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Everything posted by JTEC

  1. Hi Space Hopper. It’s a great combo isn’t it. I use the Baader prisms as well, having tried most other options - I’ve not found anything better and the Clicklock system is a real treat. I’ve used the 1.7 GPC (which reportedly gives more like x1.5) more than the others. I think they all work very well. You might think, as I did, that the Powermate (since you have one) is worth experimenting with. I haven't decided whether I think it’s ‘better’ than using the GPCs. It is nice and solid. With the PM, the TV T adapter lets you screw it direct to the bino - you unscrew the black section of the PM. As for eyepieces, I have some pairs of the Tak orthos which work well and I like the 18mm Tak LEs; also a pair of 28mm RKE’s which are a bit unusual but give those bright ‘floating’ views. If I had to pick one pair, it would prob be the Tak LEs.
  2. I’ve found the brighter DSOs to be superb binoviewing targets. I’m not sure it would be the best approach searching for seriously faint stuff, though perhaps the advantages of the two eyed approach - you do see more - might compensate to some extent for any light loss. For brighter objects, the light loss argument can, in my experience at least, be dismissed. I’m not saying there isn’t any - I’m saying it’s negligible in terms of observational impact. I’m not talking about big aperture either. My scopes are a TEC 140 and a C11. The binoviewer is a Baader Mk V. The binocular views of, say, M42 and M13 are dramatically more engaging than the mono views. For the Baader at least, I believe that a negative lens is required to lengthen the focal ratio and diminish the chromatic aberration due to the prisms. This, I think, is what Roland Christen said, and he designed the unit. I started with the GPCs but now use the 2x Powermate; there are other options from Baader and AstroPhysics. There is no problem about using such a lens. There is no degradation of the image. In fact, because of the above, it is arguably improved. On top of this, it allows you to use longer focal length eyepieces which, in most cases, are likely to be more comfortable. By the way, I suspect that the Morpheus you’re using is one you bought from me. I hope it’s going well!
  3. I would like to propose that most lamp posts be dismantled, sawn in half and the pieces put to better use in the kind of way you describe.
  4. Mike puts it perfectly, imv. Using binos on, say, a 10 inch scope absolutely does not reduce its performance to that of a 5 inch. The resolution of a 10 inch aperture is retained. Of course, the light is split but the information it carries is integrated by the observer and the resulting image is significantly more detailed with, to my eye, only minimal loss of perceived image brightness. With lunar and planetary, as well as brighter nebulae, globs and open clusters, the latter consideration is simply not an issue. Having to use a Barlow ahead of the viewer is no real disadvantage. It means, among other things, that generally more comfortable longer focal length eyepieces can be used. I think that Roland Christen recommended not going below 10mm - the advice is widely cited. I’ve not found any advantage either in apparent fields of view wider than about 60*. Though they’re much touted as bino friendly, I personally didn’t like the 17mm Morpheus to bino that much - though I like it a lot in mono and keep one. My ‘favourite’ bino pair are probably 18mm Tak LEs with a 2x Powermate ahead; I’ve also had great planetary views with 11 and 8mm TV Plössls and a 1.7 (>1.5x) Baader GPC. For wide field viewing I’m happy with mono. I think you just have to give it a go! No need to break the bank, there are some good values out there, new and s/h and you can always sell on if you don’t like it. Until you try, you’ll always be wondering ...
  5. They add a new dimension to lunar and planetary observing, as many have said. Don’t assume though that they’re no good on DSOs! M42 is utterly spectacular and indescribably immersive. Brighter DSOs like M27 are also enhanced, as are globs and open clusters. You’ll never look back. It helps that expensive widefield eyepieces are not required. My preference is for orthos and Televue plossls down to about 8mm. I once tried a pair of 13mm Ethoses (not both mine!) and while the view was spectacular it was also quite confusing. People sometimes report that they can’t get the hang of binoviewers. I’m convinced that this has nothing to do with any special skill - imv, if you can use binoculars you can use a binoviewer. Problems arise I think when the bino isn’t accurately collimated, interpupil distance isn’t spot on and exact differential focusing can’t be achieved; also, if eyepieces can’t be orthogonally seated and held truly on axis when rotated to achieve focus. These are constructional issues to do with the particular bino being used and nothing to do, imo, with any mysterious binoviewing skill being required. In fact, once the set up is good, binoviewing is wonderfully relaxing, floaters are less obtrusive and, thanks to whatever the brain does in terms of combining the data from two eyes, you see more. I should add that my experience has been with refractors and a C11; never tried them with a Newt.
  6. I’m fortunate to have the 4mm TOE and the Vixen HR 3.4 - both are exceptional optically and in overall build. There have been discussions around this in the forum to which I’ve contributed along with others in some detail. Someone commented along the lines that at last he’d found an eyepiece (think it was the Vixen) that could show what his scope (100mm Tak?) could really do. That summed it up perfectly I thought. My main eyepieces are Tak orthos, the point being that I have those to draw comparisons with - to my eye and in terms of what’s currently available, both the Vixen HR and the Tak TOE are about as good as it gets. And, yes, given their short focal lengths, I find both remarkably comfortable to use.
  7. Just for interest, there’s some more discussion of these following my short review listed in this forum dated Sept 28 2018. I liked the concept. They were fun to use but the conditions where I live were a bit limiting. I think they’d really come into their own somewhere dark - Stu’s idea of using filters could also be very interesting at such a site. Despite the relatively small size and weight, the balance and ergonomics are unusual - they really need to be ‘as one’ with your head to get that seamless Supervision feeling - It sounds as though you’re working on it! No bolts or glue though, please ...
  8. Agreed. The weather we have here at the moment is perfect for reading reviews ... 🌧
  9. Well, I think it’s fair to say that you’ll never ever need to fork out for an upgrade because the Zeiss prisms are as good as it gets. If there is anything better, I don't know what it is. Before purchasing mine, I took note of BillP’s reviews. After my own tests, I felt that, as with most things, he was right on; that’s still my view. Off went the Astrophysics dielectric to astrobuysell. And, as a convenient plus, you get the Clicklock mechanism. ATB John E
  10. Viktor, the scopes are TEC140, f7 triplet apo and C11 f10 SCT. I use the prisms mono and also with Baader MkV bino. Actually, I only have one 2” eyepiece now (ES 30mm 82*), so, for most things I’d be entirely happy with the BZ 1.25 prism. The 2” prism gets used, of course with the 2” eyepiece, but also when I put a Televue 2x 2” Powermate ahead of the binoviewer. If I’m not using the Powermate, the 1.25 prism - which has a relatively short light path - works with one of the Baader GPCs (usually the x 1.7 > 1.5) very well indeed. Both are mechanically robust and the Clicklock fittings I find to be a delight to use. BW John E
  11. Viktor, I have both the Baader Zeiss prisms. BillP gives a slight nod to the 1.25 over the 2” but I’ve never found myself swapping the big one out and the small one in in pursuit of improved quality ... both are excellent. I haven’t used the non Zeiss Baader prism so can’t comment on that. Other diagonals I’ve used include the Baader t2 mirror, the AstroPhysics dielectric and a William Optics dielectric. The WO and Baader mirror performed to my eye on a par with the AP, with perhaps surprisingly maybe a slight edge with these examples to the WO, but both the Zeiss Baader prisms, imv, clearly outperform them all in terms of contrast, brightness and freedom from scatter. If you could stretch to the 2” Zeiss Baader, you’d be assured, I think, of unsurpassed quality and be covered for all future eyepiece options etc. There’s no difference that I can see which should push you towards the 1.25 rather than the 2 on performance grounds, so imv the choice would be down to affordability and intended use.
  12. Astronoam, why not put up a wanted ad for a decent s/h 4mm ortho then, such as the ones by Astro-Hutech? Or shorter if that is your intention? Afaik, there’s not really anything sharper that’s both affordable and available. Good luck with your search.
  13. You said that the 6mm eyepieces don't work well with the Barlow - perhaps there’s a technical/optical reason for that but just as likely, imv, perhaps it’s because, with the equivalent of a 3mm eyepiece in there, you’re pushing the magnification too high with your scopes and conditions especially on those targets. I think timebandit has it right on this. And I think John’s idea of a zoom could be a really useful one and help you clarify just how far the mag can be pushed on different targets before quality begins to decline and extra ‘power’ becomes counterproductive. This would also help you determine whether a shorter focal length eyepiece is really what you need and, if so, how much shorter it’s reasonable to go.
  14. Could I ask why you are ruling out the Barlow option? Barlows have a number of advantages not the least of which is to allow the use of longer focal length eyepieces which, generally speaking, are going to be more comfortable to use than, for example, shorter orthos than the ones you have.
  15. Apart from incidence of clear nights, potential relative freedom from light pollution and the possible advantage of a higher altitude site, there is the elevation in the sky of imaging targets to consider. By heading south from the UK, popular southerly targets like, say, M20 and M8 are higher in the sky which means less air mass and UK grime to image through. Add to that that some of the more southerly objects that are inaccessible from the UK become available.
  16. Well, I keep mine in their original boxes with the end caps on and carry them about in those inexpensive plastic toolboxes you can get at B&Q. This is a rather primitive approach when compared with bespoke cut out cases, etc, but it does keep them totally safe. Some of them are quite expensive; some have vulnerable eye and field lenses - the last thing you want is damage to these. You also don't want dust and damp getting in on the act and you do want to minimise knocks, scratches and the need for frequent cleaning. When I’m observing, I’ll sit them back in their boxes with the end caps on but leave the boxes open. So, you’re safe buying a used eyepiece from me ; it won’t have been dropped, kicked around or left to fend for itself in some dusty cupboard somewhere. That said, if yours are worth 75p, sling them in an old sock with some gravel and give them a good shake . But I bet they’re. worth much more than that and as others have pointed out, some inexpensive eyepieces perform well and are worth taking care of.
  17. I know what you mean ... I had a pair of the 10mm LEs, sold one kept the other. Good but not exceptional ... not cheap either! I do find that the 18mms are great for binoviewing though, probably my most used pair (with Powermate or GPC up front) - sharp, not too wide, comfortable but not excessive eye relief.
  18. 11mm TV Plossl is an excellent eyepiece, as is the 8mm, if you’re not bothered about eye relief. Observing Mars and Saturn with a 140mm apo and Baader MkV binoviewer from 8,000ft an experienced observing friend and I tested pairs of 11mm TV Plossls against 10mm Tak LEs and 9mm Tak orthos - OK some mag difference to be sure - and both of us gave the nod to the Plossls. Make of that what you will
  19. I’m with Olly on this. The terminology is loose. Nothing is being ‘cropped’. The system projects an image of given size onto the sensor. Keeping the optics the same and assuming adequate coverage, if you switch to a bigger sensor, the optics will illuminate it and you’ll capture a wider image. If you change the sensor for a smaller one, it’ll only be big enough to receive part of that wider illuminated field and, by comparison with the wide image, it’ll appear ‘cropped’. But ‘cropped’ from what? You’ve just used a smaller sensor that allows a smaller field to be captured for the same focal length. I think the crop factor terminology originated, as I think Louis and others have said, when from a base of 35mm camera lens technology we had to get used to smaller sensors being used and it became convenient to pretend that a 50mm lens behaved , in effect, like a longer one - again, it didn’t, it continued to be a 50mm lens but it was now projecting onto a smaller sensor so that a smaller field was recorded - similar to the effect of using a longer lens on the baseline 35mm format that we had been used to working with. But in astro-imaging with its plethora of focal lengths and sensor sizes, not to mention the complicating effects of flatteners, reducers, etc, there is no such traditional baseline and it makes no sense to say that an image has been ‘cropped’ as if something has been actively done to chop its dimensions relative to some imaginary standard. We’re dealing with individual outcomes specific to a given system, so perhaps more use, I would argue, to describe this in terms of focal length and sensor size used.
  20. I think that’s right. I’m clear that the Baader Zeiss prisms give me the better results with my TEC140 - which is a very ‘decent apo’ - than the AP dielectric did. Less scatter, purer and brighter. That goes for mono and bino viewing. If I plugged them into my dusty old, uncollimated Newtonian perhaps these differences might not be apparent. There is something subjective about this though that isn’t easy to characterise. Can you ‘see more’ with the prism than a quality mirror? Perhaps not, unless scatter is an issue. Is the observing experience a little bit different? In my opinion, yes. But however hard I try to be objective about this, I’d have to agree that in the end it might boil down to preference and taste.
  21. Don’t know about that , John ... . I do like the prisms though. I read somewhere that they’re back coated with the BBHS silver. Not sure whether that’s true. When I bought my TEC more than 10 years ago I went for what I thought at the time would be the best diagonal, the 2” AP. It was good, of course but I think the prisms give a more scatter free, brighter image. So much of visual astronomy is down to taste and impression though, so I wouldn’t want to claim any more than that.
  22. I’ve seen Triton with a friend’s 8inch SCT. It wasn’t firmly held but definitely detected. I remember saying ‘Hey, I can see something else, I wonder if it’sTriton?’ On checking charts the glimpsed object and its position relative to the primary were confirmed. Checking magnitude , this would have been close to the limits of the scope. Can’t recall the magnification or eyepiece used.
  23. I use the Baader Zeiss spec prisms for mono and bino viewing with the TEC 140. To my eye they clearly outperform the AstroPhysics dielectric that I used previously - and the AP is supposed to be as good as it gets in terms of a mirror/dielectric. There’s less scatter and better contrast and image brightness - I sold the AstroPhysics.
  24. Is this it? https://www.kyoei-osaka.jp/SHOP/docter-uwa125.html.
  25. I have the 8 and 10mm Delos which I use with my 140mm f7 refractor and find them excellent: sharp, comfortable, contrasty, great tone and rendition of star colours, throughput reportedly a little bit better than comparable Ethos. I still might be tempted by the Ethos if money were no object but Alvin Huey reports that he replaced his Ethos eps with Deloses because they went deeper! I can honestly think of nothing to criticise about the Deloses I own - even in those moments of restlessness we get that lead us to dream and speculate about eyepiece pastures new. And I always conclude that I can’t think of anything that would be better.
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