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AndyPandy

"TMB Design" versus "TMB Planetary II Clones"

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I'm a bit of a newbie but I have enough (distant) past experience of viewing to realise that the stock 10mm that came with my SW Dob 200P probably isn't great. So I was looking for an inexpensive upgrade and the TMBs from Skys The Limit seem to come recommended in the under £50 range.

What I'm not sure is the difference between these two shown on their site. Can anyone shed any light?

and would they be the ideal low cost upgrade for the stock 10m? I was thinking of maybe an 8mm?

Grateful for any advice.

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On the same site they have BST starguiders for about the same price. They get recommended to death on here, I've had 2 myself!

I think that trader may even let you try the 2 before you buy.

I'd vote for the 8 mm :D

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I'm interested in what the actual difference is between type I and type II. I have a type I 4mm and it's superb, I love the twist-up eyecups, and they are at a great price!

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This may seem a very simple answer but ring Alan at Sky's the Limit and ask him what the difference is.

As you are in Harlow I would guess that Hartford is the club nearest you, you could drop in to the Hartford club and ask him direct on a Wednesday evening. :grin: :grin:

Edited by Capricorn

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I seem to recall that the TMB 'designed' EPs were made by the OEM of the TMB Planetarys, as the licensing agreement between the two firms turned out to be non too watertight. The main difference seems to be that there are a lot more focal lengths available in the 'Designed' range, although that doesn't guarantee the longer focal lengths are as worthy.

I've got a 'designed' 8mm and it's generally a fine little EP that works pretty well in both of the F5 reflectors I've had. I didn't suffer from the stray light issues some seem to have had. I found the eye cup twists up far enough to let me really jam my eyeball in there and stop that, but I do find that it fogs up easier than the BSTs I've had.

Russell

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I seem to recall that the TMB 'designed' EPs were made by the OEM of the TMB Planetarys, as the licensing agreement between the two firms turned out to be non too watertight. The main difference seems to be that there are a lot more focal lengths available in the 'Designed' range, although that doesn't guarantee the longer focal lengths are as worthy.

I've got a 'designed' 8mm and it's generally a fine little EP that works pretty well in both of the F5 reflectors I've had. I didn't suffer from the stray light issues some seem to have had. I found the eye cup twists up far enough to let me really jam my eyeball in there and stop that, but I do find that it fogs up easier than the BSTs I've had.

Russell

I love the twist up eye-cups were delightful. I've always thought I might try the longer focal lengths because I love the design and more focal lengths are available than in the BSTs ;):angel: .

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Ah! But the BSTs have a really nice twist up eyecup, that doesn't cover your fingers with grease from the barrel. :)

Russell

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Ah! But the BSTs have a really nice twist up eyecup, that doesn't cover your fingers with grease from the barrel. :)

Russell

I haven't had that problem yet ;).

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I have compared a 4mm eyepiece labelled "TMB Planetary II" with one authorised by TMB Optical and it looks to be of lower quality by a different manufacturer. I am surprised that these are being sold in the UK because TMB is a protected tradmark the US, but I am not a lawyer (and eBay seems to ignore my complaints). The authorsied eyepieces are not (to my knowledge) currently available in the UK but both Astronomics and Highpoint Scientfic will export them to here. I no longer have any "TMB designed" (aka Barsta ED and Telescope Service HR) eyepieces for comparison, but I think it probable that they came from the same manufacturer as authorised TMB Planetary IIs. So far as I can tell, the 2.5mm to 9mm eyepieces in these three ranges are the same optical design (except for the 9mm "TMB designed" which has a different, apparently later, field lens system).

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I have a couple of the TS versions (ie identical to the original TMB) and these are great.

When the current spate of 'TMB designed' eyepieces came out, they seemed to get good reviews.

I've had a couple of these and they were not of the same stasndard mechanically or optically.

Also at least one large batch of very inferior 6mm TMB II eyepieces was released a couple of years ago and really damaged the reputation of these eyepieces.

The all black eyepieces (the II version) seem to display the TMB optical logo and so would seem to be the current 'genuine ' TMB eyepiece.

I have no idea if the quality is still high or consistant.

I am in the market for one or two more of these but will probably go for TS. I saved ten quid or so on the others but they were rubbish! (well not rubbish, but a definate drop in quality)

Oh, and the only eyepieces that were in the original range of focal lengths were TMB designed this includes 3.2, 4,5,6,7,8 and 9mm. The others have been added later (and designed after his death) and really shouldn't use his name.

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I agree with part timer on both the quality of the TS (Telescope Services) versions of the Burgess / TMB Planetaries - very nice eyepieces and comfortable to use. Worth the additional cost IMHO.

I also agree with his last point that the late Thomas Back's name and designs should not be used without his estates permission but I guess the horse has well and truly bolted on that one :sad:

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I have a couple of the TS versions (ie identical to the original TMB) and these are great.

When the current spate of 'TMB designed' eyepieces came out, they seemed to get good reviews.

I've had a couple of these and they were not of the same stasndard mechanically or optically.

The Barsta ED eyepieces (aka "TMB Designed") seem to be from the same manufacturer as authorised TMB Planetary II. I would be interested in doing a comparison with the TS product.

The all black eyepieces (the II version) seem to display the TMB optical logo and so would seem to be the current 'genuine ' TMB eyepiece.

No, on the basis of my comparison, these are inferior to the genuine ones, and are evidently not from the same manufacturer. There is no UK source of authorised TMB (Planetary II) eyepieces that I am aware of.

Oh, and the only eyepieces that were in the original range of focal lengths were TMB designed this includes 3.2, 4,5,6,7,8 and 9mm. The others have been added later (and designed after his death) and really shouldn't use his name.

Indeed!

This is a sad story and ordinary amateur astronomers as well as Tom Back's family seem to be the losers.

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Just to be clear, the eypiece on the left is a genuine authorised 4mm TMB ® Planetary II eyepiece obtained from Highpoint Scientific. The one on the right is not, in spite of the TMB Optical logo.

post-9891-0-51592300-1341990696_thumb.jp

Edited by cs1cjc

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I had a 9mm that looked identical to the one on the right ... it was pants, but the eBay seller was very good and refunded without any trouble!

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Well I got the "TMB Design" version 8mm for my SW Dob 200 and to say it's an improvement on the stock 10mm that came with the scope would be an understatement. Compare them on Saturn and the moon and not only is the FOV so much nicer but the clarity and sharpness was markedly better.

For £36 you can't go wrong as an instant initial upgrade really but I'm sure it's not the only choice in that price range.

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Looks like some are ok, others not so.

Typical with copies I queasy ... poor qc.

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Well I got the "TMB Design" version 8mm for my SW Dob 200 and to say it's an improvement on the stock 10mm that came with the scope would be an understatement. Compare them on Saturn and the moon and not only is the FOV so much nicer but the clarity and sharpness was markedly better.

It is a very good optical design that can be well made, I am sure. Thomas Back knew what he was doing.

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I also agree with his last point that the late Thomas Back's name and designs should not be used without his estates permission but I guess the horse has well and truly bolted on that one :sad:

The problem I have with this statement is that recently they had to change the name on the BST Explorer range, this was done in effect without any problem. So why is it "difficult" to get "TMB" etc removed from these planetary eyepieces ?

There doesn't seem to be much action from the TMB Estate about this, as said above BST was dropped quickly and easily, and Thomas was known primarily for the lens and scopes he produced not the eyepieces, Al Nagler is a lot better known. Anyone see the market flooded with TV clones ? I cannot recall anyone even colouring their plossl's green, never mind branding them "TV Designed". Recent ES eyepieces are better then TMB's. It is not as though TMB eyepieces are really worth cloning in order to rake in the money.

Maybe it is me but none of this arguement about TMB eyepiece copying makes sense, they are not high value eyepieces, the number of outlets are very limited.

I have some TMB clones and some BST's, if I could get BST's in the shorter focal lengths I wouldn't bother with the TMB's. They are nice but that is it, just nice.

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Right I have done some detective work and have ascertained that they are made by the same manufacturers and have the same optics procured from the same contractor.

The deal is that there is some financial issue with the designer and the manufacturer and so the manufacturer are producing a line direct in order to protect their investment but they are to all intents and purposes the same design and quality.

They should perhaps read "TMB Design" rather than "TMB Designed" but the manufacturers are adamant there is no problem in the being thought of as genuine TMBs.

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Right I have done some detective work and have ascertained that they are made by the same manufacturers and have the same optics procured from the same contractor.

No! That is not what I found when I examined an authorised 4mm TMB Planetary II against a "clone". The coatings are not the same. The machining is not the same. The finish in not the same. Look at the pictures below. This "clone" eyepiece (on the right), so far as I can ascertain by actually examining the two alongside each other, did not come off the same production line as as the authorised one (on the left). The clone is inferior.

It is quite possible that the TMB design (and TS HR) eyepieces do come off the same production line as the genuine ones, but I have not had the opportunity to check them alongside each other. I am unsurpised that some suppliers still maintain that they are the same, despite the physical evidence...

post-9891-0-35700700-1342116603_thumb.jp

Edited by cs1cjc

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The OP was a comparison/difference between the 2 "clone" options that are availible, it was not a question about comparing the recognised TMB eyepiece to either copy.

I think at least 2 Chinese factories produce copies/clones, where the TMB itself is produced I cannot determine.

The changes between the original type I and the later type II were small improvements and not optical changes as I recall. They added blackening to the lens edges, flocked (blackened) additional bits, maybe even a baffle, all bits to reduce glare and scatter which the type I suffered from. SCS astro did list the improvements some years ago when the change occurred. Think there were 7 changes, so quite a few.

If you want to compare the genuine TMB to a clone then someone independant and unbias needs to have one of each and do a comparison. However do it as a seperate thread/topic.

It would be better if 3 or 4 people performed the comparison, just in case of any bias.

Even better option: is anyone with each eyepiece varient going to one of the star party's, SGL's, Kelling, anywhere where people could sit one night for an hour or so and compare ? Would be interesting.

Edited by Capricorn

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The OP was a comparison/difference between the 2 "clone" options that are availible, it was not a question about comparing the recognised TMB eyepiece to either copy.

I think at least 2 Chinese factories produce copies/clones, where the TMB itself is produced I cannot determine.

The changes between the original type I and the later type II were small improvements and not optical changes as I recall. They added blackening to the lens edges, flocked (blackened) additional bits, maybe even a baffle, all bits to reduce glare and scatter which the type I suffered from. SCS astro did list the improvements some years ago when the change occurred. Think there were 7 changes, so quite a few.

If you want to compare the genuine TMB to a clone then someone independant and unbias needs to have one of each and do a comparison. However do it as a seperate thread/topic.

It would be better if 3 or 4 people performed the comparison, just in case of any bias.

Even better option: is anyone with each eyepiece varient going to one of the star party's, SGL's, Kelling, anywhere where people could sit one night for an hour or so and compare ? Would be interesting.

It was the manufacturer not the supplier who provided that information but I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing. I was ascertaining the difference between the "TMB Design " and the "Planetary II". However the manufacturer (who is the contracted factory of the original TMBs) is satisfied that they are the same design and should be sold as such.

I'm no expert so just passing that on for info really.

What I do know is that the "TMB Design" 8mm EP I got from Skies The Limit was perfoming very nicely in my Dob last night and I think it's plenty of EP for £36.

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Incidentally the "TMB Design" EP looks a bit different to those in the photo above and fairly different to the one sold with "clone" in the title, so I think it is a different comparison .

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