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Why do some observers not "get on" with binoviewers


Paz
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I've been putting a lot of time and effort into getting a binoviewer set up that works for me and am really struggling. I've read a number of posts about how some people just don't get on with them.

I'm not thinking of cases where it became established that there was a problem with a binoviewer, rather where observers never got them to work and never bottomed out why or discovered an issue with themselves rather than the binoviewer.

I'm starting to wonder if the problem is with me but I don't want to give up without understanding why.

I am now on my 5th pair  (covering 3 different makes) and none have looked collimated to me, but I am wondering if I have some kind of eye/brain or technique issue.

I'm interested in whether anyone has any experiences or insights about the above they can share that might help.

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Hello. I find binoviewers a great add on to my refractor set up , especially on Luna. Such a more relaxing and 3d type of experience.

I have read some people do not get on with certain type/manufacturer when it comes to binoviewing but as you have tried 5 sets , maybe you are one of the unlucky ones who just cannot get them to work for you. I think John the moderator also has had a similar experience. Such a shame as binoviewers really can add another dimension to a refractor experience from the great results I have managed to enjoy.

 

 

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I've tried at least 3 pairs of BV's in a number of different scopes over the past few years and didn't get on with them either.

They BV's worked OK and I could merge the images but, for me, I just preferred the "cyclops" views.

I get on fine with normal binoculars (I prefer them over a scope for birding) but I've concluded that BV's in a scope are not going to "do it" for me now.

As to why that is, I really don't know :dontknow:

 

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I found that I don’t get on wth binoviewers at all and don't like binoculars much either. I found the view looking through binoviewers to be worse that one eyed viewing it and seemed like  hard work. Not pleasant at all.

Finally tracked it down to having unequal vision. One eye is weaker than the other and when trying to  use binoviewers the weak eye dragged down the vision in my good eye to the level of the weak eye.

Not something that I notice normally but binoviewers seem to really exacerbate it.

.

Edited by johninderby
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Looked through them for an hour tonight, switched to the traditional single eyepiece, but it didn’t take long before i switched back again.   Have my first bino since a month, and must say (almost) all of the reviews about a complete other experience are true.   
 

Only thing i have to play with sometimes, is the individual eyepiece focus position.  Seems like my left eye is much sharper, at least thats what it feels.  That difference completely disappears while using both eyes. 
 

But the feeling of floating through space vs the stationary feeling with the traditional “mono” is worth the investment.  

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You should be able to correct for the differences in sight between your eyes using the diopter. Having said that, I don’t get on using binoviewers either. I have used binoculars for birding for more than 50 years and worked in a hospital laboratory for 45 years using binocular microscopes with no problems at all. When it comes to telescopes the cyclops view is much more pleasing and relaxing Don’t ask me why it’s just a fact for me.

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My best views hands-down of the moon are with binoviewers, no comparison. Like flying right over the surface and much less eye fatigue, and that's just with the 20mm bog standard WO eyepieces. Single eyed I've used Ethos, APM, Morpheus, etc. Those are great eyepieces and views, but not like binoviewers for lunar.

I love binoculars, especially ones that take filters. 12x70s, 15x70s, 20x60s, 20/40x100s... Just saw the entire veil through 15x70s the other night for the first time, even under 19.5 sqm town LP using UHC and OIII filters.

I have a simple set of Williams Optics binoviewers I picked up second-hand, and after setting IPD and getting focus right with the individual helical focus, they're brilliant. I find on occasion I have to let my eyes drift a bit before the images merge, but this only takes a split second. I don't get headaches or anything from using them, quite the opposite, much more relaxed and engaging than single-eye viewing which now gives me eye strain very quickly unless I take numerous breaks.

The reason(s) I don't use BVs exclusively are because: 

a.) I mainly view DSOs, specifically nebulae which really need widefield views and with a fast dob, my BVs need a glass path corrector or barlow to reach focus, so I lose the wide views a 2" EP like the APM 20mm 100deg provides...

b.) I'd need to buy more eyepiece pairs £££££

c.) for faint DSOs, the light to each eye is halved vs single-eye viewing, so sometimes faint objects are harder to see, but I've managed the Horsehead through binoviewers quite easily, though it was with a 20" dob under 21.8 or 21.9 skies using eyepieces carefully selected for the right exit pupil and mag. Although the light to each eye is greatly reduced and objects are dimmer, seeing them in stereoscopic vision makes up for quite a lot of this, though I find single-eyed views have more contrast (probably because they're brighter!). Pros and cons, pros and cons...

I think my big purchase this observing season will be some Denkmeier Binotron 27s with the 45 OCA and the powerswitch/filter slide. Hoping to find a pair second-hand, though I'm probably dreaming...

Do what works for you though! If you've gone through five pairs already, then at least you can say you tried. I find being comfortably seated with careful individual eyepiece focusing and IPD setup, I'll relax my eyes, and the images will drift and merge into one quite easily. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ships and Stars
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I don't get on with them either. I have always had a suspicion that the problem is that the light levels of most astronomical objects can be so low that there are not enough clues to allow some people to effectively merge the two views. So I have always found them fine for day time use or for the moon but as soon as it is separate stars I end have two separate images. 

 

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51 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

 I find being comfortably seated

This is very much true.   Balancing behind my binoviewer isn’t really working.   I often  point them horizontal to the right side, the left side is quite dangerous with standard thread in the diagonal😑, and sit down steady.   That way the merging doesn’t have to take place after every moment of imbalance.

 

just relaxing on an old balcony

61B5D77B-B4A8-49C3-BACE-5E35AF75C9B7.jpeg

Edited by Robindonne
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9 minutes ago, Robindonne said:

This is very much true.   Balancing behind my binoviewer isn’t really working.   I often  point them horizontal to the right side, the left side is quite dangerous with standard thread in the diagonal😑, and sit down steady.   That way the merging doesn’t have to take place after every moment of imbalance.

Yes, me wobbling around on foot or hunched over makes binoviewing focus and merging images that much harder. I use a small set of cheap steps with the big dob, but it has a handrail I can lean against to steady myself. 

Binoviewers tend to be a love/strongly dislike item with astronomers. I don't think many use them exclusively, but those that have a pair bring them out for lunar, planetary, etc as needed. I'm hoping to use mine tomorrow night under dark skies again for smaller DSOs like planetary nebulae, then lunar.

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1 hour ago, jnb said:

I don't get on with them either. I have always had a suspicion that the problem is that the light levels of most astronomical objects can be so low that there are not enough clues to allow some people to effectively merge the two views. So I have always found them fine for day time use or for the moon but as soon as it is separate stars I end have two separate images. 

 

This may be one of my issues. I have had one lunar session where I got it to work for a short time and I was impressed, but eventually the images drifted apart and the next day my eyes were aching.

And as the amount of visual clues reduces I find merging is much less likely, but I never had a problem with collimateable binoculars, including 28x110's.

If I open my eyes alternately I can see the image jump in binoviewers, but if I shut both eyes, get lined up on the binoviewers, then open both eyes together I have better results with merging, but still not easily and not all the time.

Another learning point has been that my eyes/nose/face are not symmetrical! When I have each field stop squarely in view the binoviewers are high on the left, pushing into my left eyebrow and low on the right, pushing into my right cheekbone, and they push onto the right side of my nose!

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7 hours ago, John said:

I have the feeling that I could get on better with BV's but I would have to keep on using them and become as familiar with them as I am the single eyepiece.

Eventually I guess the BV's would become 2nd nature.

This is a good point. If you have years of practice on one technique and then try a different one the new one is going to take a lot of practice before you can compare it like-for-like with what you have already perfected.

Like say playing an instrument right handed for many years and then trying it left handed and concluding after even many months of practice that left handed is not so good (although maybe that's not the best analogy).

I've realised since trying binoviewers that when Cyclops viewing I have been significantly favouring my dominant eye (my left) and I'm not sure if that's been good for my weaker eye so now I make a point of using both eyes equally when Cyclops viewing to see if that may gradually make my weaker eye (and binoviewing) easier. I have no idea if it will but will see over time.

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I started in astronomy using binoculars.

When I got my scope after one year I brought my William Optics Binoviewers and have used them ever since, I really like them but..........

I have to sit down when using them for some reason.

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I'm sure there must be a physiological reason why some observers struggle with Binoviewers, but I image that most often the reason is down to poor mechanics. With my cheap binoviewer I cannot use the diopters to focus each eyepiece as they throw the images off axis. To overcome the problem I've wound the diopters inward and instead focus my right eye using the telescope focuser. Then I retract the left hand eyepiece very slightly until it too reaches sharp focus and lock it in position. Eye seperation is critical and needs to be accurately set, but this may move during observing if the binoviewer I'd handled, so regular adjustments, though subtle, might need to be made. A real problem I came across was that caused by locking screws. If I use my eyepiece locking screws on the outside of the diopters so they point away from the binoviewer, the images demerg, but when I use the locking screws using the threaded holes between the diopters, the images stay accurately merged. I only use my binoviewer for lunar and planetary observing, and as with mono viewing, it is vital to regularly adjust the focuser so as to retain critical focus at all times.

In the attached images, the first shows the eyepiece locking screws on the outside where it is impossible for the images to merge properly. The second image shows the locking screws on the inside of the diopters where the image remains merged. This can only be due to poor mechanics, but after a bit of jiggerypokery I managed to find the best position for this particular binoviewer. Others models may differ!

155767604_2020-09-1314_44_57.jpg.f9d6dba512a15bab4d48b76eb77c20af.jpg1346072235_2020-09-1314_43_48.jpg.e8f334c2c05a79d08906c224cc4b7a96.jpg

Edited by mikeDnight
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I don't use binoviewers because:

--I am almost exclusively a DSO observer and they lose too much light and result in too high powers

--I only use eyepieces that are too large for binoviewing

--one of my eyes has a lower resolution than the other and, unfortunately, it's my dominant eye

--they're not compatible with a coma corrector like the Paracorr which I find essential in the dob.

--all the units I've tried added chromatic aberration to the triplet apo I bought to avoid chromatic aberration

--all the units I tried resulted in diminished quality of star images.

BUT:

I've used several bino-scopes up to 20" in diameter.  OK, there I'd feel right at home.  Of course, I'd have to take a bank loan out because I wouldn't go smaller than 6",

but THAT is the way to binoview.

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4 hours ago, Don Pensack said:

I don't use binoviewers because:

--I am almost exclusively a DSO observer and they lose too much light and result in too high powers

--I only use eyepieces that are too large for binoviewing

--one of my eyes has a lower resolution than the other and, unfortunately, it's my dominant eye

--they're not compatible with a coma corrector like the Paracorr which I find essential in the dob.

--all the units I've tried added chromatic aberration to the triplet apo I bought to avoid chromatic aberration

--all the units I tried resulted in diminished quality of star images

BUT:

I've used several bino-scopes up to 20" in diameter.  OK, there I'd feel right at home.  Of course, I'd have to take a bank loan out because I wouldn't go smaller than 6",

but THAT is the way to binoview.

You have convinced me of the merits of a binoscope, I could try floating this idea with  my other half! However, remembering her reaction to seeing my 14" dob in the living room the morning after I brought it home I'm not confident of a supportive response!

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16 hours ago, Paz said:

You have convinced me of the merits of a binoscope, I could try floating this idea with  my other half! However, remembering her reaction to seeing my 14" dob in the living room the morning after I brought it home I'm not confident of a supportive response!

Tell her that you are going to put a second 14" dob in the living room. When she complains you can 'compromise' on a binoviewer.

 

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