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CZAS Viewer With FDAS/RSCS Diopter System

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#1 Jeff B

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 05:48 PM

When I saw that Denis Levatic was exiting the bino-viewer business due to personal reasons, my heart went out to him.  I was in a similar circumstance myself just 9 short years ago.

 

I've been a customer of Denis's since he started.  He was "super charging" existing viewers (collimation and where possible, expanding a viewer's light path clearances).  I got a very nice sample of a Super Charged Baader MK V from Denis in 2016.  That was quickly followed by several other viewers, all Zeiss based, including two versions of the CZAS viewer.   All have been optically and mechanically excellent. Some of these viewer's bench performance has been documented here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...c#entry10831524

 

That thread will be expanded shortly with additional samples.

 

The subject of this thread is to document the bench and visual assessment of Denis's latest iteration of the CZAS with the FDAS/RSCS Diopter System.   FDAS stands for Fine Diopter Adjustment System while RSCS denotes Real Self Center System.  When Denis's stock of these viewers is gone, there will be no more made so I ordered one. 

 

Bill P here wrote up an extraordinary description and review of an earlier CZAS sample which used Baader Click Lock Diopters early last year :

 

https://www.cloudyni...inoviewer-r3282

 

My FDAS/RSCS version is essentially identical to Bill's except for the new diopter system designed and developed by Denis.  

 

Physical Description

 

Please refer to Bill's thread for a very detailed description.  I certainly appreciate their light weight and solid all metal construction.  However, this sample is also beautiful, with flawless fit and finish, very attractive.  The photos simply do not do justice to their immaculate physical appearance. The understated blue Zeiss badge which covers the tension adjustment is a nice touch.  

 

The measure optical path length of each side to the tops of the diopters were 133mm which agrees with Denis's spec.

 

Now the diopters and I'll cut to the chase here.  These are the finest diopters I have used.  Period.  My previous favorites where decidedly the Denk Binotron's diopters for their smooth, linear, positive action, and good grip on the eyepieces.  The FDAS/RSCS Diopter System takes what the Tron diopters do well and pops it up to a higher level of smoothness and ease of adjustment.  They really do self-center.  And they consistently pull off a trick I have not encountered in any viewer diopter system....they seem to be able to handle the tapered under cuts on my Sterling Plossl eyepieces with precise, stable eyepiece centering and image merging.  Impressive!   Stay tuned on that.  Individual diopter focusing is silky smoooth and precisely up and down.   Collimation is perfect for me with this sample.

 

Well done.

 

Visual Assessment

 

We have had some excellent, stable seeing around here this summer and I have taken advantage of that with extended sessions with this viewer on Jupiter, Saturn and some of the usual suspect summer stars such as Vega, Altair, Double-Double and Albireo.  The context for my assessment of this viewer has so far been my usual system which is my TEC 200ED triplet + AP Maxbright diagonal with the CZAS viewer plugged into an excellent Denk Power Switch system (dual arm power switch plus OCS element plugged into the 2" nosepiece).  How do I know the Denk switch/OCS system is excellent?  I have DPAC grin.gif .   My most used eyepieces were my Denk 21 LOA Neutral pair and, briefly, my Sterling 20mm Plossl pair.  

 

Again, I'll cut to the chase here too.  This is optically the finest viewer I have used.  Period.  Some of my other viewers are excellent (which I'll get into later in the comparisons section) but this sample CZAS with these diopters is subtly but noticeably superior in almost every regard.

 

I started with stars while waiting for the gas giants to roll around to better viewing heights.  Vega was intense at ~230X with a well defined white-ish airy disk and NO red and blue splashing around it during moments of turbulence.  Scatter/glow and junk around the star was very low too.  At the same magnification, the double-double were two hard, sets of beady little eyes staring back at me with a faint, uniform diffraction ring system around each.  Just excellent.  Albireo was, ok, ok, I'll say it, "jewel like"  with an intense red and blue.  The other intense thing I noticed was the blackness of the background space.  This really set the pair and the other stars in the FOV apart from the "intense" black around them.   Just beautiful.  Altair, like Vega was intense with a sharp airy disk and uniform first diffraction ring with scant scatter.  

 

Saturn was "etched" during moments of very steady seeing.  Cassini's division and the planet's shadow against the rings were chiseled jet black.  Fine color gradations and structure spanning the rings were readily seen as was Enke's minima during the steadier moments.  The planet's globe gave up just a beautiful color pallet, looking like a hard boiled egg yolk suspended in space.  There was NO hint of "CA".  Titan was a very small, very faint salmon colored distinct disk. 

 

Jupiter was similarly detailed and sharp and BIG, with again, NO "CA", in fact, even atmospheric dispersion seemed subdued too, especially around the moons. 

 

Now I've seen some extraordinary views like this with other viewers too (which I will get into later with comparisons) but there was a certain, hard to describe, sublime intensity and sharpness I saw when using this CZAS.

 

Were they perfect?  Close but no.  Like most other viewers, there was a color balance difference between the right and left sides of the viewer.  This was best seen on Jupiter which had a slight but distinct, yellowish tint on the left side compared to the cooler right side.  Even Vega, displayed a mildly yellow-ish core at high power on the left side compared to a very white core on the right side.  However, when using both eyes, I really could not detect anything amiss.  I've seen this R/L color tint difference with many other viewers (but not all) before and I'll discuss it some more during the comparisons section.  

 

Up next I'll talk about some comparisons with other, high-end viewers.

 

Jeff

Attached Thumbnails

  • CZAS, FDAS A.jpg
  • CZAS, FDAS B.jpg
  • CZAS, FDAS C.jpg
  • CZAS, FDAS, Denk Power Switch.jpg

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#2 Jeff B

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 12:07 PM

Comparative Viewings

 

I spent a lot of time with the CZAS FDAS/RSCS , the older CZAS with the blue collets, a good sample of the Denk II and my Denk BinoTron on Jupiter, Saturn, Vega, Altair, Albireo and the double-double.  The differences between the "new" CZAS and "old" CZAS are collets (older do not focus) and the optical coatings (older unit uses MgFl and more standard Al coatings).  I used the same optical system as I described above.  The Denk units also had T2 quick changer adapters which made swapping out viewers/eyepieces really quick and easy. 

 

At lower to mid magnifications (~110x to 150x) there was not a whole lot to choose visually between the viewers.  All were excellent giving pleasing views on an absolute basis.   But there were some comparative differences that could be teased out, especially at 150x.  For example the new CZAS had that blackness to the background I mentioned which made stars "pop".  Scatter around Vega and Jupiter was slightly lower too....but hardly night and day....but certainly visible and appreciated.  The Denk II did start to display a "warm" tone on Jupiter in comparison to the other viewers, especially the older CZAS, which showed the "coolest" color tone.  The one thing that did stand out was the internal reflections on bright stars with the older CZAS.  They manifest themselves as faint ghost images on bright stars.  For example, Vega and Altair became triple star systems with faint but quite distinct "companions" at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions.  But these reflections were only seen on bright stars.  They were not seen on Jupiter or even Jupiter's moons but the older CZAS did show slightly more glow around Jupiter and Saturn than the new unit.

 

It was at high power (~230x) where the differences between viewers became more noticeable. 

 

Sharpness/contrast

 

The two CZAS viewers were the subtly sharper units, especially the new one, with the Binotron a very close second.  During moments of steady seeing, it was just easier to see subtle, low contrast cloud detail and structure in Jupiter and, especially, Saturn and its rings with the two CZAS viewers, especially the newer unit which had that certain "intensity" and sharpness to the views that I relate to contrast.  The Binotron was very close to the CZAS units and, taken on its own, was excellent.  I had to do multiple swap outs with the Tron and the new CZAS to confirm a smidge more low contrast detail was being seen by me via the new CZAS unit, when the seeing permitted it to be seen.   During rougher seeing, forget it, no difference in that regard between any of the units.

 

Scatter

 

Which for me means "glow" around brighter objects.  Here the new CZAS unit was subtly but noticeably ahead of the pack, particularly on Vega.  The Binotron was close behind with the Denk II and older CZAS a bit "worse", meaning just a bit more glow.  But, again, taken on their own, there would be nothing really to complain about with any of the viewers regarding scatter around bright objects...except maybe Vega being a triple star system in the older CZAS.  However, the lack of scatter viewing Vega at high power with the new CZAS viewer did have a sublime quality to it that eluded the other viewers. 

 

 

Tint and Color Error Differences

 

This is where the high power differences between the viewers were most easily seen by me.

 

   Tint

 

In terms of "tint" and "warm", I mean a slight to mild yellowing of Jupiter and Vega's airy disks at high power   Here  the older CZAS viewer had the "advantage", displaying a more "neutral" or even "cool" "tint" compared to the other viewers, especially the Denk II which displayed the "warmest" tint of all the units.   For example, Vega's airy disk via the older CZAS viewer was an intense white, the new CZAS showed a subtle off-white or ivory tint, a bit more so of that with the Binotron and with the Denk II a yellowish tint, especially in comparison with the older CZAS viewer.  But don't make a big deal out of these overall tint differences as, even with the "worst" of the group, the Denk II, the yellowing was subtle on an absolute basis and it also depends very much on what you are looking at, for example, Saturn, which is predominantly yellow natively, showed hardly any differences in tint between viewers.  

 

Also, as I've seen visually, and shown in DPAC images, all but two of the viewers in this comparison show a distinct tint difference between the right and left sides of the viewer, with one side being "warmer" in tint than the other side.  I'm not sure why this R/L tint difference happens but I suspect glass/coating/beam splitter design all play a part in it.  The two viewers here which do not show a right/left tint difference are the Binotron and older CZAS viewers.  Interestingly, the new CZAS viewer shows a good R/L difference, but only a very subtle warmth the merged image...go figure.

 

But I have come to one conclusion:  With one exception, all of my viewers filter out the blue to one degree or another.  Only the older CZAS viewer seems to avoid any reduction in the blue portion of the spectrum (ok, there is some blue reduction on the left side of the viewer but it is minor).    You will see this in the DPAC section later. 

 

   Color Error

 

You will easily see the color errors viewers can introduce in the DPAC section but for me they clearly manifest themselves visually, at high power, as a "splashing", or extra bit of atmospheric dispersion (AD), of the red and blue around bright stars and the moons of Jupiter.   The Denk units would show a subtle red/blue splashing around Vega, especially during moments of unsteadiness in the air, that was just not there with the CZAS units.  Similarly, Jupiter's moons showed more intense AD bordering Jupiter's moons via the Denk units than either CZAS viewer.  In fact, the new CZAS unit showed hardly any AD around the moons. 

 

If I had to guess, I believe this to be a combination of small focus shifts in the red and blue perhaps combined with a bit more lateral color too, introduced by the beam splitters and prisms in most viewers, interacting with the objective's color correction.  The CZAS units do not use prisms.

 

Notice I said "the objective's color correction".  I have to reiterate here that the context of all of these observations has been with a TEC 200 ED APO...a refractor.  Things may well be a bit different via my newtonians.   But the blue filtration, I believe, will not change.  But I'll find out.

 

But, the APO is the harder challenge for bino-viewers IMO.  And in that context, the one I use most often, new CZAS unit with Denis's new, uptown diopters is the finest viewer I have. 

 

Period. 

 

Jeff

Attached Thumbnails

  • Usual Suspects, Round 2.jpg
  • CZAS, FDAS and CZAS Blue Collet.jpg

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#3 Jeff B

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Posted 07 September 2021 - 07:38 PM

DPAC Testing

 

For the most part DPAC bench testing confirmed the results I got visually.

 

Attached is my typical DPAC eye chart.  The big picture on the left is just the TEC 140ED (which was used for all testing) in white light, which is really individual blue, green and red LEDs combined into a single LED.  That is the "base" picture.  All of the other pictures have a bino viewer in the light path, specifically, from left to right, the older CZAS with the blue eyepiece collets, the new CZAS FDAS/RSCS, The Denk BinoTron and the Denk II.  The top row of viewer pictures represents one side of the viewer, while the bottom row is the other side.  All were taken inside of focus.

 

There is actually a lot of information to be gleaned from this DPAC group shot.

 

First, all of the viewers have overall excellent spherical correction into the native F7 focal ratio of the TEC 140ED.  You see that the shape of the rocnhi lines in each viewer closely matches that of the base TEC 140 image, even when comparing each side of the viewer.  There are no funny edge issues with any of the viewers.  This backs up my visual assessment that each viewer was fundamentally sharp.  

 

Second, you readily see why I found some subjectively varying degrees of "warmth" between the viewers with the older CZAS being subjectively the "coolest" or more "neutral" in color tint, while the Denk II was the "warmest".  But you also readily see the right/left side tint differences in each viewer with the older CZAS and Binotron showing the least difference while new CZAS shows the most.  I find it interesting in that while the new CZAS has the most difference, with one side being rather yellow, when merged, the image was subjectively rather neutral in tint on Jupiter and Vega, with only a mild "off-white" or "ivory" cast to it.  Go figure.  In short, there is some blue filtration going on with each viewer, with the old CZAS displaying the Least and the Denk II showing the most overall.

 

Third, you clearly see the color errors introduced by the Denk viewers in comparison to the F7 TEC 140ED base photo as extra red and, particularly, blue fringing around the Ronchi bands.  There is basically none of that seen with the two CZAS viewers which confirms my subjective assessment that the CZAS viewers are basically color artifact free (other than the blue filtration).   I believe the extra color fringing in the Denk units (and I see it in all of the prism based viewers I have tested) is mostly very slightly out of focus red and, mostly, blue light.  You can see the same sort of thing in the attached DPAC image of my AP 178 F9, pre-ED Starfire which does let the blue focus point "hang out there" slightly relative to yellow/green.  This also correlates with the bit of red/blue splashing around bright stars I see in the Denk viewers at high power during moments of turbulence and the slightly more yellowish tint to Vega's core compared to the CZAS viewers.

 

Again, regarding the blue filtration, it is indeed real and easily seen in the mono-chrome images of the green and blue channels of the white light images.  The top row, left to right, is the green channel for the base 140ED,  Older CZAS, New CZAS and Denk II.  The bottom row is the blue channel for each viewer image.   With the major exception being the older CZAS viewer, the attenuation in the blue is obvious.  This blue  filtration might also help to explain why some folks report that refractor "CA" is subjectively less when using viewers.  Incidentally, the green mono-chrome images further show the excellent spherical correction these viewers have too.

 

Well, that about wraps it up with this particular Masters Dissertation on the new Levatic CZAS viewer.....with a bunch of other stuff thrown in.

 

It is a WONDERFUL high end viewer and overall, the best I have owned for high power, high contrast viewing, especially for solar system objects and, BTW, dynamite on globular clusters too.

 

Jeff 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 140ED, CZAS FDAS, Older CZAS, Bintron, Denk II.jpg
  • AP178, Base, White, Inside Focus.jpg
  • Green and Blue Comparisons, 140ED, Older CZAS, New CZAS, Denk II.jpg

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#4 Kent10

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Posted 07 September 2021 - 09:42 PM

Thanks Jeff!  I very much enjoyed seeing your study.



#5 denis0007dl

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Posted 08 September 2021 - 06:24 AM

Jeff, thats scientifically everything elaborated to very details.

 

Even myself didnt play attention to some of these details you elaborated.

 

Amazingly detailed job!



#6 StarAlert

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Posted 10 September 2021 - 08:00 PM

I’ve been trying to hold off on buying a pair of these to replace my Baader MB2s. 

And now you do this. Thank you very much, Jeff! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!



#7 Jeff B

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Posted 11 September 2021 - 01:02 AM

My pleasure StarAlert.  grin.gif

 

I just got back in from an exceptionally enjoyable evening with both of the CZAS viewers with trips to the Moon and a few double stars early while waiting for the the gas giants to roll into better view.  Seeing calmed dramatically after midnight with both Saturn and Jupiter just mesmerizing at 235x with the 200ED.  Then I finished up with Neptune and Uranus (can't say for sure I saw any polar brightening at that magnification though).  A few nights ago it was ditto with the 11" F7 Parallax/CZAM (Carl Zambuto Awesome Mirror) but with higher magnification.  

 

I continue to be impressed with the newest CZAS viewer, and I love the diopters.

 

Honestly, don't wait too long to get one StarAlert as the supply is limited.

 

Jeff 


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#8 kcl31

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 06:33 PM

Interestingly, I did a binoviewer test several weeks ago, and noticed the matching between glass path of a binoviewer and OCA/GPC is very important for its correction spherochromatic aberration, and if the telescope is a refractor, its own spherochromatic aberration level matters too.

 

Following is one example I have, done with AP Traveler and a modified Zeiss research grade microscope binoviewer with 30mm clear aperture (current version), with several different GPC/OCA (only the Baader and Televue has mentioned their design has optimized to remove the spherochromatic aberration introduced by the glass brick in prism binoviewer)

gpctest.jpg

 

And I have tested a branch of other binoviewers as well. 

DSCF2274.jpg

 

My findings are: all the research grade microscope binoviewers would be able to deliver diffraction limited views IF you can find a good matching GPC/OCA. And all of them will be a disaster if used without any GPC/OCA on a fast scope (<f8). Their major differences are on the size of clear aperture, quality of light baffling, internal darkening, and color tint.


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#9 denis0007dl

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:28 AM

Interestingly, I did a binoviewer test several weeks ago, and noticed the matching between glass path of a binoviewer and OCA/GPC is very important for its correction spherochromatic aberration, and if the telescope is a refractor, its own spherochromatic aberration level matters too.

 

Following is one example I have, done with AP Traveler and a modified Zeiss research grade microscope binoviewer with 30mm clear aperture (current version), with several different GPC/OCA (only the Baader and Televue has mentioned their design has optimized to remove the spherochromatic aberration introduced by the glass brick in prism binoviewer)

attachicon.gifgpctest.jpg

 

And I have tested a branch of other binoviewers as well. 

attachicon.gifDSCF2274.jpg

 

My findings are: all the research grade microscope binoviewers would be able to deliver diffraction limited views IF you can find a good matching GPC/OCA. And all of them will be a disaster if used without any GPC/OCA on a fast scope (<f8). Their major differences are on the size of clear aperture, quality of light baffling, internal darkening, and color tint.

Well, Zeiss Axio binoviewer from your test is tottaly different binoviewer and consist all prisms, very fat ones.

 

Thaty why he need GPC etc to compensate false colours, and spherical abberations to some point.

 

CZAS from above discussed posts dont suffer from these abberations, so your post about Axio findings should be good for other/new thread waytogo.gif

 

Kind regards

Denis



#10 kcl31

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:35 PM

Hi Denis,

 

Yes, I am aware of that. And to my understanding, the mirror version of Zeiss binoviewer also has a prism light path, but only in the prism beam splitter. So it has ~30mm light path vs. normal ~110mm-ish light path in a pure prism binoviewer. But to my understanding, all the current GPC/OCAs that are designed to compensate glass brick spherochromatic aberration of 110mm-ish light path.

 

Do you know there is anything that would work to compensate just the 30mm beam splitter glass path? As I assume these would have observable impact if the CZAS is used on a fast telescope such as f/3 dobsonian or wide field refractors.

 

BTW, did you obeserved any differences on light scattering from the mirror binoviewer? As I assume the mirrors are dielectric ones.



#11 denis0007dl

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 01:03 PM

Do you know there is anything that would work to compensate just the 30mm beam splitter glass path?
***just beamsplitter is not so big problem by itself, there is another fat big prism in Axio and other prism binoviewers + fat cylindricall glass who make additional false colours to system and as well spherical abberation

As I assume these would have observable impact if the CZAS is used on a fast telescope such as f/3 dobsonian or wide field refractors.
***never used any binoviewer in such fast scope


BTW, did you obeserved any differences on light scattering from the mirror binoviewer?
***if you meant if theres diff in scattering between normal all prism bino vs CZAS, of course there is diff.

Kind regards
Denis

#12 StarAlert

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 02:39 PM

I just picked up a pair of used (never used) CZAS listed on CN. The price seemed pretty good. They don’t have the FDAS diopter, but maybe I can order a pair from
Denis if I don’t like what is on them now.

Edited by StarAlert, 14 September 2021 - 02:45 PM.


#13 Jeff B

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:19 PM

I just picked up a pair of used (never used) CZAS listed on CN. The price seemed pretty good. They don’t have the FDAS diopter, but maybe I can order a pair from
Denis if I don’t like what is on them now.

You got a very good deal.  I personally prefer the diopters on the set you're getting over the Baader Click Lock diopters for binoviewing.  I REALLY do like his new custom diopters though and maybe he has some spares.  They are very easy to swap out.

 

Enjoy and tells us your impressions!

 

Jeff



#14 fate187

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 02:43 AM

Hi Denis,

 

Yes, I am aware of that. And to my understanding, the mirror version of Zeiss binoviewer also has a prism light path, but only in the prism beam splitter. So it has ~30mm light path vs. normal ~110mm-ish light path in a pure prism binoviewer. But to my understanding, all the current GPC/OCAs that are designed to compensate glass brick spherochromatic aberration of 110mm-ish light path.

 

Do you know there is anything that would work to compensate just the 30mm beam splitter glass path? As I assume these would have observable impact if the CZAS is used on a fast telescope such as f/3 dobsonian or wide field refractors.

 

BTW, did you obeserved any differences on light scattering from the mirror binoviewer? As I assume the mirrors are dielectric ones.

Good question and something I am wondering myself. However, Jeff B noted in a post comparing the TEC160ED to a CFF165, that the CZAS was particularly good with the 1.7xGPC. I tried comparing the CZAS with and w/o GPC, but wasn't really able to see a notable different. I am currently conducting a test using Baader genuine 18mm, Baader classics 18mm and Tak Abbe 18mm orthos and will soon get TV Delite 18.2. As for now I am struggling to see differences between the mentioned first three eyepieces smirk.gif . Maybe I am not seeing things right grin.gif .



#15 MarMax

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 10:50 PM

You got a very good deal.  I personally prefer the diopters on the set you're getting over the Baader Click Lock diopters for binoviewing.  I REALLY do like his new custom diopters though and maybe he has some spares.  They are very easy to swap out.

 

Enjoy and tells us your impressions!

 

Jeff

I sent Denis an email on this a while back and and he does not have spare diopters. Once I saw the new CZAS with them I wanted a set. I agree with you that the click lock diopters are not ideal, they are not bad, but the new ones would be awesome.



#16 StarAlert

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 11:13 PM

I sent Denis an email on this a while back and and he does not have spare diopters. Once I saw the new CZAS with them I wanted a set. I agree with you that the click lock diopters are not ideal, they are not bad, but the new ones would be awesome.

Since he’s closing up shop, maybe he’ll have some spares after the binoviewers are all gone. It’ll be a few more days before I get the CZAS in my hands to see what I’m working with. 



#17 rob.0919

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 10:22 AM

Thankyou Jeff for posting your findings, and for such detailed information. 

My own CZAS unit arrived a couple of days ago. Its a beauty and i can't wait to put it through its paces.

Denis was a pleasure to deal with and delivery was only one week.

 

51487211810_ff0f31ccd6_z.jpg 51486505588_dc8d94c65e_z.jpg 51487211775_751ac58cfc_z.jpg


Edited by rob.0919, 17 September 2021 - 10:24 AM.

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#18 Jeff B

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 10:59 AM

Yes Rob, they certainly are a pretty piece of astro kit.  You will love the diopters.  They adjust outward by rotating them clockwise.   I suggest you rotate them both outwards about 1 turn and use that as your starting point.  They are very precise and the lock ring is well designed with easy tensioning with no sudden grabbing.  That makes it easy to smoothly slide the eyepieces in and out slightly if you wish to focus that way too, for example, if your eyepieces are not precisely machined. 

 

Jeff 



#19 StarAlert

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 05:35 PM

My new-to-me CZAS binoviewers arrived today. Due to a recent injury, it might be a few weeks before I’m able to try them. In the meantime, I’ll just admire them. 




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