The astronomical marketplace is certainly a small one compared to other similar discretionary spending hobbies. But within all industries there are icons and founder/owner/optical designer of Televue optics, Al Nagler is one of those.
Televue is known for their excellent portable refractors and wide field eyepieces. Mr. Nagler is possibly the industry expert on eyepiece design. His eyepieces have taken astronomers from a very restricted view through the eyepiece to one that resembles a walk in space. The innovative eyepieces he and his team have designed have revolutionized the visual market and command a premium price.
Mr. Nagler is not only an icon for the amateur astronomer, but he is also an ambassador for the hobby. He is most kind with his time and knowledge to all who seek it. I had a wonderful conversation with him on Monday about his newly tweaked tv127 shown in the photo. The optics are largely unchanged at 660mm focal length, but he has extended the tube to achieve better scope balance as well as added a 10:1 microfocuser to improve fine focus performance. The views through the binoviewer in daylight were very enjoyable. The 127 would certainly make a very effective astrophotography scope being a native f5.2. Pricing for the 127 is over $6000.
Mr. Nagler also educated me on the importance of knowing the field stop for a given eyepiece so that one can make an accurate comparison from one eyepiece to the next on effective field of view. The calculations are available on the Televue website and Televue provides the field stop data for all of their eyepieces. The field stop calculation may also be utilized in photography for calculating the field of view for any given focal length lens and chip combination. Since I am writing this blog mobile while on the trip, I cannot provide links and data as I would like.
Mr. Nagler is an icon in the amateur astronomer industry. His telescope and eyepieces have enhanced the visual astronomer's as well as astrophotgrapher's experience immensely. If you ever have an opportunity to have conversation with him I highly recommend that you do so; I think you might just learn something.
Stay tuned for more info and images from wsp 2010.