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I have had my Hyperion Zoom Mk.III for quite a while now and I was wondering, if I should review it here, because what there is to say about an eyepiece, really? You just shove it into your focuser and look down the glass end, right? Well, since the Hyperion Zoom is effectively 5 eyepieces in 1 (I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal), it is not really a “static” piece of equipment, and there is lot of “accessory” for it, I thought I’d give it a try.

Optics

Optically, the eyepiece is a “seven element eyepiece, with multi-coated optics for remarkable sharpness, contrast and colour correction.” I am in no way an expert in optics, but I have to say that the quality of the image outperforms my pervious eyepieces, primarily in sharpness and contrast. I even had a 12mm Hyperion normal eyepiece for some time, and when compared, the views through the two were pretty much the same. Even in my F/5 dobsonian, the image distortion at the edge of the field of view is really not bad - though there, I do not really notice it that much; it is only when I zoom out to 24mm focal length that the distortions become really noticeable. There is a shaft, sticking out of the body of the eyepiece, in which the movable part of the zoom mechanism moves in and out, and I simply never get tired of the action-packed zoom action. One problem can arise though, and that is that any imperfections on the surface of the lenses inside the eyepiece can get, due to its zoom nature, visible at some point - that way, I once noticed a quite large piece of dirt inside the optics, which came into focus in 12mm position - this was really bothering me, because it was extremely disturbing, especially when observing the Sun or the Moon. Luckily, somehow, the piece of dirt disappeared (after bumping the EP gently on the table), so there is no need for returning it to the supplier. The piece of dirt did not appear again ever since. It is said that normal eyepieces outperform zoom eyepieces, but I am not so sure. Well, on one hand, you get a narrower field of view, that is true, but the quality of the image delivered (with Hyperion Zoom in particular) is really very good and if you are not traditionalist, or fond of ultra-wide fields of view, this age-old paradigm suddenly gets null and void and a concept of having half a dozen eyepieces suddenly gets, well, stupid. Having one decent Zoom eyepiece just seems more practical. Personally, since I have bought my Hyperion Zoom, I have not felt any need of buying a new eyepiece (for the particular range of magnifications), because it embodies everything I do (and will) need at the moment. Furthermore, the edges of the lenses are apparently blackened, and the EP’s construction allows very little or practically no reflections of brighter objects.

Accessory

The Hyperion Zoom comes with a wide range of “accessory”, if that is the right word; basically you get two different rubber eye cups (I even got a rubber eye shield, but I am not sure if that was part of the package, or a gift from the supplier), and both allow you to use the eyepiece comfortably, even when you are a glasses wearer; the eye relief is generous enough to allow that, though I am sure there are EPs with better eye relief than Hyperion Zoom. Furthermore, you get adapters for both 2” and 1.25” focusers. I personally prefer to use the 2” one with my 300P, because it feels more firm and solid, and the inside of the 2” adapter is “baffled”, which seems nice. One thing that I do not really get is that when you use 2” adapter, you can’t use 1.25” colour filters at the same time. The shaft, in which the movable part of the eyepiece moves in, is of just the right diameter, and it even has a thread on the end of it; but somehow, the boffins at Baader did not think to make it standard 1.25” filter thread, and that is a pity. I think it would be wonderful to have a freedom of filter choice, but that way, you can only use 2” filters with the 2” adapter and 1.25” filters with the 1.25” adapter; too bad. Perhaps, they will address that on Mk.IV. Furthermore, you get a wash of dust covers, just in case you use any of the possible combinations of eye cups and adapters, which means you can easily lose one if you are not careful. The eyepiece also comes with rather elegant leather-ish bag for you to store it in, which I, think is a rather nice touch.

Usage

The most prominent feature of this Zoom eyepiece is its…well…zoom capability. The eyepiece has click stops at 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 mm focal lengths, which means that it can deliver a wide range of magnifications, depending on your telescope’s focal length. I for instance have a 305/1500 dobsonian, which means that I get 62x, 75x, 94x, 125x and 187x magnifications, which is a range good enough for most objects up there. It should be said that the EP’s field of view varies with focal length - basically, the shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view; the longer the focal length, the narrower the field of view (it’s actually 68° FOV with 8mm and 50° FOV with 24mm). Of course you can use any focal length between the click-stop position as well. Furthermore, though advertised, the eyepiece is not perfectly parfocal (meaning that it holds focus at all focal lengths), which means you have to refocus every time you change the EP’s focal length. I know that there are eyepieces with better FOV that are perfectly parfocal, but these can get way more expensive than the Hyperion Zoom. It is fair to say that I have heard that some people find their zoomy Hyperions stuck when it’s freezing out there, and thus the eyepiece needs regreasing. However, I have used mine in temperature below -7°C all night, and although the zoom action felt more stiff, it did not get stuck even a bit, so if there really is a problem with it freezing solid, I reckon it is an effect prominent overtime.

However, the Hyperion Zoom is not that cheap - it costs roughly the same as two fixed focal length Hyperion eyepieces, which is quite a lot, but then, you get a variety of magnifying power in one eyepiece, and it is just great not having to change the eyepieces all the time, every time you want to try different power. One of the best things on this eyepiece comes with it zoom capability - without having to change the eyepieces, you can toy around with magnifications to see which magnification delivers the best contrast on the object you are looking at - this is due to the fact that the contrast of the background often changes with magnification (e.g. when you zoom in, the background gets darker), which means that some dim objects can miraculously pop up, or seem more distinct. There is a slight issue with having to refocus all the time but when you concentrate on some fuzzy blob, you see the change in contrast when you change magnifications, even though the image is not perfectly focused. This gives you an ability of very quickly and easily changing the views through your telescope to see which one fits the situation the best, and I think this is one of the main advantages of any zoom eyepiece.

The eyepiece itself is quite bulky and heavy (when compared to standard 1.25” eyepieces), which on its own is ok - you get a good sense of its build quality and heftiness - but it becomes a problem when you want to use the eyepiece with some more basic, entry level telescopes. For instance, I have a Skywatcher 114/900 with a plastic 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser and it really struggles with the Hyperion Zoom. The eyepiece is so heavy that it bends the focuser tube this way and that way and upsets the balance of the whole setup considerably. This means that perfect collimation, is, at this point, really unimportant. I have yet to try the eyepiece in my Firstscope 76, but I reckon it will handle the eyepiece a bit better, because its focuser feels slightly more robust.

Upsides

  • “5-in-1” zoom concept
  • No need for eyepiece swapping
  • Zoom ability lets you find the ideal contrast magnification
  • Decent build-quality, big and robust
  • Wide range of accessory (adaptors, eye cups)
  • Good contrast and sharpness, comparable to fixed focal-length Hyperions
  • Smooth zoom action, even in low temperatures
  • Good eye relief
  • Good for afocal projection
  • No inside reflections

Downsides

  • Narrower field of view with low magnifications
  • Inability to use 1.25” filters with 2” adapter
  • More expensive than regular eyepieces
  • Dirt inside the optics can get into focus, which is really annoying
  • Apparently can freeze solid in sub-zero temperatures (not proven)
  • Heavy
  • Not suitable for entry-level telescopes

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I have had my Hyperion Zoom Mk.III for quite a while now and I was wondering, if I should review it here, because what there is to say about an eyepiece, really? You just shove it into your focuser an

You guys are going to make my wife cry, every night when we have had rain I have a read here and spend more money. Being a novice at having a big Newtonian 200pds after keeping myself in check with a

Nice detailed review, thanks for taking to time o post it. I have one as well, only had it out a couple of times, but it works well. Useful addition to the 8SE as a "family viewing setup". Saves messi

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Took delivery of mine today from FLO - great price, excellent service and delivered to the Isle of Wight in just over 18hrs from order. Nothing beats hands on and this EP and barlow look and feel top notch!

Obviously this has resulted in the usual impenetrable gloom that seems to follow every new astro purchase - but as soon as the clouds part I'll be out testing it. Will try to add a few comments on the 2.25 Zoom Barlow to this thread.

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Thanks for the great review assasincz.

I have had one of these zoom eyepieces for a couple of months and am very pleased with it.

I have hardly used my other (basic) eyepieces since. I am looking into the adapters to allow me to connect a DSLR to it.

Paul.

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Nice detailed review, thanks for taking to time o post it.

I have one as well, only had it out a couple of times, but it works well. Useful addition to the 8SE as a "family viewing setup". Saves messing around with various EP's. My daughter (9 years old) loved being able to zoom in and out, without dad having to change EP's :grin:

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Hello and thanks for a very interesting review of the Mk.III. I have been thinking of buying this eyepiece and the associated 2.25 Barlow to attach to my new Celestron C8-SGT via a Baader Steeltrack focuser (as yet unpurchased! ) and was wondering if this sounds like a good combination, any comments on this? Currently I only have a 25mm Plossl and a 1.25" diagonal so anything is going to be an improvement !! I was also wondering if I should think about getting a 2" diagonal due to the weight of the eyepiece.

Any comments gratefully recieved.

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Hey guys,

The idea of the Baader barlow got me thinking to try my 8-24 MK III and my GSO 2" ED 2X barlow. So just tried it on some terrestrial targets and it seems to work just fine however the field of view get noticeably small, especially at the 8mm setting. Also, since the lens part of that barlow is removable I discovered it screws very smoothly into the 2" nose piece of the zoom for just a bit less magnification but slightly brighter image. There did not seem to be any image degradation other than the expected reduction in brightness.

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Hey guys,

The idea of the Baader barlow got me thinking to try my 8-24 MK III and my GSO 2" ED 2X barlow. So just tried it on some terrestrial targets and it seems to work just fine however the field of view get noticeably small, especially at the 8mm setting. Also, since the lens part of that barlow is removable I discovered it screws very smoothly into the 2" nose piece of the zoom for just a bit less magnification but slightly brighter image. There did not seem to be any image degradation other than the expected reduction in brightness.

actually the f.o.v at 8mm is around 68*, the higher end mags are pretty wide ,its the low powers where it narrows to around 50*

of course you see less sky at 8mm than at 24. but thats happens with any e/p when you magnify an area,perhaps thats what you mean ?

clear skies...

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well ive only had limited viewing with the hyperion zoom due to the usual uk weather. but my initial thoughts are mixed.

i feel quality when its in your hands ,solid and quite heavy . the click action is spot on,you feel the click so to know where you are on the magnification scale ,but its not overly stiff.

although im quite new to this and only have experience with e/p's under £80 up to now, but feel the zoom gives crisp views ,and had a cracking view of jupiter on its first light.

plus the advantage of finding and viewing on low power ,then moving up through the mags to hit a sweet spot is nice.

so why mixed ? well i so far ( and i admit not long enough to make a decission) i have found the low power 20-24mm just too narrow a field of view. this might be down to being used to the bst explorers and x-cel lx e/p's where i had 60* fov. feels very cloustrophobic at times. thats probably the only reason it might not end up a keeper. i need more time to see if i can perhaps get accustomed to this down side. but i suppose there has to be a downside really or everyone would simply use a zoom.

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I use mine in combination with a 31mm aspheric for that very reason. Anything below 20mm is acceptable, anything above it deserves a wide angle ep. Tbh baader should just limit the upper end to 20mm and claim it to be the perfect zoom, rather than leave that setting on there as the only real gripe that people have with it.

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I use mine in combination with a 31mm aspheric for that very reason. Anything below 20mm is acceptable, anything above it deserves a wide angle ep. Tbh baader should just limit the upper end to 20mm and claim it to be the perfect zoom, rather than leave that setting on there as the only real gripe that people have with it.

thats a good point. i have managed to get hold of a panaview 32mm to use for very low power,only used it once so far for 20 mins or so,and actually found it quite pleasing ,although as warned the outer edge loses its sharpness. not up to the aspheric id guess.
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I use mine in combination with a 31mm aspheric for that very reason. Anything below 20mm is acceptable, anything above it deserves a wide angle ep. Tbh baader should just limit the upper end to 20mm and claim it to be the perfect zoom, rather than leave that setting on there as the only real gripe that people have with it.

I do agree with this and use 2" 24 and 32mm EDs for proper widerfield viewing. However, I do find the 24mm zoom is useful for initial finding and alignment, so think it does serve a very useful function at the low end. I had an amazing view of M42 using the Hyperion at 8mm last night, almost filling the FOV and pin sharp and bright with lots of nebulosity and the trapezium very clear. Absolutely my best view of this ever!

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Great review. Have been looking at 100's of eyepieces over the last week and I am now convinced this is my preferred choice to upgrade the stock ep's that were supplied with my 130p. Bonus being its my birthday in a fortnight and the wife says she'l buy it for me.

Thanks

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I bought mine the same day I purchased my 5 SE Schmidt Cassegrain. There are a few zooms similar on the market, but once I read the info on the lens, I knew I had to have it. It does very well as an eyepiece, but it does even better with a DSLR camera attached. Yup, the 5 SE can hold the weight of the camera, zoom & misc pieces needed to thread them together. They work great either as a telescope in the night sky using the Go-To mount, or as a terrestrial lens on a heavy camera tripod.

In my opinion, it's worth the little extra money when it's compared to the competition. Many zooms are inferior eye-pieces most people know to avoid, this one is by far the best of the breed, in all respects.

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SnakeyJ; I did adjust the tension of the ny-loc nut that secures the vertical axis gear to the pivot. I did get some droop prior to the adjustment, but now it works just fine. I only increased the tension by a few inch pounds, so the Teflon washers shouldn't wear out any faster then normal. The visual back shown in the picture screws directly to the scope, & it is a simple 2 inch collar that allows for the 2 inch nose piece for the zoom to slip right in. I use the 2 inch nose piece instead of the 1.25 as the weight you mentioned, I feel, would cause a big stress on the 1.25" barrel, risking damage to the zoom eyepiece.

When I am using the zoom as a regular eyepiece for casual viewing, I do use a 2x Barlow with the zoom EP. As long as someone uses a high quality Barlow, it usually will not effect the quality of the EP. I am looking to buy a few 2" power-mates, up to 4x, for photographic purposes. This is my intent, but I am still reading all about the differences & benefits of the Power-mates vs Barlows.

You are correct thinking I touched up the Go-To mount a little to stop the droop. I thought it best to share this info in case others are considering a similar set-up.

Cheers!

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SnakeyJ; I did adjust the tension of the ny-loc nut that secures the vertical axis gear to the pivot. I did get some droop prior to the adjustment, but now it works just fine. I only increased the tension by a few inch pounds, so the Teflon washers shouldn't wear out any faster then normal. The visual back shown in the picture screws directly to the scope, & it is a simple 2 inch collar that allows for the 2 inch nose piece for the zoom to slip right in. I use the 2 inch nose piece instead of the 1.25 as the weight you mentioned, I feel, would cause a big stress on the 1.25" barrel, risking damage to the zoom eyepiece.

When I am using the zoom as a regular eyepiece for casual viewing, I do use a 2x Barlow with the zoom EP. As long as someone uses a high quality Barlow, it usually will not effect the quality of the EP. I am looking to buy a few 2" power-mates, up to 4x, for photographic purposes. This is my intent, but I am still reading all about the differences & benefits of the Power-mates vs Barlows.

You are correct thinking I touched up the Go-To mount a little to stop the droop. I thought it best to share this info in case others are considering a similar set-up.

Cheers!

Cheers PaPaDoc, I was genuinely impressed with the build quality but respect your candour on the tweaks - look forward to seeing some of your astro images taken with the 5SE/Hyperion/EOS. It might also be interesting setup for terrestrial photography as well.

Regards - Jake

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      The AZ-EQ5 is in the lightweight mount class, but performs quite poor for astrophotography. The original RA worm was a crappy one and I sent the mount to DarkFrame for tuning. I received it back the same, I only lost time and money. I then purchased 2 new worms from China via OVL with some help from FLO. The new one (I didn't test both) have a larger PE than the original one, but a smoother one. The p2p PE of the new worm results in a >60" deviation. When pointing close to the NCP, it guides well below <1.0" total RMS. When pointing towards the celestial equator, the performance drops significantly to 1.0"-1.8" RMS. I always need to use short exposures in PHD to guide it smoother.
      In total I spent for the AZ-EQ5 perhaps more than 1800 euros with the tuning, the new worms and deliveries. A lot pricier than stock in the end, but it still has 2 big advantages: mine came with a foldable (towards the mount) pier style tripod and it's light, I can carry the mount with the tripod folded in one hand. The mount and the tripod weight less than 15kg. The other advantage is that I can use the second saddle for the second scope. I used this combo more than a couple of times, with short focal length refractors and all went well. A SW 72ED + an ASI1600 + a finder/guider mounted as counterweight as close as possible to the RA axis, perfectly balances a SW Esprit 80 and a Canon 550D.
      The EQ6-R is a lot heavier mount. The head itself weights about 17.7kg, it has a handle, but even standalone it seems a lot harder to carry than the AZ-EQ5 assembled on the tripod. The 2" tripod for the EQ6-R weights about 8kg. Definitely I cannot carry both the mount and the tripod in a single trip for a longer distance. The performance and weight capacity are decent though. Mine has quite a large backlash on both axis, I cannot feel it at hand, but it's obvious when slewing at slow speed. It doesn't bother me for imaging, anyway, since I balance the mount a little east heavy. At most I put a single 200/1200 newtonian and camera on it or a dual setup consisting of a 150/750 newtonian and + a 102/714 refractor and camera, one on top of the other. Weight was not an issue, but a larger momentum + wind affected the guiding performance a little. Towards the NCP it guided excellent at 0.4"-0.6" RMS, but closer to the celestial equator, the performance varied and dropped for this mount too. On Orion, at times the guiding stayed below 1.0" total RMS, but many times it went worse than 1" total RMS. I believe that I never put a scope on this mount and looked through it, I only used it for AP. One thing that bothered me for a while was that the mount was stalling at times due to insufficient power. None of my domestic 12V power sources that I used for the AZ-EQ5 was good enough so I used a 15V 8A source to power the mount. I recall paying around 1300-1400 euros for the mount about 2 years ago.
      I used the SynScan app on Windows to drive the SkyWatcher mounts. The app mimics the functionality of the hand remote. The AZ-EQ5 doesn't have a polar scope and I believe I never used precisely the polar scope on the EQ6-R either. The app allows you to perform a 2/3 star align, then it figures out the polar error and you can then perform a polar alignment routine aided by the software. You can select a star for polar alignment, slew to it automatically after select, align in center, then the mount moves a little and the software tells you to adjust the altitude and bring the star in center, then it moves again and tells you to adjust the azimuth and bring the star in center. Simple as that. If you're way off initially with the polar alignment, you might need to realign once or twice again. The SynScan app + drivers are also much simpler than the EQASOM and can be used for controlling the mount from other programs via ASCOM or for pulse guiding.
      Now, to the more recently acquired mount, the iOptron GEM45. I spent a lot of time researching what mount would suit my needs. Lightweight, good performance and not astronomically expensive. After many reviews read for the CEM40, I decided to go for the GEM45 as both share the same components. I only saw CEM60's and the older 45 eq. All my astrofriends' CEM60's perform better and more consistent than my EQ6-R.
      The GEM45 is supposed to have a PE resulting in an error less than 14" p2p. The graph for mine says that it's less than 10".
      The first thing that I noticed when I received the mount it was how small the box it came in was. The mount head is light at about 7kg and the tripod 5-7kg. The second thing that I noticed was what a poor design was made for mounting the mount's head on the tripod. It is unbelievably stupid compared to the SkyWatcher mounts and it's horribly difficult to mount and tighten the mount on the tripod in dark and cold.
      Again, comparing to the SkyWatcher, a minus is that you always need to disengage very carefully the gear switches and never leave them engaged. The mount does not have a friction clutch as the SkyWatcher has and hitting or pushing hard the components can lead to damaging the gears. So the mount seems very sensible to handling, it requires a lot of care and mounting the telescope(s) on the mount while holding the CW rod with the other hand can be quite damn hard sometimes. However, there is no backlash.
      After setting all the hardware, the next thing was to connect the remote control + the software. It was clear the day I received the mount. It arrived at 5PM and at 8PM I was out of the city with all the software installed.
      The iPolar was easy to use, however, you need to connect a separate USB cable for this, the mount does not have a USB hub.
      You can perform a star align from the hand controller, but not from the Commander app. You can perform a polar iterate align from the hand controller, but not from the Commander.
      Speaking of star alignment, if you choose a 2 or 3 star alignment procedure, I was used to the fact that the first star can be way off when initiating the alignment. The SkyWatcher mounts' software (hand controller or PC app) took into account the error and corrected it for the next stars. iOptron's software (hand controller only, the PC Commander can't align at all) does not. So you need to search again for the second (and third) star to bring it into the view and center it. Only then the model is taken into account. Moreover, the polar iterate align is a pain and, surprise, the polar iterate align and a retry of star alignment after polar adjustment does not take into account the model it computed at the previous star alignment so all the stars are way off if the zero position is not set very accurate. Searching automatically for zero position seems rather a poor joke. So, after being used to the SkyWatcher software, the iOptron seems soooo limited and counterintuitive.
      Due to this, I had quickly to learn to drift align with PHD when Polaris isn't visible (it my the case at home on the terrace).
      Leaving all the poor engineering and software designs, things are getting better. The mount looks very nice and rotates around both axes very very smooth. You can also pull cables through the RA and DEC axis and have them available at the DEC saddle. There's only a USB 2.0 connector on the saddle, that was rather useless for me so I needed to pull a USB 3.0 cable. However, the 12V power available on the saddle is very welcomed to power the cameras' coolers.
      As I type, I'm imaging with 2 ~70mm refractors one on top of the other + 2 mono ASI cameras. Both scopes weight about 10kg. Guiding performance is always below 1.0" total RMS, ranging between 0.4" and 0.8" total RMS, regardless of the pointing position on the sky. If I manage to convince either the mount or PHD to compensate for the PE, I believe it should perform much better as the error increases to >0.6" only when the guiding switches from East to West or viceversa. Plus, being backlash free, it responses very fast to dithering commands and settles quick and, with the small refractors, it didn't seem bothered almost at all by a mild wind.
      In the end, I'm very happy with the consistent very good performance of the mount, but still disappointed by the mount attachment to the tripod and the poor designed software and alignment procedures.
       
      I'll come back with more reviews for cameras and telescopes that I own or owned. And images, after I manage to process them. I've more than 100h of data waiting in the queue to be processed.
       
      Clear skies and stay safe!
      Alex
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