Capturing the Stars [Product Review]

Fans of the Siebert Monocentric ID series of eyepieces certainly have a lot to fall in love with. Since they have a wider and flatter field of view, they tend to be much easier to look into. The manufacturer claims that they are color corrected at 100 percent across their field of view. While they might not be quite as perfect as the company claims, they really do turn those globular clusters into a thing of beauty.

Amateur astronomers with driven mounts will find the Siebert Monocentric ID design to be more attractive than those with traditional telescopes. Several off-axis aberrations in the eyepiece are caused by the fast focal ratio scopes. This means that individuals who stick to using regular systems won’t be able to keep objects on-axis very easily. Anyone with a motor should fawn over the Siebert optics, however.

While it might not be the best design for individuals who don’t care to put work into their viewing sessions, this Siebert model will produce impressive details for those who are ready to experiment. Siebert eyepieces have a homemade appearance that illustrates the fact that they’re made by a small company. One might say that astronomers make them for their fellow astronomers.

  • I gave away all my astronomy equipment a couple years ago because my eyes are getting bad. I kept buying new eyepieces hoping I’d see better, but I was always disappointed. I used to spend hours and hours reading eyepiece reviews.

    I think telescope eyepieces are like stereo equipment, you can spend a lot of money to get better sound, but unless you’re a teen with great ears you won’t notice it.

    I just accept that I can see much better from astronomical photographs taken by giant telescopes. But I miss the astronomy hobby.

    • Jason Carr

      Good points Jim. I’ve been looking through telescopes for a long time now and I too have noticed that with each passing year, I struggle a bit more. I’m hopeful that I still have a few years left however I definitely anticipate a day when I’ll spend more time viewing the stars via a computer monitor rather than an eyepiece. And you’re absolutely right, enjoying images from Hubble and others has most certainly changed the dynamic of astronomy viewing for all of us.

      • Well Jason, I’ve always been very near-sighted, with a lot of astigmaticism. But the reality is things seen through a telescope is never like the great photographs we see in books. A galaxy is a small smudge of light. Even Jupiter, which is a very easy target, isn’t all that great. And unless you have a really great telescope, jitters so much that it’s hard to look at. To me, only the Moon was really dramatic. I prefer looking at a dark sky without a telescope, especially when it’s dark enough to see the Milky Way.

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  • Ngarinshon

    I chose 7 35 binoculars for gereanl field use, bird watching, and wildlife study. I had originally planned to buy the more expensive Action Extremes for their shock and water resistance. But on a recent visit to the big city, I had a chance to compare them with these, side by side and was unable to convince myself to buy the more expensive pair. After looking through both the Action and the Action Extreme, I felt that I could not obtain a sharp focus with the Extremes. Puzzled, I asked the salesman to break out a second pair, but again could not focus the Action Extremes as clearly. I was quite ready to pay extra for the shock and water resistance of the more expensive binoculars, but sharp focus and clarity of view trump the other qualities. After three weeks of use, which have included birding, an airshow, and some casual observation of the night sky, I am quite pleased with these. They are lightweight, fast and easy to focus. The only complaint I have is that while the eyepiece lens covers are easily, conveniently, and semi-permanently secured to the neck strap, the objective lens covers are not. The objective lens caps are equiped with molded slots that can be attached to the neck strap, but they work poorly, and are NOT secure. I found myself crawling around in the mud looking for the lens caps several times before deciding that they were best kept in my pocket. This is an irritating flaw in an otherwise well designed and nicely made product.

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