View Full Version here: : Binoviewers for Planetary Obs
02-07-2012, 03:13 PM
I would be grateful if anyone can share some wisdom and/or experience with planetary observing with binoviewers?
The literature generally talks about Binoviewers in terms of neurology in that you have better observing capability via double neural inputs in using both eyes feeding into your brain as opposed to traditional unnatural cyclops vision. The downside asides from costs is splitting the lightpath and thus potential loss of light.
With these factors in mind most folks I have encountered use Bino's for widefield observing. However, I would like to know whether anyone knows how some good quality binoviewers and high powered EPs would fair in planetary observing and whether there are indeed distinct improvement over traditional cyclops vision on planets or are Binos not really suited for planetary etc?
All thoughts and opinions are welcome.
02-07-2012, 06:22 PM
Ive been in and out of astronomy and telescope making, for over 50 years now. About 2 years back I became aware of the binoviewing concept. Began to look into what it was all about, read all the literature, read the rave reviews etc, and looked at the options and pricing, out there in binoviewer world. Initially three things put me off, (I tend to look out for the negatives first). First up was the price tag, most units were from $500-$1500 when fitted up with neccessary correctors and a set of suitable oculars. Secondly, would I have trouble "merging the two images", it seems some people do have. Thirdly I was concerned about the light loss due to the beam split. Rather then forking out $500 plus I thought,"why not try out something I had seen on Ebay": ie had seen a binoviewer package,(Williams Optics), which included:bino body, pair of 20mm 66deg eyepieces, and a 1.6x corrector/barlow, all for US$199 plus $14.99 postage. I thought if it dosent work out then I wont have burnt too much cash. WELL, its the best item of astro kit I have, (after my scopes). My expectations were far exceeded. 99% of lunar and planetary is via these binos,(the views are out of this world 3-D effect,contrast and resolution greatly enhanced). Also very good on globs and nebs. Use binos 50/50 on DSOs. Cyclops better on fainter objects, and low power wide field "sweeping". I actually purchased two complete packages, as I know quality control varies between units, and in fact for one unit it was a little difficult to merge images, and images didnt focus as sharply as the other. Managed to quit the underperforming package at purchase price. For me binoviewing has revolutionised my solar system observing. Hope this helps.
02-07-2012, 07:16 PM
I really appreciate the feedback. So - just as a short question - overall - putting aside the price tag and logistical issues of set-up/merging etc you definitely feel there is a significant improvement in perception of planetary objectives/details at high magnifications with Binoviewers over traditional cyclops viewing?
The literature and when you think about common sense indicates we see things better with 2 eyes rather than one but I often feel you need peoples reports to really get some good ideas.
02-07-2012, 10:03 PM
Depends on the observer IMO, I prefer the binoviewer exp. & in smaller scopes 4-5" the binoviewers are really only good for moon & planets - they cut down a bit of light on dso's unless the scope is 8"
For planetary you can get away with the. Healer bino units from WO or stellarvue etc- the expensive units provide more clear aperture for wide views, which is unnecessary for planetary
03-07-2012, 11:42 AM
Thanks Dan - I very much appreciate the feedback - so it generally seems to be correct that (putting aside the costs issues and logistical encumbrance) two eyes are better than one for planetary observing as well.
03-07-2012, 06:06 PM
03-07-2012, 06:27 PM
Hi - just to chip on, as a test, I rigged up a binoviewer from a zeiss microscope head and then bought some 23mm microscope eyepieces (Nikon, Olympus). The views on the moon and planets through my 4" f13 refractor are just superb. There is an obvious loss of light but I was still very impressed. I imagine a high quality binoviewer through a larger scope would be terrific.
03-07-2012, 06:27 PM
I'm not sure I've been able to pick out more detail with binoviewers, but certainly not less and they're instantly more comfortable and engaging than a single eyepiece. I find narrow, plossl sized eyepieces most comfortable to view with.
05-07-2012, 11:46 AM
Agree with the comfortable views, but the loss of light puts me off. Although great on the moon. I can also tell there are more optics in the optical train compared with mono viewing. Just depends how critical you are. For me it just a curiosity these days. I just recently spent many hours viewing Saturn and comparing mono with bino mode and came to the conclusion the sharper and brighter images of cyclops were preferrable to me. I have a Denk II Supersystem, so not like it's a lousy binoviewer.
In any case, I don't doubt there are those who prefer the views and don't question that at all. You won't really know until you try for yourself, so if at all possible, try and see before you shell out $$$'s like I did. If you can't manage that, I guess you'll have to go by your instincts and other peoples comments.
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