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Which 'budget' binoviewers?


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I have over the past week bought some eyepieces to make myself a few pairs.

 

I now have the following pairs of eyepeices:

Meade Super Plossl 26mm

Meade Super Plossl 15mm

Meade Super Plossl 6.4mm

 

I should have another pair of 12.4mm EPs but I seem to have lost an eyepiece over the past few years since my gear was stored away.  I think what I have should be sufficient though?

 

I want to use this binoviewer with the folliowing scopes:

SW 250px

Lunt 60mm

SW ED80

 

There are several sets available for under £300, some of which come with barlows and EPs.  Just interested to hear views and recommendations on the SW, WO, Baader, TS binoviewers.

 

 

Many thanks

Adam.

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Adam I have a 70mm INED Carbon Refractor, SW ED80, SW 350 FlexTube, 8" EdgeHD and the Lunt LS50. I also have the WO Binoviewers. So I've faced the same question and have practical experience...

I'd recommend Baader Maxbrights.  They are expensive new but come up used every now and then. Main reason is not better quality.  They use the T2 connectivity which can shorten the light path substant

I use a pair of AE binoviewers which are chinese made and almost identical to the TS ones.  The thing to make sure of is that you get a set with the self centering diopters as these make it much easie

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From my own experiences, I think you would be hard pushed to beat the TS binoviewers although there do seem to be a number which offer the same features. I have some Antares branded ones which seem identical.

They are excellent value, you are not paying for eyepieces you don't need, and they have self centering eyepiece holders and dioptre adjustment.

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Adam

I have a 70mm INED Carbon Refractor, SW ED80, SW 350 FlexTube, 8" EdgeHD and the Lunt LS50. I also have the WO Binoviewers. So I've faced the same question and have practical experience...

 It provided quite a challenge to get them to work with our scopes. It isn't a case of what arrives in the box working easily...

Your issue is going to be inward focus. In addition to the supplied 1.6x Barlow I bought the WO 2x and a 2.6x Barlow from Teleskop Express to make things work in some setups. But be aware of the effect the Binoviewers have on magnification. Ours increase the power of each Barlow used by a factor of roughly 2x...

My conclusions thus far:

ED80 and 70mm INED: I had to press an old 1.25" Celestron Star Diagonal into service as the light path in that is less than our 1.25" WO Durabright Diagonal. And this then has to be combined with the supplied 1.6x Barlow. And you can forget about using a 2" diagonal. If you don't have a cheap short path 1.25" Diagonal you'll have to use the 2x Barlow.

Lunt LS50 with B600 Blocking Filter: After a long exchange with Harry Siebert we decided the only feasible solution was disproportionately expensive given costs of his parts and import duties etc. May work with LS60 and a B1200 filter. But cost is still the same...

350 Flextube: Gets really tight on inward focus but with some jiggling with either the 1.6 Barlow and certain eyepieces focus can just be achieved. But the magnification becomes a significant factor. As stated earlier using no barlow gives roughly 2x the usual magnification of any eyepiece, a 1.6x barlow gives roughly 3.2x and a 2x barlow gives 4... 

If you can find a solution, I find the magnification and views best in the refractors and the SCT to be honest. And once you get them working the effect, for me and @Mrs Racey, is brilliant.

Hope you find a solution. I hadn't realised it was going to be as thought provoking to get them to work when i bought them... 

PM me if you want more detail on exact solutions and eyepieces... By the way, the WO solution provides a great pair of 20mm that might work to plug a gap in your range.

At the moment we use 40mm Plossls, 32mm Plossls, 20mm Plossls and occasionally 12mm. The less powerful the eyepieces the better given the multiplication factor of the barlow and viewers...

Simon

 

Edited by Racey
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Wow a lot of very useful info.  Seems to generate a lot of magification, and that isnt always a good thing.  I really want to see the sun in binoviewers, and currently 15mm EP gives me a beautiful view.

 

@Stu The TS ones are £170+, and the WOs are £220 without lens.  I've never heard of TS, but £50 saved would be very welcome.

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I'd recommend Baader Maxbrights.  They are expensive new but come up used every now and then. Main reason is not better quality.  They use the T2 connectivity which can shorten the light path substantially.   I use mine with all my scopes from 102mm f7 to my 16" f4 dob

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18 minutes ago, Moonshane said:

I'd recommend Baader Maxbrights.  They are expensive new but come up used every now and then. Main reason is not better quality.  They use the T2 connectivity which can shorten the light path substantially.   I use mine with all my scopes from 102mm f7 to my 16" f4 dob

https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/astronomy/binoviewers/baader-maxbright-binocular-viewer-nosepiece-and-glasspath-corrector

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Hello. Personally I would go with the TS ones. Great value for money and great performance for the price point. You do not have to put money into kit loaded eyepiece binoviewers set's like with some . Especially as you already have the eyepiece, so the money with be saved, and the cash strickly then into the binoviewers themselves. The quality of the TS are great I have found. The ones I have are Stu old ones , via DRT ( kit does get around on this site :-).

I did do a bit of a review with my experience of the TS binoviewers on the SGL site. Which may be of interest to you.

Binoviewers in my experience are a well worth addition to Cyclops . Especially on lunar and planetary.

Which ever set you choose I hope you enjoy :-)

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With respect to the Baader Maxbright binoviewers - the T2 thread would be benenficial for the likes of my ED80, where I can remove the diagonal and attach the binoviewers diectly onto the end of the focuser tube?  Same for the SW 250 px.  How awkward would this be for actually viewing through the scope?  Doesnt seem that practical?

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+1 for Baader Maxbrights.

Here is how I connect to my 250px to achieve focus.  Great on planets ;)

On 08/01/2017 at 20:43, niallk said:

I have the Baader Maxbright BV, with a 2.6x GPC.  I purchased it for my Skywatcher 250px 10" f/4.7 dob.

The standard way to use them is to use a 1.25" nosepiece, and the GPC sits between the nosepiece and the BV unit. Unfortunately to my dismay, I found that I still couldn't reach focus with my standard plossls.

So here's how I use them:

1. Take the 1.25" adapter out of the SW stock focuser 

IMG_20170108_201500964.jpg

2. In screw the 1.25" barrel 

IMG_20170108_201523985_HDR.jpg

3. The SW adapter is threaded and matches the thread on the BV unit. The GPC is inserted in the middle

IMG_20170108_201601711.jpg

4. The GPC has a large flat flange that must go towards the BV unit. There is no recess to receive and center it, so I just hold horizontal and centre visually 

IMG_20170108_201618694.jpg

5. Screw the SW adapter down onto the BV unit. It traps the flat GPC flange and securely holds it in place.

IMG_20170108_201639192_HDR.jpg

6. Ready for BV fun :) My favourite EPs are a pair of TV 15mm plossls.  Stunning on Jupiter, Saturn, Moon!

IMG_20170108_202101543.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by niallk
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2 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

With respect to the Baader Maxbright binoviewers - the T2 thread would be benenficial for the likes of my ED80, where I can remove the diagonal and attach the binoviewers diectly onto the end of the focuser tube?  Same for the SW 250 px.  How awkward would this be for actually viewing through the scope?  Doesnt seem that practical?

The benefit is more in that it allows you to connect directly to a T2 compatible diagonal or Prism. This saves some optical length and helps avoid needing higher powered GPCs. You do obviously need the T2 diagonal if you don't have one.

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4 minutes ago, niallk said:

+1 for Baader Maxbrights.

Here is how I connect to my 250px to achieve focus.  Great on planets ;)

 

Exactly what I wanted to see - thanks for posting that!  Can I ask if it crucial that I buy the 2.6x lens? 

Edited by tooth_dr
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36 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

How awkward would this be for actually viewing through the scope? 

incredibly... I give it 10 minutes max... 

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I use a 2x nosepiece from a Meade 140 barlow to reach focus with my Arcturus binoviewer.  It yields about 3x with the binoviewer.  Thus, I typically don't go below about a 16mm wide field eyepiece pair in them.  I also use a 1.25" diagonal to reduce the amount of in-focus required in my refractor.  I can come to focus with just the 2x nosepiece alone in my dob.

To get wider, though vignetted, fields of view, I add a 0.5x focal reducer to the nose of the binoviewer while attaching the 2x nosepiece to the front of the diagonal.  It yields about 1.25x.  For my dob, I put about 2 inches of extension between the two and screw them into the front of the binoviewer (again, 2x closest to the objective).  It sort of works there as well.  It's mostly useful for taking in wide vistas with both eyes.  It's not appropriate for critical observing.

My Mak can reach focus without anything additional while increasing the focal length less than 20%.

I also have an older Siebert OCA that also yields at least 2x in the dob.  It is too long for diagonals, however.  It is quite sharp like the Meade 140 2x unit.

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2 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

Exactly what I wanted to see - thanks for posting that!  Can I ask if it crucial that I buy the 2.6x lens? 

Glad that it is helpful (at least for your 250px).

Yes, it is - it helps to compensate for the physical light path distance in the binoviewer itself (bouncing off the prisms to split and present to two EP holders. From the Baader documentation, I reckoned that it was the 2.6x that I needed for my 10".  It starts to place constraints on minimum mag, but for solar, lunar, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, I find 15mm plossls work well for me in that scope.

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+1 baader maxbrights.

I need to use a x1.7 GPC with my Baader MarkV binos on my lunt60. So be prepared to price in some GPCs (glass path compensator) or barlows to achieve focus in refractors & dobs.

The pair of 26mm will work well in the lunt60 with a x1.7 GPC (or barlow). My most used in the bino setup with the lunt are pairs of 24 & 19mm. The side effect of using barlow or GPC is that you need eyepieces of longer focal length.

You can get a baader connector ( Baader heavy duty T2 quick changer )  that screws directly onto the lunt blocking filter (removes the need for the eyepiece holder) and therefore shortens the back focus needed. I'll add a link to a pic of mysetup that I posted in another thread... (see page 3)

 

 

Edited by alanjgreen
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2 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

Next problem - Baader has discontinued the MaxBright range, and no idea when the new model will be release.

Oh! I wasn't aware of that!!  Hmmm.

The TS and Williams Optics ones are the same internal design from the same source, but I think the EP holders and accessories/threads at the nose end are different.

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yeah, the main advantage of the baader is that you can use the T2 connection system.

Keep your eyes on astrobuysell for 2nd hand. Email Teleskop service to see if they can get you a pair. I get most of my Baader stuff direct from TS in Germany. They are very reliable and very very helpful !!

Put a post in the "wanted" section of this site & astrobuysell.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5436_Baader-Maxbright-Binoviewer---2----T2-Connection.html

Edited by alanjgreen
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24 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

Next problem - Baader has discontinued the MaxBright range, and no idea when the new model will be release.

Told you this wouldn't be as straightforward as first thought ?

You'll crack it... 

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I've used a cheap Revelation binoviewer and cheap ortho's for around eight years now and it gives superb views of the moon and planets. Nothing could tempt me to return regularly to mono viewing, except for wide field and dso's.

Mike

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2 hours ago, alanjgreen said:

yeah, the main advantage of the baader is that you can use the T2 connection system.

Keep your eyes on astrobuysell for 2nd hand. Email Teleskop service to see if they can get you a pair. I get most of my Baader stuff direct from TS in Germany. They are very reliable and very very helpful !!

Put a post in the "wanted" section of this site & astrobuysell.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5436_Baader-Maxbright-Binoviewer---2----T2-Connection.html

Done and done. Cheers

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I use a pair of AE binoviewers which are chinese made and almost identical to the TS ones.  The thing to make sure of is that you get a set with the self centering diopters as these make it much easier to keep the EPs centred in the binoviewer.  Also worth considering is the length of the light path in the binoviewer and the clear aperture in it. I got a Siebert MultiMag OCA 1b from here http://www.siebertoptics.com/SiebertOptics-OCA.html#Ad 1b which allows me to reach focus in all of my scopes with a 1.25x magnification.  I use either Vixen SLV EPs or BST Explorers and the views on planetary and lunar objects are wonderful.  For lunar viewing in particular I always use the BVs.  I can see the full disk of the Moon with a pair of 18mm BSTs and my Orion Optics VX10L which has a focal length of 1600mm, and, depending on how good the seeing is, for higher powers I use either:

a pair of Meade 4000 9.7mm for 206x and a 1.2mm exit pupil

a pair of Vixen SLV 9mm for 222x and a 1.1mm exit pupil

a pair of BST Explorer 8mm for 250x and a 1.0mm exit pupil

I have a pair of Meade 4000 6.4mm EPs as well but I find it difficult to merge the images and the magnification is too high for the seeing at my house anyway most of the time. For high power viewing I probably use the 9mm SLVs the most and the BST 8mm the least.  The Siebert MultiMag OCA is better quality than the barlows I have used before I got it and I prefer the lower magnification it delivers although it can also give 2x or 3.5x in different configurations.  If I upgrade any part of this it will be to send the BVs off to Harry Siebert to get them supercharged so I can use EPs with a larger clear aperture for wider views.  I think the low mag OCA is worth having more than more expensive BVs as it means I can use any scope I like with the BVs as long as the focuser will cope with the weight and the chinese ones like the TS are light.  I would recommend reading through Harry Siebert's website.  Although the appearance of it is difficult sometimes, the info on there about binoviewing and binoviewers is excellent and helped me no end to choose what I wanted.

 

I hope this helps you with your choice.

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On 06/06/2017 at 08:37, angusb1 said:

I use a pair of AE binoviewers which are chinese made and almost identical to the TS ones.  The thing to make sure of is that you get a set with the self centering diopters as these make it much easier to keep the EPs centred in the binoviewer.  Also worth considering is the length of the light path in the binoviewer and the clear aperture in it. I got a Siebert MultiMag OCA 1b from here http://www.siebertoptics.com/SiebertOptics-OCA.html#Ad 1b which allows me to reach focus in all of my scopes with a 1.25x magnification.  I use either Vixen SLV EPs or BST Explorers and the views on planetary and lunar objects are wonderful.  For lunar viewing in particular I always use the BVs.  I can see the full disk of the Moon with a pair of 18mm BSTs and my Orion Optics VX10L which has a focal length of 1600mm, and, depending on how good the seeing is, for higher powers I use either:

a pair of Meade 4000 9.7mm for 206x and a 1.2mm exit pupil

a pair of Vixen SLV 9mm for 222x and a 1.1mm exit pupil

a pair of BST Explorer 8mm for 250x and a 1.0mm exit pupil

I have a pair of Meade 4000 6.4mm EPs as well but I find it difficult to merge the images and the magnification is too high for the seeing at my house anyway most of the time. For high power viewing I probably use the 9mm SLVs the most and the BST 8mm the least.  The Siebert MultiMag OCA is better quality than the barlows I have used before I got it and I prefer the lower magnification it delivers although it can also give 2x or 3.5x in different configurations.  If I upgrade any part of this it will be to send the BVs off to Harry Siebert to get them supercharged so I can use EPs with a larger clear aperture for wider views.  I think the low mag OCA is worth having more than more expensive BVs as it means I can use any scope I like with the BVs as long as the focuser will cope with the weight and the chinese ones like the TS are light.  I would recommend reading through Harry Siebert's website.  Although the appearance of it is difficult sometimes, the info on there about binoviewing and binoviewers is excellent and helped me no end to choose what I wanted.

 

I hope this helps you with your choice.

Your advice has been very helpful.  I am going to order either 1a or 1b with this adapter that will work with my Lunt: http://www.siebertoptics.com/SiebertOptics-H alpha.html

I've been emailing Harry, and he is very helpful.  I hope to place an order by tomorrow once I've discussed a couple of queries with Harry.

 

Best wishes

Adam.

 

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