William Optics Binoviewers – A Class Act

by Tammy Plotner on September 13, 2008

I like using binoculars… and I like using a telescope. So what happens when you combine both? For savvy telescope users, the result is called a binoviewer – but using one can sometimes introduce problems. Dark images, fast focal ratio telescopes, problems with focusing and outright expense… But can these problems be overcome in a binoviewer that’s easy to afford, works with all telescopes, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and is high quality? The answer is yes…

Say hello to the William Optics Binoviewer.

At first I really wasn’t very interested in working with a binoviewer because the 3D effect definitely throws my mind a curve when studying at the telescope. Oh, yes. I had all kinds of excuses. More difficulty focusing with one eye than another, my favorite scope has a fast focal ratio, I use reflectors… You name it. But William Optics changed my mind.

When I opened the well-made little carton with it’s pretty embossed logo, I was stunned at the craftsmanship. Pictures do not do it justice. The William Optics Binoviewers are very precision in appearance with sterile white powder coat paint, heavy – but not too heavy, big, easy-to-grip thumbscrews and brass compression ring fittings for the eyepieces. Instead of needing to purchase two additional eyepieces, it comes already equipped with twin William Optics Wide Angle (66º) 20mm occulars. Just to state a case in point here, I know for a fact these two eyepieces alone are worth more than half of what the binoviewers cost! But, back to the task in hand…

The William Optics Binoviewers spread easily to accommodate interpupillary distance and each eyepiece holder has its own separate helical focuser. What’s more – and this is a feature that sets them apart – they come already equipped with a 1.6X barlow nosepiece. What’s inside? According to the manufacturer specs, we’re talking about a true BaK4 prism with a genuine 20.2mm of clear aperture. So what does terms like that mean to just the average Joe? It means we aren’t talking about a pair of binoviewers that are going to lay around in your eyepiece case because they deliver cruddy images… We’re talking about a class act.

I’m not exactly sure what makes the William Optics Binoviewers work so well, maybe it’s the 4″ optical path, but whatever it is, they are unlike any inexpensive binoviewers I’ve ever used. Combine it with a h-alpha solar telescope and once you’re in tune you’ll get an image that will blow your mind. Put it in a refractor telescope and go for Jupiter… the effect of sheer dimensionality and being able to tell distance in the galiean moons will make you a planetary observer. Use it in your workhorse reflector and study the Moon. You’ll feel like you’re there, dude. Drop the binoviewer into a big dob and check out something familiar – like the M27. Holy guacamole… It looks like something you’d see in an IMAX theatre! Put it in a little rich field telescope and look at a star cluster… You can see the light years between the stars. Put it in an observatory telescope and look at a galaxy?

And you’ll become a believer.

How do I feel about the William Optics Binoviewer now? While it may never surpass the Denkmeier or Bino Vue in some folks opinion, it’s not going to take part of your life savings to afford and you won’t regret the purchase. As far as compatibility goes, it worked with every telescope I happen to own and provided sharp clarity, bright images and an absolutely stunning three-dimensional effect on every object I chose. For $199 you get the complete package and no surprises. You won’t need to buy eyepieces, adapters or a special nosepiece – it works with any 1.25″ focuser and probably any telescope you choose to put it in. Small wonder I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about William Optics Binoviewers…

They’re a real class act.

We would like to thank Oceanside Photo and Telescope for providing the William Optics Binoviewers for this product review. If you’re interested in purchasing a pair of William Optics Binoviewers from OPT, please remember to put “Universe Today Astronomers” in the club affiliation box when you check out to receive your special UT discount on your final bill!

About 

Tammy is a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status.

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