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Spec-Chum

30mm Ultra Wide Angle 80 degree 2" telescope eyepiece review

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Further to my commitment to bringing you reviews of eyepieces for the more conservative budget, today I review this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/30mm-Ultra-Wide-Angle-80-degree-2-telescope-eyepiece-/380367730023?pt=UK_Telescope_Eyepieces&hash=item588faef567

A 2” 80 degree Eyepiece for less than £85? Hmm, let’s see what the catch is...

I used the same review method and targets as my previous review of the 70 deg 2” eyepiece from the same retailer, this can be found here: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/162318-stock-50-degree-25mm-ma-vs-2%e2%80%9d-70-degree-24mm-vs-60-degree-25mm-bst/

Read that? Good, let’s get on :) (If you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing I’ll paste the summary here):

Summary

25mm BST – Very bright and contrasty image. Does suffer from comma’s and seagulling at the edge, but certainly not a major distraction. A 60 degree 25mm for £41 will always raise a few eyebrows, but does it perform? Oh yes.

Highly recommended.

24mm 2”

Now, you may think after reading my critique above I’m going to slate this one. Nope.

We really must remember I’m reviewing a sub £40 70 degree 2” EP here and on that score I liked it and thinks it’s a bargain.

Yes, the image was quite dark compared to the BST (I really don’t think we can blame that on the 24mm vs 25mm), yes the image starts off nice and sharp and rather quickly deteriorates as you get closer to the edge but you must also consider it’s plus points as in it’s cheap as chips and I’m comparing it against a BST which is arguably the best eyepiece you can buy for under £50. It’s a huge step up from the supplied MA and well worth the asking price of £39 for the “spacewalk” feeling alone.

My personal choice here would be the BST, but if, for whatever reason, you must have a 2” SWA EP I can wholeheartedly recommend this one and challenge anyone to better it for the price.

So, Dumbbell nebula first then. I’ll compare it to the 25mm BST, as that “won” the last review. This new monster was very pleasing. The nebula whilst obviously small, was clearly visible without a nebula filter, and, to my eyes, easily a match for the BST in that regard, so no complaints on contrast and brightness here; when I could finally get my eye comfortable. And therein is my first issue with this eyepiece, initially I found it quite difficult to find the “hot spot” and kept getting black outs all over. I must stress though, once you’ve found the optimum position, which seems to be with your eye literally just touching the eyeguard, not pressing against it. It does become much easier and more comfortable but it did kind of ruin my first impression.

I couldn’t help but to “space walk” around at this point, and wow, what a feeling! The extra 20 degrees over the BST certainly shows it prominence! I even put the 70 degree eyepiece from the other review back in, and believe me, even 10 degrees difference appears massive. And awe-inspiring...

I also took this opportunity to look at the colours of Alberio and the colours on the 80 degree eyepiece were just as vibrant, if not more so, than the BST. Very impressed.

Anyway, scores for this part were 9 a piece for the BST and the 80 degree, but as I state on my other review, this is not what you’d use this kind of eyepiece for, really.

So, after I’d finished pretending I was Luke Skywalker I thought it best to do something useful, so onto the Double Cluster we go, and for the ultimate test, edge sharpness! Again, what’s the point of having a massive aFOV if only a small portion of it is usable?

I line up the double cluster and remind myself how it looks in the BST. Very nice, but does get a little soft towards the edge, as per my other review.

So I pop in this new eyepiece, and the stars are easily as sharp as the BST in the centre so all good there, but I kind of expected that. I look towards the edges and notice they’re still quite sharp, I was quite surprised if the truth be told; this is an 80 degree eyepiece that is quite sharp across the field on an F6 for under £85? It certainly seems so. Notice, however, I said “quite sharp” as I’m being as objective as I can here. The equivalent Nagler, which I’m sure is totally sharp across the whole FOV is well over 6 times more ££ at £555 here: http://www.telescopehouse.com/acatalog/TeleVue_Nagler_31mm_Eyepiece_2__.html . There’s a group of stars on the bottom cluster as you’re looking that I call “the paw” as I think they look like, well, a paw. They’re fairly close together but can be easily split in the centre and to my surprise you could still make out each individual star right at the edge!

Yes it gets a little soft at the edges, but no more than the BST, which is excellent in itself, and it starts to get coma about the same place as the BST (around the last 5 – 10% of the FOV). It also seems it suffers a little from field curvature as a tiny bit of refocusing seems to bring these outer into better focus.

Let’s just think about that last paragraph for a second. BST quality views across an aFOV 20 degrees more (90 - 95% definitely usable)for an extra £40? Yes, that’s what I said :)

BST 9 / 10 – a 60 degree eyepiece for under £50 doesn’t come any better, in my opinion.

80 degree 10 / 10; I’m still in awe now!

Summary:

Is it a Nagler beater? Of course not!

Is it worth it? Hell yes!

Would I buy one? Already have :)

Did you spot the catch? Nope, me neither...

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Good review, a Moonfish clone I believe, or is the Moonfish a clone of this one??? :confused: I had a 30mm 80 degree (Moonfish) for my scope (f4.7) and found more than just the outer edge fuzzy. A good eyepiece in the right focal ratio of scope IMO.

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Hi Lorne, it is a Moonfish, yeah. Same supplier I believe.

I did get the feeling F6 was possibly where it stays great; any lower and it'd go from great to good. I hope my review doesn't overhype it, it's not perfect by any means but the price/performance ratio is fantastic, I feel.

Best way I an describe it would be to say if BST ever did an 80 degree eyepiece, this would be the quality I'd expect. Not acceptably perfect, but perfecty acceptable :)

Edited by Spec-Chum

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Interesting review - thanks for posting it :smiley:

The 30mm 84 degree Widescan III that I used to have (the Moonfish etc are clones of it) was great at F/10 but suffered a lot in the outer 25% of the field of view at F/6.

The Moonfish and their kin do give you ultra wide angle viewing though, for an awful lot less than the premium eyepieces of that type.

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Lol, good spot. Let's see if Alan really won't be beaten on price :)

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Lol, good spot. Let's see if Alan really won't be beaten on price :)

I've seen them go used for £30 !

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