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GavStar

Much cheaper night vision astronomy option

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A french company has just launched a night vision monocular specifically for astronomer users. Link attached.

https://oculaire-vision-nocturne.jimdo.com/english/shop/

In addition to the usual (expensive) European nv tubes, they also offer second hand military surplus gen 3 night vision tubes from 2000 euros. Still not cheap but maybe this means night vision astronomy is more accessible for Europeans now.

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Thats a step in the right direction at least :smiley:

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Still not cheap second hand 😕. Maybe when they become available third hand, then they will be more in the price range for most of us 😀

 

 

 

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‘Fraid I’ll have to stick with the old eyes for now, unless my 6 lottery numbers come up of course! ;) 

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I can see many benefits of using night vision gear for astronomy and I feel that the pioneers who have gone down this avenue will argue that it is possibly one of the best astro purchases they've ever made. Perhaps as the years drip by, interest will increase and as with most things, prices will drop further and just as importantly, the secondhand market will begin to see movement in night vision gear.

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NO NO NO.... I won’t threaten to “eat my socks” if the price of gen3 level NV drops significantly, but..... 

There are very few companies making this stuff, the industry is kept afloat by military orders. There are all sorts of export restrictions (even though plenty of different countries make stuff). The Americans just stopped one manufacturer buying ip the only other one, to maintain independence of supply. The hunting community are moving rapidly to thermal and digital NV due to cost and performance. if you want to see warm things at night... thermal beats intensifiers by a long way.
The military are moving on using different wavelengths and merging the results to make it harder for stuff to hide away. Intensifiers are a niche, can’t see them going away, can’t see them getting much better and can’t see the price dropping. What’s good with this company is the addition of secondhand, the latest kit might show a bit more, but older stuff can still show quite a bit and if it costs a lot less and this enables more people to get into NV then great! as mentioned as hunters move from intensifiers this means more can show up for use in Astro!
Amateur astronomers like to share observations, so not everyone NEEDS to get NV, just enough so the views get more commonly available. It’s especially good at showing just how MANY stars we have lost to light pollution, which can only be a good thing. There are still plenty of things that normal glass can do a better job on too. 

peter

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Definitely a step in the right direction if this business can provide good quality, reliable, secondhand night vision tubes to astronomers at more affordable prices. This technology does have a shelf life - for new units it’s around 10,000 hours, so used ones should still provide many years, if not decades, of top performance. Peter’s eloquent post on how the technology is evolving suggests that the future for night vision astronomy lies not so much in the long-term reduction in the price of new tubes, but in the growth of the ‘pre-owned’ market. And as he says, cheaper and older systems are still good enough to transform our views of the night sky.

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If it gets (or keeps) more people involved then I think it's great, but the prices on that site certainly made my eyes water...

James

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Posted (edited)

Yes these nv monoculars are expensive but imo one night vision monocular at 2k euros is better value than a case of Televue green and black. 

Edited by GavStar
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.... can see stuff you can’t in a huge (£££) Dobs.... 

Peter

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Is there any way of knowing how many hours of their limited "life" these s/h devices will have remaining?

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The are designed for the military with 10000hrs a a “50%” degradation spec target, used for hours a night, night after night and to be generally ill treated. I would not worry unless you are going out and using it for long periods every night... in which case if it did start to lose performance you will certainly have got your money’s worth!

 

Peter

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, PeterW said:

The are designed for the military with 10000hrs a a “50%” degradation spec target

Yes. The question is whether a unit bought second hand is able to show how much of that 10,000 hours has been used up. The equivalent of a mileometer or generator's "running hours" meter if you like.

Edited by pete_l

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Nope, but there and devices that can measure the tube spec. Also the power supplies can fail.... 

If there are no obvious defects in the view(black spots, burnt bits) and you can see stuff then I wouldn’t worry too much... in this case the vendor is checking different tubes with specs, so much better than totally buying blind!  

PEter

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Exactly. The hope is this would be like the car industry 30 years ago, when the vehicle manufacturers decided to move into the approved used market - bit more expensive than Arthur Daley but more peace of mind for the customer. At least that’s the theory. I wouldn’t be confident buying a used NV tube from an ex-military auction or eBay.....

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Depends on what’s available, if you can try and how much you trust. I note new UK military NV is almost on lease with the supplier doing the maintenance etc as part of the contract, so it’ll likely never end up on the secondhand market in years to come. Sadly it looks like this will always remain quite niche, unless the US changes ITAR and looks to make lots of money selling the “good enough” stuff..... can’t see that happening, though the US have been lobbied by their thermal companies to relax restrictions somewhat as foreign companies can have greater sales and hence greater investment and hence produce better kit in the future. 
 

PEter

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Posted (edited)
On 04/10/2019 at 00:47, GavStar said:

Yes these nv monoculars are expensive but imo one night vision monocular at 2k euros is better value than a case of Televue green and black. 

 

Let me think 🤔. That's a brave statement considering the quality of the TV range.

A second hand nv or a case of second hand TV. In my opinion no contest. In 5 years time. Then more than likely the second hand nv would no longer be functioning , or degraded to such a level that they are no viable. That 2k will be constantly losing money. But a case of quality second hand TV, will be still functioning nicely and providing quality views . And a case full of second hand TV if you come to sell them, you will more that likely get your money back on them. Free viewing for 5 years basically

I am not saying there is not a place for nv , it does seem a interesting and worthwhile addition. But at the price point nv is presently at then you do need deep pockets. And IMO then a case of quality TV is a better option for the majority. Nv is an expensive luxury for the normal chap/lady in the hobby. Maybe in future when nv goes sub 1k mark then far more of us will take greater interest. But until then give me a case full of TV 😀

 

 

 

Edited by Timebandit

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If I were in the (spending) market for say 2 new Ethos, then I think i would certainly consider one of these. I find it a most interesting and exciting avenue of visual.

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39 minutes ago, steveex2003 said:

If I were in the (spending) market for say 2 new Ethos, then I think i would certainly consider one of these. I find it a most interesting and exciting avenue of visual.

 

Woow . I did not realise ethos are now 1k each. Maybe it makes the second hand 2k night vision look reasonable?

I would still go for a case of second hand TV which seemingly you can pick up for much cheaper than "new". 

Good job my eyepiece shopping days are over as I am content with my case full of quality used glass. 😀 .

 

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OK, well slightly biasing my point in my favour then. Ethos are (new) £550-£750 
Today would get you just shy of £1800 for your 2000E. I guess 3 then (and it does seem that the Gen 3 refurbs "start" at 2000E) 
In relative context a Lunt 60, something I am also lusting after, is similar sorts of money.

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NV does bring a very large improvement to a range of targets but there are many others that it does not benefit so you will still need a quality set of equipment to view those. I'm not sure that NV is an "either or" type choice. It's a very, very nice facility to have but does not replace all other observing methods.

 

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8 minutes ago, John said:

NV does bring a very large improvement to a range of targets but there are many others that it does not benefit so you will still need a quality set of equipment to view those. I'm not sure that NV is an "either or" type choice. It's a very, very nice accessory but does not replace all other observing methods.

 

For the sake of asking, if you could one for the price of a new Ethos, would you not be tempted?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Timebandit said:

 

Let me think 🤔. That's a brave statement considering the quality of the TV range.

A second hand nv or a case of second hand TV. In my opinion no contest. In 5 years time. Then more than likely the second hand nv would no longer be functioning , or degraded to such a level that they are no viable. That 2k will be constantly losing money. But a case of quality second hand TV, will be still functioning nicely and providing quality views . And a case full of second hand TV if you come to sell them, you will more that likely get your money back on them. Free viewing for 5 years basically

I am not saying there is not a place for nv , it does seem a interesting and worthwhile addition. But at the price point nv is presently at then you do need deep pockets. And IMO then a case of quality TV is a better option for the majority. Nv is an expensive luxury for the normal chap/lady in the hobby. Maybe in future when nv goes sub 1k mark then far more of us will take greater interest. But until then give me a case full of TV 😀

 

 

 

I have a case of Televue eyepieces and an nv monocular, so I don’t think it’s a brave statement, just my opinion from quite a bit of actual experience.

And as John says, since nv doesn’t work on lunar and planets, it’s an additional tool rather than a replacement for glass eyepieces. however, I would say that 100 percent of my deep sky visual observing is done with nv now - I find it clearly better on nebulae, globs, galaxies and planetary nebulae.

My point really is that I acquired a fair few Televue eyepieces - too many really and I think it’s a better approach to have a smaller selection of glass eyepieces and nv rather than a larger selection of glass eyepieces. If you’ve got several eyepieces I think it’s worth considering streamlining them and putting the proceeds in an nv monocular.

Edited by GavStar
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1 minute ago, GavStar said:

I have a case of Televue eyepieces and an nv monocular, so I don’t think it’s a brave statement, just my opinion from quite a bit of actual experience.

And as John says, since nv doesn’t work on lunar and planets, it’s an additional tool rather than a replacement for glass eyepieces. I would say that 100 percent of my deep sky visual observing is done with nv now - I find it clearly better on nebulae, globs, galaxies and planetary nebulae.

My point really is that I acquired a fair few Televue eyepieces - too many really and I think it’s a better approach to have a smaller selection of glass eyepieces and nv rather than a larger selection of glass eyepieces. If you’ve got several eyepieces think it’s worth considering streamlining them and putting the proceeds in an nv monocular.

May I ask what is the spec or model of your NV?

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31 minutes ago, steveex2003 said:

For the sake of asking, if you could one for the price of a new Ethos, would you not be tempted?

No.

I think NV is great but it's just not how I like to do astronomy. No wires, no tech, just me, the scope, a case of eyepieces, a star chart and a dark sky and I'll do the best I can with that.

Thats just me though :smiley:

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