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The observing conditions were pretty good last night and I had some wonderful views of the Moon and Jupiter with my 12" dobsonian.

I was really enjoying the quality of views that I was getting from my Pentax XW and Tele Vue Ethos eyepieces and so I should - they have cost a lot of money !

Just for fun I decided to try some much lower cost eyepieces on these targets and spent some time critically examining the quality of the views, the details that I could see and how easily they were discernable, switching between the expensive and cheap occulars.

What I was struck by last night was that the differences between the really expensive eyepieces and the much cheaper ones were just so subtle. There were no details on the Moon or Jupiter that I could not see in the low cost eyepieces. The low cost eyepieces produced a little more light scatter around Jupiter and the back ground sky was not quite as dark  but those were by far the main differences.

The cheap eyepieces were ordinary plossls that can be picked up for £10-£15 used so really nothing special.

Having been an advocate of premium eyepieces for more than a decade on this forum, a post of this type might seem odd coming from me but I did find my "faith" shaken a bit last night in all honesty :undecided:

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing ?

 

 

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The observing conditions were pretty good last night and I had some wonderful views of the Moon and Jupiter with my 12" dobsonian. I was really enjoying the quality of views that I was getting fr

John, Medical help is on it's way now, hang on in there.. Alan

I think it's like aperture really. I would always encourage people to start with a moderate aperture, say a 4" frac or 6/8" newt before moving up the scale. You learn so much in terms of observing tec

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I try not to John ?

I've not directly experienced what you are discussing, but having looked through a variety of scopes at the weekend, I can say that in good conditions you can see some lovely views of Jupiter in all of them!

Nick's 150mm f8 was the biggest surprise, with a semi Apo filter it was giving great results. Derek's 102 f11 was also cracking.

I love having nice kit because I know at least I am getting the best views, but I would not want to put down any of the more entry level stuff because I know it's generally pretty good too these days.

The trouble is, so often we are dealing with poor seeing conditions that the differences between the kit are hard to reliably isolate. I read a comment somewhere the other day from a US observer saying that if he considers x1000 to be a good planetary magnification, and if he can't use x500 he doesn't bother.........

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Thanks for your very honest report John. I do not have any really expensive eye pieces, but have often wondered what their advantage would be over my Celestron X-Ls and Maxvision 68. I thought the main difference would be in the FOV and clarity and the edges of the image.

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Sort of 

I completely agree with you that it's only in extreme circumstances that objects are revealed by better eyepieces and it only really relates to planetary and lunar features. Even then....

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Interesting finding John. :) 

Assuming that you used plossls at the same short focal lengths, the eye relief of your premium eps is certainly more comfortable though. Of course, one could get Vixen SLV to improve the eye relief and still spending £50-100 (5-10 times the prices of the plossls you used though!), but then nudging the telescope above 200x becomes quite demanding. Therefore one would need more field of view. At that stage, one would like the view not to be degraded when looking between those 50 degrees afov and the field stop (otherwise, a Vixen SLV would be enough), and therefore ends up with 70-100 degrees afov eyepieces! :) To me the ergonomics factor is very important and I much prefer to spend a bit more but feel very comfortable and relaxed at the eyepiece, rather than having to stick my eye pupil on a tiny piece of glass. 

I think Stu is right about the very changeable seeing conditions in the UK which can make ranking eyepieces quality and differences quite tricky. Said this, apart from ergonomics, I can see differences between my Naglers and Delos on planets (and DSO). This might be because all these observations / comparisons are done at the limit of my TV60. For instance, comparing a Nagler 3.5mm with a Delos 8+PM2.5x (~ Delos 3.2mm) is not something people do every day on a Dobson F6! I believe that if one could do these tests, would notice differences. Of course these are not huge differences, but tiny details which for "purists" are still important.

To me, the important thing nowadays is the vast choice of options that we have at a far more reasonable price. Then each of us can determine which features of an eyepiece are really important for our observations and tastes. :) 

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John I have found that viewing the Moon, Sun (Herschel Wedge) and Planets with binoviewers and not expensive plossls give me wonderful views. The most expensive pair of EPs I have are the William Optics 20mm 66 degree and the FOV and clarity is amazing. The other paired EPs are Antares plossls 25mm and 17mm. The barlow (1.5x) or (2.25x) seems to sharpen up the whole FOV.

You will also know that I had the Ethos 21mm, 13mm and 8mm which I sold. I bought an ES 18mm 82 degree and I was so pleased with the view I bought the 4.7mm, 6.7mm, 8.8mm, 14mm, 18mm and 24mm (68 degree). I don't regret buying these EPs which I only use on DSOs. I have a TeleVue 8-24mm (S/H) which I use for double stars and the PST.

 

 

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As I don't observe planets I cannot comment on the differences in planetary views.
For me it's about the observing experience that using premium wide fields in a large scope gives. I simply cannot get the same type views with budget plossls. If using narrows (plossls, ortho's etc) the FOV becomes too restrictive very quickly in a large scopes.
I know many (me included) detest the term, but the 'majesty' factor is a big draw to premium wides for me. If the wides are poorly corrected it spoils this too. If there was a cheap way of getting these type views believe me old cheapskate Steve would be on it in a flash. :) 

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4 minutes ago, swamp thing said:

As I don't observe planets I cannot comment on the differences in planetary views.
For me it's about the observing experience that using premium wide fields in a large scope gives. I simply cannot get the same type views with budget plossls. If using narrows (plossls, ortho's etc) the FOV becomes too restrictive very quickly in a large scopes.
I know many (me included) detest the term, but the 'majesty' factor is a big draw to premium wides for me. If the wides are poorly corrected it spoils this too. If there was a cheap way of getting these type views believe me old cheapskate Steve would be on it in a flash. :) 

Steve I can understand you view on this. It would be interesting to compare a 21mm Ethos at £659 to the 20mm Myraid at £179 in your scope or the other guys in the Dob mob.

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Just now, Mark at Beaufort said:

Steve I can understand you view on this. It would be interesting to compare a 21mm Ethos at £659 to the 20mm Myraid at £179 in your scope or the other guys in the Dob mob.

Not tried the myriad yet Mark.

I have tried the 20mm ES. very nice, it behaves very much like a 100˚ Nagler. The trouble is the ethos is better :( I wish it wasn't as I cannot afford the darn thing yet. 
I compared them one after the other and was somewhat gutted that the ES couldn't quite get there. Really bugged me TBH as I was hoping to save a shed load of money (skinflint Steve for ya :D). Oh well! I'll keep saving.......

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That's what I thought when I bought my first proper eyepiece - is there really any difference? I guess it's all the little things like fov and perfect edges that make people think 'well if I just spent a few more pennies...', leading them along a trail all the way to ethoi. 'One small step for quality, one giant leap for the wallet'

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I've asked myself the same with my 10 and 25mm Super MA eyepieces (about £10-15 each?) that came with my (manual) SW 250. I've compared them against a few from the ES82 range (£100-£200 depending on the EP). The 10mm MA is often criticised, but with good collimation I find it does a decent job.

On the moon, the stock EP has a very slight yellowish cast that's unoticable unless I compare immediately against the ES82, and in no way spoils the observation/enjoyment. Other than that, the two EPs are fairly comparable in terms of what you can see. Where the ES82 shines on lunar and planets is a lot less scope nudging (due to the wide field and better correction), which makes for better observations and more enjoyment overall.

On DSOs, the 10 and 25 stock are both good, but the ES82 are in a different niche for me. Compare them at similar exit pupil, or compare them at similar fieild of view? Being able to frame a target nicely with a smaller exit pupil and more mag gives the ES82 a big advantage. On tiny galaxy smudges, wider field of view again means less nudging, better observations and more enjoyment. Wider field means less time star hopping and more time observing too.

Overall I'm happy with the upgrade from stock EPs. If the sky was frozen in place (or if I had a motorised mount) some of the advantages would be moot. The cheap EPs don't show me any less detail than the expensive ones, but the expensive ones make the detail more accessible with less effort, and frame it more in a more attractive and appealing way. Is it about getting as much factual detail that we can on a target, or enjoying the beauty of it, or a bit of each?

I'm throughly impressed with the stock EPs too though. To put up a solid performance against something ten times the price is astonishing.

Or I could had stuck with stock EPs, and spent the money on a 14 inch scope instead of a 10 inch, which would show me a lot more... :icon_scratch:

 

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In the center 30 degrees, just about all non-department-store-scope-throwaway eyepieces are just about equal except on scatter control.  For high contrast objects like most moon features, you're just not going to see any difference.  The difference comes in if you need long eye relief at high power due to severe astigmatism even at small exit pupils (count me in this group), don't have tracking on your mount to keep the object centered (again, count me in this group), use very short f-ratio scopes (not me), and enjoy looking for low contrast features on bright objects like Jupiter (somewhat me).  That's where having sharp, scatter controlled wide fields with long eye relief is great.  In my Pentax XLs and XWs at 7mm and below and my 10mm Delos, all of these criteria are well met.  I enjoy watching objects drift from one side to the other unchanged in them.  I can't say that about my 6mm and 12.5mm Kellners that came with my ST80 years ago.  They are surprisingly sharp on axis, but rapidly fall off in sharpness well before their narrow fieldstop and are a pain to keep objects centered in them because I have to pull back so far with eyeglasses that I can only see about a 10 to 20 degree field of view.

Like Mark, I use plossls and Vite aspherics for my binoviewer because I can't really scan around wide fields and hold both views simultaneously, so why bother with them.  That, and I use a 2X nose piece that yields at least 3X as an OCS, so I only use long focal length eyepieces boosted to short focal lengths, so eye relief isn't an issue with these simple designs.  That, and the 3X boost significantly slows down the light cone making them perform better than they would otherwise.

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Not exactly, but on Jupiter my Meade hd60 is as good as my radian. It's not a cheap ep, (costing about £80 when I bought it) but the radian was more like £180. Having said that  there's something about the rad that makes me want to keep it. I expect that are areas that it would out perform the cheaper ep, even if only by a small amount. The 11mm nag was certainly better than the supplied 10mm though!

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I wouldn't say my faith was shaken but I did think the view at the center of my 10mm Skywatcher Plössl was very close/equal to the Delos 10mm on Jupiter: same/similar detail, same/similar contrast. At the edge it was a different story and the Plössl (with its meager 50°) had issues, which didn't occur noticeably in the entire 72° of the Delos. Jupiter is so bright though and the reason for me owning the Delos was purely deep sky/DSO related. The wider well controlled FoV allows my averted vision to function very effectively and the slightly better transmission really helps the slightly visible details emerge. 

I think perhaps the questions come if the desire for the 'spacewalk' effect of the extremely wide AFoV eyepieces (100°) starts to lessen. For me the AFoV of the Delos is still very immersive with it's great eye relief and huge lens. I've also found lately that I want to see more in the object I'm viewing (galaxies are my current passion) and less context. Mostly dark skies are the key to seeing more and not the eyepiece but I'm thinking the next step might by some good Orthoscopics. I'm still relatively inexperienced with this and suspect there are many eyepiece journeys ahead!

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I tried a 15 euro Plossl (20mm) that I picked up for the kids' scope in various conditions (including their very fast mini-Dob (F/4.3). I was impressed by the results. Even in scatter control, it is pretty impressive, but only over a much smaller FOV than the mighty Nagler 17T4 and 22T4 which straddled its focal length. I am not surprised that I used (quality) Plossls for years before upgrading to anything else. The main reasons to upgrade were initially comfort, hence the 10mm was ousted for two Vixen LVs (7 and 9mm). Only much later did the wide-field bug hit, with the arrival of the TMB Paragon 40mm.

The difference between the Plossl (or ortho for that matter) and the Pentax XW/Delos/Nagler/Ethos camp is much the same as that between the Me-109 and the P-51 Mustang. As a German pilot said: the Mustang can do everything for two hours which my Me-109 can do for twenty minutes

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i,could not agree with you more the high end ep's are just a,little better and I say a little better as all ready stated light scatter and ,the inky black background  of televue ep's ,but step up the mirror size and that's when you notice the high end ones really take of 

pat

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6 hours ago, John said:

The observing conditions were pretty good last night and I had some wonderful views of the Moon and Jupiter with my 12" dobsonian.

I was really enjoying the quality of views that I was getting from my Pentax XW and Tele Vue Ethos eyepieces and so I should - they have cost a lot of money !

Just for fun I decided to try some much lower cost eyepieces on these targets and spent some time critically examining the quality of the views, the details that I could see and how easily they were discernable, switching between the expensive and cheap occulars.

What I was struck by last night was that the differences between the really expensive eyepieces and the much cheaper ones were just so subtle. There were no details on the Moon or Jupiter that I could not see in the low cost eyepieces. The low cost eyepieces produced a little more light scatter around Jupiter and the back ground sky was not quite as dark  but those were by far the main differences.

The cheap eyepieces were ordinary plossls that can be picked up for £10-£15 used so really nothing special.

Having been an advocate of premium eyepieces for more than a decade on this forum, a post of this type might seem odd coming from me but I did find my "faith" shaken a bit last night in all honesty :undecided:

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing ?

 

 

john you might find this useful

eyetest1.jpg

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6 hours ago, John said:

The observing conditions were pretty good last night and I had some wonderful views of the Moon and Jupiter with my 12" dobsonian.

I was really enjoying the quality of views that I was getting from my Pentax XW and Tele Vue Ethos eyepieces and so I should - they have cost a lot of money !

Just for fun I decided to try some much lower cost eyepieces on these targets and spent some time critically examining the quality of the views, the details that I could see and how easily they were discernable, switching between the expensive and cheap occulars.

What I was struck by last night was that the differences between the really expensive eyepieces and the much cheaper ones were just so subtle. There were no details on the Moon or Jupiter that I could not see in the low cost eyepieces. The low cost eyepieces produced a little more light scatter around Jupiter and the back ground sky was not quite as dark  but those were by far the main differences.

The cheap eyepieces were ordinary plossls that can be picked up for £10-£15 used so really nothing special.

Having been an advocate of premium eyepieces for more than a decade on this forum, a post of this type might seem odd coming from me but I did find my "faith" shaken a bit last night in all honesty :undecided:

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing ?

 

 

Yes, I've had exactly the same experience John.

A year ago I borrowed a 25mm plossl from a friend and what struck me from the start was the clean, transparent view it gave. A few weeks ago I compared the view through another friend's 20mm plossl with the view through my 20mm XW and the plossl was sharper towards the edge and the real field difference was negligible. I've also tried other plossl's that were absolute junk, so not all brands are equal. I suppose with XW's or TV eyepieces you have the comfort of knowing you've got top class glass. 

I'm not a fan of ultra wide angle eyepieces and am much happier with 70° AF or even 50° if the stars are sharp across the field, so i sold my 2" Naglers and Ethos in favour of the 1.25" XW's. Ive now sold my XW's in favour of simpler, light weight designs of high qualty. For planetary i now use a binoviewer with ortho's or LE's and they are better than any single highend eyepiece at a fraction of the cost. But i am insane!

Mike.

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Fortunately I don't mind nudging the scope and have stuck with 50° EPs, so I've not (yet) felt the need to really empty the bank account on the wide angle stuff. When I first got my 250px I spent a month or so just using the 10 and 25mm Super MAs that came with it. When my TV Plossls and 6mm SLV arrived I confess to being somewhat underwhelmed at the transformation, at a glance it's not easy to notice anything obviously different. Looking more closely, they are sharper and give more contrast, but it's only subtle. I think I could have spent half what I did and would have been happy with it. Except I'd always be wondering what if...

Comparing my 10mm SLV with 10mm Super MA, the SLV is certainly better, but is it £70 better? For me, yes it is - a revealing comparison came when I looked at a very faint star cluster, the MA could only make out a suggestion of a maybe grainy smudge, but the SLV showed me this was in fact a clump of very faint stars. So the SLV is noticeably better, but I still think the 10mm Super MA gets a rough ride. You can buy one for £15. In terms of what it delivers for the cost, it is the most awesome eyepiece I own!

Edited by spike95609
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I have a couple of Baader Hyperion's and X-Excell from FLO at sale price,  and some other 2nd cheepies, all of them more that good enough for me

I really cant justify spending on EP's with silly prices.  Seems a bit like designer labels to me

All my scopes are 2nd hand, and they do the same job as new ones

Edited by Frank the Troll
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I guess it's comes down to what is an acceptable view to the individual - and agree that any reasonable scope and eyepiece can give lovely views.

 A major issue though, and perhaps less considered , is the actual quality of the main telescope lens/optics. This can have a bigger impact on what you observe than the eyepiece, which really is only there to bring things to focus.

 

andrew

Edited by andrew63
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2 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

Yes, I've had exactly the same experience John.

A year ago I borrowed a 25mm plossl from a friend and what struck me from the start was the clean, transparent view it gave. A few weeks ago I compared the view through another friend's 20mm plossl with the view through my 20mm XW and the plossl was sharper towards the edge and the real field difference was negligible. I've also tried other plossl's that were absolute junk, so not all brands are equal. I suppose with XW's or TV eyepieces you have the comfort of knowing you've got top class glass. 

I'm not a fan of ultra wide angle eyepieces and am much happier with 70° AF or even 50° if the stars are sharp across the field, so i sold my 2" Naglers and Ethos in favour of the 1.25" XW's. Ive now sold my XW's in favour of simpler, light weight designs of high qualty. For planetary i now use a binoviewer with ortho's or LE's and they are better than any single highend eyepiece at a fraction of the cost. But i am insane!

Mike.

Completely agree with you Mike, and as I pretty much only do planetary, 40 degrees of Zeiss quality outweighs pretty much everything else.

We're not insane, just different!:happy7:

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