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Baader MaxBright-II Binoviewer Review


BillP
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That's a very interesting and informative review Bill, thank you!

I always liked the older version of the Maxbright, except for the fiddly screws on the eyepiece holders: the new design seems to have had excellent ergonomics built in from the floor up, and this is how manufacturers should take on opinion and feedback from their users IMO.

I will seriously consider one of these instruments when funds allow.

Dave

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A lot of us felt that these would be worth waiting for, waiting being the key word, and your report justifies that feeling. I too was immediately excited by the eyepiece holders, but it is clear that the whole unit has had a great deal of thought put into it. 

Thanks Bill.

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Thanks all!  After many years with the WO Binoviewer I was thrilled at how well these kept the eyepieces centered no matter what, so merging was always spot on.  And adjusting the diopter without rotating the eyepiece was a godsend for me.  Finally, being able to use my 24 ES 68s without vignetting made them everything I was hoping for.  Finally a binoviewer that was not a hassle to use while giving great views without breaking my diminishing bank!!

Edited by BillP
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I hear you.  Me too usually.  I have had a few permanently collimated items though, including a scope.  They never went out, of course I usually do not drop things or knock over my scopes so no unreasonably hard bangs. 🤪  My WO Binos never lost collimation and had them for well over a decade.  None of binoculars have either.   I don't believe any of my diagonals are collimatable.  The main optic is the only thing I guess I like to be collimatable, rest of the stuff is small should not have issues if reasonably built, and that has been my experience to date.  Large glass or mirror objectives though have so much mass that it is a challenge for the cells that hold them.  FWIW the warranty is 2 years I understand on the MKIIs.

Edited by BillP
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I have a slight visual defect that drops my right eye marginally below a horizontal line, I can accommodate it without undue strain but it's better if I can collimate a binoviewer to compensate.   🙂

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14 hours ago, Peter Drew said:

I have a slight visual defect that drops my right eye marginally below a horizontal line, I can accommodate it without undue strain but it's better if I can collimate a binoviewer to compensate.   🙂

Peter, I think you are in a  (blessed) minority, in that you are a skilled user/builder/ developer of quality optics:thumbsup:, so I understand why you don't like fixed collimation,.as you can do it yourself, with confidence.

For ordinary mortals like me, though, I do NOT want to get drawn into having to try to collimate something like a binoviewer: I'd much prefer that the manufacturer does the job (properly!) at the factory.

And this is the key point for me - I personally would tend to trust Baader to supply a properly set up and fixed collimation product more than some of the other popular brands.

Based on Bills' recent review of the new MkII Maxbrights, and the obvious time and thought that has gone into their design, I'd be happy to buy a pair of none user-collimatable Maxbrights.

Another good example from Baader was the Morpheus 17.5mm..it took them fully 3 years to launch this last variant in the Morpheus line, and many people said it would never actually be launched. But, when the eyepiece was finally ready, we ended up with one of the finest performing eyepieces ever made! And it was to Baaders' credit, IMHO, that they refused to launch a product u til they were absolutely sure it was ready. That sort of approach builds confidence.:headbang:

Dave

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My comment was by no means meant to sound like a criticism, just a mention of the problem I have to deal with.  I'm sure that the vast majority of users will benefit from the build quality of the new Maxbrights.  If I didn't already have a Denkmeier binoviewer the Maxbright would be top of my list.      🙂

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I'm a big fan of Baader, everything I've ever brought from them has been excellent.  From Peter's position it is understandable he would want to be able to collimate his binoviewer.

I'm also delighted that Peter is not very far away from me, if I have any difficulties I can't sort out, he's a top man to know - if Peter can't fix it, then it's toast! 

Edited by paulastro
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4 hours ago, paulastro said:

I'm a big fan of Baader, everything I've ever brought from them has been excellent.  From Peter's position it is understandable he would want to be able to collimate his binoviewer.

I'm also delighted that Peter is not very far away from me, if I have any difficulties I can't sort out, he's a top man to know - if Peter can't fix it, then it's toast! 

Agreed Paul..Peter probably wouldn't remember now, but he kindly took a look for me some years ago at an Intes Mak I had problems with: he was very generous with his time and showed me some of the lovely large scopes he has at the Astronomy Centre - a true gent!:headbang:

Dave

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@BillP thank you for the review!

You wrote also that "Looking at the prism surfaces visible from the ClickLock Eyepiece Holders or visible from T2 Cap Nut Connector of the MaxBright II, one can see that the reflected light from the 7-layer multi-coatings on the prism's optical surface (called reflex color).  This color is not what is usually seen on astronomy equipment, which typically is anywhere from purple-blue for single coated optics to green for many multicoated optics.  According to Baader Planetarium this more unusual color on the MaxBright II is the result of their specialized coatings that are specifically tuned to have the highest possible transmittance in the same spectrum where the human eye has its highest sensitivity (green light).  This was done is an effort to make the MaxBright II's views as visually bright as possible."

Would that mean that the transmission is lower in the reds, including H-alpha? Lower as in lower than in typical budget binos?

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5 hours ago, Solar B said:

https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/baader-maxbrightii-set.htmlsid=913

 

Yes I'm a fan to of the maxbrights .... How long has the MKII been overdue ?

about 5 yrs 😅

Well, Brian, as the Morpheus 17.5mm was 3 years late, but was worth the wait and is an excellent performer, does this mean that the Maxbrights, being 5 years late will be 40% even better than the Morph 17.5mm is?? :happy1:🤣:hello2:

Dave

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On 07/05/2020 at 08:57, BGazing said:

Would that mean that the transmission is lower in the reds, including H-alpha? Lower as in lower than in typical budget binos?

Good question. I have a pair on order that I was planning on using for H-alpha. 

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I checked with Baader and they are not aware of any reason why the binoviewers would be unsuitable for Ha viewing. They described the view through them as 'quite colour-neutral' and that the slightly improved transmission in green was a more of a nuance. I have asked if they have any transmission curves, but either way it doesn't sound like anything that would affect the solar view significantly. Based on Bill's great review I am looking forward to receiving them and comparing them to my converted Zeiss microscope head pair.

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2 hours ago, astro_al said:

I checked with Baader and they are not aware of any reason why the binoviewers would be unsuitable for Ha viewing. They described the view through them as 'quite colour-neutral' and that the slightly improved transmission in green was a more of a nuance. I have asked if they have any transmission curves, but either way it doesn't sound like anything that would affect the solar view significantly. Based on Bill's great review I am looking forward to receiving them and comparing them to my converted Zeiss microscope head pair.

Have you placed an order for a pair @astro_al ?? 
If so I’ll look forward to a review.

regards John 

 

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17 hours ago, Telescope40 said:

Have you placed an order for a pair

Yes, a couple of weeks ago. Once I have them I will report back on how they compare to my existing binoviewers. It won’t be comparable to Bill’s excellent review though. I am looking for improvements in a few specific areas.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mine arrived last week.

Compared to my existing binoviewers I like:

  • The rubberised panels
  • The diopter adjustment
  • The clicklock eyepiece holders
  • The slightly shorter back focus requirement (1-2mm) now allows me to use the FC-76DC with the 1.7x (1.4x) GPC
  • Slightly brighter image (left and right side are more evenly illuminated)

I dislike:

  • The telescope side end cap was almost in two pieces 
  • The bayonet adapter wasn't clean - grease and metal burrs
  • The colour is off white but not in a good way to my eyes - pinkish white
  • I can't seem to merge the image at 80x or above

The first three dislikes are minor but the last is a deal-breaker for me. I will try one more time tonight but it is likely that they will be going back for replacement. If the collimation was better then I would definitely be keeping them. Not having much luck with new kit at the moment.

 

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6 hours ago, astro_al said:

Mine arrived last week.

Compared to my existing binoviewers I like:

  • The rubberised panels
  • The diopter adjustment
  • The clicklock eyepiece holders
  • The slightly shorter back focus requirement (1-2mm) now allows me to use the FC-76DC with the 1.7x (1.4x) GPC
  • Slightly brighter image (left and right side are more evenly illuminated)

I dislike:

  • The telescope side end cap was almost in two pieces 
  • The bayonet adapter wasn't clean - grease and metal burrs
  • The colour is off white but not in a good way to my eyes - pinkish white
  • I can't seem to merge the image at 80x or above

The first three dislikes are minor but the last is a deal-breaker for me. I will try one more time tonight but it is likely that they will be going back for replacement. If the collimation was better then I would definitely be keeping them. Not having much luck with new kit at the moment.

 

Is this the first time you have problems merging? Which EPs did you use?

I found that I have problems unless EP has no eyecup or i pull it down. Once it is down it is fine for me, but until I figured it out I struggled with some of them.

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1 hour ago, BGazing said:

Is this the first time you have problems merging?

First time in a few years. I originally bought a secondhand pair of WO binoviewers which arrived mis-collimated so I ended up opening them up and adjusting them. After which they were fine. My current binoviewers can be easily adjusted which I did early on and their collimation has remained good since then.

I use pairs of 20mm and 25mm Televue plossls and pairs of 10mm and 15mm APM Ultra Flat Fields because of their better eye relief than plossls at those focal lengths. The 15mms get used more than the 10mms. That's the sum total of my eyepiece collection. These days I use a GPC for high magnification observing, typically the 2.6x.

I was looking at the small sunspot today in white light. Using the 10mm and 15mm EPs (100x and 150x) I could not merge the image with the MaxBright IIs. I then swapped them for my Zeiss pair keeping everything else the same and there was no issue with merging. The other night when viewing Arcturus I couldn't merge at 80X.

Will test again tonight.

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That’s a shame @Astro Al. I assume you would return them and try another pair? They sound like excellent units, assuming you get a collimated pair. Provided interpupulliary distance is set correctly I never have any problems merging up to x200 and beyond.

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