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Current Best Binoviewer?

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#1 cavecollector

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 08:58 PM

I know the competition is constantly changing and I just wanted to get everyone's opinion on what are considered  #1) the absolute best binoviewer that's currently commercially available at any price #2) the best ever made for amateurs - no limit on price #3) the best within a reasonable price limit of around $1000 to $1500 and #4) the best bargain binoviewers?

 

You can list more than one in each category and pictures, links to specifications,  and observing experiences/comparisons are encouraged.

 

I want to try using a binoviewer to see if it helps make up for my aging eyes and eye fatigue, but the field has changed so much that I have no clue which one to get. What are your thoughts and suggestions?



#2 deanbrown3d

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 10:09 PM

I really want one of these - was saving up for it but the moment has gone since I got my Meade working well again.

 

 

https://agenaastro.c...ccessories.html


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#3 asenov13

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 11:59 PM

Best binoviewers are the once made by the best manufacturers.So we have comersial and professionally made. Professional binoviewers are made to very high standarts using best possible materials.
The professional binos are also much more expensive.
The professional binos are made for microscopes as the profesional telescopes this days use only cameras.
I had many binoviewers over the years and the once made for high end microscopes are so much better that I wouldn't even compare them with binos made in China for comersial use.
So there are few pro brands I come across:
Nikon, Zeiss and Leica.
From this 3 is not easy to pick clear best but in the whole optics world Leica is the most premium one. Leica make most premium binoculars, camera lenses, microscopes and more.Sure other people have other opinion I just wanted to share mine.
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#4 cavecollector

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 12:45 AM

Has anyone tried one of the top of the line Zeiss, Leica, etc. microscope binocular attachments/turrets adapted for use in telescopes? There are some really nice ones out there, but I worry about spending so much for something designed for a microscope optical system in a telescope. 

 

Also, I have noticed different binoviewers have different prism sizes/clear apertures. It would seem to me this is a case of bigger is better. Which binoviewers have the largest prisms, clear apertures, and best coatings? Can one get a Zeiss/Baader BV with their amazing T* P* optical coatings? I have seen them make huge difference with binoculars and would assume it also really helps with astronomical equipment too.

 

Sorry about all the questions,  but trying to figure out which BV is the best has been driving me crazy. I just wish there was a clear "best" that's still sold commercially for less than a king's ransom.

 

Is it worth trying to find one of the older Zeiss/Baader/Astro-Physics BVs? I hesitate getting one of the latest Baader BVs as I know from binocular forums, they have started manufacturing the prisms in China. On the other hand, Leica and many Zeiss microscope optics are still made in Germany.  Apparently,  while still great, the Zeiss binoculars made with optics coming from China are noticeably not as sharp as the older versions made in Germany. 



#5 Spartinix

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 03:04 AM

Here's my take, given that for most observers, binoviewing requires eyepieces with decent eye relief and comfort;

 

Microscope binocular tubes modified into telescope binoviewers can be very good.

Models with mirrors instead of prisms have more chance of losing alignment / collimation.

Especially the alignment of the mirrors requires an optical bench or something like the Denkmeier Collitron Reticle

or the need to return the binoviewer to the shop/seller for re-alignment/collimation if something isn't right.

The collimation which can be done by the user also takes tools if one wants to do this in a comfortable/easy way.

The loss of alignment/collimation can happen to any binoviewer, no matter where it comes from.

 

The cheapest way to some of the high-quality microscope models is to buy the original, bare microscope model,

new from a dealer of the particular brand and use certain microscope eyepieces in the original holders.

Only a telescope T2 adapter is needed then and the typical 25mm microscope eyepieces together with a good

~2-4x corrector for the backfocus (Televue Powermate etc.) give you;

 

* easy merging and less demanding on precise alignment/collimation

* comfortable viewing with decent eye relief and built-in focus

* usually very good transmission, sharpness and contrast

* one pair of eyepieces with 2 correctors give 3 magnifications including the one at native focal length if the scope allows it.

(let's say 25mm / 12.5mm / 8.3mm)

 

The best commercial telescope binoviewer, probably the cheapest in the long run too... I'd say the Denkmeier Binotron 27;

 

* very good build

* only one pair of eyepieces needed with Powerswitch

* best ever end-user collimation system and option for a Denkmeier Collitron Reticle

* excellent and respectful customer service

* 'buy once cry once'

 

Finally, in many cases Ghosting/glare/reflection issues are system dependent and not caused by the binoviewer itself.

The right combination of telescope / corrector / binoviewer / eyepieces and some of the optical path distances

between these components all matter for the ultimate view.

This can result in some buying and re-selling to get things right.


Edited by Spartinix, 08 October 2022 - 05:36 AM.

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#6 noisejammer

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 02:46 PM

I'll give it a go

Best currently available - your choice is between the Baader Mk V and the Zeiss Apo (which are modified microscope heads.) The Mk V offers the widest field, the Zeiss (arguably) is sharper. The Denkmeier Bino-somethings are good but their optical path length is excessive.

 

Best under $1k - there are several but the Maxbright II are a good choice

 

Best bargain - a used set of Denkmeier II. Optically, these are almost as good as the Mk V but they are longer and need work on the collets.

 

Links ... Google is your friend.


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#7 Spartinix

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 04:18 PM

I consider the whole optical path length issue seriously out of proportion.

A lot of owners of catadioptric- and lens systems can indeed compare some binoviewers

to get into that perfect zone regarding backfocus.
 

Some measure this down to a few mm's and others even cut the tube of their refractor.

 

Yet...

 

* Eyepieces have their fieldstops several mm's above or below the shoulder, which

can throw off the measurements some make.

 

* Most binoviewers benefit from some kinds of correctors, especially all-prism ones.

 

* Binoviewers particularly shine at solar system object observations, and ask for

magnifications of 150x and up.

 

* Countless buyers have had to buy a corrector afterwards anyway, having come

to the conclusion they don't reach focus.

 

* 5-20mm's of difference between some of the mentioned binoviewers' optical

path lengths is easily compensated with even a mildly magnifying corrector.

 

* Eyepieces of longer focal length with decent eye-relief (which is desirable

for binoviewing), can be way cheaper than short focal length eyepieces with

adequate eye relief.

 

* A lot of correctors can also be used for mono-viewing, so it's not an investment

for the binoviewer alone.

 

* Most Newtonians and a lot of refractors need a corrector anyway.


Edited by Spartinix, 09 October 2022 - 10:21 PM.

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#8 spazmore

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Posted 09 October 2022 - 09:53 PM

As for #2: The Siebert Black Knight Elite 45mm 2" binoviewer: https://www.sieberto...inoviewers.html


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#9 noisejammer

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 02:25 PM

... and this is why you need to define what you mean by 'best'.

 

I consider the whole optical path length issue seriously out of proportion.

&

As for #2: The Siebert Black Knight Elite 45mm 2" binoviewer: https://www.sieberto...inoviewers.html

The short versions are these

 

1. The diameter of the entrance pupil & optical path length will set the amount of vignetting you get.

 

You can define a figure of merit by dividing the EP by the optical path length. For the Mk V it's 30mm / 100 mm = 0.3. For the Black Knight 45 it's 45/184 = 0.244. In other words, the Mk V yields a larger unvignetted field. This is significant at low powers.

 

For completeness, the Binotron is about 0.215, the Denk II is 0.225 .

 

This only matters if you are interested in low power viewing (as I am.) If shallow space is your thing, it doesn't matter.

 

2. If your focuser has limited available inward travel, then the optical path length of the diagonal (as required) and the binoviewer are significant. The Mk V can be as long as about 145 mm (using a T2 02B prism.) The Black Knight is about 295 mm.

 

This may or may not matter. Available in-focus is a frequent problem for observers trying to achieve a wide field. It is less of an issue at high power.

 

3. The choice of eyepiece is constrained by the exit pupil. I find that I don't have binocular vision over a field that is wider than about 70° (left to right.) I can use 2" format eyepieces (like the 22 LVW and 12.5 Docter) but there is no need for anything wider. These work just as well with a 1.25" system.

 

Weight is a factor with 2" eyepieces.

 

4. At high power, spherochromatism may become an issue. I avoid this using  a corrector and extender. You would not need to do this with the Zeiss apo version or the Black Knight.

 

5. Your scope design is critical

 

If you use a SCT or Mak-Cass, you can knock yourself out. Do whatever you like - you can never get a wide field,

 

If you use a Newtonian then the fast focal ratio is likely to dominate your vignetting, even if you design the scope for binoviewing.

 

If you have a refractor, chances are you bought it to obtain a wide field. Then you need something with a short optical path.

 


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#10 Spartinix

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Posted 10 October 2022 - 10:05 PM

Indeed, everything matters.

 

* The design of the scope
* The design and positioning of an OCA if one is used
* The diameter of the BV front clear aperture
* The BV optical path length
* The diameter of the BV rear clear aperture(s)
* The distance between the BV rear clear aperture and the eyepiece field stop
* The diameter of the eyepiece field stop

 

 

My take on the relative importance of optical path length is because I consider that;

 

* Most users will never make all the necessary calculations for their specific
telescope and binoviewer of choice.
There will be vignetting by aperture reduction and illumination fallof in many cases and
there will be divergent rays causing unwanted light (stray light, ghosting, reflections)
in many cases by the position and design of the OCA if one is used.

 

* Most users will appreciate mono over bino for deepsky and just use a BV for solar system objects.

 

So what's best depends on the system, unless only the mechanical qualities are considered.


Edited by Spartinix, 10 October 2022 - 10:09 PM.


#11 MarMax

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Posted 14 October 2022 - 10:19 PM

With all that has been said, I'll say that my overall favorite is the Zeiss Primo Star that's well collimated (aka CZAS), followed by the Baader Mark V.

 

I also have an Orion Linear viewer and even with it's limitations, it's a fine viewer when you need zero backfocus. As long as you are not viewing bright objects it's a 4/5.


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#12 faackanders2

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Posted 14 October 2022 - 11:12 PM

Here's my take, given that for most observers, binoviewing requires eyepieces with decent eye relief and comfort;

 

Microscope binocular tubes modified into telescope binoviewers can be very good.

Models with mirrors instead of prisms have more chance of losing alignment / collimation.

Especially the alignment of the mirrors requires an optical bench or something like the Denkmeier Collitron Reticle

or the need to return the binoviewer to the shop/seller for re-alignment/collimation if something isn't right.

The collimation which can be done by the user also takes tools if one wants to do this in a comfortable/easy way.

The loss of alignment/collimation can happen to any binoviewer, no matter where it comes from.

 

The cheapest way to some of the high-quality microscope models is to buy the original, bare microscope model,

new from a dealer of the particular brand and use certain microscope eyepieces in the original holders.

Only a telescope T2 adapter is needed then and the typical 25mm microscope eyepieces together with a good

~2-4x corrector for the backfocus (Televue Powermate etc.) give you;

 

* easy merging and less demanding on precise alignment/collimation

* comfortable viewing with decent eye relief and built-in focus

* usually very good transmission, sharpness and contrast

* one pair of eyepieces with 2 correctors give 3 magnifications including the one at native focal length if the scope allows it.

(let's say 25mm / 12.5mm / 8.3mm)

 

The best commercial telescope binoviewer, probably the cheapest in the long run too... I'd say the Denkmeier Binotron 27;

 

* very good build

* only one pair of eyepieces needed with Powerswitch

* best ever end-user collimation system and option for a Denkmeier Collitron Reticle

* excellent and respectful customer service

* 'buy once cry once'

 

Finally, in many cases Ghosting/glare/reflection issues are system dependent and not caused by the binoviewer itself.

The right combination of telescope / corrector / binoviewer / eyepieces and some of the optical path distances

between these components all matter for the ultimate view.

This can result in some buying and re-selling to get things right.

Agree with Denk ll or Binotro both with powerswitcges and 24mm TV Panoptic eyepiece pair.

 

I have Denk ll 3x3 powerswitches, and 3 2" OCS (A45mm Multipurpose, A38mm Newtonian, and A38mm Multiplier).


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#13 Spartinix

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Posted 16 October 2022 - 09:44 AM


When a binoviewer costs well over $1000, I'd sure as hell expect it to be collimated to the highest precision possible; being able to merge the view of down to ~3mm eyepieces.

 

Even then, but certainly when a binoviewer costs well under that amount, I'd say the cost of a good alignment tool like the Denkmeier Collitron is well worth the investment.

 

After all, anyone who takes this passion/hobby seriously has invested in alignment~collimation tool(s) for their telescope(s) and binoviewers like these tools as well.
Even if one has a perfectly collimated binoviewer, there is a chance it will lose the right amount of internal alignment to be compensated by external collimation.

 

How much though can one collimate a binoviewer externally before it's actually conditionally aligned, since stereo collimation is inevitably linked to IPD.

 

In case the alignment is lost and there isn't a tool at hand to fix it, all that's left is to send the binoviewer off to where it came from and miss out on using it for at least some weeks.

A good tool to do the job takes at most a few hours to get the binoviewer back in business and continue using it.


Edited by Spartinix, 16 October 2022 - 10:17 AM.


#14 asenov13

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Posted 16 October 2022 - 05:38 PM

When a binoviewer costs well over $1000, I'd sure as hell expect it to be collimated to the highest precision possible; being able to merge the view of down to ~3mm eyepieces.

 

Even then, but certainly when a binoviewer costs well under that amount, I'd say the cost of a good alignment tool like the Denkmeier Collitron is well worth the investment.

 

After all, anyone who takes this passion/hobby seriously has invested in alignment~collimation tool(s) for their telescope(s) and binoviewers like these tools as well.
Even if one has a perfectly collimated binoviewer, there is a chance it will lose the right amount of internal alignment to be compensated by external collimation.

 

How much though can one collimate a binoviewer externally before it's actually conditionally aligned, since stereo collimation is inevitably linked to IPD.

 

In case the alignment is lost and there isn't a tool at hand to fix it, all that's left is to send the binoviewer off to where it came from and miss out on using it for at least some weeks.

A good tool to do the job takes at most a few hours to get the binoviewer back in business and continue using it.Not 

I can collimate my Leica binoviewer in 5 min and I only need screwdriver.



#15 cavecollector

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Posted 16 October 2022 - 06:54 PM

Screwdriver? I usually only need a large hammer. ;-)

 

Is your Leica from a microscope? I would love to find a Leica BV.

 

I can collimate my Leica binoviewer in 5 min and I only need screwdriver.



#16 Spartinix

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Posted 16 October 2022 - 09:40 PM

I can collimate my Leica binoviewer in 5 min and I only need screwdriver.

Where are the screws?



#17 WayneO

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Posted 17 October 2022 - 01:33 PM

By the sounds of it so far, the linear design being offered in the last few years from Orion and a few others for 500 bills seems like it’s not even worthy of discussion.

 

I find myself interested in a decent product for low to medium power only for my new Edge hd 8 also. Just wondering from all yinz guy’s who loves and knows details about stuff others enjoy almost as much as you heavy hitters of the hobby!!

 

besides weight and highest durable quality and whatever is considered the best view.

 

break it down boislol.gif bow.gif


Edited by WayneO, 17 October 2022 - 01:48 PM.


#18 Spartinix

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Posted 17 October 2022 - 02:27 PM

I hate to break it to you, but there's no easy answer realistically lol.gif

 

You'll get very comparable views with most binoviewers, let's say from $500-2000, IF you are prepared to experiment a bit with different kinds of correctors,

the distance of those correctors to your binoviewer and the eyepieces you'll use.

 

Some buying and reselling correctors, adapters and eyepieces in the first months of binoviewing is quite normal, IF you feel the need to improve the viewing that is.



#19 WayneO

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Posted 17 October 2022 - 07:51 PM

... and this is why you need to define what you mean by 'best'.

 

&

The short versions are these

 

1. The diameter of the entrance pupil & optical path length will set the amount of vignetting you get.

 

You can define a figure of merit by dividing the EP by the optical path length. For the Mk V it's 30mm / 100 mm = 0.3. For the Black Knight 45 it's 45/184 = 0.244. In other words, the Mk V yields a larger unvignetted field. This is significant at low powers.

 

For completeness, the Binotron is about 0.215, the Denk II is 0.225 .

 

This only matters if you are interested in low power viewing (as I am.) If shallow space is your thing, it doesn't matter.

 

2. If your focuser has limited available inward travel, then the optical path length of the diagonal (as required) and the binoviewer are significant. The Mk V can be as long as about 145 mm (using a T2 02B prism.) The Black Knight is about 295 mm.

 

This may or may not matter. Available in-focus is a frequent problem for observers trying to achieve a wide field. It is less of an issue at high power.

 

3. The choice of eyepiece is constrained by the exit pupil. I find that I don't have binocular vision over a field that is wider than about 70° (left to right.) I can use 2" format eyepieces (like the 22 LVW and 12.5 Docter) but there is no need for anything wider. These work just as well with a 1.25" system.

 

Weight is a factor with 2" eyepieces.

 

4. At high power, spherochromatism may become an issue. I avoid this using  a corrector and extender. You would not need to do this with the Zeiss apo version or the Black Knight.

 

5. Your scope design is critical

 

If you use a SCT or Mak-Cass, you can knock yourself out. Do whatever you like - you can never get a wide field,

 

If you use a Newtonian then the fast focal ratio is likely to dominate your vignetting, even if you design the scope for binoviewing.

 

If you have a refractor, chances are you bought it to obtain a wide field. Then you need something with a short optical path.

How true is your statement about SCT users? If the 40mm plossel gives me a certain field of view at 50 power on my HD8, are you saying I will lose some FOV with no matter what bino I buy?bawling.gif 

 

The moon and pushing a nice pair of binos to 150 power only with at least the same field of view increase the same as the eyepiece by itself was my intention of a little quality viewing fun. ….. Butta I mitbe wrong?



#20 Spartinix

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Posted 18 October 2022 - 01:45 AM

https://www.cloudyni...-focal-reducer/

#21 noisejammer

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Posted 21 October 2022 - 03:17 PM

How true is your statement about SCT users? If the 40mm plossel gives me a certain field of view at 50 power on my HD8, are you saying I will lose some FOV with no matter what bino I buy?bawling.gif

 

The moon and pushing a nice pair of binos to 150 power only with at least the same field of view increase the same as the eyepiece by itself was my intention of a little quality viewing fun. ….. Butta I mitbe wrong?

Ok, so we need to define what a wide field means to me.

 

Installed on my 115/805, my MkV binoviewers offer a 2° true, unvignetted field when used with my 30 LE.

 

If I use Masuyama 35mm eyepieces, the true field is 2.2° but with obvious vignetting.

 

Let's say you use an 8" SCT, you have a focal length that's ~2100-2200 mm and an entrance pupil of 30 mm. This translates to 0.8°. If a reducer works (this might be possible if you mount the reducer very close to the binoviewer), you get a focal length of about 1350-1400 mm & perhaps 1.2°.



#22 faackanders2

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Posted 21 October 2022 - 07:12 PM

How true is your statement about SCT users? If the 40mm plossel gives me a certain field of view at 50 power on my HD8, are you saying I will lose some FOV with no matter what bino I buy?bawling.gif

 

The moon and pushing a nice pair of binos to 150 power only with at least the same field of view increase the same as the eyepiece by itself was my intention of a little quality viewing fun. ….. Butta I mitbe wrong?

Russ Lederman used to sell a Starsweeper 2" OCS just for SCT binoviewers.  I have never seen any SCT owners ever respond if they have ever owned one or tried it out,

 

I have a 17.5" f4.1 dob and I believe I get 0.89x (or 0.68x can't remember) barlow equivalent with the Denk II and 2" A45mm Multipurpose OCS, lowest power switch plus reducer power switch in front of that.  And then I use 24mm TV panoptic pairs.  In this one mode the system has so much infocus I can't use my astrocrumb denkmeier 2" filter switch slide, but I can use it for all my other 3x3x3=27 combinations per eyepiece pair.


Edited by faackanders2, 21 October 2022 - 07:15 PM.


#23 RiccoH

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Posted 09 March 2024 - 04:44 PM

I see that this discussion is quite old...but here goes...
I have Nikon microscope bino viewer. How would i go about converting it for telescope use? Thank you.

#24 Dan Richardson

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Posted 14 March 2024 - 10:54 AM

I see that this discussion is quite old...but here goes...
I have Nikon microscope bino viewer. How would i go about converting it for telescope use? Thank you.

You might want to contact Harry Siebert at Siebert Optics. He converts and upgrades most if not all binoviewer systems on the market and I am sure can answer your specific questions.


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#25 vkhastro1

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Posted 15 March 2024 - 09:53 AM

One word says it all:

 

Zeiss

 

I have all of the higher end binoviwers:

Zeiss, Leica, Baader, Denkmeier

 

sold:

Baader Mk5, Denkmeier Binotron 27

 

Kept the Baader Maxbright and Denk II - for outreach

Kept Zeiss and Leica - personal use




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