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Advice on planetary/lunar EP for newbie


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I use manual dobs (although I have now made an equatorial platform for the smaller 6" to track). on the moon and double stars the Nagler zoom gives truly amazing views and is well worth the money. with my 6" scope it gives 267x-533x and I use it regularly on the moon at the lower end and sometimes at the higher end - when seeing is good or better I can use it at 400x relatively often on moon and double stars and have even done so at 533x on the moon from time to time - in a 6" scope! - amazing views. the other night I was looking at a few doubles and there was a substantial gap between the four components of Epsilon Lyrae and lovely Airy discs around the components of Epsilon Bootis.

I also have some BGOs (7, 9, 12.5, 18mm) and I definitely fall into the love 'em camp.

if you are happy with the use of Russ's ortho (what a top geezer he is as always) you could do worse than get a 6-3mm zoom (they do come up used every now and again), a 7mm and a 9mm BGO (also used) and then you'd have a truly excellent planetary / lunar set.

all that said, just wait and see what you can manage from your existing kit. A Telrad and right angle finder would be high on my list and make life a lot easier.

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Thanks everyone for your help on this one. Will try out the ortho from Russ and see how I get on with the tight ER. Even if it doesn't bother me I might still get a Nagler Zoom just because of the versatility it offers. I'm never going to buy a 3mm fixed focal length EP because it'll hardly ever get used, BUT I love the idea of being able to crank up to x400 on the moon/planets in those rare, brief moments the observing conditions allow.

Edited by ScoobyStoo
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You'll find that once Mars comes back round in late 2011 and early 2012, that 400x is actually quite useful sometimes. I must admit a 3-6 Nagler is one of my dream eyepieces but not as much as the latest Speers-Waler 5-8mm zoom. The Speers maintains a constant 80deg+ afov across its range and with good ER. I had the MkI version and it was really nice. The focal length range was perfectly judged. Should never have sold it.

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I agree with you totally Russ about the SW zoom. It's excellent. My only problem with it was the size - like a baseball bat when extended cf the Nagler. If only TV would produce a 6.5-13mm or a 5-10mm Nagler zoom. Even with 50 degree field and 10mm eye relief it would be a superb accompaniment for the 3-6mm.

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I must admit a 3-6 Nagler is one of my dream eyepieces but not as much as the latest Speers-Waler 5-8mm zoom. The Speers maintains a constant 80deg+ afov across its range and with good ER. I had the MkI version and it was really nice. The focal length range was perfectly judged. Should never have sold it.

Looks like a nice eyepiece but at 250 quid it's 40 quid more expensive than a 7mm Nagler which has the same FOV. How's it stack up optically against the Nagler?

Was going to ask as well...the TV 8-24mm Zoom doesn't seem to receive nearly the same amount of praise as the Nagler Zooms. Is it considered a bit of a turkey? I mean, 8-24mm is a MASSIVE range to cover in one eyepiece.

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Don't quote me but i think the TV 8-24 is just a generic zoom eyepiece from the same factory as the Meade and Vixen versions. The stats read the same as every other 8-24 zoom available. But the reviews are good, as they are for the Meade.

It doesn't have a constant afov like the other TV zooms or the Speers. And the afov at the wide end is restricted.

I had the low rent Celestron 8-24 and actually i thought it was pretty good. I stayed away from the 24mm setting but it was very handy at all other settings.

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The 8-24 zoom is the only Televue eyepiece that's not actually made by Televue. They buy it in but do their own quality control checks.

John

At 200 quid a pop I'm guessing there are much better ways to spend your money in that focal range. That'd cover the cost of 3 TV plossls.

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I agree with you totally Russ about the SW zoom. It's excellent. My only problem with it was the size - like a baseball bat when extended cf the Nagler. If only TV would produce a 6.5-13mm or a 5-10mm Nagler zoom. Even with 50 degree field and 10mm eye relief it would be a superb accompaniment for the 3-6mm.

The Speers looked like you had another scope stuck in the focuser :p It was a tad big. :D

But optically was top notch. 84deg afov at 8mm and 89deg at 5mm.

£250 does buy a Nagler with top draw optics. But then the Speers is giving you 4 x T6 Nagler clones in one. ;)

Edited by russ
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I understand that the Tele Vue 8-24 zoom is made for TV by Vixen as Russ says. It seems to be one of the last TV products left over from a era when Vixen manufactured quite a lot of stuff for them. I've not used one but the reports I have read suggest that it's a decent zoom but not quite as good as the Baader 8-24 and not in the same league as the Nagler zooms. I've also read the rave reviews of the Speers-Waler zoom but, as yet, have yet to try one :D

I've owned a couple of Nagler 3-6mm zooms and found them excellent. At the same time I was running a set of Nagler T6's covering a similar range of focal lengths (7mm - 5mm - 3.5mm). In the end I stayed with the fixed focal length Naglers because I felt they gave up little or nothing in performance to the zoom, I preferred 82 degrees with my undriven, alt-az mounted scopes and the extra 2mm of eye relief was noticable and welcome.

If I used driven mounts I could easily see how my decision would have gon the other way. The Nagler 3-6 zoom is a lovely little eyepiece :p

Edited by John
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The Delos range looks interesting. Will be good to see how they stack up against the Naglers and Radians at 6mm and 10mm. They are priced at the top end of reasonable too (for Televues that is...the Ethos range is just bonkers!).

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