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Help me decide, please

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#1 cmormando

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 11:36 AM

Hi, 

 

I'm new to binoviewers and want to make my first purchase. I've spent the last few weeks doing some research, and I feel like I've come full circle and don't know where to go. 

 

I'd like a pair that would perform well with my Lunt 80mm H alpha as well as my TSA 120mm refractor. Main targets would be the usual suspects- moon, sun, planets, brighter DSOs

 

I prefer to buy quality so I'm okay with the higher price tag. I took a look at the denkmeier, but was overwhelmed as to what's needed for solar observing. 

 

Lunt recommends the tecnoskys, which are linear and can reach focus in any telescope (which is nice). 

 

I've heard about glare issues with some of these Chinese sourced bins (tecnosky, Orion, William). 

 

Any thoughts or recommendations would be really helpful!

 

Thank you 



#2 grif 678

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 12:28 PM

I started out with a pair of Orion, not happy with them. Then I tried a pair of Celestron ones, no better, Finally I tried a pair of William Optics, and I really like them. They are much easier to get both eyepieces in focus with each other, easier to get the distance between the eyepieces right for your eyes, and everything just worked so much better, Now for the sun, I can not say, I have never done that. But for the price, I think the William Optics are very good for a mid range cost binoviewer. The ones you mentioned are so much more expensive, so they should be better, but sometimes higher prices do not mean better ease of viewing.



#3 cahanc

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 12:43 PM

I have a pair of Denkmeier Super 27 that I use with my SVX102D refractor and they are fantastic. If you call or email Russ at Denkmeier he will answer right away and help you quickly decide what works for you. I also have a pair of SSApo from Denis L and they are great as well. Good luck!!
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#4 cmormando

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 01:55 PM

I started out with a pair of Orion, not happy with them. Then I tried a pair of Celestron ones, no better, Finally I tried a pair of William Optics, and I really like them. They are much easier to get both eyepieces in focus with each other, easier to get the distance between the eyepieces right for your eyes, and everything just worked so much better, Now for the sun, I can not say, I have never done that. But for the price, I think the William Optics are very good for a mid range cost binoviewer. The ones you mentioned are so much more expensive, so they should be better, but sometimes higher prices do not mean better ease of viewing.


What didn’t you like about the Orion and Celestron?

#5 betacygni

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 01:56 PM

I use the Denkmeier with my TSA-120, they are exceptional (particularly the powerswitch). I’d definitely give Russ a call to sort out the Lunt. With my quark I’m actually able to still use the powerswitch, which is very nice. Not sure that’s a possibility for the Lunt, but Russ no doubt has the answers.
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#6 Blueox4

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 05:22 PM

I went with a Denkmeier super system and Russ has been great before, during and after with support if needed. They work great in my TOA-130 and the power switch lessens the number of eyepieces you need.


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#7 havasman

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 05:46 PM

I'd used an Arcturus BV with my MT80 for several months, same as WO, Orion and some other house rebrands. Researched the linears and backed off when I repeatedly saw it said that they are more difficult to align with. Talked with a couple of US BV makers and got the best info and lucidity from Russ at Denk. So I talked with him, telling him the only likely use for these would be solar with the MT80B1200DS and he said he could simplify the build if I really meant that. I did. He did. And the BV's I use now are those, power switch and all. They're easier to align with than the Arcturus, easier to adjust, have much more stable and easily adjusted diopter controls and are just much more solid with great brightness and clarity as you would expect at the higher cost. I am a very happy user. Recommended. I like 'em a lot.

 

It's not so complex when you get your hands on them to configure the adapters for your MT80. Some day you should consider the DS module for the scope. I don't know why Lunt says it isn't so effective for visual use. It IS!


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#8 Kutno

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 07:12 PM

... Finally I tried a pair of William Optics, and I really like them. They are much easier to get both eyepieces in focus with each other, easier to get the distance between the eyepieces right for your eyes, and everything just worked so much better, ... But for the price, I think the William Optics are very good ... 

 

When it comes to binoviewing, getting a William Optics unit is a good place to start.  It's not a Bino Vue, Binotron, or even a Big Easy; but it's a great way to find out whether binoviewing is one's cup of tea.  Its quality is not bad.  


Edited by Kutno, 14 February 2024 - 08:36 PM.

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#9 Highburymark

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 12:30 PM

I think the various linear BVs are recommended by Lunt for solar mainly because they don’t have issues reaching focus, rather than their optical prowess. I haven’t used a linear to be fair, but have seen a few so-so reviews. Personally I’d always prioritise optical quality, particularly for solar. You want the sharpest and brightest views possible with your lovely Lunt. The best of the mid-priced sets is the Maxbright II in my view. I’d certainly recommend them over the WO pair - wider prisms, far better EP holders, more flexible within the Baader T2/parts ecosystem etc. Otherwise, I’m sure the Denk is excellent.
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#10 ABQJeff

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 10:04 PM

You can always add a barlow or glass path corrector to gain back focus. So unless you have certain field of view requirements, all BVs are open to you.

#11 cahanc

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 12:02 AM

If I was to start over I might try Maxbright 2's and see if that works. Any eyepieces collected can stay if you want to upgrade the binos at any point. From what I have read they are a quality pair that does not break the bank. 



#12 Eddgie

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 08:04 AM

Hi, 

 

I'm new to binoviewers and want to make my first purchase. I've spent the last few weeks doing some research, and I feel like I've come full circle and don't know where to go. 

 

I'd like a pair that would perform well with my Lunt 80mm H alpha as well as my TSA 120mm refractor. Main targets would be the usual suspects- moon, sun, planets, brighter DSOs

 

I prefer to buy quality so I'm okay with the higher price tag. I took a look at the denkmeier, but was overwhelmed as to what's needed for solar observing. 

 

Lunt recommends the tecnoskys, which are linear and can reach focus in any telescope (which is nice). 

 

I've heard about glare issues with some of these Chinese sourced bins (tecnosky, Orion, William). 

 

Any thoughts or recommendations would be really helpful!

 

Thank you 

There real challenge with the Lunt 80 is not loosing aperture. Getting it to focus is not that hard.

 

For the Lunt 80, if you don't have the BF-1800, the Linear is probably the best overall choice because upgrading from the BF-1200 to the BF-1800 adds a lot to the cost. If you use the BF-1200, you have about 50mm of inward focuser travel before the system starts to lose aperture. The BF-1800 allows much more inward focus before losing aperture.

 

Even with the BF-1200, if you rack the focuser in more than about 10mm, the fully illuminated circle grows smaller than the solar disk, but losing a little aperture on the limb is not noticeable at all. At about 50mm though, even the very center of the full disk is not fully illuminated, so you are seeing the sun at very a lightly less than the brightness and resolution of a full 80mm, and at the edge of the disk, you  are seeing it with a brightness and resolution slightly smaller than 75mm. If you were to go another 42mm in, these figures would now be a bit less than 73mm and a little less than 66mm. The goal would be to reach focus with the minimum amount of focuser travel possible. 

 

If you have the BF-1800, then you can reach focus with a Maxbright II but you will need the 1.7X GPC (which actually only gives 1.5x) and a T2 connector. You could also use an Orion or Celestron BV and reach focus, but you would need to convert it to T2 and you would need a 7mm T2 extension. 

 

This will still only  illuminate the very center of the solar disk, but the illumination falloff is rather minor, and if you want to study a detail at the full aperture of the scope, you would just put it in the center of the field. To do this though, you must use the BF-1800. You could also use a Celestron BV and convert it to T2, but you would need the T2 extension and GPC. I use the MB II and a 1.7x GPC. Again, only a small circle at the center of the disk is fully illuminated, but the aperture loss at the very edge of the field is quite small and virtually impossible to see. 

 

Lunt 80 With Binoviewer.jpg

 

Likewise, if you use a Celestron or other BV, you can use a 2x Binoviewer barlow, or just the Barlow element from a 2x Barlow, but these will usually give more like 2.6x.  Even 2.6X is OK though because you can still get the entire solar disk into the field of most low power eyepieces.

 

Another option is to use the Televue 1.25" 2.5x Powermate. When used with nonviewers, this will give about 2.2x rather that 2.5X. This will actually work with the BF-1200. The entire disk will not be illuminated, but it will come pretty close. 

 

powermmate with BV.jpg

 

If you have the BF-1200 though, the Linear is the easiest choice because it can work in all other telescopes as well, or you really need to be looking at something that gives at least 2x or you will lose aperture, Now a bit of aperture loss is not the end of the world, but solar telescope aperture is the most expensive aperture on the planet. If you have a BF-1200, you don't have much inward focuser travel to lose.

 

Remember, with the Lunt 80, the sun is pretty small at the focal plane, and you should not be worried about using a very poweful GPC. 

 

(Here are the figures. The solar disk is about 5.13mm at the focal plane. Even if you wanted to have enough to frame all of the prominences, you would only need maybe 6mm. This means that at 2.6x, the sun would be 15.6mm at the focal plane, so it would fit into the field of view of a 20mm plossl. Now the power would be high, but the point is that even if you have to use a 2.6x GPC, you could still easily see the full disk. A pair of 25mm Plossls would give 58x, which is a pretty useful power on the Lunt 80.) 

 

There are a bunch of ways to do it though, but your path forward should consider the BF size. You have more options if you are using the BF-1800.


Edited by Eddgie, 16 February 2024 - 09:49 AM.

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#13 jprideaux

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 06:09 AM

I won’t comment on the solar aspect since I don’t have one of those dedicated set-ups but I do have both the Orion Linear BV as well as the Williams Optics BV. I like and use both of them.

In general, I tend to use the Linear in situations where I want to reach focus without adding a lot of focal-extension. I tend to use the conventional Williams Optics BV when I want higher magnifications and would be adding focal extension anyway.

The linear is nice in that it can be used in any situation where a single eyepiece could also be used.

Having good eye placement is critical for any binoviewer and that does take a little practice. Good eye position is a little more critical for the linear. So those that enjoy binovieeing also have worked out good viewing ergonomics.

So with whatever you get, be patient and spend time working with it to get the muscle memory for optimal viewing.


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