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Do any of you use binoviewers exclusively?


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Hi all!

I recently had a chance to have a go with binoviewers. For me, the experience was similar to the first time I tried clipless pedals on a bicycle. Transformative might be an appropriate word. So comfortable, and looking at the moon for example, it was enthralling, more real (with the lack of a better description). Some of the more memorable views of the moon, to be honest, and that was with humble 32mm Plossls.

Now, this got me thinking. Going the binoviewer route is yet again one of those choices that is bound to get expensive for obvious reasons. However, a few strategically chosen eyepiece pairs and a barlow for example could go a very long way. What I wouldn't like is the prospect of changing back and forth between mono and binoviewing. In my case that would require either a new diagonal, or screwing adapters in the dark, which personally is a big turn off. I like keeping things simple so that I can focus on doing what I enjoy rather than faffing about with adapters and a countless possible combinations of eyepieces, extenders etc. :D

In order to keep things under control I would have to decide between mono and binoviewing. Not both. Going full stereo means goodbyes to 2" eyepieces, which could actually cover some of the cost. The most concrete sacrifice would be the low power views. With my scope the maximum 1,25" FOV with a Panoptic 24mm or equivalent would yield 42X and a 1,55 degrees. Not a panoramic vista, I suppose, but still considerably wider than I used to get with my C11 and ES82 30mm (93X, 0,88 degrees). By comparison, the 30mm would get me 33X and 2,46 degrees in cyclops mode. 

Granted, only I can judge whether the low power views are, in my personal case, worth sacrificing for ease of use, lower investment and overall astronomical feng shui. But I would like to ask you, have any of you gone down the same road? What did you decide and why?

 

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I use binoviewers extensively for high power lunar and solar observing, but I would not want to commit fully to them for everything. Personally I still find widefield viewing better with single eyepieces, plus I find double stars have a nicer ‘purer’ look to them in mono viewing. I am also on the fence for planetary observing. Binoviewing is much more relaxed and it reduces floater visibility a lot, but I sense I am missing some fine detail which still comes through in mono viewing, so I still do both depending on my mood.

I normally stick with either binoviewing or single eyepieces for each session, mixing between them is a bit of a faff as you say.

Not sure if that helps, but it’s an honest opinion, I couldn’t just go full on with Binoviewers despite their advantages.

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Exclusively implies they are used for everything,  so in that case no, not in my case. However, for the vast majority of my lunar and planetary observing I do prefer using a binoviewer, as I see intricate detail much more easily using a bv than I do using a single eyepiece.

My set-up right now.

IMG_20210421_201620.thumb.jpg.3c7bccf0c9f122ac5cd5e8692af05953.jpgIMG_20210421_201647.thumb.jpg.9fb85d9155cbcc2869d1ca063a6f2640.jpg

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I tend to use binoviewers only for solar system objects.  I have a dedicated 1.25" diagonal for them to reduce focuser in-travel.  I rarely swap between binoviewing and monoviewing during a single observing session.  It's not that big of a deal on a Dob, but it is a bit more of a pain with refractors and CATs since it requires swapping diagonals.

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4 hours ago, Nikodemuzz said:

Hi all!

I recently had a chance to have a go with binoviewers. For me, the experience was similar to the first time I tried clipless pedals on a bicycle. Transformative might be an appropriate word. So comfortable, and looking at the moon for example, it was enthralling, more real (with the lack of a better description). Some of the more memorable views of the moon, to be honest, and that was with humble 32mm Plossls.

Now, this got me thinking. Going the binoviewer route is yet again one of those choices that is bound to get expensive for obvious reasons. However, a few strategically chosen eyepiece pairs and a barlow for example could go a very long way. What I wouldn't like is the prospect of changing back and forth between mono and binoviewing. In my case that would require either a new diagonal, or screwing adapters in the dark, which personally is a big turn off. I like keeping things simple so that I can focus on doing what I enjoy rather than faffing about with adapters and a countless possible combinations of eyepieces, extenders etc. :D

In order to keep things under control I would have to decide between mono and binoviewing. Not both. Going full stereo means goodbyes to 2" eyepieces, which could actually cover some of the cost. The most concrete sacrifice would be the low power views. With my scope the maximum 1,25" FOV with a Panoptic 24mm or equivalent would yield 42X and a 1,55 degrees. Not a panoramic vista, I suppose, but still considerably wider than I used to get with my C11 and ES82 30mm (93X, 0,88 degrees). By comparison, the 30mm would get me 33X and 2,46 degrees in cyclops mode. 

Granted, only I can judge whether the low power views are, in my personal case, worth sacrificing for ease of use, lower investment and overall astronomical feng shui. But I would like to ask you, have any of you gone down the same road? What did you decide and why?

 

Don't neglect to consider the effect of the OCA (GPC) on the magnification.  In many binoviewers, a 24mm behaves as a 12mm eyepiece.

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12 hours ago, Stu said:

I use binoviewers extensively for high power lunar and solar observing, but I would not want to commit fully to them for everything. Personally I still find widefield viewing better with single eyepieces, plus I find double stars have a nicer ‘purer’ look to them in mono viewing. I am also on the fence for planetary observing. Binoviewing is much more relaxed and it reduces floater visibility a lot, but I sense I am missing some fine detail which still comes through in mono viewing, so I still do both depending on my mood.

I normally stick with either binoviewing or single eyepieces for each session, mixing between them is a bit of a faff as you say.

Not sure if that helps, but it’s an honest opinion, I couldn’t just go full on with Binoviewers despite their advantages.

Thanks for sharing your experience! Well explained, and makes sense. That would be an OK compromise, I think, to decide to go for mono or bino when planning a session. It still leaves the "anxiety" of accumulating more stuff, but that sort of thing seems inevitable in this hobby anyway. :D

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12 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

Exclusively implies they are used for everything,  so in that case no, not in my case.

 

May I ask why in particular?

Nice setup! I like the charts on the walls! 👍

 

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10 hours ago, Don Pensack said:

Don't neglect to consider the effect of the OCA (GPC) on the magnification.  In many binoviewers, a 24mm behaves as a 12mm eyepiece.

This is a good point, thanks! With my telescope (TOA-130) I should be able to get by with a 1,25x GPC, or perhaps none at all. But still, important to keep in mind.

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10 hours ago, Don Pensack said:

Don't neglect to consider the effect of the OCA (GPC) on the magnification.  In many binoviewers, a 24mm behaves as a 12mm eyepiece.

Don

Apologies for my ignorance, but what do OCA and GPC stand for.

John 

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8 minutes ago, johnturley said:

Don

Apologies for my ignorance, but what do OCA and GPC stand for.

John 

Please others correct me if I get this wrong. I'm not sure about OCA, but GPC stands for Glass Path Corrector. They are optical accessories to binoviewers and are used to correct for optical aberrations caused by the prisms in the binoviewer. They also move the focal point and change magnification. A typical problem with binoviewers is that you run out of focuser travel in your scope. GPC's can be used to address that problem. Here is a table from the Baader Maxbright manual, showing how the needed in-focus changes with different diagonals and GPC's:

image.png.3020cee7816f058e536986a734439e22.png

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1 hour ago, Nikodemuzz said:

May I ask why in particular?

Nice setup! I like the charts on the walls! 👍

 

I find that with a 4" refractor, many deep sky targets lose some of their brightness and contrast when viewed through a binoviewer. Using a single eyepiece is much more beneficial for teasing out subtle detail in deep sky objects, plus when in a dark environment there's no issue observing with both eyes open, even though i'm using a single eyepiece. The Moon and planets have plenty of light to spare, so any loss of light due to the bv is not even noticeable.

Edited by mikeDnight
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I observe Lunar  planets and Globular clusters  with a binoviewer 99% of the time.  Deep sky and double stars with a single eyepiece.  I am quite happy to mix both in a session, or not, according to what I want from the session. 

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1 hour ago, HollyHound said:

I’ve found that for a longer session, I like to have the choice, hence the setup in the photo... but this is overkill most of the time 😬

63902E12-602C-4B39-89CF-93FB1C3CFFD5.jpeg

Oh dear, don't give me these dangerous ideas! 😆

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Hi.

I use 2 bino's a Baader Max 2 and a Mk5.

If i'm doing Lunar (or Solar)  and / or Planetary i will pretty much always use a binoviewer.

I'll keep one for low power ; usually the Max2 + 24mm eyepieces for general low power observing

and if there is a moon or planets on view, i'll use the Mk 5 and crank up the power.

I have 2 prism diagonals, one of which is my 'high power diagonal' where a 2.6gpc permanently resides.

I'll then use the Mk5 with that and either my 19mm, 15mm or 12mm eyepieces, depending on the seeing is and what sort of conditions there are.

 

(one should always use a GPC for higher power binoviewing, rather than say, a pair of 5mm eyepieces. Reason ? Not only will they give you the required magnification,

they will also correct for prism induced sphero-chromatism which becomes all too apparent at higher powers. I only routinely use the 2.6x for high power, as i can focus

with no gpc at all in both my scopes, but then keep the magnification low for rich field views of star clusters etc)

 

Using two bino's and diagonals is not a terribly cost effective solution, i know, but i've been doing this hobby more than a few years now, and like most of us, have accumulated bits of gear along the way.

I too, no longer use 2" glass and have sold a couple of expensive eyepieces to help finance my current collection and i find the 24mm Panoptic covers almost all of my wide field, low power needs.

 

I used to own a 12" Dob reflector and used a Denkmeier Powerswitch system with it for a time.

It was a bit big and bulky and had balance issues but on a good night it gave some stunning views

of the brighter Messiers etc. I never used that setup for planetary viewing though, just low power , rich field stuff mostly.

But at nearly 54 i'd grown a bit tired of a big heavy solid tube and decided to downsize to my current 140 & 105mm refractors.

 

I've always enjoyed binocular viewing and took to binoviewing straight away.

I can appreciate some observers not really taking to them for one reason or another, but i always think with some perseverance,

the end views will far out-way any initial niggles once you've found the right set up, and become accustomed to two eyed viewing.

As mentioned they are much more relaxing for extended periods of viewing, where  say, you can look at a planet for several minutes at a time, without tiring,

waiting for those precious few seconds of steady seeing to come along. A good example of this is watching shadow transits on Jupiter, and

even trying to spot the moon itself as it traverses the planet.

 

I also use a dedicated Baader 2" mirror diagonal and have a nice wide field 12.5mm eyepiece that  i regularly use with it (mono style) with things like

double star viewing, sometimes with a Powermate.  I had hoped this would be more beneficial when looking for things like Sirius B Pup or the E & F components in M42's trapezium.

So far though, this hasn't really helped in that department. I think a-lot of the reasons are down to UK conditions and my 54 year old eyes !!

But whether i do bino (most of the time) or mono, for me i still enjoy the views however i observe.  Its always just nice to get out with a scope and enjoy the night sky.

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, johnturley said:

Don

Apologies for my ignorance, but what do OCA and GPC stand for.

John 

OCA = Optical Corrector Adapter

OCS = Optical Corrector System

GPC = Glass Path Corrector

The first two are terms commonly used in the US while the third is commonly used in Europe.

The first two are mainly there to help reach focus while the third claims to correct for chromatism in the binoviewer prisms.  Of course, if you're using the latest Zeiss binoviewers with more mirrors than prisms, I'm not sure you'd want to use a standard GPC designed for an all prism binoviewer with it since it might overcorrect chromatism.

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13 hours ago, johnturley said:

Don

Apologies for my ignorance, but what do OCA and GPC stand for.

John 

They are essentially the same thing.  In the US, the term OCA is used (Optical Corrector Assembly), while in Europe GPC is used (Glass Path Corrector).

They move the focal plane backwards to compensate for the additional inches of light travel through the binoviewer prisms that would normally require inches of in-focus.

I see Louis already answered this.

Edited by Don Pensack
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5 hours ago, Don Pensack said:

They are essentially the same thing.  In the US, the term OCA is used (Optical Corrector Assembly), while in Europe GPC is used (Glass Path Corrector).

They move the focal plane backwards to compensate for the additional inches of light travel through the binoviewer prisms that would normally require inches of in-focus.

I see Louis already answered this.

Is there any truth to Baader's claims below that their GPCs actually correct for added chromatism of the binoviewer prisms?  I've never seen this claim made for OCAs/OCSs.  I just use the nosepiece of a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus at 3x and have never noticed any chromatism in my images.

A Baader Glaspathcorrector® is not a Barlow lens! The reason for this name is only secondly the displacement of the focal point

A Glaspathcorrector® is primarily intended to correct the prismatic color fringing that occurs on Refractors due to the high amount of glasses used in binocular prisms

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2 hours ago, Louis D said:

Is there any truth to Baader's claims below that their GPCs actually correct for added chromatism of the binoviewer prisms?  I've never seen this claim made for OCAs/OCSs.  I just use the nosepiece of a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus at 3x and have never noticed any chromatism in my images.

A Baader Glaspathcorrector® is not a Barlow lens! The reason for this name is only secondly the displacement of the focal point

A Glaspathcorrector® is primarily intended to correct the prismatic color fringing that occurs on Refractors due to the high amount of glasses used in binocular prisms

I’ve often wondered the same thing Louis!

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Nothing exclusively used, but when it comes to lunar viewing bino for me is unbeatable. That first-use feeling doesn't leave and is there every time I attach them to an inexpensive Dob'. If you are on tight budget as most people are these days, keep an eye out for a binoviewer on ABS, that's where I took a punt on a WO set that came with two decent lenses and was in excellent condition. Be warned though, the experience will make you covet the more expensive and fantastic looking specs of the high-brand versions. I am still saving for them to do justice to the Tak refractor.

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25 minutes ago, Mariner74 said:

Nothing exclusively used, but when it comes to lunar viewing bino for me is unbeatable. That first-use feeling doesn't leave and is there every time I attach them to an inexpensive Dob'. If you are on tight budget as most people are these days, keep an eye out for a binoviewer on ABS, that's where I took a punt on a WO set that came with two decent lenses and was in excellent condition. Be warned though, the experience will make you covet the more expensive and fantastic looking specs of the high-brand versions. I am still saving for them to do justice to the Tak refractor.

Ditto... bought a second hand pair of WO BV’s in near mint condition last October and haven’t looked back, I honestly wish I’d bought them earlier.  

Was out the last few nights and views of the moon through my Tak FC-100DL, BV’s, TV 2.5x power mate & 15mm TV plossls have been nothing short of brilliant! 

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5 hours ago, Louis D said:

Is there any truth to Baader's claims below that their GPCs actually correct for added chromatism of the binoviewer prisms?  I've never seen this claim made for OCAs/OCSs.  I just use the nosepiece of a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus at 3x and have never noticed any chromatism in my images.

A Baader Glaspathcorrector® is not a Barlow lens! The reason for this name is only secondly the displacement of the focal point

A Glaspathcorrector® is primarily intended to correct the prismatic color fringing that occurs on Refractors due to the high amount of glasses used in binocular prisms

They certainly do !!

Designed by non other than Roland Christen, who knows whats what.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For low power views there are always binocular telescopes, no GPC needed,

Peter

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