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Baader Zoom?

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So I have some money burning a hole in my pocket for my first upgraded EPs.  I have done tons of searching and settled on trying the Celestron Xcel Lxs and a Celestron zoom.  My intention was to have an OK zoom for friends/outreach and quick viewing and to eventually get the set of Xcels from 5mm to 25mm for planetary and DSO use.  And I intend to use them in my 8" Dob and 5" SCT.

BUT I keep reading threads about people with the Baader Zoom.  It seems that the Baader zoom is as good of viewing quality than some Non-zoom EPs.  I could either get the Baader for about $290 or get a Celestron zoom, Xcel 9mm, 12mm, 18mm, and 25mm for $330.


Is the Baader zoom as good/better than the Xcels (or other similar EPs, paradigms, Meade 5000, etc.) making it more cost efficient to get the Baader zoom over those 5 EPs?




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I've owned 3 of the Baader Zooms over the years and compared their performance to a lot of different eyepieces. The Baader Zoom is a really big improvement over the stock eyepieces supplied with scopes but so is the X-Cell LX and the other eyepieces that you mention.

The advantage of the zoom is that you can alter the focal length and therefore the magnification at will to suit targets and viewing conditions. The field of view of the zoom is narrower at 24mm and 20mm than the X-Cell LX's and Paradigm's but widens to around the same by the time 10mm and 8mm are reached. Ideally you would get the wide field at the 24mm focal length but the zooms don't seem to be able to manage this.

I think the Baader Zoom pretty much performs as well as, say, a Paradigm (BST Starguider over here) but does not really offer any improvements over that level of performance.

As you mention though, if you are planning on buying, say, a number of Paradigm's from 25mm to 8mm then the Baader zoom might offer a sound alternative. Personally I'd want a fixed focal length 24mm superwide eyepiece such as the Maxvision plus, say, a 6mm fixed focal length eyepiece (eg: William Optics SPL 6mm ?) for higher power observing as well as the zoom, to have a more versatile set.


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Another thumbs up for the Williams Optics 6mm SPL here John. Acquired one from a member on here and it is my best high power EP for views of the planets and the moon, even when I use a 2x Barlow with it too when seeing allows. Also, just got a 68 degree 20mm Maxvision EP from another member, which is a quality EP, but have as yet to use it, however the quality looks very good too and the daytime view I got with it was superb. 

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