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Is it possible to buy eyepieces that are "too good" for my scope?


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Hi all,

New to observing and bought myself a Skywatcher Heritage 130P flextube some months ago, which I am very happy with at the moment.

I am thinking of buying some additional eye pieces and have been reading many of the threads on the forum about what might be good to buy. However having been through the "hi fi upgrading ladder" and taken many small steps in upgrading components before getting to a point where I am happy I am keen to avoid the same with eye pieces.

So my question is if I spend a significant amount on an eye piece (say £100-£300), which is more than the value of my scope am I in danger of buying something that will not perform well enough (at its best?) with my cheap scope?

Also I understand that my scope is a "fast" (f5) scope and that some eye pieces are better at performing than others with this "speed" of scope, is this true?

Grateful for any advice and help.

Andrew

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Good quality eyepieces will bring benefits to any scope. The Heritage 130 may be inexpensive but it has a good quality parabolic mirror and it will shine even more with some good quality eyepieces, especially those which are corrected well for use in fast scopes - the Heritage being an F/5 newtonian. 

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In terms of performance a "too good" eyepiece simply means that it introduces less problems from the eyepiece itself.

"Too good" as in "Is it worth it?" is a different matter.

Getting a BST/X-Cel will get you a fair purchase, assuming the image is central it will be good. Buying a 100 degree eyepiece might seem better but the object will very likely still be in the centre and no real difference.

With something like a 100 degree eyepiece instead of a 60 degree one, you get an extra 40 degrees of sky. If there is something in that bit then great, otherwise the additional area is a little irrelevant.

Usually an inexpensive eyepiece just does not handle things like field curvature as well, a good eye piece does.

So if planet viewing I doubt an overly expensive one helps a great deal, if extended nebula a good wider one may be worthwhile, if smaller DSO's then you get extra but empty/irrevevant sky. if the scope is fast a better eyepiece should be worthwhile.

If you have a manual dobsonian then a good wide field is useful, you can just follow things easier, but that is not optical perfromance necessarily. If it is a goto scope on a well set up and aligned mount you can use a narrower field of view eyepiece as the system will track and you don't have to manually.

One factor is although people talk about 80 and 100 degree eyepieces I also read of many who find them uncomfortable to look through and prefer 60-70 degree ones. In this case is a very good, but uncomfortable, 100 degree eyepiece better or worse then a good 60 degree but comfortable one.

Bit like a car, do you get one that does 120mph max or one that does 150mph max for an extra £10,000. Then consider that you have likely never taken cars over 100mph in anything resembling normal use.

The final one is: They tend to be expensive, and that is usually the governing factor.

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Nope, I don't think 'too expensive' is a problem - but there is 'too heavy' - that focuser isn't the strongest, and some larger eyepieces are kinda heavy.

I guess it depends on your longer term plan - then it might be worth getting something more expensive with the thought that in time you might look for a better/different scope.

Personally, I went the BST Starguiders route and have been happy, though I'm perhaps not the most demanding of perfection in my Eyepieces.

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Andrew, I bought a Celestron 12mm X-Cel to compliment the bundled 9mm and 25mm that came with my NexStar 127, it delivers greater clarity and a wider field of vision than either of the bundled eyepieces, so much so that when FLO have them stock in I will buy both a 9mm and 25mm eyepiece to replace the bundled ones.

As far as I am concerned it is money very well spent, Jupiter looks amazing though it!

:smiley:

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good quality eye pieces i consider as investment,specially if you are planning to have this hobby for long time and as such,there is nothing wrong in my books,if you plan ahead and invest in good quality eye pieces you will only be rewarded with better views. It is much better to save up and buy one good quality eye piece instead of spending tons of money on cheap bucket fulls of glass as at the end,if you add up the costs of those cheap ones,you will be surprised to see what you have spent on stuff what you dont like and dont use.

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Andrew, I bought a Celestron 12mm X-Cel to compliment the bundled 9mm and 25mm that came with my NexStar 127, it delivers greater clarity and a wider field of vision than either of the bundled eyepieces, so much so that when FLO have them stock in I will buy both a 9mm and 25mm eyepiece to replace the bundled ones.

As far as I am concerned it is money very well spent, Jupiter looks amazing though it!

:smiley:

Are you saying that the 12mm X-cel shows more of the sky than the bundled 25mm ep. I have the 127slt and was thinking of getting a better 25mm ep. If the 12mm X-cel gives me the same or better view then that would be a better option as it would double the magnification at the same time.

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Dave,

The clarity is far better and the FoV seems bigger than either of the bundled eyepieces, though I am sure you are seeing more with the 25mm as the magnification is lower.

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Depending on what focal length you want the Maxvision eyepieces are still available. Shortest fl is 16mm but they are wide angle and at somewhere between £50-70 are a bargain. They are unbranded Meade 5000 SWA's which retail around £200-250. They are quite large but not too heavy and the feedback on them is generally excellent (plenty on here about them). I have the 16mm sat here next to me just waiting to meet my new scope. Pop that in a 2x Barlow and you have a quality 8mm piece as well...

Sent from Lumia 925 via Tapatalk

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Over the last few years I have bought and sold a number of eyepieces and telescopes.  It took me a while to find the equipment that I was comfortable using and gave me good results. You may not be like me...your current scope may last you for a long time...but it also could be that you decide to change it for something else.  Fortunately, good eyepieces work with just about any telescope so I think they can be considered a good long term investment.

I too have read that some eyepieces are better than others at low focal ratios.  I certainly haven't tried that many combinations, but my Pentax XW eyepieces worked fine in a f/4.7 Newtonian reflector that I once had.  They might be too heavy for your scope though.  The 20mm one might be OK. It's 355g and within your budget.

If it's not too heavy,I suggest you treat yourself!

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Actually think of the perfect picture. That kind of a picture would reach your eyes if your scope and eyepieces where perfect optically, but such thing doesn't exist. The farthest your scope and eyepieces are from being perfect, the less perfect image you get. So, a very good eyepiece will slightly reduce the perfection in its part. A worse will take you even lower etc etc. So now, there isn't an eyepiece that is too good for any scope in that matter

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I tend to think of it like this:

Telescope = camera body

Eyepiece = camera lens

e.g. I've changed my Canon DSLR camera body four times over the years since my trusty 10D, and apart from some cheap kit lenses I still have all my EF fit camera lenses.

I.e. an eyepiece that doesn't work too well now might work really well on your next telescope (and vis versa). E.g the fairly poor 9mm 1.25" that came with my Skywatcher 180 Mak works pretty nicely in my PST. 

Buy more eyepieces? Yes. Chuck out/sell the ones you don't use? Don't be so fast to do so.

As to whether an eyepiece can be "too good"? No, it's just in the wrong telescope. :)

Cheers

Ian

P.S. Unless you have a collection of BGOs collecting dust you want rid of....    ;)

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Telescopes come and go, but a good set of eyepieces will last you a lifetime. So it's worth spending to get a good set.  Have a look round and find out what suits you (for me it's Maxvision & BST Explorer) and then add to your collection whenever you feel the need and funds allow.

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I do tend to think (quote marks..)  that you can buy eyepieces that

are too expensive for your scope..

let's say I have a refractor with a 1.25" (stock Wallmart) focuser..

(constructed out of pure heat treated polypropolene..)

Then, by simple deduction...

a 2" Televue 20-30mm range (take your pick..) would be slightly

(I say slightly..) overpriced for the scope you own..

In that case...a 2" TV eyepiece would be too expensive for your scope..

Mind you,..

you can always buy the eyepiece first,...and then built your scope around it,...

:grin:

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My grandmother always said, "buy the best that you can afford" and "don't spoil the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar" in other words in the real world you are unlikely to buy an EP that is outrageous for your scope.

(Hmm, bad move reading this thread I'm sorely tempted by a couple of the ES MaxVisions at what seems to be half price. A 24 and 16 are calling, someone talk me out of it).

Cheers,

Rich

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Is it possible to buy eyepieces that are "too good" for my scope?

Yes =  9mm 82°Televue Nagler + my old Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ?

The eyepiece magnifies the image at the focal plane, allowing you to see the image. If the initial image is poor, no lens will fix that.

A lens may be too "expensive" for your needs, unless branding is of the utmost importance to you. At the end of the day, or at the end of the optical train,  if our eyes can see  sharp detail  and fine resolution, do you need to spend more? Not really.

The real problem for most folk,  is not  being able to try their  eyepieces first,  to see what their like. If you could test a few, side-by-side, you would quickly come to your own conclusion as to what's right for you, and only you! Most folk here know my views about where to test a few EPs, sending them back if you don't like them.

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... I'm sorely tempted by a couple of the ES MaxVisions at what seems to be half price. A 24 and 16 are calling, someone talk me out of it ...

No, can't try to talk you out of it.  Do it, you won't regret it. See signature :)

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I think sometimes an increase in quality is less noticeable than a decrease. E.g. I upgraded a cheap 12mm eyepiece to a far more expensive 11mm. I thought it was a little better, but nothing to write home about. If I'd tried the more expensive eyepiece before buying it, I might not have bothered.

But now, having used the new eyepiece for a while, I've tried the old eyepiece again. I can't help but see all its weaknesses - weaknesses that I wouldn't have noticed before. I just couldn't go back to the cheaper eyepiece.

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I think sometimes an increase in quality is less noticeable than a decrease. E.g. I upgraded a cheap 12mm eyepiece to a far more expensive 11mm. I thought it was a little better, but nothing to write home about. If I'd tried the more expensive eyepiece before buying it, I might not have bothered.

But now, having used the new eyepiece for a while, I've tried the old eyepiece again. I can't help but see all its weaknesses - weaknesses that I wouldn't have noticed before. I just couldn't go back to the cheaper eyepiece.

this nicely summarises a well quoted bit of advice which is don't buy new gear until you feel something is not being achieved with your current set up or that you have reached the top end of its potential. often inexperienced observers can see no difference between more aperture or a better optical quality but once they start to see subtle differences and planetary features etc on a regular basis then it's probably time to consider an upgrade.

that said, you don't have to spend a lot to get the best quality around. Televue plossls are maybe £50-70 used as are Baader Genuine Orthos if you can find them. these are every bit as good as e.g. a Televue Ethos for the field you see. they differ in things like apparent field of view, eye relief, weight and of course cost.

For something like a 130mm heritage, a set of Televue plossls would provide superb views for not a lot of money comparatively and few if any balancing/weight issues (1mm or less though have quite tight eye relief).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great advice above. Well I took the plunge and treated myself to a Maxvision 24mm (68 degree?). Arrived yesterday and so I tried it last night. All I cn say is WOW! The standard 25 mm eyepiece that came with the scope is pretty good, but the Maxvision is somethimg else. Tried jupiter and it looked fantastic, moons viewable and could evem make out the coloured bands. I spent the next hour or so just pointing at different places in the night sky and smiling! Early days but so glad I bought this already.

Andrew.

Sent from my GT-P7500 using Tapatalk

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I think its fair to say that the scope (in most cases) is the cheapest part of the gear you need for astronomy. Its the other stuff that you buy (EP's,mounts,filters,camera etc) that cost the most when combined but these enhance the scopes performance. It does sound crazy (least it did to me a couple of yrs ago) to have EP's and filters and the rest that are actually more expensive then the main scope tube (OTA).

When i bought my first scope (90mm refractor) 7 yrs ago for about 350 euros, i quickly bought an EP kit for about 200 euros. Some of those EP's i still use today on my 200mm SCT. When i bought my Heritage 5 yrs ago for about 100 euros, i quickly started buying Vixen NPL EP's new (40-50 euros) and second hand NLV's (80 euros). So i had EP's worth nearly 5 times what i paid for the Heritage scope.

Then a couple of yrs ago, all hell broke loose and i bought myself a Celestron 8SE scope and then a Hyperion 8-24mm zoom EP (that was an expensive couple of months). 

Cost aside (sorry to mention prices, as it is a bit vulgar), but what i am trying to say here is that YES, an expensive (everyone's idea of expensive is different) EP will surely enhance the views of a relatively cheap scope. I dont think you can ever have an EP that is too good for your scope, unless your scope is one of those really nasty plastic things with plastic lenses that are sold in kids toy shops.

If you plan for the future and expect a scope upgrade from the Heritage, then its a good idea to get to know the workings of EP's and the science behind them. I'm really not that technically minded and my eyes are not fussy about such things as eye relief,exit pupil etc. Ive been blessed so far that i can use and enjoy every single EP i have across all my scopes.

The only EP i have had that i hated and only used once, was a 40mm Celestron E-Lux.

I hope some of this helps.

In a nutshell, and from experience................i think (IMHO), the only 3 EP's you need with the Heritage 130P are the 8,15 and 30mm Vixen NPL's. 

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