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Televue Panoptic 27mm 68 vs Skywatcher Nirvana 28mm 82


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A few weeks ago Rustysplit aka Alan asked the question to SGL: “Which to buy; Televue Panoptic 27mm 68-degree or Skywatcher Nirvana 28mm UWA 82-degree?” With lots of advice from SGL he opted for the panoptic - £295 RRP. We had a first light with it and we were heartedly impressed. Then last Thursday FLO offered a display model 28mm Nirvana for £145 in their clearance thread (usually £245 RRP) and I thought “that’s a bargain” and snapped it up. What this now means of course is we can compare the two side by side and give our opinion on these two inch eyepieces.

So Monday night we headed down to Pevensey & set up on the beach for a clear southern view of Sagittarius. Alan using his 14” F5 diy build dobsonian, me with my F4.5 16” Lightbridge. I should add neither Alan nor I wear glasses but both eyepieces have a comfortable 18/19mm eye relief. The Nirvana is constructed with 6 lens elements in 4 separate groups and has a soft wind up eye cup. The Panoptic has a fold up rubber eyecup and is made from six lens elements, with an ED (extra low dispersion glass) element for exceptional contrast and this probably shows, though more on that later. In my scope the Panoptic gives x68 magnification and 1 degree true field of view while the Nirvana gives x65 magnification and a whopping 1.25 degrees true field of view.

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The first thing to say, as can be seen in the picture, is the Nirvana is a beast. This is one seriously large eyepiece, possible one of the largest on sale. It makes my 40mm paragon look like a baby and whilst it could double up as a handy weapon to defend yourself if need be on those lonely dark observing nights you should not think about this eyepiece if you have any balancing issues with your own scope. Alan’s beautiful but low balanced scope stood no chance but thankfully the Lightbridge held it fine (although I did have to tighten the side bearing lock to within an inch of its life).

We started on Cygnus as the skies darkened and soon found the veil and crescent. Both eyepieces performed well under not yet fully dark skies with equal amounts of contrast on these two nebulas. Then as Sagittarius started to clear the horizon we aimed south with M24 the massive star cloud our first target. A truly awesome site and the Nirvana started to come into its own on this target with the massive 82-degree view. It was like bathing your eyes in a mass of stars and this is a target I shall revisit over the next month or so as often as possible with the Skywatcher. Then the famous tea pot began to emerge over the sea and we moved around the plethora of nebula available in this region of sky, the Trifid with central dust lanes visible, the Lagoon with its dark central curve, the Eagle and most impressive the Swann (where you could see the usual S shape but also great clouds of nebulosity billowing behind like the bird had just farted!). Using oiii filters seriously improved the appearance of all these nebula but really both eyepieces gave cracking views and it was hard to pick a winner, maybe the Panoptic just edged it for contrast but we are talking small margins. Finally we swung our scopes north and looked at Andromeda and the Double Cluster. It was just possible to get the two local galaxies in the FOV with the Panoptic, but only just, however the Nirvana had them in with room to spare, the double cluster also fitted in both FOV with our scopes but again the expanse around the Nirvana was a bonus. For me the star colour in the Panoptic was better on the double cluster although I don’t know if Alan agreed.

So in conclusion with either of these pieces of glass you are going to get some great views and I’d personally be happy with either. Both were edge sharp and both delivered good contrast with the nebula we examined. If you can cope with the weight (and that is a serious consideration) the 82-degree Nirvana is worth every penny for the extra space around targets it provides however the Panoptic gave a slightly richer view with slightly better colour. However we really must emphasize the differences are only very slight. Alan found the Panoptic more comfortable on the eye, and he didn’t have to get quite as close as he did with the Nirvana, but I didn't notice this (perhaps it’s an age thing matey, lol??). The 2nd hand resale of the Panoptic is almost certainly going to be better with most Televue holding their value but then these bits of glass are both keepers so not sure if this a consideration, maybe for some? The Panoptic is £50 more expensive at RRP in the first place. So all in all with pros and cons for both its hard to pick a winner, probably the Panoptic just edged it on the targets we chose but then that 82-degree Nirvana view was incredible! I think for both Alan and my situations the eyepieces we have suit us nicely and that perhaps is the best point to make. The winner is the one that suits your individual needs given the pros and cons. Either way we had a great night and I look forward to many more with our new kit!!

Panoptic

Pros

Smaller and more light weight

Slightly better contrast / colour

Tack sharp to edge

Better eye position for some

Better resale

Cons

Only 68-degree

£50 RRP more expensive

Nirvana

Pros

Lovely wide 82-degree field

Tack sharp to edge

£50 cheaper

Cons

Heavy and big size

Not as good (but only slight) colour/contrast

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Sure was a good night out Si. There was very little to choose between them wasn't there? I am so glad I plumped for the Pan over the Nirv for my scope. So is the scope :eek: !!

As you say, horses for courses, but you would be overjoyed with either ep. For me the Pan wins due to very slightly better colour and for being just so damn comfortable to look through. I found I had to move my eye around too much with the wide fov of the Nirv, and get in a bit closer.

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A very nice report to read. I have never even so much as seen either of these two so nice for me to sort of get to know them a bit. I know some one that set up on a beach once up near Blackpool ( I think it was) nearly got caught by the incoming water.

Alan.

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That's a great write up. I'd not come across the Nirvana's before. If you want to see them side by side, have a look on FLO's website. It really brings home what a monster the 28mm is.

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Thanks everyone, I was very surprised how good they both were right to the edge of field on our scopes, very surprised but very impressed! For £145 for the Nirvana I'm well chuffed too!

Alan, (Rusty) I think if you had gone for the Nirvana it would have dropped your focus tube like a stone until your bungees caught tight on the mirror box and then they probably would have catapulted it into the sea!

Definitely the right choice for you!!!

A very nice report to read. I have never even so much as seen either of these two so nice for me to sort of get to know them a bit. I know some one that set up on a beach once up near Blackpool ( I think it was) nearly got caught by the incoming water.

Alan.

Thankfully we were higher up away from the sea Alan, (Potts), that could have been an embarrassing and costly mistake!!!!! Really good southerly view though, the milky way ran right down to the horizon.

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Great review !

It must be nice to have more than one observer to compare whats being experienced when reviewing equipment - when trying to do it "solo" it's really quite hard to recall what you saw even a few moments ago through another similar product sometimes :rolleyes2:

I was very impressed with the 28mm Nirvana when FLO lent me one to compare with my 31mm Nagler and the 30mm Pantax XW a while ago :smiley:

My only hesitation with it was the ergonomics of the eye cup which is so large you can call it a face cup really - it took some getting used to !.

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Thanks John, I had had a read of your review of the three and it certainly inspired me to get the Nirvana!!

I agree it's really good to have another opinion when you are trying out new kit, what works for one doesn't always work for another too.

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  • 1 year later...

It all depends how much the wider fov appeals to you Steve. Both very fine ep's, you can't go wrong really.

Actually Alan the wider FOV is very appealing and it is this that swings me towards a 82 degree eyepiece. Although as shane pointed out to me a 26mm/82 nagler is also a strong consideration if one can be sourced off the used market.

So I am deliberating over a SW Nirvana 28mm or Nagler 26mm, difficult choice to make here.

steve

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  • 1 month later...

Alan, get a Nirvana, they are brilliant EP's and it works fantastic in my 12" flex tube.  :smiley:

I think Alan has a Nagler 31 and an Ethos 21 filling that niche Steve, nice though the Nirvana is :smiley:

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I agree the Nirvana is a nice long focal length eyepiece. The eyecup could be better designed but it in no way impedes access to the full 82° FOV. At 1kg you will have to consider counter weights depending on what other eyepieces you use.

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I agree the Nirvana is a nice long focal length eyepiece. The eyecup could be better designed but it in no way impedes access to the full 82° FOV. At 1kg you will have to consider counter weights depending on what other eyepieces you use.

I don't really have an issue with the eyecup, took me a short time at the eyepiece to adjust and now haven't got a problem with it. I wear glasses and do have to press right up to it to get the full fov but what a wonderful view it gives you. 

I agree It is a little heavy and I always have magnets at base of my scope to slide up and down depending on EP in there. However compared to the Axiom I had at 1.5kg :shocked:  its only a baby, haha  :grin:

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