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Binoviewers vs Cyclops


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55 minutes ago, Andrew_B said:

Mike, I've not seen any Revalation branded binoviewers on sale. Are they the kind of model you see sometimes branded (usually Celestron) but often unbranded on various sites selling bargain Chinese optics?

The ones I've seen usually have an aperture of 22mm, BAK-4 prisms, 54-75mm inter-pupillary distance, what I presume is diopter adjustment, and usually one or two Barlow lenses, which seems remarkably good value for money. Did yours come with a Barlow or do you use a separate high quality one?

Thanks

Hi Andrew,

 I think the Revelation is just a brand name and that really its just a generic binoviewer. WO and Celestron look very similar, as does Skywatcher. In the pic below, you can see the use a locking screw to secure the eyepieces. The BV didn't come with a GPS or barlow, so I either use a SW Delux barlow or a Celestron Ultima SV barlow attached to the nose piece. 

IMG_20210312_221335_1.thumb.jpg.d464101054cbd87cfa14e2c684309fca.jpg

1593503157101_20200427_144347.jpg.85413cae96c5c4a0f951dcbff68ddf0b.thumb.jpg.8f8893119148b57009ca1c044981952b.jpg

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13 hours ago, F15Rules said:

In a similar way, Televue steadfastly refuse to do away with the wretched undercuts on their eyepieces, despite a large number (perhaps the majority?) of observers preferring a smooth barrel option. Televue have apparently said that the cost of offering smooth barrel options would not be economically viable..really?? I find it hard to believe that the omission of an undercut could add much, if any additional cost to the manufacturing process, and surely to stock smooth barrels as an aftermarket option would not be too difficult? So, despite their superb product quality, I only own one Televue eyepiece (well, that and their increasingly unaffordable new prices!).

Dave

 

Dave,

Here is why:

If TeleVue switched to smooth barrels, it would say to the market that the undercuts are inferior.  The eyepieces in dealer's showrooms would automatically be worth less and the average dealer would stand to lose thousands.

 

If TeleVue just added the smooth barrels as an option, it would mean every dealer would have to have double inventory, because, inscrutably, some people actually want and prefer the undercut, and the dealer couldn't know which customer

would approach first. 

 

TeleVue would have to double their inventory as well, something they cannot afford.

 

In this Covid era, production is maxed out because demand is 3-4x the size of only 2 years ago and the factories simply cannot make more (one of the many reasons there are shortages), so the factory simply couldn't double the production to make

both smooth and undercut barrels.  Obviously, the smooth barrel version wouldn't cost more, but if the production quantity of both smooth and undercut barrels dropped because of a split inventory, it's possible BOTH versions would cost more.

 

Going to a smooth barrel option in the aftermarket wouldn't be feasible, either.  The number of different barrels they'd need would be large.  And the individual costs would also be large because they would no longer be a part of an eyepiece "package".

Ever price out a £300 bicycle in parts?  10x as much for the same thing.  I recall hearing US$50-$100 for each after market barrel.  Who would pay that on top of the already expensive eyepiece prices?

 

And, there is no one at TeleVue, who is completely maxed out on time for the employees, to dismantle one with an undercut barrel and install the lenses into a barrel with smooth sides.  And if they did so, there would be a large labor charge.

 

So no, it isn't economically viable for TeleVue to offer smooth barrels.

Instead, as a running change, they beveled the undercut to aid in removal.

 

Then, let's look at current, in production, eyepieces with smooth barrels:

A few APMs and Altairs (most other sellers of the same eyepieces have undercuts)

Baader eyepieces

Vixen SLVs (unclear whether they are still in production)

And...?

 

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14 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

Hi Andrew,

 I think the Revelation is just a brand name and that really its just a generic binoviewer. WO and Celestron look very similar, as does Skywatcher. In the pic below, you can see the use a locking screw to secure the eyepieces. The BV didn't come with a GPS or barlow, so I either use a SW Delux barlow or a Celestron Ultima SV barlow attached to the nose piece. 

IMG_20210312_221335_1.thumb.jpg.d464101054cbd87cfa14e2c684309fca.jpg

1593503157101_20200427_144347.jpg.85413cae96c5c4a0f951dcbff68ddf0b.thumb.jpg.8f8893119148b57009ca1c044981952b.jpg

Correct, it is a Norin binoviewer and has been offered by many many companies, from Celestron to William Optics.

The binoviewer itself is not too bad, though not friendly to larger field stop eyepieces, but the GPC that comes with is simply horrible and adds spherical aberration and chromatic aberration.

I reviewed these a few years ago and found that just about any other brand of GPC was better corrected.

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1 hour ago, mikeDnight said:

Hi Andrew,

 I think the Revelation is just a brand name and that really its just a generic binoviewer. WO and Celestron look very similar, as does Skywatcher. In the pic below, you can see the use a locking screw to secure the eyepieces. The BV didn't come with a GPS or barlow, so I either use a SW Delux barlow or a Celestron Ultima SV barlow attached to the nose piece. 

IMG_20210312_221335_1.thumb.jpg.d464101054cbd87cfa14e2c684309fca.jpg

1593503157101_20200427_144347.jpg.85413cae96c5c4a0f951dcbff68ddf0b.thumb.jpg.8f8893119148b57009ca1c044981952b.jpg

Many thanks Mike, that's really helpful. It looks a lot like the binoviewers I've been looking at although they used an all black colour scheme and some appeared to have a kind of twist lock holder for the eyepieces with others using normal locking screws.

I don't have a Barlow like yours but I do have the Baader Hyperion 2.25x Barlow which should thread either onto the nosepiece or possibly in place of the nosepiece which I would imagine would enable different amounts of magnification.

I find cyclops viewing gets a bit tiring after a while, especially when planetary viewing so I'm keen to try one of these out and the cost of a basic binoviewer and a couple of cheap orthos to start me off won't break the bank.

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1 hour ago, Don Pensack said:

Correct, it is a Norin binoviewer and has been offered by many many companies, from Celestron to William Optics.

The binoviewer itself is not too bad, though not friendly to larger field stop eyepieces, but the GPC that comes with is simply horrible and adds spherical aberration and chromatic aberration.

I reviewed these a few years ago and found that just about any other brand of GPC was better corrected.

That's useful to know. I'll try my Hyperion 2.25x Barlow first and I can always invest in a GPC later on.

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Just make sure the BV you choose has locking collets instead of thumbscrews.  Because the latter push the eyepiece off center to the side, merging can become an issue with them.

I have the Arcturus BV with two useless Barlows (both induce the weirdest linear instead of radial coma) but without the eyepieces of the current version.  I've never had trouble with the locking collets with smooth side eyepiece barrels.  I use the nosepiece from a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus, operating at 3x.

I also tried inserting my BV into a Parks GS 2x Barlow (also known as Celestron Ultima and Orion Shorty Plus) and saw pretty much identical performance, so there are multiple options to reach focus.

Edited by Louis D
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9 hours ago, Andrew_B said:

That's useful to know. I'll try my Hyperion 2.25x Barlow first and I can always invest in a GPC later on.

Hi Andrew,

I use the same Hyperion 2.25x Barlow and it works very well in the binoviewer, as does the W.O. 1.6x nosepiece. If you can find one (they come up fairly often used for c £50), the Celestron Ultima is a fine Barlow too👍.

Dave

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9 hours ago, Louis D said:

Just make sure the BV you choose has locking collets instead of thumbscrews.  Because the latter push the eyepiece off center to the side, merging can become an issue with them.

I have the Arcturus BV with two useless Barlows (both induce the weirdest linear instead of radial coma) but without the eyepieces of the current version.  I've never had trouble with the locking collets with smooth side eyepiece barrels.  I use the nosepiece from a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus, operating at 3x.

I also tried inserting my BV into a Parks GS 2x Barlow (also known as Celestron Ultima and Orion Shorty Plus) and saw pretty much identical performance, so there are multiple options to reach focus.

That's a good point about the thumb screws. With mine I have to keep the thumb screws on the inside otherwise there's no way the images will merge. I'm so used to my binoviewers mechanical shortcomings that its second nature to me now. I also need to sharp focus my right eye using the scopes rack & pinion, then retract the left hand eyepiece by a millimetre or so until that too is sharp, then lock it. I never use the diopter adjustment as it demerges the image. Doing things the way I do, the views are spectacular.

Edited by mikeDnight
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3 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

I never use the diopter adjustment as it demerges the image.

Same with the Arcturus BV.  It's actually funny in a sad sort of way to watch one image circle around the other while spinning the diopter adjuster.

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On 11/10/2021 at 08:49, Deadlake said:

However try buying either new or on the second hand market....

 

On 11/10/2021 at 10:26, F15Rules said:

I hope at some point to get a Baader Maxbright MkII when they reappear on the market😊.

 Maxbright II should be available in Jan 22 according to the Baader UK rep.

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1 minute ago, Franklin said:

 

 Maxbright II should be available in Jan 22 according to the Baader UK rep.

Thanks Tim. 

It will be interesting to see by how much they will have gone up in price by then🤔..judging by how much everything else is rising, I suspect we could get a nasty shock.

Dave

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Just now, F15Rules said:

It will be interesting to see by how much they will have gone up in price

Yes Dave, I don't think there will be much change from £400. I still want a set though. The WO's were great but I would prefer the non-rotating dioptre adjustments of the Maxbrights, as I've got a doubled up set of BCO's with the winged eyecups just sat waiting! Bill.P points this out in his excellent review, as well as the greater clear aperture. Best start saving!

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On 11/10/2021 at 14:20, wookie1965 said:

Just a quick one would binos work in my refractors and would I get any benefit please.

They would work with a barlow Paul. The longest fl eyepiece to use without vignetting would be about 20mm, so with a 2x barlow your low power would be 10mm fl equivalent eyepiece, around 100x assuming 1000fl scope. Benefits are, much more comfortable viewing, greater definition of details and the Moon just looks awesome in 3D.

Edited by Franklin
correction
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12 hours ago, Louis D said:

Just make sure the BV you choose has locking collets instead of thumbscrews.  Because the latter push the eyepiece off center to the side, merging can become an issue with them.

I have the Arcturus BV with two useless Barlows (both induce the weirdest linear instead of radial coma) but without the eyepieces of the current version.  I've never had trouble with the locking collets with smooth side eyepiece barrels.  I use the nosepiece from a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus, operating at 3x.

I also tried inserting my BV into a Parks GS 2x Barlow (also known as Celestron Ultima and Orion Shorty Plus) and saw pretty much identical performance, so there are multiple options to reach focus.

Thank you, that's useful advice about the eyepiece retention system. Saved me getting the wrong thing.

I saw a a few models that looked like that Antares BV which came with a pair of Barlow lenses (1.85x and 3x). I suspected that their quality can't have been up to much given what the entire package was selling for.

3 hours ago, F15Rules said:

Hi Andrew,

I use the same Hyperion 2.25x Barlow and it works very well in the binoviewer, as does the W.O. 1.6x nosepiece. If you can find one (they come up fairly often used for c £50), the Celestron Ultima is a fine Barlow too👍.

Dave

Good to know. I ended up ordering a binoviewer sold under the Sky Rover brand who also have a few nice eyepieces that look the same as more familiar offerings from OVL and APM. I chose it mainly because it comes with a proper case but it also includes a 1.6x nosepiece in addition to the standard one so I wonder if that's the same model that W.O. were selling? I'll try it out and if it's junk it hardly matters for what I paid.

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4 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

That's a good point about the thumb screws. With mine I have to keep the thumb screws on the inside otherwise there's no way the images will merge. I'm so used to my binoviewers mechanical shortcomings that its second nature to me now. I also need to sharp focus my right eye using the scopes rack & pinion, then retract the left hand eyepiece by a millimetre or so until that too is sharp, then lock it. I never use the diopter adjustment as it demerges the image. Doing things the way I do, the views are spectacular.

Great thread this for BV buffs and wannabe's!  

I have those thumb screws on my WO binos but they don't appear to demerge just de-focus if they are out of adjustment so my setup routine is similar to yours Mike, I tend to focus the left eyepiece first with the OTA's rack & pinion (right eye closed) then focus the right eyepiece diopter (left eye closed) ensuring eyepieces are fully home and thumbscrews are nipped up but not overtightened as this effects the focus. 

Hadn't thought about retracting or extending one of the eyepieces to sharpen the focus, saves you having to rotate the focusing diopter, also having the thumbscrews pointing inwards might be a bonus as well as the WO binos are very easily knocked out of adjustment especially when you stow them away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Louis D said:

Just make sure the BV you choose has locking collets instead of thumbscrews.  Because the latter push the eyepiece off center to the side, merging can become an issue with them.

I have the Arcturus BV with two useless Barlows (both induce the weirdest linear instead of radial coma) but without the eyepieces of the current version.  I've never had trouble with the locking collets with smooth side eyepiece barrels.  I use the nosepiece from a Meade 140 2x Barlow to reach focus, operating at 3x.

I also tried inserting my BV into a Parks GS 2x Barlow (also known as Celestron Ultima and Orion Shorty Plus) and saw pretty much identical performance, so there are multiple options to reach focus.

Collets do really well on eyepieces with smooth barrels, but not eyepieces with conical tapered undercuts.  On those, the simple thumbscrew works best because the thumbscrews pull the eyepieces down into tight contact with the top of the 

eyepiece insertion tubes.  Ideally, a centering binder would be best, but centering binders don't work well on eyepieces with barrel undercuts.

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37 minutes ago, Andrew_B said:

Thank you, that's useful advice about the eyepiece retention system. Saved me getting the wrong thing.

I saw a a few models that looked like that Antares BV which came with a pair of Barlow lenses (1.85x and 3x). I suspected that their quality can't have been up to much given what the entire package was selling for.

Good to know. I ended up ordering a binoviewer sold under the Sky Rover brand who also have a few nice eyepieces that look the same as more familiar offerings from OVL and APM. I chose it mainly because it comes with a proper case but it also includes a 1.6x nosepiece in addition to the standard one so I wonder if that's the same model that W.O. were selling? I'll try it out and if it's junk it hardly matters for what I paid.

Sky Rover is the In-House brand name for United Optics, from whom come many many brands of eyepieces, including APM, Meade, Celestron, etc.

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2 minutes ago, Don Pensack said:

Collets do really well on eyepieces with smooth barrels, but not eyepieces with conical tapered undercuts.  On those, the simple thumbscrew works best because the thumbscrews pull the eyepieces down into tight contact with the top of the 

eyepiece insertion tubes.  Ideally, a centering binder would be best, but centering binders don't work well on eyepieces with barrel undercuts.

Or any undercut if the collet is high as with the Arcturus.  It tends to push the eyepiece up and out of the holder because it's trying to tighten on the upper taper.  I have to jam it down while tightening to prevent this from happening.

Even with thumbscrews I've had this issue (on a diagonal) when it is too high and also pushes the eyepiece up and out while tightening because it's pushing against the upper taper.  I don't know how high the Norin BV thumbscrews are mounted, though.

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I've used binoviewers for the last couple of years and have a good set up with Maxbright II's. However it took a long time and a few different binoviewers before I got it working for me.

I find anything not too faint is as good or better in binoviewers. The downside for me though is they make a higher workload because you are having to think about and change over more things, there's more weight so balancing is tougher, and I don't have the ability to grip a binoviewer hard enough to be able to point a binoviewer out to the side  without it slipping down, so I have to have them pointing straight up which isn't always ideal. 

I agree with the comments made about set up being critical, getting the collimation right, the focus on each eye right, and things like making sure you line you eyes up accurately with each eyepiece all matter a lot.

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10 minutes ago, Paz said:

I've used binoviewers for the last couple of years and have a good set up with Maxbright II's. However it took a long time and a few different binoviewers before I got it working for me.

I find anything not too faint is as good or better in binoviewers. The downside for me though is they make a higher workload because you are having to think about and change over more things, there's more weight so balancing is tougher, and I don't have the ability to grip a binoviewer hard enough to be able to point a binoviewer out to the side  without it slipping down, so I have to have them pointing straight up which isn't always ideal. 

I agree with the comments made about set up being critical, getting the collimation right, the focus on each eye right, and things like making sure you line you eyes up accurately with each eyepiece all matter a lot.

Very true in all you say there. It took me about six pairs before I got ones which I liked and worked better for me than cyclops. The last point about focusing and lining up each eyepiece is critical I think, adjusting the inter pupillary distance so you see the full field stop in each eyepiece makes a big difference.

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7 hours ago, Stu said:

Very true in all you say there. It took me about six pairs before I got ones which I liked and worked better for me than cyclops. The last point about focusing and lining up each eyepiece is critical I think, adjusting the inter pupillary distance so you see the full field stop in each eyepiece makes a big difference.

Yes, I too agree. They definitely take a bit of work to get set up correctly. I have had mixed results, sometimes I can combine the images easily and sometimes it just does not happen. Everything came together for me the other day which is what prompted me to start this thread.

So it has been trial and error for me up to now, but thanks to all your replies, I now have some theory behind it all and some techniques to get it all to work. Just waiting now for the clouds to go so I can put it all into practice!

Malcolm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 11/10/2021 at 15:15, MalcolmM said:

Others more experienced than me can give you the pros and cons and possibilities. All I can tell you is the WO Binoviewers work great in my Tak FS100DC but I had to use a Baader diagonal and a glass path corrector in order to achieve focus. Doing a search on the forum will give you lots of advice on what works/does not work. I'm afraid I don't feel qualified to give you a good answer!

Hi Malcolm.

I too am considering changing my 2" diagonal to achieve focus. Can I just clarify is the Badder diagonal you use a 1 1/4"?

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6 hours ago, bond19 said:

Hi Malcolm.

I too am considering changing my 2" diagonal to achieve focus. Can I just clarify is the Badder diagonal you use a 1 1/4"?

I have a Tak FC-100DL and WO BV's.

For me to achieve (native) focus without a Barlow / TV 2.5 Powermate or supplied WO 1.6x nosepiece I use a Baader 1.25 PRISM diagonal and a Baader ultra short clamp.

To achieve focus and increase magnification I use either a Barlow / Powermate or WO nosepiece and a 2" Baader MIRROR diagonal.

What I've found through trial & error and good SGL advice is a mirror diagonal uses up quite a lot of back focus compared to a prism diagonal, also switching to shorter adapters for native viewing did the trick for me.

Not sure how you could achieve this with your TV 102 & Dob but just a thought 🤔

Edited by jock1958
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3 hours ago, bond19 said:

Hi Malcolm.

I too am considering changing my 2" diagonal to achieve focus. Can I just clarify is the Badder diagonal you use a 1 1/4"?

Hi, I use a Baader T-2 Prism Star-Diagonal 32mm with a Baader Nosepiece 1.25" - T2 and Baader T-thread to 1.25" Helical Focuser. The helical focuser is a bit of a faff as unless you loosen the Binoviewers, they spin with the focuser! All bought through FLO. Hope this helps!

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