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John

Eyepiece Doubts

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This is inspiring reading. My sharpest ep in both the Newts and fracs has always been a 6mm Antares Plossl. I don't own any fancy ( £££) eps, I've found that until him upstairs removes the light pollution and humidity from our air ,that to push a scope just needs good seeing and transparency.

once again, as per aperture, the Emporer's New Clothes are very much in mind !

Nick.

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One rule I have always stuck to is that if I cannot see anything wrong with a piece of kit (whatever its role or perceived pedigree), I do not replace it. My Plossls served me well for years, and only when I started to notice their deficiencies (like viewing comfort) did I change anything. I really liked the views through the old silver-top 26mm Plossl that came with the scope. Having said that, the sheer size of the FOV of the Nagler 22 that replaced it did blow it out of the water. In terms of sharpness (over the limited FOV) the Plossl could certainly keep up. What it cannot give is the immersive view. I have no doubts whatsoever which EP I would rather use: the Vixen 36mm Plossl or the Nagler 31T5? Easy: the massive "Panzerfaust" wins every time.

That doesn't for a moment mean that the views through the old 36 were bad, however!

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I was giving this thread further thought. I remember a few years ago I was observing one of the supernovae and I was checking out the faintness of the surrounding stars. I was using one of new Hutech Orthoscopics and I noticed that I could see slightly fainter stars with this EP than with my Ethos EPs. I found these Orthoscopics very good on contrast but disliked the FOV and the eye relief so I sold them.

 

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I've really enjoyed reading the thoughtful input to this thread since I made my rather plaintive opening post. Thanks very much for bothering to post your thoughts - much appreciated :icon_biggrin:

I have no complaints at all about the performance of the Ethos and XW eyepieces that I was using last night - they showed fantastic views of both the lunar surface and Jupiters splendour. The level of detail was as high as I've seen at any time and they are a pleasure to use.

My surprise was in how close the low cost eyepieces were to the on axis performance of the "exotica" although as has been said, virtually all eyepieces available today do very well on axis.

I think Michaels "policy" of not changing equipment when it works well for you is very sound and, in the main, I have followed a similar approach, investing when I'd seen a difference (and more than on one occasion) in performance that mattered to me.

Having now assembled an eyepiece collection which is probably as good as I'm going to get I probably ought to quit whinging and get on with making them earn their keep :rolleyes2:

By the way, if you don't mind eye relief around 8-10mm and a Japanese Meade 4000 UWA 6.7mm comes up at a decent price (I paid <£50 for mine, delivered) give it some thought. While the overall light transmission is not in the XW / Ethos / Baader CO range, the sharpness of the glass is astounding for use on the the moon and planets :icon_cool:

Who would have thunk it from a decade old superceded eyepiece. I'm now looking out for the 8.8mm from the same series ....

 

 

Edited by John
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14 minutes ago, John said:

I've really enjoyed reading the thoughtful input to this thread since I made my rather plaintive opening post. Thanks very much for bothering to post your thoughts - much appreciated :icon_biggrin:

I have no complaints at all about the performance of the Ethos and XW eyepieces that I was using last night - they showed fantastic views of both the lunar surface and Jupiters splendour. The level of detail was as high as I've seen at any time and they are a pleasure to use.

My surprise was in how close the low cost eyepieces were to the on axis performance of the "exotica" although as has been said, virtually all eyepieces available today do very well on axis.

I think Michaels "policy" of not changing equipment when it works well for you is very sound and, in the main, I have followed a similar approach, investing when I'd seen a difference (and more than on one occasion) in performance that mattered to me.

Having now assembled an eyepiece collection which is probably as good as I'm going to get I probably ought to quit whinging and get on with making them earn their keep :rolleyes2:

By the way, if you don't mind eye relief around 8-10mm and a Japanese Meade 4000 UWA 6.7mm comes up at a decent price (I paid <£50 for mine, delivered) give it some thought. While the overall light transmission is not in the XW / Ethos / Baader CO range, the sharpness of the glass is astounding for use on the the moon and planets :icon_cool:

Who would have thunk it from a decade old superceded eyepiece. I'm now looking out for the 8.8mm from the same series ....

 

 

I have the Meade 14mm UWA  John and would not part with it, for the very reasons that you give, and just a week ago I tried to buy the 6.7mm on ebay, but it went for well in excess of £100, so missed out. In the spirit of this thread that you started, I also tried out my Celestron silver top 17mm and the B&L Criterion 16.3mm, with the 16mm Nagler, on Jupiter, and on axis , they were equally sharp, not inexpensive plossls, I know, but a big difference in cost all the same.:happy11:

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This is a very interesting thread. I always thought my old Celestron Plossls compared well with my TV Plossls and AH ortho's, but there is a difference in brightness, contrast and clarity, albeit small.

I think that the difference between my 32mm TV Plossl and Celestron 32mm Plossl is as much ergonomic as anything else. The TV is just a delight to use for low power viewing. It just feels right.

This inexpensive 15mm Celestron Kellner was one of my favourite wide angle eyepieces for quite a while.

Kellner15.JPG.5e01e638257411dded9a5cb0e2

It still gets used in my 90mm grab'n'go scope sometimes, mainly because it's so much lighter than my Delos lol. I don't think the 15mm Celestron Kellner is much more than 20 quid to buy new.

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I like the wider field of views that I get from Naglers. However, they do have terrible fringing on the moon. That said I do not have a problem when I use BGOs for high power planetary. The number of times I get to use my 9mm BGO is very slim, never mind the 6mm. I recently bought a 6mm Radian, I do as others have said, find it irritating trying to get my eye in the correct position to view "properly".

When i first started in this hobby /reading this forum, I was flumuxed by the price that people paid for various items, whether they where EPs or scopes.

I am a bit shocked by John's post but not completely surprised. I am happy with my EP collection, the ones I have are not cheap and are not perfect.

I think that there are always going to be people that strive for the best, can afford the best, spend / have more EPs than they really need. That'is the same as in all aspects of life

Very good OP John.

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I didn't intend to shock really Ian - I was just jotting down my reactions to see what experience others have had.

Thats one of the nice things about this forum - you feel you are amongst friends and can talk openly :icon_biggrin:

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Funny you should mention that old meade japan 6.7 UWA John.   I also bought one a few months back for not much, and was using it also last night in a telescope not suited for solar system use, and the view was as good as any i have used from 50 deg and up. Flat and sharp and about the same size as a 26 plossl.  

And a quick aside from the last post, surprisingly free of colour fringing which in common in most UWA -  and this was in an F5 achro.

andrew

 

meade6.7jpg.jpg

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The main lesson for me in this thread is that we are dead right when we advise people just starting out to use cheap but decent EPs first, and not splash out a ton of cash on the top EPs. Current "simple" EPs are generally very good indeed, bar the occasional department store plastic "Huygens" (can I hear Christiaan spinning in his grave? ;)), and can give a lot of pleasure.

I do however recall that when I replaced my 26mm and 10mm Plössls with better stuff in various stages, I let a colleague check them out in his scope. These were Vixen-made Plössls, and in my opinion a cut above the MA 25 and 10mm EPs that came with his scope. I basically named a price I would like for them, but said he could first see if they were any better to his eyes, than the stock EPs. I later repeated this with the 36mm Plössl when I got my TMB Paragon 40mm, and with the Vixen LVs when I got my Radians. Each time, he returned the next day with the cash, because he instantly spotted the difference. He doesn't feel to extend his collection any further, being very happy with his current collection.

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hmmm so it seems anyone with a scope slower than F6 and say...less than 3" app can get away with not shelling out on ep's over £200 each.....

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2 hours ago, estwing said:

hmmm so it seems anyone with a scope slower than F6 and say...less than 3" app can get away with not shelling out on ep's over £200 each.....

Not quite. I notice subtle (and not so subtle) differences in my F/10 SCT. However, I would encourage people to try the simpler EPs first.

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2 hours ago, estwing said:
11 minutes ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

Not quite. I notice subtle (and not so subtle) differences in my F/10 SCT. However, I would encourage people to try the simpler EPs first.

Yes, I think thats the important thing.

I'm not saying that there are no differences in the views, just that they are sometimes very subtle and the cost difference large. It's only by trying things out can folks decide whether thats money well spent, for them.

 

 

Edited by John

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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 technique (much like Piero does with his insanely good results from a 60mm Apo) that you are bound to be a better observer when you get to bigger aperture.

I think it's the same with eyepieces, you learn over time what you like and dislike, how they work with your eyes and which objects you prefer. The results from good entry level eyepieces are certainly pretty good these days.

Some years back I sold (very cheaply) a case of Celestron Ultima Plossls I think they were and a Barlow, very nice and sharp, I just didn't realise it at the time and regret selling them.

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It's mainly about comfort for me. If I had the money I would buy premium ep's with a fairly wide field and good eye relief, even if the quality of the view was no better. I used to own 6mn BGO which gave great views but I just wasn't comfortable using it. If a Delos gives the same view but is more comfortable to use then to me it would be worth the money. I can't afford Delos etc so compromise, favouring comfort over most other aspects.

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Excellent reality check, in my opinion. Dare to question and express doubt. The green lettering itself will not improve the view. Trust your own eyes. I'm sure the "real" value of gear will change from session to session, as one's ambitions and own eyesight go through a natural cycle.

Could I use something other than an Ethos and still get the same view? I won't say no, because I don't know. Am I interested in finding out? Not at the moment, thanks :rolleyes2:

 

Edited by iPeace
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On 2016-03-18 at 20:20, cotterless45 said:

This is inspiring reading. My sharpest ep in both the Newts and fracs has always been a 6mm Antares Plossl. I don't own any fancy ( £££) eps, I've found that until him upstairs removes the light pollution and humidity from our air ,that to push a scope just needs good seeing and transparency.

once again, as per aperture, the Emporer's New Clothes are very much in mind !

Nick.

I would like to think that well-trained eyes and dedication with observing beats any advantage an super eyepiece has over an ordinary one.:smiley:

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My first EP purchase was a case of TS branded plossls.  My second purchase a year or so later was a Nagler 13T6.  The set of 6 or 7 eps has been moved out, and the metal & foam case now houses the 13T6, and a few others.  I consider 1/2 the original EPs unusable, and did nothing to keep me hooked - just frustrated.

I've only bought a couple of EPs in total over the years (so what do I know!), but the 13T6 delivered in spades over my cheap plossls in my 2 dobs.  In a manual dob, the afov, transparency, correction, have been worth it to me - zero doubts, lots of joy. Don't get me wrong, I really questioned spending 1/2 the price of the scope on a single EP .  Honestly, I'd do it again in a heartbeat ... :)

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On 3/18/2016 at 17:26, estwing said:

Don't think cheap ep's are going to stay long in a F3.9 mirror...

But is it the cheap ep or the F3.9 mirror that has the most in-built aberrations? :-)

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On 18/03/2016 at 22:28, John said:

I've really enjoyed reading the thoughtful input to this thread since I made my rather plaintive opening post. Thanks very much for bothering to post your thoughts - much appreciated :icon_biggrin:

I have no complaints at all about the performance of the Ethos and XW eyepieces that I was using last night - they showed fantastic views of both the lunar surface and Jupiters splendour. The level of detail was as high as I've seen at any time and they are a pleasure to use.

My surprise was in how close the low cost eyepieces were to the on axis performance of the "exotica" although as has been said, virtually all eyepieces available today do very well on axis.

I think Michaels "policy" of not changing equipment when it works well for you is very sound and, in the main, I have followed a similar approach, investing when I'd seen a difference (and more than on one occasion) in performance that mattered to me.

Having now assembled an eyepiece collection which is probably as good as I'm going to get I probably ought to quit whinging and get on with making them earn their keep :rolleyes2:

By the way, if you don't mind eye relief around 8-10mm and a Japanese Meade 4000 UWA 6.7mm comes up at a decent price (I paid <£50 for mine, delivered) give it some thought. While the overall light transmission is not in the XW / Ethos / Baader CO range, the sharpness of the glass is astounding for use on the the moon and planets :icon_cool:

Who would have thunk it from a decade old superceded eyepiece. I'm now looking out for the 8.8mm from the same series ....

 

 

 I agree John :-).

Maybe that Meade is nearer 20 years old? Whatever it's age, there is no doubt that at the time many of these older eps were made, they were built to (then) best in class standards, with meticulous Japanese workmanship (some might say bordering on OCD?). And again, 10 or 20 years ago, some of these eps were probably as expensive, in real terms as todays higher end units.

The other day I was clearing out some stuff in my garage (it's an ongoing project!) and came across an original bill of sale receipt from Broadhurst Clarkson & Fuller from 1994. It was for an ex demo Vixen SP102 F10 achromat on Super Polaris mount, and was for £1150 - for an ex demo scope outfit which came with  0.965" eyepieces as standard!

So what would that be in today's money? Maybe £2500? And for that, nowadays you could buy a TAK OTA and a half decent SW mount for it...

I can't agree more re the Meade 4000 UWAs, my 14mm is just superb, right up there with Naglers (much bigger than some though), and I got mine for £100 shipped..picture below for scale with an ortho, APM x2.7 barlow and my Pentax zoom :-)

Dave

IMG_20160311_084937720_HDR.jpg

IMG_20160311_084536047_HDR.jpg

IMG_20160311_084944298_HDR.jpg

Edited by F15Rules
Photos added
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The old Celestron and Vixen Plossls I bought were certainly a lot more expensive than the ones you get these days, especially taking inflation into account.

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I bought a new Japan made Meade 6.4mm 4000 series plossl new from Broadhurst Clarkson and Fuller back in the late 1980's. The price ? - a cool £79.99 !. You can pick these up used for around £25 now. The 4000 series SWA 24.5mm, which was promoted as a Panoptic 24mm rival, cost a cool £200 and the 6.7mm UWA that I mentioned earler was £229.

I tell you, we have never had it so good folks ! :D

 

 

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There is a pair of Series 4000 12.4mm Japanese made super Plossls on ABS currently for £55 with a comment that a lot more was paid for them. Are they that good? I understand that the older Japanese made ones are superior and a different design to new variants

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33 minutes ago, Stu said:

There is a pair of Series 4000 12.4mm Japanese made super Plossls on ABS currently for £55 with a comment that a lot more was paid for them. Are they that good? I understand that the older Japanese made ones are superior and a different design to new variants

I can only comment on the 6.4mm 4K plossl that I mentioned above. I took it back for a refund !. I suspect mine had a defect of some sort but I was not going to risk another one so I got a 7mm Celestron Ultima instead, which was great.

The 24.5mm SWA was not the Panoptic beater that it was promoted as, alas - I've used one and it showed plenty of astigmatism at F/6.

Given that, I've been very pleasently surprised how good the 4000 6.7mm UWA has turned out to be. It's light transmission is not as good as a modern eyepiece and the AFoV is certainly not the claimed 84 degrees (75 I'd guess) but the glass is very sharp indeed. So for under £50 I'm happy with it :icon_biggrin:

 

Edited by John

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On ‎18‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 22:28, John said:

 

Having now assembled an eyepiece collection which is probably as good as I'm going to get I probably ought to quit whinging and get on with making them earn their keep :rolleyes2:

 

I have mentioned several times in past threads that I think for many astronomers that buying and selling gear is as much a part of the hobby as is actually getting out observing. We spend sooooo much time in the UK under poor skies and swapping kit or DIY astronomy is the only thing we have to keep our hand in the hobby during all that down time. As we strive for those little tweaks or bits of kit that improve our viewing of the night sky we become critical of the kit we presently own. You are now being slightly critical of the ethos in the same way as you did the last eyepieces you had but sadly for you though you have reached the end goal as far as getting the best eyepieces there are.

I believe there are differences between budget and exotic eyepieces but they are always going to be subtle. For me the most notable is the contrast but again seeing and transparency of the night sky can play just as big a factor in this as the price of an eyepiece. I have times when I'd like my old case of Nalgers and times where I'm more than happy with what I have. I think this is again largely down to sky conditions than it is actual improvements the Nagler brought to my views. Recently I have considered making changes to my kit and even have a couple items up for sale despite no doubt probably regretting it if sold. It now seems to almost become habit for me to make changes to my kit despite enjoying what I have WHEN I get to use it.

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