a review of both the purchase process and a technical review of the OVNI-M.

Some background, I am a NV user for about 3 years in Canada using a PVS14 with a 3x afocal lens, halpha filters, and 3d printed adapters.

I was using it quite happily but really wanted to try the flexibility of SLR lenses/prime, and a bit more performance from the NV.

Pvs-14/ Ovni-m
luminous sensitivity 2122/2340
luminace gain at 10-6 fcd 69273/70296
luminace gain at 10 -4 fcd 16821/15500
ebi 0.46/0.1
res 64/72
snr 29/36.8
fom 1856/2650

 

The purchase process started with my order of the 2600 FOM OVNI-M and all the fixings/adapters in mid-March 2021. I had trouble justifying the cost, but with the recent crypto boom I had some fun money lying around. Joko initially wasn’t equipped to take payment in crypto, but made accommodations on his side, and the whole transaction was completed via crypto. Kudos to him for working with me on that front. Communication was really good and timely updates were had.

The item shipped and arrived around April 12th. Here in Canada you can ask Fedex to provide you the self clearance forms, which allows you to walk into the local CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency), where you can self import the item, pay duties and taxes, and not pay Fedex for brokering that. This is important for later.

 

Took the item home and used it in a dark bathroom (do we all run to a bathroom when we get our NV?), and noticed the increase in SNR/EBI and notably resolution. However there was a really bad autogating whine coming from the unit. Now most of our tubes have autogating, and that circuitry can sometimes be audible. On my PVS14 I can only hear it when it’s directly up to my ear, while with the OVNI I could hear it from 6ft away, in a room with a loud PC. The problem with NV is, it’s not exactly ubiquitous so you don’t know what’s “normal”, so after asking around and realizing that some people couldn’t hear their higher performing tubes at all, I messaged Joko about taking the unit back.

At first Joko was hesitant that the autogating whine was “that bad” and that it really was worth sending back. I have a friend who has access to controlled testing equipment so we conducted a more scientific study, comparing the PVS14 to the OVNI. In short, the OVNI was about 15db higher than the PVS14, and the frequency is about 3050 hz.(see attached)

 

After some back and forth, Joko did agree to take it back. I wanted to be sure I was on the right side of the law so I reached out to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) which is responsible for handing out export licenses for these types of items. After about 45 days, GAC confirmed that I do not require an export license.

At this point I packaged up the unit and Fedex’d it back to Joko with documentation from CBSA indicating that it is a warranty item. At the counter at Fedex I made sure to declare it as a warranty item, and insured it for half the value. It made it to Paris in 2 days at which point it ground to a halt.

 

French customs claims that there is no mechanism in France to import an item for warranty purposes. I called French customs and asked if Joko can self import the item and not pay the broker fees. Based on my broken French, individuals can’t self clear items like we can in Canada, it has to go through a broker. The importer would need to pay customs, and the reclaim the customs when the item leaves the country again. Joko hammered Fedex on the French side, and I was hounding them on the Canadian side. Finally Fedex Canada told me that the “correct forms” weren’t provided with the shipment and that the item would need to come back to Canada, and then resent with the right forms. I said “delightful, please send me the forms that need to be filled in to send it when it comes back”. 24 hours later I get an email that Fedex “made an exception” and cleared the item. At this point I genuinely don’t know whether Fedex dropped the ball and were covering for their ineptness, or there really isn’t a way to import warranty items without paying fees, but that was my experience. This whole process took 34 days.

 

The icing on the cake is even though I insured the item for 7000$, you still need to ask for signature on delivery, so Fedex left the box on Joko’s front door for 2 days.

 

At this point I had reached out to a few other vendors of NV in both the USA and Europe, and just asked, is there a ceiling for autogating whine for the civilian units they sell. For the ones that got back to me, the answer is that there is a ceiling for civilian units and it’s 59 db. There is a ceiling for military spec units, but they couldn’t tell me what it is.

 

Although I had accurate measurements of my tube, OVNI does not have an official ceiling for autogating whine. Joko’s method for analysis was to compare my tube to other tubes he was building and had in his possession to see which one is louder. In this scenario I would have appreciated more communication on his front, even if the answer is “no progress, still testing”. Joko had the unit for ~35 days at which point he acknowledged that there was something wrong with it. It went back to the vendor for repairs and then back to him, and then back to me, which was another 25 days. I finally received the OVNI (again) on Aug 26.

 

Fedex tried to leave it on my doorstep again, so had to call them to tell the driver to take it back to the warehouse.

Joko did recognize that this was quite a stressful experience and threw in a 2” 685 filter to smooth things over. I think the loud autogate whine would have been an easy aspect of the unit to miss, but after some discussions Joko honoured the warranty as described.

 

And now, after all that, a technical review.

I am using the 2 units with an 8” f/5, 80mm f/5, and a Cosmicar 72mm lens, 3x afocal lens, and a 7nm/12nm h-alpha filters. 32/55 mm televue plossels.

 

The tube specs comparing the 2 units above indicate where the differences are. The increase in resolution makes a huge difference in how tight the stars look. All stars are crisp and pinpoint. The higher SNR means that even if I crank the gain up to maximum there is a lot less scintillation relative to the PVS14.

 

The difference in white vs green (pvs14) phosphor is there, but to be honest I like the green equally well. For my eyes I see more contrast in the green phosphor vs white when sweeping the milky way.

 

This has been mentioned by some other reviewers but the 1x lens that comes with the OVNI suffers from some aberrations around the perimeter. The pictures softens quite a bit and is generally not a pleasing view like the PVS14 lens. Replacing the 1x lens with the Cosmicar provides pinpoint stars across the field of view. I really love the ability to grab and go with the SLR lens, and the SLR lenses provide much better views than the 3x afocal that I have with the PVS14.

 

The OVNI comes with a push button for gain control. 1-click changes 1 stop of gain. You can hold the button and it will cycle through the various gain levels. I much prefer the knob on the PVS14 that allows granular control and easy cycling of gain levels so you know where you are in the gain-band.

 

The lower EBI means that the background is much darker and pleasing. Lastly the Halo value is much lower on the OVNI so bright stars and objects don’t blow up as much.

In short the OVNI does provide a much more pleasing view than the PVS14 I have… however, the last part is cost.

 

The PVS14 I found on the used market up here in Canada for about 4200$ (CAD). The OVNI ended up being 3.8x that. Is the OVNI 3.8x better than the PVS14?

 

That's a tough pill to swallow. It's better and more flexible for sure, but after speaking to some smart guys a good way to look at it is, the quantum leap happens when you go from regular observing to NV. After this, you start hitting diminishing returns, h-alpha filters and narrower band-passes. Incremental increases in SNR/EBI/Resolution do provide more pleasing views, but at a much steeper cost. If you've got the money it's well worth it, but if you are looking to get into night vision a medium range tube will get you started in the hobby just as well.

 

Next purchase I think may be a large dobsonian to really stretch the NV (12/14") and have ordered the 67mm converter for the plossel, and a 3-5nm halpha filter.

 

Cheers!

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by bobo99, 03 September 2021 - 09:18 PM.

 

#2 a__l

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 10:36 PM

The PVS14 I found on the used market up here in Canada for about 4200$ (CAD). The OVNI ended up being 3.8x that. Is the OVNI 3.8x better than the PVS14?

 

 

I think no, the difference will be much less significant. Therefore, I immediately decided that I did not need this. I have had large fast apertures for a long time, a used green NV with medium parameters is enough for me.


 

#3 Joko

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 05:03 AM

Few words in addition to bobo99's post.

 

This whistle was an annoying sound but but did not prevent the OVNI-B from functioning properly nor to get the specs at their best performances. And i totally understand bobo99's reaction. Also from the begining i explained it may take few weeks before i send it back as i wanted to compare it to an other OVNI-M FOM2600 i was making. Based on this comparison, i'm establishing a process to make sure this unpleasant sound does not happen again. Even if this was the very first "minor issue" in almost 2 years of business, I always considered that the after-sales service is something important to perpetuate a company. And i'm pleased bobo99 can now enjoy the OVNI-M as much as he expected it.

 

About the manual gain control push button, it is the best solution to make sure the OVNI-M will reach focus in all refractors and reflectors.

A longer knob like on the PVS-14 would add backfocus in prime use (PVS-14 can't be use in prime). I've also noted with the mod3 in the US there are sometimes issues with the knob touching the focuser meaning difficult use of the knob, and possible issues to reach focus (there are discussions on CN about these problems). It would be the same issue with the OVNI-M while there are none with a push button. OVNI-M has to be flexible and polyvalent for all users and all telescopes so it appears a push button was the best solution.

Please note the OVNI-B is bigger so it was possible to use a knob. There are choices depending on users preferences.

 

About the lens, it’s very difficult to have a lens that would satisfy anyone, some people don’t like the PVS-14 lens, some don’t like SLR lens, some don’t like the OVNI-M lens (fortunately most users like it a lot). What is great with the OVNI-M is if you don’t like the lens, it’s easy to remove it and to use any SLR lens. There are many cheap and great lenses.

Also please note OVNI-B has the same optical lens than PVS-14. So there are options for all users.

 

Hope this helps wink.gif


Edited by Joko, 04 September 2021 - 07:18 AM.

 

#4 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 08:45 AM

It appears I have a medium range tube with a FOM around 2150. I like that OVNI has options in this area.

 

Any thoughts on the differences between 1800, 2200, 2400, 2600? Are there certain objects that see the most benefit to the higher end tube?


 

#5 cnoct

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 11:25 AM

Well done Joko applause.gif applause.gif applause.gif .

 

You certainly are a boutique shop with exceptional service.

 

Am blown away by how much you did including adding the option to pay in Crypto.

 

The cost for premium gear can certainly cause second guessing, especially when comparing with used prices.

 

bow.gif


 

#6 Mort H

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 12:29 PM

Sorry bobo99 to hear of your initial frustrations, it sounds like Jonathan did his best to make it right, hopefully you will have smooth sailing from here on out.

 

I'm a brand new OVNI-B user, so I can't comment from experience on the -M, but my OVNI-B is completely silent, the gain control is smooth and continuously variable (no steps), and I'm really completely blown away by how awesome this thing is.  Of course I'm a new NV convert (but with 20 years of conventional visual observing experience) so my excitement is bound to be high.

 

Lots more to try out on my end, but so far extremely positive for me.

 

Clear skies!


 

#7 GeezerGazer

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 05:01 PM

Kudo's to you Bobo for enough patience to endure the international mailing fiasco and Kudo's to Jonathan for standing behind his product and going the extra mile with crypto payment.  

 

"...if you are looking to get into night vision a medium range tube will get you started in the hobby just as well."  I absolutely agree with this statement.  NV has much to offer at any FOM.  A premium NVD is expensive... much more so for international buyers than for those in the US.

 

I hope you enjoy your Ovni-M.  Clear Skies.


 

#8 a__l

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 07:54 PM

This whistle was an annoying sound but but did not prevent the OVNI-B from functioning properly nor to get the specs at their best performances. 

The device clearly does not work in the required mode, there are many reasons, one of them is a defect in components. This would most likely lead to failure in the long run. Therefore, the OP did the right thing with the claim.

 

 

Also please note OVNI-B has the same optical lens than PVS-14. So there are options for all users.

 

Carson? Another? I carefully studied this question when I was looking for the right lens for myself. They are different and of different quality. In addition, there are many false lenses on the market that retailers claim to be real PVS-14s.


Edited by a__l, 04 September 2021 - 07:57 PM.

 

#9 Joko

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 01:58 AM

The device clearly does not work in the required mode, there are many reasons, one of them is a defect in components. This would most likely lead to failure in the long run. Therefore, the OP did the right thing with the claim.

Absolutely false.
As explained by bobo99, all tubes have autogated whine, including civilians and military tubes. It is also confirmed by tube manufacturers bobo99's contacted. I confirm this too. And you can find discussions on other non astronomy forum about this.
Some tubes are so quiet we can't hear the whistle but all make noise. All those tubes work perfectly fine. It has absolutely no impact on the performance and will not lead to any failure. This is wrong and absolutey not a defect.
Despite i double check all products we manufacture, this is the first minor issue that has passed our quality control in almost two years of operation as i explained previously.
This whistle was beyond the standards of OVNI Night Vision's devices and we did what we had to do to satsify the user.

Edited by Joko, 05 September 2021 - 12:32 PM.

 

#10 GOLGO13

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 08:27 AM

People should realize that niche small operation astronomy companies require some patience. Though I am about out of patience with Starlight Instruments recently. I ordered a focuser for my Lunt 50mm solar scope in April and it still hasn't been made.

Sounds like in this case it was a bit of give and take from both sides and ultimately turned out good.

The amount of money will create passion toward the situation. I only have $280 invested in the focuser. Though the stock focuser is pretty terrible.
 

#11 imtl

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 12:45 AM

Thank you to the OP for the great report and all the USEFUL comments to follow. Let's move on.


 


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