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Rusted

TS Binoviewer review.

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This review is of 10 month old T-S binoviewers which have until very recently enjoyed very little use.

Despite its attractive price and appearance the TS binoviewer has been an exercise in frustration from the very start.

The individual diopter ring adjustment for each eye is very stiff. As is the body hinge.

The matching TS 1.6x GPC [Glass Path Corrector] not only failed to recover lost focal length.
Its diameter was also completely WRONG for standard 1.25" fittings in which it would normally be clamped.
This GPC pushed the heavy binoviewer out of the 1.25" fitting while providing NO adequate support from its smaller diameter.
I wanted to use the GPC and binoviewer in my PST which has a plain eyepiece socket.
Without a compression band to shrink to the substandard size of the GPC this proved impossible!

I did enjoy the TS binoviewer on the [FILTERED] sun when it was used without a GPC or Barlow.
Unfortunately that also meant it would not reach focus without shortening my telescope's main tubes.
100mm or 4" of focal length is lost in the glass of the binoviewer's prisms.

Adding a GPC or Barlow Lens boosts the magnification too high for most uses.
But still only partially recovers some of the lost focal length.
The 2.6x TS GPC is much shorter, and the correct diameter of 1.25" fittings, but boosts the magnification far too much IMHO.
The position of the GPC [or Barlow] in the optical train further boosts the power.
The nearer a GPC [or Barlow] is to the eyepiece the lower its amplification factor.
A binoviewer pushes it 100mm or four inches away from the eyepiece!

Yesterday I was able to use the TS binoviewer on the Moon in my 180mm [7" f/12 refractor.] 
When used without a GPC and low powers it worked well and I had a great sense of hovering above the moon's surface.
Detail was much easier to see than with a single eyepiece. However, I soon began to feel eye strain.

The higher the power I tried, using the matching GPCs and even a 2x Barlow, the worse it became.
The craters and other features were literally doubled vertically in the image I was seeing.
I tried for an hour but could not force the images to merge due to this major misalignment.

When I looked up at the sky "naked eye" every bright star was now double and moving away and together a couple of moons width apart!
It took a good quarter of an hour to recover my normal sight. I do not need glasses except for reading and close work.

My example of the TS binoviewer has been FACTORY MISS-ALIGNED and fixed that way.
Moreover, it is incapable of amateur repair due to deliberate hard cementing of the prisms and sealing of the collimation screws.

No doubt there are many owners of TS binoviewers who enjoy their investment.
Sadly, I cannot recommend this binoviewer due to the glaring faults I have found in my own particular example.

 

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UPDATE: 22.01.19 The dealer has requested I return the binoviewers for examination.

 

Edited by Rusted
Update:
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Six weeks after first bringing the serious factory set collimation problem to their attention,

I am still waiting for Teleskop-Express/Service to return, replace or refund my TS binoviewer purchase.

They confirmed they received the binoviewers back on the 29th of January. Exactly one month ago.

They now claim to have passed the binoviewers to their technical department but claim to be be understaffed.

I am sending reminder emails at weekly intervals and receiving answers only at fortnightly intervals.

Am I not entitled to a refund by now under European remote selling [online sales] law?

 

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12 hours ago, Davey-T said:

I wonder what's going on at TS, did you see this thread ? the last few posts.

Dave

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/330586-ts-optics-102ed-fpl51-any-inforeviewsusers/?page=8&tab=comments

 

After waiting a fortnight for an answer I had an answer overnight, from T-S, after sending them both forum thread links.

They ask for more patience due to team losses to sickness. Isn't one month's waiting patience enough? 

How does sickness affect sending replacements for defective items? Surely arguing over responsibility for returns greatly exacerbates staff shortages?

They have no shortage of staff to send the stuff out in the first place. If an item proves defective then it is in the interests of all that the problem is solved ASAP.

Bad publicity can cost a fortune in lost sales. I have already spent hundreds of Pounds/Euros which would normally have gone straight to T-S for their very fast turnaround.

I even tried spending more money with them to try and bring some customer loyalty. It went completely unnoticed!

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Hooray! At last I have been offered a new binoviewer or a refund!  :thumbsup:

I went for a replacement TS in the hope of a well aligned example.

I even offered advice on how to look through one from "the wrong end" without eyepieces, to instantly confirm alignment.

My first example was so hopelessly misaligned that everything distant, seen through it "backwards," was a fuzzy mess.

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Update: Thanks to Michael at TS I have now received my replacement TS binoviewers, post paid.

This one seems fine when I look though it backwards naked eye. Unlike the first example when everything looked doubled and fuzzy.
I have discovered that taking pictures through the binoviewer from the telescope end is not a fair test of a binoviewer.
The beam splitter is not intended to be used that way. My apologies if the image above caused any confusion.

Today I have pushed powers on my 7" refractor up to ~115x on 600 yard terrestrial targets [trees] without any eye strain or other symptoms.
Not enough sun to push powers any higher using GPCs or Barlows.
I viewed the sun at 65x in H-alpha "straight through" using a pair of S4000 20mm EPs in my 6" in perfect comfort.
It was far easier than using one eye and the advantage of eye floater suppression was immediately obvious.
The sun's surface "orange peel" and plages were far more even and visible than when viewing with only one eye.
I can't wait to try the new binoviewers on the Moon and planets.

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It can be a long and twisting road to that place called "Satisfaction".     😀

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3 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

It can be a long and twisting road to that place called "Satisfaction".     😀

We both come from the generation of "ain't got no" and nothing is likely to change in my lifetime.  :icon_rolleyes:

Except beards and hairstyles.  What they call a "redistribution of wealth" amongst we, the ageing hirsute.  🧔

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I feel lucky to still have the means for a hairstyle.   :glasses11:

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10 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

I feel lucky to still have the means for a hairstyle.   :glasses11:

Sorry, mate, a bobble hat doesn't count as a hairstyle.  :tongue2:

 

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Nor does a baseball hat.   🙂

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12 hours ago, Peter Drew said:

Nor does a baseball hat.   🙂

That's not just a baseball cap!

It's a dewshield for my reading glasses when I'm using the obs. laptop.  :tongue2:

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A positive update:

I have been enjoying my best views ever of the sun in H-alpha thanks to the TS 1.6x GPC and TS binoviewer.
When used without a GPC I suffer from a ring-shaped, PST etalon sweet spot, regardless of magnification.
Adding the 1.6x GPC smooths out the sweet spot to near whole disk. 
This needs a compression band, 1.25" eyepiece socket for binoviewer security.

Using a pair of Meade 4000 26mm eyepieces I get an impressively large, sun's disk, almost filling the 52 degree field of view.
The detail is extraordinary seen through the binoviewer fitted to my PST + D-ERF, modified 150mm f/8. [120mm f/10 equivalent.]
With the sun's surface covered in fine texture, sunspots, black pores, plage and any proms standing out brightly and clearly.

I still can't quite reach [inward] focus with a 1.25" star diagonal, the binoviewer and the 1.6x GPC, though I'm getting quite close.
So I may try Peter's suggestion of a cheap 2x Barlow nosepiece screwed directly into the binoviewer nosepiece.
That may offer just enough, extra, inward focus for a star diagonal to save my back and neck.

After four hours of almost continuous viewing through the TS binoviewer, this morning,
I have not suffered any sense of eye strain. Nor discomfort from [effortlessly] merging stereoscopic images. :thumbsup:

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Posted (edited)

A positive lunar update:
My first chance to use the TS binoviewers on the [crescent] moon at about 30 degrees altitude with my 7" f/12 refractor.

I had to use the 1.6x GPC to reach focus using a 1.25" TS diagonal.
I couldn't reach focus in the 2" diagonal so do need to shorten my home-made OTA.

First attempt was with 20mm eyepieces for about 220x. Just a tad too soft for my liking, with some thermal agitation.
So I ended up using the 26mm for about 150-160x. Still need to get a proper grip on the powers provided by the GPC.
Now I could watch mountains and a crater's rim creep into the light on the terminator before my very own eyes.

Binoviewing is much more relaxed than using one eye.
You only have to close one eye to kill the illusion of hovering over the moon or sun.
They really kill my eye floaters. Which makes binoviewers worth having for that reason alone.

These replacement binoviewers must be very well aligned because I suffered no eye strain at all even at 220x.
The seeing would not quite support that power but I had a full hour of staring hard at fine lunar detail at ~160x.

I now use only the binoviewers for my many hours of solar observation in H-alpha.
One eye just isn't enough any more!

My thanks to TS for providing this excellent replacement.
Based on this example the TS binoviewer is highly recommended.
Provided you get a good one. My replacement certainly is. :thumbsup:
 

Edited by Rusted
typo
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Very pleased it worked out in the end Rusted. I have had a couple of pairs and been very happy with them. I now have some supercharged ones done by Dennis, extra clear aperture and blackened prisms etc. They work very well.

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7 minutes ago, Stu said:

Very pleased it worked out in the end Rusted. I have had a couple of pairs and been very happy with them. I now have some supercharged ones done by Dennis, extra clear aperture and blackened prisms etc. They work very well.

Thanks, Stu, :thumbsup:

I was very tempted by a pair of supercharged binoviewers but TS came up trumps first.

It's a shame I had to write such a negative review on my first pair of TS.
Coming on top of the foolishly undersized diameter of the TS 1.6x GPC.
Then my endless problems in just reaching [inward] focus, I was not a happy bunny.
Now I am, and much prefer the optical advantages of binoviewing.

That said, I do think binoviewers are still in their infancy.
They are far too heavy and bulky for many 1.25" fittings and really demand a compression ring.
Having to use a GPC just to reach focus pushes powers far too high for most users.
Then the very small clear aperture limits the usefulness of many low power eyepieces.
Heads you lose. Tails you lose.

The high end binoviewers are very expensive but do make an attempt to minimize their own weaknesses.
Long glass path length, bulk and weight, etc. by having better fittings than the silly little 1.25" spigot.

I am trying to come up with a rotating ring support bar for my larger refractors.
It is often impossible to get "behind" the telescope to use them [binovrs] pointing upwards on a star diagonal.
So they [the binoviewers] are often "sticking out sideways." With no support except for one, tiny, locking screw.
Add a GPC to really spoil the party and it's all so horribly amateurish "I can't believe it." :icon_rolleyes:

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