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joe1950

Can't decide which EP brand to use.

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Good day to all.

I primarily observe with a Celestron C80ED, f/7.5, and a 150mm Newt-DOB, f/6.

 

May I ask?.....

I have a couple Celestron Omni Plossl eyepieces, 12mm and 9mm (newer China mfg).

I also have 2 Meade Series 4000, Plossl, 12.4mm and 9.7mm (newer China mfg).

And finally I have 3 older Edmund Scientific Volcano Tops, 12.5mm, 9mm and 7mm (1970s Japanese made).

With the eyepieces, I use a TeleVue, 2x Barlow at times, which is an excellent performer.

 

Seeing in my area has been so bad for such a long time, I can't seem to get a handle on which set might have an edge over the others. I've tried on several occasions to compare them side by side, however it is very difficult to do so under such conditions, though I'm hoping with the cooler weather better views may be had. I'm speaking primarily of quality in sharpness and detail for planetary and lunar views.

I'm wondering if anyone has had a chance to use any of these brands - or all of them - and if you feel one brand or type would have an advantage, if and when good conditions present themselves. Any opinions would be appreciated.

 

Thank you.

joe

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Hello Joe . I think the Edmund scientific  are the Ortho volcano type. When it comes to eyepieces IMO for sharpness and quality of image, that a good Ortho really is a good performer. And for planetary and lunar then as long as you can exept the narrow field of view of an Ortho , usually around the 42d mark and the tight eye relief ,then Orthos are great.

Therefore out of your eyepieces then the Ortho volcano type eyepieces IMO will give you the sharpest and most detail on planetary and lunar when conditions allow ,as this is where a good Ortho comes into its own.

I hope the above helps☺ 

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According to William Paolini, the Meade 4000 series are slightly modified Plossls with concave elements on the outer groups, a feature they have in common with Televue Plossls, to increase off-axis performance. In theory this should be an improvement over the Celestron Omnis.

Omnis are good basic Plossls, but belong at the cheaper end of the range. Although cost v quaity is not always as obvious as it ought to be, the Meades should be a little better.

Your Edmund Scientific EPs have me very intrigued, again Paolini lists three Edmund Scientific EPs: Orthos, Plossls and RKEs - however none are in the sizes you mention. Perhaps if they are 1970s vintage, they predate the ones he had access to? Can you give us any more details, or perhaps post a photo? Edmund Scientific had a very good reputation, and if these EPs are in clean, good condition, they may be very good performers.

Ultimately however, it is for you to decide which are the best for you. Whether it's subjective, psychological or scientific, I don't know - but we all have our favourites and quite often don't agree :icon_biggrin:

Added: the Edmund Scientific may be an Ortho - in which case it may be marked "Or. 12.5mm", but the other two remain a mystery to me.

Edited by Putaendo Patrick
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I have all of the TV 1.25" Plossls, Barlows and the 2.5x Powermate. They are possibly the best on the market. I have other TV eyepieces. I have used a few different Celestron EP's, although the main ones now are a 9mm X-Cel LX and some assorted Plossls (including a couple of Omnis).

XCel1.jpg

For the money the X-Cel is very good and has a 60° FOV. It is sharp with no discernible edge of field brightness and only a tiny bit of light scatter occasionally.

11 EP MightyMak.jpg

Above you can see a selection including a couple of Hutech orthoscopics and an Antares 'Plossl' which is actually a Masuyama clone. The Vixen NPL series rival TeleVues IMO.

baader2fx.jpg

There is also a Baader Eudiascopic 10mm, which is very orthoscopic-like with a 44.4° FOV. Expensive, but very able with sharp, bright, highly contrasted views. 

TSO pair.jpg

These TS Optics (Barsta) Planetary HR EP's are also very good for the money and give sterling ortho'-like views. They can display some ghosting and EOFB but they are virtually as good as an orthoscopic.

7mm Sky-Watcher UWA.jpg

These Sky-Watcher (Barsta) UWA's are very similar to the TS Optics but less expensive and not so well finished or internally flocked. They don't play well with Barlows as they have an integral negative Smyth lens. I don't think they are edge-blacked either. They do give superbly sharp and contrasted views although suffer far more than the TSO's with EOF brightness, shadows and also some ghosting in my experience. For lunar/planetary they are fantastic value for money though. Often marketed Stateside as 'Olivon' inter alia.

Omnis3.jpg

The Omni series seem to have drastically fallen in price over the past couple of years, I still think they're pretty decent, although mine have been a tad customised.

Crazy Eight fx.jpg

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Just great information! I sincerely thank you all!

 

The Edmund Scientific eyepieces go way back to probably the early 70s. Maybe late 60s.

My son has the 9mm and I believe an 18mm volcano top Edmund. I currently have the Meade 9mm Ortho.  We swap and borrow EPs often.

orthos.png

They aren't Branded Edmund, but I'm positive that's where I bought them. I purchased them new and got everything from Edmunds, living just 10 minutes drive from the wonderful retail store - where I spent much time, and much of my money!

I know they offered different focal lengths at different times. The 7mm is a rare sample, I believe. 

orthos2.jpg

This offering is from some time in the 60s. Notice they were not showing the brand name. Later eyepieces did. Also the 9mm and 7mm are identical to those pictured, but not present for sale. The barrels were marked 'Japan,' but I put new barrels on mine as the others were scratched from the focuser tube back then being a kind that was dimpled and held the eyepiece by pressure. Inserting the barrel into the holder scratched it every time.

They are in very good condition and the glass is perfect. I don't mind the fov being a little narrower than the Plossls. In fact, it seems the eye relief may be a little better. To see the edge of the shorter Plossls you almost have to wear them as contact lenses!

 

The Meade 4000 Series is the latest version of the line. I know there was a line of 4000s that were Japanese made, I believe, and had an extra (5th) element. My eyepieces are not those. 

meade.JPG

Are these the slightly modified Plossls that mimic the Televue Plossls, would you know?

 

Mak, your eyepiece kit is excellent! And, no doubt the Televues leave nothing to be desired. The one Televue item I have is the standard 2x Barlow and it is superb. (I also have a piece of Takahashi equipment... a 1.25 diagonal prism) 

 

Ben, last year when Jupiter was at and near opposition, we did have nights of good seeing. But when the weather warmed in the spring something changed in the jet stream or somewhere in the atmosphere that caused very unsettled conditions for quite a while. Someone explained it to me, but I can't recall details. That trend may be ending, as I mentioned, with the cooler weather here - I hope. Every observing session since April until now has shown a lot of movement and deformation on stars and planets, even with different scopes and eyepieces. The light pollution at 7-8 is bad enough, and that stays year round.

 

Again, Timebandit, Putaendo Patrick, Mak the Night and Ben the Ignorant, (I'll have to think of a more clever name than joe1950) thank you so much for the replies and information! I know I'll choose the ones I feel best with, but the more knowledge the better. Eventually I'll upgrade, but that will take some time.

All the best!

joe

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Putaendo Patrick said:

......it is for you to decide which are the best for you. Whether it's subjective, psychological or scientific, I don't know - but we all have our favourites and quite often don't agree :icon_biggrin:

Joe1950...........My Starguiders ( similar to the Astro Tech ED  'Paradigm' in USA)  are my first choice on my 200P f/6 followed by my Revelation Plössls. They just work well for my needs!

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35 minutes ago, joe1950 said:

....The Meade 4000 Series is the latest version of the line. I know there was a line of 4000s that were Japanese made, I believe, and had an extra (5th) element. My eyepieces are not those. 

meade.JPG

Are these the slightly modified Plossls that mimic the Televue Plossls, would you know?

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Joe.

I think the eyepieces above are fairly standard Chinese plossls as offered by Agena Astro here:

http://agenaastro.com/meade-series-4000-12-4mm-super-plossl-eyepiece.html

As far as I know, only Vixen, with their NPL series and possibly the earlier Japanese made Meade 4000 plossls tried to emulate the patented Tele Vue modified plossl design.

Over here in the UK you can buy a nice used Tele Vue plossl for around the same price as a new Vixen or used Japanese Meade 4000 so why not have the original ?

On your original question, I think the best optical performers of the eyepieces you list in your opening post are the Edmund Scientific branded orthoscopics. They were most probably manufactured by the same place that made the University Optics orthoscopics and many others that tend to be known under the generic title of Circle-T orthoscopics. This thread on the Cloudynights forum explains a little more:

http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/80182-what-does-the-circlet-mean-on-uo-eyepieces/

 

 

Edited by John
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Thank you so much, John! They certainly appear the same as the Agena Astro make, and knowing how manufacturing works it wouldn't be a surprise at all. The ortho history is very interesting from the CN topic. I bookmarked the Kokusai Kohki and will check the site. A handsome set of eyepieces pictured!

(The spider avatar on the CN page was not too appetizing. And I shouldn't say this, because I have many cherished friends on CN, but I'm limiting my participation. There are some who seem to really enjoy insulting and arguing.  Civility is an unknown concept to some. But for the most part, of course, very good folks)

I am leaning toward using the Edmund Orthos. Even with the slightly smaller FOV, even the 7mm is comfortable to use. As I mentioned, I would like to eventually upgrade to the TeleVue Plossls, as funding in the golden retirement years permit  :dontknow:

Thank you very much, John, for the valuable information and insight!

 

The very best,

joe

 

34,140 posts! Amazing and well done!

Edited by joe1950
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William Paolini in his Choosing and Using Astronomical Eyepieces, Springer 2013, states the following for the current Meade 4000 series:

These use a seven-layer multi-coating; are parfocal; and are designed with the
latest in optical glass types. For improved off-axis performance as compared to
typical Plössls, current Meade 4000 4-element line also uses unconventional con-
cave lens surfaces instead of the standard flat surfaces on the outward-facing eye
lens and field lens. Other four-element Plössl lines that use concave lens surfaces
include the Astro-Tech High Grade Plössl, Smart Astronomy Sterling Plössl, and
Tele Vue Plössl.

Unless someone else (very definitely not me) wants to take one apart to prove or disprove this, I'll take his word :icon_biggrin:. The photograph he provides of the current 4000s is identical to yours and very different to the older Japanese 4000 which had five elements.

Currently I believe the only surviving maker of Orthoscopic EPs in Japan is the Ohi Optical Manufacturing Company, and I understand all new Orthos from Japan regardless of brand originate from this factory. In the past, however, there were other makers - often very small workshops with one master and an assistant or two, producing Ortho lenses which might in turn be assembled by another small workshop. The finished EPs might be bought up by a larger exporter who would brand them according to the wishes of his overseas client. So who made what, when and for who is a fascinating puzzle - and, from what I've seen, there are a lot of unsubstantiated rumors and very little fact.

Most of the main astronomy retailers sold Orthos back in the 1960s and 70s - Meade, Celestron, etc (when these were American owned companies). Orthos really were the top EPs of their day for amateur astronomers. Then the Plossl design hit the scene. Plossls are not new - the design dates back to the 19th century - but they were suddenly rediscovered and mass produced. I wonder why - perhaps a change in technology enabled these to be made more economically?

Soon Orthos became relegated to something of a curiosity, and almost disappeared from the market altogether. The Baader Genuine Ortho, perhaps the most famous, was discontinued - perhaps because the Japanese manufacturer folded (perhaps even died! a lot of the master craftsmen were old and weren't being replaced by younger generations), or perhaps because the line was no longer making money? Competition from Chinese factories probably played its part as well.

The volcano top Orthos marked with the Circle T, which were branded by several retailers, disappeared around 2005-2007. As these were described as "discontinued", I don't think it's just a case of a factory dropping the circle T symbol.

At least with complete telescopes, I've always assumed Circle T was Towa. Towa certainly made equipment which was rebranded - but they also sold under their own name, and these have the Circle T. Meade had a close business relation with Towa - in fact I seem to remember Meade's founder married the daughter of the owner of Towa! - and a lot of Meade's Japanese imports have the Circle T.

However for eyepieces the Circle T seems to have also been used by a certain Mr Tani or Tany - apparently owner of a small workshop, so there are doubts whether he could have made all the EPs with this mark. The proof seems to be in an old page from a Swiss astronomy supplier: http://www.aokswiss.ch/d/zub/okulare/tany/ortho.htm

There may be a difference in the symbols, whether the T touches the circle or not, but bear in mind these symbols are usually very small and over the years would probably have been printed by different printers. I'm not convinced this is significant.

Another respected vendor of Orthos is University Optics who for many years carried Circle Ts. Around 2010 they announced these were discontinued and they were out of stock. Instead it seems they switched briefly to a Chinese supplier and offered a "Super Abbe Ortho". Whether these were poor quality, I don't know, but they have since returned to sourcing in Japan from Ohi Optical.

Baader seems to have had more success in China. They currently sell the "Baader Classic Ortho", which although it doesn't have the almost cult following of the original BGO, is nevertheless a good performer.

Returning to the past and Joe's very nice vintage Orthos, who made the Edmund Scientifics is anyone's guess! Carton supplied many EPs to Edmund Scientific, but which ones and when? And, just maybe, who supplied Carton? And the Meade IIs, supplied by Towa, made by Tani? Again anyone's guess...

 

 

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You have provided an excellent and interesting background, Putaendo Patrick! I do recall reading of a particular lens maker in Japan who ran a very modest size business but produced superb eyepiece lenses and many of them. At his passing, the company ceased operation. I can't recall the name but it is unfortunate such excellent craftsmanship is virtually gone!

I thank you immensely for taking the time to write such a comprehensive and informative post Putaendo Patrick. It is wonderful to hear from you and all the posters who are so knowledgeable about eyepieces.

Warm regards, joe 

Added: I looked at the Book you quoted by  William Paolini  and it appears to be very, very interesting and still up to date. I'd like to get it, but I'll have to talk myself into spending the money... books have gotten very pricy! Even the Kindle electronic version which I can get is more than $30 USD. I'm sure, from the sample, it's a worthwhile and detailed eyepiece manual. I'm not cheap by any means, just currency challenged  :Envy:  Thanks! 

Edited by joe1950
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Charic, I actually have 2 Agena Starguiders in a 5mm and 3.2 mm size, They are excellent eyepieces and I use them for my C80ED refractor to attain some usable power with the 600mm focal length.  They are sharp across the field and have amazing color fidelity. That is another set I may wish to expand on. thank you for the reminder.

joe

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joe1950, nice one...........Agena/Starguider, apart from the wording, chosen by the vendors, (copyright - one reason BST Explorers became Starguiders ? ) they  are the same eyepieces, and  your right, they are  very good eyepieces. 
I'm still hoping to get the  Starguider 6mm  from my  mate/vendor one day ? I`ll be first in the queue!

Edited by Charic
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I few years back, I had a couple and sold them. I missed them though and repurchased the 5mm and 3.5mm. They are outstanding, especially at the reasonable price point. Funny, I too was not thrilled with the name! the only eyepiece name I find more cheesy is 'Astromania.' Just doesn't characterize a feeling of scientific precision and quality to me. But if it works, it works!

Thank you, Charic.

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1 minute ago, joe1950 said:

..... Funny, I too was not thrilled with the name! the only eyepiece name I find more cheesy is 'Astromania.' Just doesn't characterize a feeling of scientific precision and quality to me. But if it works, it works!

 

Back in my earlier days in this hobby (1980's) I used to take the magazine "Astronomy". In the small adverts towards the back of the magazine was a small advert for plossl eyepieces from somebody calling themselves "Tele Vue". I remember thinking what a cheesy name for a scientific instrument maker - can't be much good !. I was a bit wrong there ...... :rolleyes2:

Mind you, a quality Japanese manufacturer picked their brand name from a reindeer....

 

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:icon_biggrin:   I guess some things grow on us after a while, John! Especially the successful ones.

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I looked closely at the Meade 4000 Plossls and although it's difficult to see without disassembling, I believe the outward facing lenses are curved rather than flat, as described by  William Paolin.

After reflection for countless hours in Chambers, what I believe I'll do is to use the Meads for the present time, especially since I have more of those than the Orthos. If seeing improves as it is forecasted to do in the cooler weather, I'll hopefully find an evening where it is good and do a test, Meade vs. Ortho and try to note any discernable difference. For some reason, I tend to prefer having a consistency of brand rather than a mixture. 

So I'm much closer to achieving my goal, thanks to the wonderful and gracious help from everyone! My sincere thanks to all and I will share my findings.

Ciao for now!

joe

Edited by joe1950
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Here are (were) my Meade 4000 plossls - which out of the pure goodness of my heart I was taking to work to lend to a friend recently, but instead I left them on a bus. Sad, but I have far too many eps, and at least it proved an efficient way of slimming down the collection

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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Top ratings for those old Edmunds! They were THE eyepieces we all wanted back in the early 1970's. Before TeleVue® rolled into town, they were it!

I have many different eyepieces from many different companies. I like them all for different reasons. Even my Celestron X-Cel 5mm* - which was named "The Worst Eyepiece of All Time!" in CloudyNights.

I observe and I collect -

Dave

* - note: this is an 'X-Cel' and not the newer 'X-Cel LX.'

 

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Oh, that's such bad luck, Highburymark. You had such a nice collection. For some reason, I always like to see a 'set' of eyepieces. I'm sure rather than lose them on the buy you would have preferred to donate them to someone starting out. Who knows where they ended up.

I remember those days, Dave. Couldn't do much better than the Japanese Orthos. TeleVue certainly changed the landscape. An optician who worked with my dad at the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia, Wright H. Scidmore, developed an eyepiece for the military in 1963 that had a 90 degree AFOV! It never caught on as a commercial product for some reason, but Al Nagler's designs certainly did in the 80s on.

And I do remember the negativity surrounding the X-Cel, but I don't know what the issue was. I have used the X-Cel Lx eyepieces and think they are excellent.

It's good to try different things, but my eyes don't detect a tremendous difference between a modest eyepiece and a premium one. They do detect a tremendous difference in the cost! 

Thank you! Very interesting.

joe

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17 hours ago, Highburymark said:

I left them on a bus. Sad, but I have far too many eps, and at least it proved an efficient way of slimming down the collection

....you don't actually sound that  sad?
If it was London Transport, they have quite a museum/office for lost property, you never know!

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4 hours ago, joe1950 said:

For some reason, I always like to see a 'set' of eyepieces.

The reason's easy. It affects virtually all amateur astronomers. It's an advanced form of OCD known colloquially as 'musthavethecompletesetitis'. I suffer badly from it. The only real cure is to actually buy the complete set of eyepieces. I bought all of the TeleVue 1.25" Plossls after a particularly bad attack of musthavethecompletesetitis. 

tvp1.jpg

It was expensive but I recovered. Weird thing is; the 8mm Plossl, which was one of the last I obtained has been one of the most used. I had 8mm Plossls before that hardly ever got used. 

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2 hours ago, Mak the Night said:

The reason's easy. It affects virtually all amateur astronomers. It's an advanced form of OCD known colloquially as 'musthavethecompletesetitis'. I suffer badly from it. The only real cure is to actually buy the complete set of eyepieces. I bought all of the TeleVue 1.25" Plossls after a particularly bad attack of musthavethecompletesetitis. 

tvp1.jpg

It was expensive but I recovered. Weird thing is; the 8mm Plossl, which was one of the last I obtained has been one of the most used. I had 8mm Plossls before that hardly ever got used. 

Off topic a bit here- Mak does the 40mm TV plossl eye guard extender give good placement of the exit pupil or does it still "float"?

Edited by jetstream
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45 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Off topic a bit here- Mak does the 40mm TV plossl eye guard extender give good placement of the exit pupil or does it still "float"?

Well, it improves it. I believe you can stack multiple eyeguard extenders. I'm OK with just the one although I don't hold my eye right against the rubber. I don't find 40mm Plossls any worse really for eye placement than 32mm. It just takes a bit of practice.

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Mak, you have struck the nail precisely on the head! That is a gorgeous collection. Often we have to part out some money to cure our ailments! :icon_biggrin:

You know, I like the black and green eyepiece color combination --- very soothing!

Thanks for the clarification, Mak. At least I know I'm not alone in my desire for uniformity. I'll have to check for a local chapter of AAA. Amateur Astronomers Anonymous! :smiley:  However, I believe the only cure is a complete, quality kit of EPs!

joe

And I do admit to a touch of OCD now an again.

And I do admit to a touch of OCD now an again.

And I do admit to a touch of OCD now an again.

And I do admit to a touch of OCD now an again.

And I do admit to a touch of OCD now an again.

And I do admit to a touch of OCD now an again.

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      6. 12mm Reticule eyepiece - no illuminator - Mint - £15 +p&p ** SOLD **
      7. Japanese Vixen 10mm Plossl - very good condition - £19 +p&p ** SOLD **
      8. Celestron 4mm Plossl - well used but good for high power collimation - FREE - If you buy the 15mm Tal Kellner ?
      9, Antares 2x Barlow - lens cell can be removed and threaded into other eyepieces - very good condition - £15 +p&p ** SOLD **
      Please note the p&p is £4 which uses the Royal Mail 2nd class service, I can use other choices at cost if required.
      Thanks for looking.


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